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Top 5 NYC Cult Movies, by punk rockers MORAL PANIC – hear new track now!

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The new MORAL PANIC LP comes out September 9th on Reptilian Records (Dwarves, Pig Destroyer, Pg. 99), a new album’s worth of electrifying songs, recorded by Joe Hogan (Ronnie Spector, Murphy’s Law) and mixed by Jeff Burke of Radioactivity and The Marked Men.

Validation will be released September 9th by the legendary Reptilian Records in the US, and German label Alien Snatch in Europe, and today we’re stoked to give you the band’s new track “Big Fish”! 

“‘Big Fish‘ is about being the top dog in your small town scene and trying to emulate that in the big city.” –Daniel Kelley of Moral Panic

It is rare that a self-proclaimed “punk” band can rock as hard as Moral Panic. This has been founder/frontman Daniel Kelley’s cross to bear since the beginning. Kelley has been quoted in the past stating that his band was “too rock n’ roll for the punks and too punk for the rock n’ rollers.” Middle fingers outstretched, he only leans further into this identity crisis on Validation and the results are thrilling.

Check out more details about the band below their special list of top underground NYC movies below!

Moral Panic’s Top 5 NYC Cult Films:

“Since we’re an NYC based band, and we have an infinity for grimy low-budget films shot in the city, we thought we would make a list of our top 5 NYC cult films.” – comments the band.


William Lustig’s classic about a deranged Maniac who has serious mommy issues and copes by scalping hookers and putting them on mannequins. This movie has a great head exploding scene, featuring special fx wiz Tom Savani as the victim, and an awesome performance from Joe Spinell as the aforementioned Maniac.

Combat Shock

This movie is fucked up. It’s about a vietnam vet who is surrounded by junkies, dealers and prostitutes and is slowly deteriorating. It’s like Taxi Driver with a tenth of the budget and it is way more insane. Not for the faint of heart.

Ms. 45

Abel Ferrera is one of the masters of low budget NYC films. Ms. 45 is one of his first and most controversial. A mute seamstress is raped twice in a single day. After killing her second attacker she uses her attacker’s .45 and goes on a killing spree in NYC in the name of vengeance. This movie is wild and Zoe Lund as the mute seamstress is great in it.

Street Trash

This movie is the quintessential NYC horror/comedy. The setting is in the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn in the 1980’s. The neighborhood is a wasteland filled with trash, homeless people, the mob and one cop who is trying to clean the place up. Shit hits the fan when a liquor store employee finds a case of a mysterious drink called “Tenafly Viper” that turns whoever drinks into a pile of well…street trash. Everything is wrong about this movie in every way possible, and that is a compliment. It’s funny, it’s bizarre, it’s gross, it rules.

Brain Damage

Frank Hennenlotter’s Brain Damage is probably not his best known film but it’s definitely one of his weirdest. Considering he created Basketcase and Frankenhooker that is saying a lot! The main character of the film finds out that a very much alive, and talkative, parasite has attached itself to his brain. The parasite omits a highly addictive chemical that creates a euphoric state for the host. The parasite promises to give him as much of the chemical as possible…as long as he delivers fresh victims to the parasite. It’s weird, fucked up and wonderful.

Press about MORAL PANIC:

“This is punk rock… This thing just shreds. At times I’m reminded of Dead Boys, only amped up a tad.” – Maximumrocknroll

Mere months after the release of the acclaimed “White Knuckles” seven-inch, NYC punks Moral Panic are back with a new album’s worth of electrifying songs, recorded by Joe Hogan (Ronnie Spector, Murphy’s Law) and mixed by guitarist Jeff Burke of Radioactivity and The Marked Men

Founder/frontman Daniel Kelley has been quoted in the past stating that his band was “too rock n’ roll for the punks and too punk for the rock n’ rollers” and he only leans further into this identity crisis on Validation, landing somewhere between Dead Boys and KISS

With Hogan and Burke’s larger-than-life production, Validation lands somewhere between Dead Boys, The Who, and KISS, capturing Moral Panic at its best yet: on fire, in its own sphere, oblivious to trends. Kelley’s gloriously cranked guitars gnash and flail; his dueling tracks spar gleefully like freshly unchained pit bulls at play. The new rhythm section of Michael Dimmitt and Eric Robel – a formidable unit who made their debut on the “White Knuckles” seven-inch – plows down the rails with the momentum of a runaway train in alpine terrain.

Kelley states: “Our goal was to be a bit less lo-fi and get more of a big, loud, noisy, pissed sound! I don’t really think that the influences have changed much, but the rhythm section is definitely stronger and has evolved the band into a bigger sound.”

A West Coast native, Kelley founded Moral Panic after relocating to NYC. He reminisces: “I’m originally from Los Angeles and grew up going to punk shows in the LA and Orange County area. There was a time where I was seeing bands like TSOL and The Adolescents play every weekend. I went to college in San Francisco and immersed myself in the scene there. After that I felt the calling to go to New York, so I up and went, with one suitcase, a computer and my Gibson Les Paul.”

A week after arriving in New York in the spring of 2011, Kelley met New Bomb Turks frontman Eric Davidson and joined Davidson’s brand new band Livids as a guitarist. Two years later, Livids imploded and Kelley immediately formed Moral Panic, taking over vocals in addition to guitar. In its first few years, Moral Panic released two albums and played shows with the likes of Night Birds, D.O.A., and The Dictators.

In late 2019, with a slew of bassists and drummers having entered and exited the fold, Kelley welcomed the new rhythm section of bassist Michael Dimmitt and drummer Eric Robel, a move which turned the band into an absolute killing machine but did nothing to please the purists; the new members’ love for the noisier side of rock n’ roll mixed majestically with Kelley’s wild-eyed punk rock fury, making Moral Panic stronger than ever and tougher to pigeonhole.

Veterans of the NYC underground, Dimmitt and Robel have each lent their passion and prowess to a litany of bands, spanning punk, rock, and metal. Robel’s many credits include The Heroine Sheiks, fronted by Cows wild man Shannon Selberg, and Born Loose, fronted by Larry May of The Candy Snatchers; Dimmitt has done time in Disassociate, Mutilation Rites, Overdose, and more.

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