In 2004 The Peelers album Liquordale was Shite’n’Onions album of the year – always a good launching point for fame and fortune in the Celtic-punk genre. Then……… nothing………nothing for 13 years!!! Now we have have the follow-up, ‘Palace of the Fiend’. Thirteen tracks in all. That’s one for for every year since Liquordale.
So where have the Peelers been? New York, The Bronx and Afghanistan. San Diego, Harlem, Dublin and on to the Spanish Coast. Down south, up north. From St. Johns to Boston and back to Ballingarry.
What have they being doing? Fighting at Vinegar Hill and with General Meagher, pub crawling to Baltimore. Brawling with the Westies and hanging St. Michael. Sailing with St. Brendan. Drinking Guinness, snorting…., getting clean and sober, falling again. Fighting the Devil, fighting the final round, finding redemption.
And is ‘Palace of the Fiend’ any good? Fuck yeah. Double fuck yeah. This is Celtic-punk at it’s very, very best, fast, powerful, raw, the poetry of those who have really lived – part Pogues, part Mahones and part Behan. I know it’s only May but I’m prepared to call ‘Palace of the Fiend’ album of the year for 2017. See yah in 2030 lads.
Resolved is the second outing of the partnership between McDermott’s Two Hours signer, songwriter (as well as novelist, poet, playwright and general smart guy) Nick Burbridge and fiddler, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Cotterell
(also of Scot’s Celtic-rockers The Electrics). Like the duo’s first outing, Gathered, Resolved is not an immediate collection of music in anyway but worth (well worth) the investment. Beautiful poetic lyrics of ordinary lives livedm, overlaid with sparse and haunting Celtic melodies in a Dylan meets Planxty style. The main songs on the album are inter-spaced with Tankas – short poems in Japanese style (had to look that up!). Check out a couple of samples from Resolved below and give’em a few listens.
And for good measure here is Nick with The Levellers
I somehow missed reviewing the Ceili Family’s latest last year when Ministry of Silly Folk was originally release – sorry ‘bout that lads – still passage of time is not a good excuse to not review the album now. Ceili Family are from Germany and Ministry of Silly Folk (Fawlty Towers fans here me thinks) is the bands 3rd (I think) full-length release. Now like all good German bands the Ceili Family have a enduring love for the Pogues – the Pogues at their Irish dance hall band best – speedy, spunky, accordion lead, Celtic-folk-punk with infectious melodies and pints of poteen to beat the band. Check out “Throw You Diary” and “Band of Bowsies” and if these don’t get you moving your most likely dead.
Just in time for Paddy’s days comes Kier Byrnes & Friends with their take on some of your favorite traditional drinking and fighting tunes. Most of you will know Kier from his long-running Boston based alt-country band Three Day Threshold (check out Pub with no Beer on Shite’n’Onions Vol. 2). Blarney sees Kier hang up the stetson in favor of a fisherman’s cap in the very best Liam Clancy tradition to give us something best described as Alt-Celtic-America.
From the former whaling city of Providence, Rhode Island comes SCC with their second full length collection of raw, acoustic sea shanties and before the mast maritime fare with just enough rum and snarl to keep the punks happy. Lovers of early Pogues or Tony Duggans solo stuff will love.
I must call out the physical product. Three years in the making , Kettle Jane, is release in the form of a book of maritime art by Rhode Island based traditional and tattoo artists inspired by the songs on Kettle Jane.
Rolling Down the River
Greenland Whale Fisheries
Jolly Rovin Tar
Three Score and Ten
Can’t you Dance the Polka
Five tracks here of pure Aussie ragged, jagged and raw folk-punk from somewhere in the outback based Handsome Young Strangers on their latest release the Battle Of Broken Hill EP.
The self-penned title track recounts a bizarre happening in 1915 close to Broken Hill, New South Wales when two Turks attacked a train of vacationing Aussies, killing four to bring the great war down under. The other standout track is Ned, which is about, well….Ned Kelly, Australia’s original bad boy Irish punk. The Waterboys Fisherman’s Blues is covered true to the original though honestly I prefer Ned and Battle Of Broken Hill.
A very fine EP and somewhat educational from a band soon to be spoken off in the same breath as the Go Set and the Rumjacks.
I’d been struggling to say something original about Smash the Windows, the new, just about to be released Tossers album. Having reviewed multiple releases by the Tossers over the last 16+ years and loving every single one, it’s hard to be original with a review – of course the album is really first class Tossers but that’s a given. Then on the umpteen play of the bands interpretation of the ballad The Foggy Dew, something struck me and it was Tony Duggan’s Luke Kelly style perfect diction as he sang t – The Tossers are the true inheritors** of The Dubliners throne – they are the tradition, they live the life and are 110% authentic, no fake Irish here. The Tossers are not merely punks playing Irish ballads but like The Pogues and The Dubliners they are the living, breathing real deal and Smash the Windows proves it.
Cranky George sees Pogues accordion player (and now purveyor of the finest Irish Whiskey) regroup with the Mulroney brothers from his 1990s band the Low and Sweet Orchestra along with Sebastian Sheehan Visconti and Brad Wood. Cranky George is musically closer to the Low and Sweet Orchestra then the Pogues. Accordion heavy sounds that evokes the imaginary of pre-civil war Spain or smokey French wine bars then the dark streets of London. If a Pogues reference is needed then it Waiting for Herb or Pogue Mahone (a very under rated album). True Pogues fans will dig this as will fans of Gogol Bordello.
The term Mucker is “Dublinees”. It’s short for Muck Savage which in Dublin terms is anyone in not from Dublin city. These Muckers are from Atlanta, Georgia, so I guess that qualifies them as Muckers in US eyes.
The self titled, self released CD mixes fiddle lead Celt-punk’n’roll with sea shanty’s, Gypsy punk (anyone remember the Domolites folks?) and just a touch of blue-grass. In short (and aren’t all my reviews) a strong debut.
Highlights include a great cover of Jackdaw’s Molly (fiddler Jeff Shaw is a transplanted Buffalo bhoy) and New York Girls. Eddie Connies is another standout and soon to be classic.