The now long running musical merger of McDermott’s 2 Hours, one of the forefathers of the whole Celtic-punk scene and their prodigy The Levellers has been joined by UK folk rock institution Oysterband on Nick Burbridge’s swansong for McDermott’s 2 Hours, Besieged.
If your not familiar with the work of singer, songwriter, playwright & poet Nick Burbridge, he is one of the finest Anglo-Irish songwriters and lyricists, a Beckett or Kavanagh to MacGowan’s Behan or even a Springsteen in his lyrical imaginary of the ordinary or downtrodden.
I’ve had a copy of Besieged since 2017, I listened continual to it though 2018 as I waited to be given the ok to review the advance copy. I can say it truly that Besieged is a great album, brilliantly crafted songs and lyrics and beautifully produced. An album that has passed the test of 12 months. The only question is Besieged the best album of 2017, 2018 or 2019?
I remember reading a quote about the original line-up of Motorhead (Lemmy, Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox). It went something like “If this band moved in next door to you, your lawn would die”. This quote comes to mind as I listen to Boobies, Banjos, Bagpipes & Beer the third full length by Kingston New York’s Alternative Ulster, however I’m thinking not only would your lawn die but your house would feckin fall down cos Alternative Ulster have bagpipes that go to 11.
It’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from Yonkers NY Shilelagh Law. Auld School is the band’s seventh album (I think the last one I heard was either the first or second release). Auld School according to the press release is a return to the bands Irish roots after moving to a more polished sound on recent releases. To me Auld School is reminiscent of those early releases – High energy, stripped down, sing-along interpretations of Irish-American standards that should be on everyone’s Paddy’s day playlist. Still New York’s finest.
James Mc Grath is a very talented singer/songwriter from Tipperary and currently the new, hot thing in Ireland. James’s style is very reminiscent to Irish legend, Damien Dempsey and to my ears at least, Hamell on Trial (at Hamell’s most sensitive of course), his songwriting reminiscent to another Irish legend, Shane MacGowan and his voice reminiscent of Eddie Vedder (well if Eddie was from Nenagh it would be). Check out the Live at the Shed – EP it won’t disappoint.
Another great compilation here from our continental cousins over at MacSlon’s Irish Pub Radio. As always if you want to know what’s going on with new bands on the scene (and especially Europe) then Raise Your Pints is the starting point. Twenty great tracks in all and not a bad one amongst them. Highlights include, The Flogging Molly-ish Brick Top Blaggers, Uncle Bard and the Dirty Bastards, the might Ferocious Dog, Black Water Country, the Do or Die era Tortilla Flats and The Fatty Farmers.
Providence Rhode Island’s favorite salty dogs are back with another collection of sea shanties and maritime malarky. The 11 tracks on WHEN I GET HOME FROM ACROSS THE SEA are very much rooted in the original sea faring tradition as opposed to say the punk tradition. I can imagine that this is how these songs would have sounded back in the glory days of sail – rough and tumble but in almost perfect unison.
The physical product itself is a double 10″ handmade lathe cut clear record – pretty cool.
Poor Tim Finnegan, after a life of drinking the sup, brawling and chasing the shady lady he fell from that bloody ladder, struck his head and died. After the infamous wake when he was finally bloody well dead his mortal remains were tossed into Shane MacGowan’s grave and his spirit went straight to hell. But for Tim like Bon Scott hell ain’t such a bad place to be and isn’t that grand lads.
Muirsheen Durkin and Friends might be the biggest band in the whole Celtic-punk universe! The Arnsberg, Germany based outfit list an incredible 10 members including two frigging pipers!!! I’ve really enjoyed listening to Muirsheen’s latest full length offering, 11 Pints & 3 Shots, straight ahead, high energy, rowdy Celtic-punk’n’roll with a nice mix of original and traditional – Wild Mountain Thyme and Donald Where’s Your Troosers? from the Scottish traditional, Old Maui, the sea song some of you will know through the Dreadnoughts and the bagpipers favorite, Itchy Fingers. Nice to see a band list the Skels as a influence as well as the more obvious Pogues and The Rumjacks (Botany Bay Reggae is a major nod towards our Aussie friends). Check this out (or oot as they say in Glasga).
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.