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.
**or at least their bastard American offspring
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.
Sisters of Murphy are neither a Celtic-goth outfit or a girlie version of Dropkick Murphys but a highly polished Celtic rock seven price outta Rochester, New York. Working Stiffs United is the sisters (though with only one gal in the band) debut full length (two EPs proceed) with 11 original songs in all ~ tight, high energy, hook filled fiddle rock with great lead vocals and strong supporting harmonies. Reminiscent of Great Big Sea and The Prodigals at their best.
Must hear tracks:
40 Days At Sea – a Great Big Sea style sea shanty
Jack Heggarty – some Celtic waltz
Katie Dear – their number one single or so they claim
The Led Farmers are a new band to me, though the Switzerland based, Irish born band are onto their second album with Katie. Katie is everything Celtic-rock should be – high energy, great musicians who are tight as the proverbial duck’s arse. Think of a modern day Clancy Brothers meets The Great Big Sea.
…and now for the bit that may get me into trouble……The Led Farmers come across as just a wee bit manufactured – it may be just the boy band style picture on the cover of Katie or I’m just cynical to the whole made for the American market of Riverdance and Celtic Woman stuff. Hoping to be proved wrong and a cynic.
25 Years of Irish Punk celebrates, well, 25 Years of Irish Punk from our favorite Canadian hooligans, The Mahones. Whats cool about 25 years is its not just a collection of loved Mahones classics remastered but actually re-recorded by the current line up (including Mr. Scruffy Wallace). The whole album has a great consistency and a live in the studio feel – except Wild Rover which is live-live. 25 years also includes great covers of The Undertones (Teenage Kicks) , Stiff Little Fingers (Alternative Ulster) and Rancid (Last One to Die). Available online and in stores internationally via The Whiskey Devil Collective (Canada), eOne (Canada), Sailor’s Grave Records (USA) and Wolverine Records (Germany).
Sleeping Rough is the latest and greatest album from Sydney boot-boys The Rumjacks. Following quickly on the heals of 2015’s Sober & Godless we get another shot of pure Celtic-punk. Like Sober & Godless, Sleeping Rough with the exception of the single ‘A Fistful O’ Roses’ has noting immediately that grabs your attention like say ‘Uncle Tommy’ or ‘Irish Pub Song’ on the bands debut Gangs of New Holland but like Sober & Godless if you invest the listening time you will be duly rewarded with another classic. I want also to give a shout out to Frankie McLaughlin’s lyrics, he continues to be one of the finest wordsmiths on the scene combining a gritty realism à la MacGowan with the tough-guy romanticism of Lynott. In short, a very fine album that continues to get better with every listen.