Ireland’s original punk band. Sometimes relegated to the footnotes of Irish rock history as Philip Chevron’s (The Pogues) punk band or even the band that inspired U2 to give it a go. The Radiators have the distinction of being the first punk band to have a top 20 hit single anywhere in the world – Television Screen in April 1977. A slightly delayed debut album TV Tube Heart showed up later in ‘77. Forty years later Chiswick Records has re-released TV Tube Heart in all it’s punk rock glory along with an additional 20 bonus tracks. If you are not familiar with the original TV Tube heart it’s a very fine punk album comparable to the best of the 77’ class. Television Screen is teenage frustration and primal rock’n’roll, Enemies an absolute classic and the album as a whole has stood the test of time very well. The bonus track are wide and varied including a 2017 live in the studio re-recording of the album, previously unreleased live tracks from 1977 and the obligatory single versions. Still the greatest band to come out of north Dublin.
Released much earlier this year, 11 Short Stories just seemed to disappear from conscious. Unfortunately while it’s a solid enough album with some highlights such as Blood, Sandlot, Had A Hat and 4-15-13 there is no knockout tracks and if I’m going to spin some Murphy’s this isn’t the album I find myself reaching for.
Third Eye is the third full length release from Detroit Celtic rockers Bill Grogan’s Goat. The Goat are easily one of the most original bands in the whole Celtic-rock universe. Celtic meets primal Detroit rock’n’roll, and a few other influences just for good measure. Here is a blow-by-blow of the best of this very fine album.
“3rd I” is a short intro track giving off a Pink Floyd space rock vibe that merges into “The Newry Highwayman”, with its laid back but loud guitar sound. The guitars crank up further on the (almost) symphonic Celtic-metal instrumental, “Andro des Morts”. “The Burning of Cork” continues the vibe of “The Newry Highwayman” of laid back, big guitars and traditional melodies.
“Knockdhu Set” is pure Horslips ala “King of the Fairies”. Robbie Burns’ “Ye Jacobites By Name” builds from a gentle introduction into a full Celtic rock symphony. But just in case you have been suckered in to the progressive state of mind, “Paddy’s Dead” is Detroit primal punk that will slap you back into reality.
“Mary Mac” is straight ahead Celtic-rock with a funky undercurrent, while the Scottish standard “Wild Mountain Thyme” merges Celtic melodies and Americana. “The Devil’s Trumpet” is a Celtic jam in the style of Enter the Haggis at their finest. “The Blacksmith” is a traditional song of the South of England, though most folk would know this song through Planxty’s version – the Goat version gives the track a Johnny Cash twist at his hurting best.
In all a very fine, well crafted album from one of the most original bands on the scene.
There is an unbelievable 17 tracks on Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos, the latest album from the central Pennsylvania based Kilmaine Saints. Yah know what most bands call 17 tracks? Two albums, and what is really amazing here is there isn’t a single filler. I’ve been impressed by the last two Saint’s albums and they have always raked the band as one to watch. On Whiskey Blues and Faded Tattoos, the six piece play a blinder and produce not just quantity but quality. The bands sticks to their core “explosive” bagpipes and punk rock while at the same time is able to incorporate more traditional sounds such as the Scottish No Awa Tae Bide Awa and the haunting Golden Pen (then again 17 tacks gives you that luxury). A album to own from a band that have broken away from the pack to join the big boys.
One Fine Day is depending on your knowledge of The Go Set either a well timed best of / live collection or a “Hello America” release. The album is out to support the band’s upcoming short US tour (both a physical and digital release). Long time Shite’n’Onions readers will be well familiar with The Go Set. If you don’t know ’em, they are a long running Aussie folk-punk outfit – part Pogues, part Clash, part Weddings, Parties, Anything and just a wee bit AC/DC (Long Way To The Top), Easily one of the best band on the whole scene with a string of first class albums under their belts and up their kilts. One Fine Day is a great introduction to the band and if you get a chance catch ‘em live.
There is a demented genius to the The Templars of Doom. Raising from the ashes of Alternative Ulster, the Ulster county, New York, four piece play unapologetic raw PUNK rock overlaid with highland pipes. There is nothing subtle on Bring Me the Head of John the Baptist, it’s the musical equivalent of been hit with a caber. Check out the The Oliver Cromwell Twist if you don’t believe me. Not for everyone but I like it a lot.
Tracks on compilation albums are like friends. You can find good friends like Sir Reg, Greenland Whalefishers and The Go Set. There are friends you have lost touch with and need to reconnect with – The Porters, The Killigans and Kilkenny Knights. Friends that you need to get to know better – Mickey Rickshaw and Hoist the Colors and of course friends that you haven’t met until now. Raise Your Pints – Vol.2 is a very good compilation and if you want to know what is going on in the European scene the MacSlon is the man.
1 The Rogues from County Hell – MacSlon’s
2 The Cloves and the Tobacco – Too Much Trouble
3 Kilkenny Knights – Mick Watson
4 Irish Stew Of Sindidun – One Way Ticket
5 The Killigans – From The Underground
6 The Mullins – 9 To 5
7 The Go Set – Holdfast
8 The O’Reillys & The Paddyhats – Sign Of The Fighter
9 Billy Treacy – Temple Bar
10 Sir Reg – All Saints’ Day
11 Hoist The Colours – Mourners
12 Mickey Rickshaw – Nonprofit Warfare
13 Uncle Bard & The Dirty Bastards – I Only Got One Pint
14 Paddy and the Rats – Lonely Hearts’ Boulevard
15 BalticSeaChild – Fool In The Rain
16 Drink Hunters – Celtic Punks
17 Airs & Graces – 4 Corners
18 The Moorings – Drink Up Fast
19 The Porters – Son Of This Town
20 The Clan – Horns Up And Fight
21 Greenland Whalefishers – The Letter
Two Devils Will Talk is the ninth studio album from Caledonian-Canadian Celtic-punk creators, The Real McKenzies. Two Devils is a solid, workmanlike punk rock’n’bagpipes outing. Not the best thing our northern brethren have done but like I said solid. Highlights include the re-recording of their classic Scots Wha Ha’e, the cover of the Canadian folk standard Northwest Passage and the radio friendly Fuck The Real McKenzies.
Life of Good is a very good album! Very much a return to roots by the Mollies after the more boundary pushing Speed of Darkness. The general consensus around the “interweb” is Life is Good is the best thing Flogging Molly have done since Within a Mile of Homeor even Drunken Lullabies and I would very much agree – settled science. The young pretenders have been snapping at FMs heels for quite a while but Dave King and gang have stepped back into the ring to reclaim the Celtic-punk heavy weight title. So without a track-by-track, blow-by-blow review here are the highlights.
Welcome To Adamstown, with it’s ska/horn dance-ability. I actually grew-up not too far from Adamstown and went to school right beside it. There was nothing there when I was in school a lifetime a go, just fields and a country house. In the late 1990s/2000s there was a massive property boom in Ireland – developers built thousands of houses in west Dublin yet no real infrastructure was put in (shops, schools, churches – yep you atheists) then the whole thing went bust leaving unfinished streets and negative equity, unemployment and bank foreclosures. Now there are hundreds of houses but still noting there. Welcome To Adamstown gets the story right.
The Last Serenade (Sailors And Fisherman), reminiscent at times of the magnificent the son never shines on closed doors.
Flogging Molly are truly back and life is great.
There’s Nothing Left Pt. 1
The Hand Of John L. Sullivan
Welcome To Adamstown
Reptiles (We Woke Up)
The Day’s We’ve Yet To Meet
Life Is Good
The Last Serenade (Sailors And Fisherman)
The Guns Of Jericho
Crushed (Hostile Nations)
The Bride Wore Black
Until We Meet Again
While SLF are currently taking their brand of shell-shock-rock through the halls of the UK, Europe and North America to celebrate 40 years of existence, Best Served Loud, the legendary Belfast band’s latest offering is a double live album (on CD and DVD as well) that commemorates their 25th year headlining Glasgow’s legendary Barrowland Ballroom on St. Patrick’s Day – now if you’re thinking Glasgow/Scotland and Paddy’s day is weird then you don’t know Glasgow and the Barrowland – the ultimate place to be on the day.
Feeding off the energy of the best audience in the world, SLF have clearly not lost a drop of energy as the band enters middle age, showcasing material from career influencing (other bands careers**) Inflammable Material through more recent ‘classics” such as Guitar and Drum and Strummerville. Best Served Loud captures the authentic raw energy of SLF live – a fact I can testify as being the real McMordie having seen them live three times in the last few years with tickets acquired for a fourth.
1 Go For It
2 Wasted Life
3 Just Fade Away
4 Roots, Radicals, Rockers And Reggae
5 Guitar & Drum
6 Nobody’s Hero
7 Back To Front
8 Barbed Wire Love
10 Doesn’t Make It Alright
11 Silver Lining
12 Guilty As Sin
13 At The Edge
15 My Dark Places
16 Fly The Flag
17 When We Were Young
18 Tin Soldiers
19 Suspect Device
20 Gotta Getaway
21 Alternative Ulster