Alternative Ulster are a Celtic-punk band from Ulster County, New York and Rebellion is their first album. I would describe the sound of Rebellion as snot, spit and safety-pins punk rock of the 1982 variety being held ransom by a manic, whiskey swigging highland piper. The whole album is a ton of energy and enjoyment. 16 tracks in all with 10 originals based on Tip O’Neill’s political mantra that all politics good music is local (“Riot in the Rondout” tells about the Kingston, NY waterfront area notorious for street brawls. “Ten Guns for Kingston” is about their home town and “The British are Burning Kingston” recalls October 17 of 1777 when the British put Kingston to the torch. “Bannerman Island Ghost Wench” tells the story of a haunted island in the Hudson River) and six covers; Sham 69‘s “If The Kids Were United”, The Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop”, The Sex Pistols “Seventeen” (though I would like to hear’em do Winger’s “Seventeen”) and an amazing cover Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”.
If you’re sold on Rebellion and you should be it can be picked up at CDBaby
“Paddy Go Bragh” is the debut album from German Outlaw Celt-punk band The Dullahans. Fifteen tracks in all with twelve being souped-up folk standard made famous by The Dubliners and their like and three souped-up polkas – Adam Bell’s March, Bill Sullivan’s Polka and John Ryan’s Polka. So while there is nothing original here the Dullahans are tight and their interpretations are a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Recommend if you like your Whiskey In The Jar served rowdy.
01 – Adam Bell’s March
02 – The Foggy Dew
03 – Finnegan’s Wake
04 – I’ll Tell Me
05 – Whiskey In The Jar 2:38
06 – Molly Malone 2:26
07 – Let The Grasses Grow 2:29
08 – Bill Sullivan’s Polka 1:22
09 – Poor Paddy 2:31
10 – The Irish Rover 3:41
11 – Nancy Whiskey 2:29
12 – Spanish Lady 2:56
13 – Come Out Ye Black and Tans 2:36
14 – The Wild Rover 2:42
15 – John Ryan’s Polka 1:20
I’m way over due on writing a review of On Our Own, so apologies to the Wild Colonial Bhoys for my tardiness – that said I’ve played a ton of stuff from On Our Own on the podcast so I don’t feel too guilty. On Our Own is the third full-length release from the Twin Cities based band. On or Own is a first class album of Irish-American fiddle rock. Reminiscing of Lexington Field, Blaggards and Flogging Molly (though while not a punk as Flogging Molly WCB can keep up to the speed and energy). Check out Falling Through The Cracks, The Last Hurrah or Smell the Roses they won’t disappoint, promise.
Always good to get a CD in the mail from Walter Wouk. The Winter Codes, humm; arty prog looking cover, hummm; orange sticky note with a message from Walter – “the new release from Barney Murray“, feckin’ ace!!! Long time scenesters will remember Barney as the near legendary front man of Blood or Whiskey who left the band and essentially disappeared from music after the second BoW full length. Delighted to report The Winter Codes five track EP is classic Barney harking back to the debut BoW CD though stripped down acoustic with just Barney on voice and accordion and fellow ex-Bow David Walshe on guitar and mandola. The voice has that familiar growl and the FU attitude of old is still there. Welcome back lads and looking forward to more.
The After Hours EP is a five track stop gap release from the very fine Bronx-Irish band The Narrowbacks. Four tracks are excellent covers of traditional ballads/rebel classics – Star of the County Down, Rising of the Moon, Fields of Athenry and Patriot Game- nothing new but great versions of much done standards and this band is tight. Track five, Aqueduct North, 4:15am (Live) is basically A Pair of Brown Eyes done a 4:15am after just a few pints. Check out the official promo video here.
Dublin’s newest punk band channel the spirit of their ’77 punk roots. Trouble Pilgrims were formally the seminal Radiators from Space, Ireland’s first punk band. Instant Polaroid (the bands second single) reminisces back at a Dublin long gone with a genuine hard edged sound and authenticity that wouldn’t be outta place on TV Tube Heart.
The eagerly awaited second album from folk-punk legends, Ferocious Dog does not disappoint. Building on the success of their superb debut, the new album, From Without cements their place in the Celt punk pantheon. With its tales of striking miners, poachers transported to Botany Bay and the bravery of school girl Ruby Bridges, I can’t recall a second album this good since Levelling the Land.
The whole album works. End of story. It’s musically tight, showcasing Dan Booth’s virtuoso fiddle playing- easily as good as that of Leveller Jon Sevink or ex-New Model Army contributor, Ed Alleyne Johnson; while the rest of the band contribute guitar, banjo, mandolin and a rhythm section that can dish out dance floor filling folk punk before switching seamlessly to ska. Vocalist, Ken Bonsall continues to deliver; weaving tales of injustice with songs of hope and defiance. A visually arresting front man with his giant mohican and a lyricist to rival any in the scene.
As the son of a miner, and someone who has witnessed first-hand the damage that comes in the wake of the death of that industry, the stand out track is Slow Motion Suicide. The heart breaking tale of an ex-miner cast aside by the economics of Thatcherism and his descent into alcoholism is both lyrically and musically stunning. I’ve only been lucky enough to see Ferocious Dog live once and Slow Motion Suicide was THE moment of the gig for me. The swell of the music in the final instrumental section sent a shiver down the spine and it is wonderful to see that musical wow factor captured on the album.
Other stand out tracks include Ruby Bridges; the bands ode to the bravery of a six year old African-American girl and her teacher Barbara Henry in the face of racism and ignorance. Marakana Mine tells the tale of striking miners and their fight for better pay while Crime and Punishment tells the tale of the aforementioned poachers sent down under.
If you love bands that tell stories and wrap them up in a top quality Celtic punk soundtrack and you haven’t sought out Ferocious Dog then get it done. You are in for a treat. Not bad for lads once teased for being a “shit covers band”.
The first Hudson Falcons album from way back in the last century was an absolute street punk classic – plug-in-n-play-loud, a raw SLF meets Springsteen. Somewhere over the years the Hudson Falcons fell off my radar as they slugged around the DYI and dive circuit of the US. Listening now to their new album, Peace of Mind, it’s great to have ‘em back on my radar.
What really struck me about Peace of Mind, and yeah I am late to the party, is that while the Hudson Falcons are still the authentic blue collar punk’n’roll band, the have mellowed or at least are showing way more classic rock influences. I’m hearing a great Thin Lizzy vibe on Live Right Now, the Rolling Stones on songs like Soul Salvation and Triers Never Leave The Ground and of course Springsteen is ever present. But, the band don’t stray too far from their roots as, Scared, and, We Need A Union Now, are classic, fist pumping, up the union, Hudson Falcons classics that could have been found on Desperation And Revolution.
Like I said it’s been great to reconnect and I promise I won’t stray again. If you as a good listener are looking for no bullshite rock-n-roll then start here with Peace of Mind.
Eight years is a long time between releases so it’s great to have Tulsa based Irish-folk-punks Larkin back again toasting one and all and St. Jude too. Fronted by Chad Malone who is better known for his hardcore band Brother Inferior, Chad leaves the hardcore barking behind and does some of the best Luke Kelly inspired vocals this side of….well…Luke Kelly. The Dubliners (the sound) and to a lesser extent the Pogues (the attitude and energy) are the main references for A Toast to St. Jude. If your looking for Irish folk with an edge and without the malarkey then raise a pint and toast St. Jude.