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.
Hail, hail the might Whalefishers. Twenty one years on the go and Arvid Grov and his band of merry Vikings are still pouring out the finest Celtic-punk this side of the Pogues from the darkest Thirsty Cave that Bergen has to offer. One thing that has always struck me about the Greenland Whalefishers is their incredible sense of Celtic melody, a Celtic orchestration in the vein of Sean O’Riada, that blends in so well with their Ramones influenced punk. If your new to the Celtic punk then I urge you to check out Thirsty Cave and if you’ve been knocking around awhile you know what to do.
The Privateer is the 4th full length from Saginaw, Michigan based three piece The Tosspints. Nothing too different from the band’s last album, Have You Been Drinking? that we reviewed awhile back – maybe a little less of a folk influence to the music though a new nautical theme is found throughout the album. Haven’t heard The Tosspints before then think MC5, Hudson Falcons or even Social D., with a Celtic/Americana influence and as much blue-collar authenticity as the dirt under the nails of a West Virginia coal miner (and even if they do the odd pirate song).
One song I wanted to give a shout out to was the almost sixteen minute long The Privateer and yeah, I remember what I wrote about seventeen minute epics but this is sixteen and is structured like three – with a folk introduction that builds to a rock epic and never drags or sounds self indulgent.
Looking for authentic working class rock’n’roll then go no further.
The idea of a concept album always scares me, seventeen minute tracks of acid induced musical wanking is not my thing. Well, happy to say the Mahones avoid any temptation of prog rock glory. The Hunger & The Fight part two leaves the old world and takes on the Irish experience in the new world.
Reamhra, an Uileann pipe air introduces part two and and at the same time bids farewell to the old world. Punk Rock Saved My Life, sets the tone of Hunger & The Fight 2 sounding like the Clash / Husker Du at full speed. Sea of Skeletons slows down the pace and is classic Mahones, the song is a reflection back on the coffin ship journey of the famine emigrants and future struggles to overcome. The Irish Brigade ramps up the tempo and is in tribute to the legendary original fighting Irish. Turn This Town is the albums love song an ode to the Lower East Side but may just a bit more punkie then previous Finny McConnell ballads. JFK is haunting and of course pays tribute to the Irish in America’s greatest triumph and tragedy. An instrumental The Hunger & The Fight Overture is a melody of the tracks from disk one and again links the two albums together. Riot Tonight, is another Clash inspired punk rocker bringing the theme of know your rights into the 21st century. Fuck You is pure hardcore, I never imagined Katie could vocally spit nails they way she does on FU – I’m sure it will be a hit at Irish festivals from Toronto to Tijuana. The final 3 tracks, all covers, fall out side the concept (Yes would never do that) but are all damn fine – SLFs Alternative Ulster, the traditional Parting Glass done more Mahones then Clancy Brothers and Thin Lizzy’s Dancing in the Moonlight, a tribute to fallen brother Cuzo.
The Hunger & The Fight two continues on the masterpiece of part one and while harder and much more punk then the first, both need to exist side by side and played together.
02. Punk Rock Saved My Life
03. Sea of Skeletons
04. The Irish Brigade (The Fighting 69th)
05. Turn This Town (New York City)
07. The Hunger & The Fight Overture
08. Riot Tonight
09. Fuck You
10. Alternative Ulster
11. The Parting Glass
Its been a while since we’ve heard anything new from Holland’s Circle J, so its great to get something new in the form of the seven track, Year of the Goat, mini-album. Again, no surprises here just good ol’ Celtic-punk with a European flair. Hopefully, Year of the Goat, helps Circle J expand their profile outside the low countries as they are a band that deserve to be heard. Fans of…….(honestly, do i really need to do the list?)…..should check this out.
and if you speak Dutch check this 10 part rockumentary
I was in Nashville recently, a great place to visit, a great party town and genuinely nice inhabitants……..feck I’d even consider moving there (and if I get more then an inch of snow this winter I’m so there). That said, the whole country scene in Nashville is just too rigid and lacking any soul.. Anyone think the entire country music catalog of the last 20 years sounds like a bad Bon Jovi ballad? Maybe that’s why Stephen Tyler is going country – he can do a full albums of country hits by just recycling bad Aerosmith ballads and adding a twang.
That said Pete Berwick ain’t country establishment. When the establishment put Pete on the last train outta Nashville to Chicago they ripped up the train tracks up so the Bastard wouldn’t be back.
We’re long time admirers of cowpunk originator Pete Berwick here at Shite’n’Onions for his Johnny Cash meets Johnny Rotten take on country and while Tyler Doohan is more rooted in traditional outlaw country and honky-tonk then the more punkish previous releases, in someways this makes the album even more subversive. Think the aforementioned Johnny Rotten Cash and Steve Earl at his baddest.
The Legend of Tyler Doohan is one of the finest albums I’ve heard in a long while. A tragic, gritty collect of tales of those who life has dealt a bad hand yet they keep strong. The title track Tyler Doohan is a tragic true story of an eight year boy who died trying to rescue his disabled Granddad from a fire.
Stone Clover are a Celtic rock party band straight outta Detroit Celtic-rock City. Stone Clover have been drinking’n’rocking and fiddling since 2009 though Proper Villains is I believe their debut studio album. Influences I hear include hometown hero’s the relocated Flogging Molly, the Young Dubliners and the Americana fiddle rock of Lexington Field. I also hear some strong Beatles-ish melodies woven in. A solid album and I look forward to hearing a lot more from Stone Clover.
Mr. Irish Bastard from Münster, Germany have the greatest name in all of Celtic-punk. If that name doesn’t get across what Celtic-punk is I don’t know what does. The World, The Flesh & The Devil, the Bastard’s latest full-length is a great example of the genre – fast, punkie and spitting attitude. Obviously Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys are big influences but I also hear the Levellers. Strangely enough I wouldn’t compare Mr. Irish Bastard directly to their German brethren (The Porters, Auld Corn Brigade or Muirsheen Durkin and Friends) but to their Scandinavian cousins such as Greenland Whalefishers, Finnegan’s Hell and especially Sir Reg.
The World, The Flesh & The Devil is a great album with lots of highlights but specifically;
I Hope They Sell Beer In Hell, which is straight outta the Bon Scott school of optimism
The charming Fuck You My Darling
and even a song about me, Ballad of a Work Shy Man