Gary Miller who along with his twin brother Glenn was the driving force behind legendary North of England folk punk pioneers the Whisky Priests (1985 – 2000 and now reformed in 2018). Gary’s latest project, Mad Martins, is a highly ambitious piece of art, a 50-track triple CD, enclosed in a beautifully designed and illustrated (by Helen Temperley) book with the lyrics to the all the songs, poems and spoken word pieces. Gary collaborates with poet Keith Armstrong and producer Iain Petrie.
Mad Martins the story of the three notorious Martin brothers is told in original folk songs, poetry and spoken word. The three brothers, William, Jonathan and John were born in the late 1700s in Northumberland, England. Jonathan, a sailor, religious fanatic and arsonist who set fire to York Minster, dying in the infamous Bedlam lunatic asylum. John, a city planner, inventor, English Romantic painter, engraver and illustrator – biblical paintings of hell fire and general mayhem (I’m pretty sure some of his stuff ended up on as LP covers for heavy metal bands). William, a solider, inventor, scientist eccentric and self-described philosopher.
Like I said before this is a highly ambitious piece of art that has been pulled off to perfection. Check out the sampler below.
The latest from Chicago raised, Tennessee born Jeff Givens and his Mugshot Saints is not our usual fare of Celtic / Punk but since Bleeding Ink is rootsie and dirty it’s fair game for a review. Bleeding Ink is probably best described a old school rock’n’roll (Stones, Allman Brothers) meets Americana outlaw country (Cash, Waylon). Laid back but with enough dirty under the fingernails and grease on the fingertips from 30 plus years on the road that makes this so much more real then the usual corporate country whore stuff.
I’m a wee bit late with the review of Whitewashed Graves the 2016 released EP from Melbourne Celtic-punk hooligans Ramshackle Army. No real excuse since I’ve had this brute on rotation for the best part of a year. Whitewashed Graves is top notch stuff. Fast. Aggressive. Catchy. Each track a live anthem in the making. In fact, I like Whitewashed Graves so much I bought myself a physical copy (the review copy was digital). If that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is.
Formed by veterans of the Boston HC scene; Mark Doherty (Nowhere USA and Dot Rats) and Bill Jolliemore (Third Knuckle and The Struggle). The Dirty Dozen is a dozen tracks of fast, aggressive. boozed up, no frills hardcore punk. The musical equivalent of a kick in the nuts……a hard kick.
Walk Like Kings the 4th full length original album from London-Irish band BibleCode Sundays is a highly polished affair and continues to prove that the BibleCodes are one of the most talented bands on the Celtic-rock planet. Ronan MacManus is an exceptionally talented singer and the rest of the band are no slouches either. While Walk Like Kings is more mellow and more mainstream friendly then the bands early albums they don’t lose that edge that made the band so attractive before. Walk Like Kings sees the band being joined by friends and family including the amazing Lorraine O’Reilly who duets with Russell Crowe (yeah him of Gladiator fame – he’s been a friend since hearing the BCSs tribute to Jim Braddock, The Cinderella Man). Brooklyn rappers Da Ded Rabbidz join the band on ‘Stand Up and Fight’.
Stand out tracks include the ska infused ‘Disorganized Crime’ (with help from members of The Specials and Bad Manners and ex London gangsters Noel ‘Razor’ Smith and Vincent Bradish for true criminal authenticity) and ‘Willie Redmond’s Volunteers’ a song Ronan pieced together from lyrics written by his late father Ross MacManus and featuring guest appearances by all of Ronan’s brothers including an up and coming young Declan MacManus who goes under the stage name of Elvis Costello (he may need to change that name before anyone takes him seriously though).
Pog Mo Thoin is the second full length from Ulster county New York’s Alternative Ulster. Pog Mo Thoin is hard as hell. Reminiscent of NYHC meets lo-fi proto-punk at its rawest colliding with the pipes and drums of the NYPD Emerald Society. There are no frills or niceties on Pog Mo Thoin – this is probably the sound Sir Henry de Bohun heard when Robert the Bruce split his head in two with a battle-axe at Bannockburn – skull crushing and wailing bagpipes. Though Alternative Ulster in fairness are not just kilt wearing brutes they do have a #metoo moment and share it on the sensitive “Self Appointed Kilt Inspector”.
The Bottlers 3 track EP is Sydney based acoustic folk-punks first official release. It also my first opportunity to hear the 9 piece. Good ol fashioned Celtic / folk punk in the vein of The Pogues meets The Rumjack. I’m highly impressed and looking forward to more. I know I’ve said this before but I’ve never heard a bad Aussie band and that streak continues with The Bottlers – must be something they put in the grog down under. Oh, and the beards would do Ned Kelly proud – good on ya mate.
As I was starting the review of Red, I pulled up the Dog’s web site and on it there is a really great description of the band – English working class Celtic-folk punk, The Levellers meets Billy Bragg meets The Pogues. As authentic as feck – I read it and though to myself that really nails what Ferocious Dog are all about (and the author is obviously a genius and probably very handsome too) – then I notice the quote was from Shite’n’Onions – I was right on all counts. Red is the third full-length from Ferocious Dog and it certainly does not disappoint, high energy fiddle led Celtic-punk in a similar vein to the band’s previous two releases – Ferocious Dog and From Without – so if you love those albums you’ll love Red.
Honestly, I’m pretty convinced that the Ferocious Dog are going to break real big…….at least in the UK where they are building a massive fan base and have the distinction of being the first unsigned act to sell out the legendary Rock City venue.
Sounds Of Vandemark, the second full length from Cleveland based Celtic-punks Craic was released late last year and in fact made the Shite’n’Onions best of 2017 list – we’re finally catching up now on reviews in 2018. Sounds Of Vandemark is no frills, rough and rowdy and very authentically blue collar Celtic-punk. Craic straddle the middle ground between The Tossers and Dropkick Murphys. Craic’s ode to their hometown, Cleveland, is an absolute classic. Former Dropkick Murphy Ryan Foltz produces.