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The Street Dogs: Savin Hill (CD)- 9/03
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History is full of "what if questions". What if JFK wasn't assinated? Would the US have got so intangled in Vietnam? What if Al Gore had won the Florida re-count? Would we be in Iraq today? What if Mike McColgan hadn't left the Dropkick Murphys to join the Boston Fire Department? Well the first two questions I can only guess at. Yes, we would have got as deeply involved in Vietnam and it would have been as messey. And no we wouldn't be in Iraq but we'd still be in the shitter. The one question I can answer with certainty is the DKM's would have followed up "Do or Die" with something that would sounds pretty similiar to "Savin Hill". In fact it's closer to "Do or Die" then anything the Dropkicks have done in a while. This is fifteen tracks of fist pumping, chant-it-out, punk anthems that bring alive Savin Hill (also known as Stab'n'Kill,) the tough blue collar Irish-American neighborhood that Mike calls home. Possiably, the best rock'n'roll album I'll hear this year.
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Mutiny: Bag of Oats / Digging for Gold (CD/CDs)- 9/03
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"Folk Punk For Punk Folks"

Melbourne Australia's, Mutiny have sailed the seven seas for over a dozen years, and the quality of the music reflects the years of hard work they've put into their craft. For some reason or another, Mutiny's pirate ship has gone undetected by alot of landlubbers over the years. Hopefully that will change when they release a new album next year. (and a possible US tour?) If you're a fan of nautical-folk-punk that leans toward sea shanties, and ballads (much like The Dolomites early stuff did) than this is your band.

2002's album, "Bag of Oats" is six-song CD that will knock yer pegleg off. The lyrics of folk songs should tell the listener about what's really going on in their paticular part of the world, and with songs that speak about current and historical issues, that's exactly what Mutiny does, and with a true Aussie accent throughout the vocals to boot. Musically, the album has no weak spots either. It really is folk punk for punk folks. I tried to pick a favorite track from this album, but I couldn't do it. Each and every song is as solid as stone. More or less what it does is make me itch for the new album!

Next up is a single titled "Digging For Gold". Released just before the holiday season last X-mas, the single contains three songs such as: "Digging For Gold", the previously released "Bag Of Oats", and "Heave Up". It's just as solid as their earlier material. So there you have it. Mutiny is obviously a quality group from the land down under. Those of you who have heard them before know what i'm talking about, and those of you that haven't had best get off your arses and get familiar with 'em, because if they do tour the States, we need to do our best to support them. I know I will! (and if that's not a plea for them to come to Portland- then I don't know what is!!!)

Review by Brian "Capt. Redbeard" Gillespie


Mutiny
P.O. Box 1158
North Fitzroy 3068
Victoria, Australia
http://www.mutiny.com.au/
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The Real McKenzies: Oot & Aboot (CD)- 9/03
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First off, how 'bout those Warpipes, and thundering drums, on that last track "Taylor Made"? It's a perfect example of a theory of mine... (and I'm sure about a million others before me, agree!) The theory is that the drums represent the heartbeat, and the bagpipes represent the soul, and when it's done right, it's simply an overwhelming feeling that hits you deep in the gut. You know you're truly alive when you feel it. If you've ever witnessed up close a huge crowd of marching bagpipes and drums then you should know what I'm talking about. In my personal opinion, the last track, "Taylor Made" gave me that exact same feeling.That song could have lasted 10 - 15 minutes, and i'd still be happy with it. I ask all you reading this review to get the album "Oot & Aboot", go home and turn up the volume to 50 and start with track 13. If you don't get that feeling I'm talking about, then go far, far, away & shoot yourself, or better yet, lay down on some railroad tracks.

Sorry about that, got a wee bit carried away...On with the album review, if I had one word to describe the new album it would be, catchy. I mean that in a good way, mind you. I'm seriously impressed with the vocal melodies scattered throughout this new album. I'm also impressed with the overall sound on "Oot & Aboot" The dual guitars are clean, Paul McKenzie's vocals are solid, and the bagpipes are interwoven perfectly, not to mention the bass and drums hold everything down like they should. You can tell they had some professionals in the studio with them this time, unlike some previous efforts in the past. Have I mentioned catchy yet?

"Oot & Aboot" starts out with a damn fine pirate number "'Cross The Ocean" and in my book, every good Real McKenzies album MUST have at least one pirate tune on it.

"Droppin' Like Flys" is more or less an ode to all the punk bands of the past. Speaking about the unfortunate and untimely deaths of Joey & Dee Dee Ramone (among others.)

"Ye Banks And Braes (O' Bonnie Doon)" is one of the two traditional tracks on the album originally written by the master Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, it good to see another one of auld Rabbie's poem's alive and kicking again.

"Get Lost" is one of those catchy tracks on the album i've been talking about. It's also one of the songs the lads played during the Fat Wreck Chords tour earlier this year.

"Lest We Forget" is a good follow up to "Get Lost" it's like a one-two punch of how good the vocal melodys have become. If I heard everything right, I think it's about women!

"Heather Bells" is another traditional ditty, it's also one of the stronger tracks on the album, is more or less an ode to the Scottish homeland, an ode to a land that we long to be! I'm sure anyone displaced or homesick can relate to this track no matter where the homeland may be! Ahh! I need a vacation!

"Dance Around The Whisky" is the most folky tune on this album. Centered around an acoustic guitar, It's a drunken sing-a-long about Scotch whisky. Complete with the background pub atmosphere. One of my favorites. It almost reminds me of earlier folky stuff off of "Clash Of The Tartans"

"Oot & Aboot" I hate to break it to all the Canucks reading this, but, YES! You do have an accent when you say Oot & Aboot!! Can I have some Canadian bacon and maple syrup now?

"Shit Outta Luck" The melody reminds me of "King O' Glasgow" It also reminds me of alot about my luck lately! Is it unlucky to accidentally break a mirror on Friday the 13th? What the fuck? I'm shit outta luck!

"Jennifer Que" Hell yeah! the fastest, hardest-hitting track on the entire album. For the idiots that think the Real McKenzies have gotten soft. Take a listen to this one. This is how some of the older stuff would have sounded like if it was produced a little cleaner.

"Drink The Way I Do" (The same song that's one the ecard that I emailed everybody with!) What happens when you drink the way I do? Simply put, a hangover, that's what will happen.

"The Night The Lights Went Out In Scotland" April 16th, 1745. The Battle Of Culloden. The Scottish Jacobites were slaughtered by the English. The Jacobite rebellion was more or less brought to it's knees, yet it's still not forgotten. Fuck no, never forgotten! After the battle of Culloden, The Highlanders were eventually kicked off their lands, and forced to leave the only way of life they have ever known. At this moment, I raise my glass to those displaced Highlanders.

"Taylor Made" an instumental song using the instruments of war. - Hey Paul! Can you guys record a half-hour version of this track and send it to me? Hey Matt! Brad! Whaddya think??

Review By Brian Gillespie
http://www.realmckenzies.com/ cover


Dropkick Murphys: Blackout (CD)- 9/03
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Popularity is nothing to hold against a band. Making a living isn’t a crime. Putting food on the family’s table is, contrary to what some may think, an important aspect of making a living and adult life. Teenagers with so-called ‘noble’ visions of bands toiling away doing basement shows all their lives are missing one thing – when the band (who spent years playing said shows) includes several guys in their mid-30’s with families, playtime is over. Bands normally can’t continue making records without making a living, which is why so many punk/skinhead bands fade into obscurity and break up. And, as an example, and this may just be me, but I’d have rather seen Bannon and Negative Approach play to 3,000 people and sell some records, instead of breaking up, releasing very few records and having them become a footnote in hardcore history that only true fans will appreciate.

In the end, when the dust has cleared and when all is said and done, those who are screaming ‘sell-outs’ at the Dropkick Murphys become ridiculous and appear stupid and selfish. And the Murphys are still standing. The band maintain the same high integrity and vision as they ever did, though their sounds have changed a bit. It makes no sense to whine about change – almost all of the revered Oi!/punk bands changed up their sounds, and most, unlike the Dropkick Murphys, did it very badly. So, while detractors wear their Cockney Rejects shirt and whine about DKM (forgetting that CR went shitty metal like the majority of British Oi/skinhead bands, as well as Boston hardcore bands, did) just be safe in the knowledge that the Dropkick Murphys core sound and values still hold true, and you won’t be hearing them doing a ‘Break It Up’ anytime soon….and, when those fans who do all the whining hit their mid-20’s and don’t have their parents money to fall back on and have to get a job in the real world, maybe they’ll realize that their d.i.y ideals weren’t always the ‘be all, end all’ that they made them out to be.

So, enough of my editorial, let’s check out Blackout! Early reviews I’d read by fans seemed split. The negatives mainly had to do with it being a more ‘poppy’ effort than we’re used to. As a whole, I’d agree it is more poppy, if by poppy you mean, more melodious and less hardcore attack. The early, charging streetpunk sounds are, for the most part, gone by the wayside. Replacing it, however, is great, melodic rock and roll. The Murphys hearts have obviously not changed – they still champion the cause of the underdog and raise a glass to those that will never win, but by God, will die trying.

The talent level is definitely upper crust, and the band as a unit shines like never before. I’m not gonna break them down member by member, but will only say that each member plays his part to the fullest – it’s taken to a whole new sphere. I think the best way to give you a sense of what I think about the record is to do a song-by-song breakdown.

Walk Away – lead single from the album. Nice, ringing guitar intro and dual vocals by Al and Ken, this one is one of the cuts that has a more melodic feel than much of what we’re used to from the Murphys. To me, it is ‘Forever’ sped up and a bit more rockin’. Very nice tune, with deadly serious subject matter – deadbeat dad’s who leave their family behind.

Worker’s Song – right back into familiar Dropkick territory. Bagpipe fuelled anthem that has the big group choruses like fans are used to. Subject matter is, of course, the downtrodden worker’s life. Very ‘Heroes of Our Past’-ish.

The Outcast – Not a big fan of this one. More straight-up rock n roll. Good background vocals/melody in the chorus. Not bad, but just one of the weaker cuts in my opinion.

Black Velvet Band – Irish traditional song. If you’ve heard the tune, then you know what to expect – it’s given the Murphy’s party treatment like ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ and belts along nicely.

Gonna Be Blackout Tonight – Woody Guthrie’s lyrics put to the Dropkick’s background. It might well be the heaviest thing on the record. Harkens back to Ken’s hardcore roots. Not one of my favorites, but still – it’s angry and fast.

World Full of Hate – Folksy and almost old-school country-ish ballad. Again, somewhat ‘Forever’-ish.

Buried Alive – GREAT tune. It’s quick and catchy, and it’s rock-n-folk, pounding along with pipe accompaniment and a great, anthemic feel, and a nice, folksy backbone to it.

Dirty Glass – remake of classic from Face-to-Face split. Read my review of that to hear what I think of the tune (great.) That being said, I prefer the version on the split to this. I like Kay Hanley’s vocals better. Still a great tune, though.

Fields of Athenry – one of my favorite Irish tunes of all-time. The Murphys pound home not only the emotion felt in this song, but also the burning anger beneath. Very well done, boys. Now let’s hear ‘Holy Ground’ sometime.

Bastard’s on Parade – Very folksy with a great mandolin-driven melody and superb drumming by Tough Sticks. “Fairytale of New York” as done by the Dropkicks, with a McGowan-style toast to the downtrodden, complete with Broadway reference. Good stuff, kids.

As One – Best pipes on the album. You open like that and I’m a fan for life. This one probably gets my vote for best tune of the record – it’s just the best of what the Dropkick’s do in one song – damn fine rock-n-roll, catchy and anthemic, big-time crowd chorus and propelled along by the instruments of war. THIS is why I love this band.

This Is Your Life - Another rocker. Big-time group singalongs.

Time to Go – Nice rave-up tribute to the hometown Bruins. Very catchy and very BIG. DIG that accordion, giving it a sea-shanty feel for those cold Boston nights! I guarantee this one rocks over speakers at Bruins games. I will never sing along, as I am most definitely not a Bruins fan - Go Blackhawks!!!! Not as good as the Bears ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ - “My name’s Scruffy and I like to dance, running the ball’s like making romance……” Kidding, Ken….kidding.

Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced - Nice, rowdy, drunken closer. Very Macc Ladd-ish. First hand tale by a braggart ladies man who turns out to be anything but. Hilarious lyrics and chorus makes this a great closer.

As a whole, to me, it’s better than Sing Loud, Sing Proud. Yeah, you heard it a-holes! BETTER. It’s a bit early, and it might take a few more listens, but I’m nearly ready to proclaim this the best album of Dropkick Murphys Version II’s career. It’s more melodic, but still hard. I like how the guitar sounds throughout as well – nice, clean and ringing. Everything about them I love is taken up a notch. Here’s to seeing them get as big as they want, and, if you think they’re long odds, well…..put all your money on ‘em, because I know they’ll always come through down the stretch.

Sean Holland
http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/
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The Skels: Any Port in a Storm(CD)- 9/03
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The Skels are back (did they ever fecking go away) with their first release in over 4 years. Proving they are the Ramones/AC/DC/Motorhead of the Irish-Punk scene they have gone and made a CD that sounds exactly like the last two. Now that's not a bad thing at all in my book. I loved both "The Book of Skels" and "Stoney Road" and still play them regularly. None of that "Maturity, Growth, Progression" crap here, the Skels are having a drunken good time so why change or even sober up. Though strangely enough this is still their best album yet and I'm putting it down to just some bloody good foot-stomping, glasses raised drink for 3 seconds songs and Chris Skels impressive lyrics as he brings us on a pub crawl from darkest Bergen County to the Cambridge Port Saloon via Flannerys in NYC and the Presidential palace's of Chile. If you haven't heard the Skels yet then think Sally McLennane pogoin' with Hank Williams at a Clash show after the Bottle of Smoke came in a 25 to f**ckin 1.

Drink for 3 seconds.
http://www.theskels.com


The Steam Pig: Potshots (CD)- 9/03
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Dublin’s reining Kings of Punk are back with their first release since their last one (always wanted to say that - stupid eh?,) the very fine “Deep Fried Obedience”. Boz, Andy and Del are still spitting glass, nails, venom and sticks of dynamite at all they despise - Old Ladies, Boggers, the stupid in general and the girl from CRASS (something about catching the clap from her). Though the music sounds much more experimental/Industrial/bloody intense then the more straight forward punk of DFO. A couple of tracks remind me of early THERAPY?, I’m also hearing late 80's HC influnces and even maybe a touch of Slayer (Turnpike). Not for the faint hearted, Old Ladies, Boggers, the stupid in general and the girl from CRASS. Available in the US through Rube Records (P.O Box 121, Cobleskill, NY 12043 - $13.00 PP)
http://www.geocities.com/steampig2002/
http://www.ruberecords.org/
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Icewagon Flu: Trouble has a Car (CD)- 9/03

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The bio states the band perform “Original Music”, and that they certainly do. Lazy bastard reviewers like me hate bands like Icewagon Flu, they are impossible pigeon hole, compare them to a similar band and move on. You really have to really listen to the CD and take in what they are trying to do.

The Flu if I may call’em that, play a highly original combination of loud Rock’n’Roll, American roots, whiskey soaked Irish folk with almost a jam band feel. The songs are strong and they lyrics are wacky, off beat humorous (and some of them herbal inspired I’m guessing.) If you’re looking for the next Flogging Molly sound alike you’ll be disappointed, but if your looking for something fresh and original you won’t go wrong.
http://www.icewagonflu.com/
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The Pubcrawlers: From the Barn to the Bar (6-song demo)- 9/03
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A much improved Pubcrawlers are back with a 6-song demo follow up to their first demo. The band are starting to define a strong style of their own with strong influences from Irish Folk, Oi/Street Punk and Metal. The closest influence is obviously the DKM’s but the Crawlers metallic guitars give the band their own edge. The CD opens with “The Irish Combine”, the weakest track in my opinion - the vocals just don’t have the rough edge needed to keep up with the music, two fine traditional covers follow, The Rattlin Bog and The Irish Rover (For the grand city hall in New York - YANKEES SUCK - nice guys!!!) both given the DKM treatment ala Finnegans Wake. Boston Subway is a much strong original composition and “Tripping Up The Stairs/An Honest Gamble” is fantastic, definitely the standout track. Things end on a metal note with a medley of Canon in D, Hole in the Wall and Johnny Comes Marching Home. In summary still not perfect but getting closer.
http://www.the-pubcrawlers.com/
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Dirty Water : Dirty Water (CD)- 9/03
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I caught Dirty Water, the new band from ex-Ducky Boy Mark Lind quite by chance opening for the Skels at The Middle East Club in Cambridge, MA recently. And to be honest I wasn't that excited about seeing them, especially after my over excited friend raved about how Dirty Waters new CD was really just the 3rd Ducky Boys release. To me the Dunky Boys were ok, but nothing more then ok.

Live, Dirty Water blew me away with their no bullshit, no image, Punk'n'Roll and this 7 tracker has done the same. Think, Hudson Falcons, Bruce Springsteen (huge influence), AC/DC, The Clash, Social D., and of course Rose Tattoo. If you like your Rock'n'Roll loud, honest and with dirty finger nails this is for you.
http://www.dirty-water.com/
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V/A: It Came From The Barn IV. (CD)- 9/03
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This is the 4th CD in the "It Came From The Barn" serious from Germanys, One Million Dollar Records - the world's only specialist Irish-Folk-Punk, Cow-Punk, Polka-Trash and Bluegrass-Punk (!!!) record label. Volume IV features five bands and 17 tracks.

First up are England's (the North of...) The Whisky Priests, a band I'd heard 'bout but had never bothered to check out. For some reason I figured they were more on the folkie side of things but man was I wrong. They are as tough as nails and as hard as a kick in the nuts by a coal miner's steel capped boots. Think of a North of England version of the Pogues fronted by Billy Bragg at a Coal Miners riot in the 80's.

We've never tasted whisky
Just lager and red wine
But by Christ we can't half knock 'em back
When it comes to judgement time
We'll take you on at drinking
And if you lose we'll skin your hide
Then you'll say we're the hardest gang in town
And we'll go home drunk with pride

The Hard Men (Gary Miller)

Pronghorn (4 tracks) sound like (insert the name of your favorite band here) on major drugs. "Lady-Boy of the Night", sounds like The Charlie Daniels Band on major drugs. "Jewish Thing", sounds like your local Jewish folk group on major drugs. "Roobarb and Kurdish" is Suggs from Madness with the circus band on major drugs. You get my drift. Strange stuff indeed.

Greenland Whalefishers (4 tracks) should need no introduction from me and you should already own each of the four tracks here on your copies of Loboville and Main Street Sword.

The Revelling Crooks (4 tracks) play what they describe as Irish-Klezmer-Country-Balkan-Folk. Interesting, but didn't really strike my fancy.

Finally we have Katkalta (1 track) with "Last Order", who from their photograph look Japanese and play some manic Celtic-Punk with some extra manic Japanese (I think) vocals.
http://www.onemilliondollarrecords.de/


Tommy and The Terrors: 13 the Hard Way (CD)- 9/03
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In their early days, Slapshot were called “the closest thing to American Oi since Iron Cross” and in many ways, it was an apt description. Choke and company sang about things that mattered to the kids in Boston, all set to a background of hard and chanted hardcore punkrock. It wasn’t about phony British accents or dressing to the tee like a wannabe Joe Hawkins – it was about music and attitude – a lifestyle. American skinheads. American Oi.

In many ways, I see Tommy and the Terrors as heirs to the Slapshot throne. The similarities are all there: Boston bands made up of unpretentious types, skinheads and non, who are telling things like they see it, all the while sounding similar to how Choke and co. did it – more rock’n’roll but complete with an old-style hardcore attitude meets chanted British Oi choruses.

T&TT have matured by leaps and bounds since their first offerings. They come at you with a double guitar-style led by Lance and Mike and it shines, with Ryan on bass and Anders on drums, rounded out by the mighty Tommy the Terrible on the microphone, barking orders to Boston crowds like a skinhead Lee Ermy.

If Boston steetrocknroll appeals to you, then check this out for sure. Highlights for me include: “Pull the Plug” the catchy as hell “Turn the Screw,” “Washed Up,” the nice guitar work in “Looking Glass,” and “Radioactive Radio.” “Lot 11” is also a winner, with its Boston sports provincial subject matter – the New England Revolution. Makes me grin thinking about the crew attending said games – although I’d have to argue the Chicago Fire are the team to set a tune around.

In the end, all the tunes hit you in the face like “a train pulling 20 cars of aggro” to quote my favorite poster on the now defunct DKM message board. Boston pubarios rejoice!!! You’ve got a house band to rival the might of the legendary Slapshot.

Sean Holland

http://www.tommyandtheterrors.com/


I Know Kung Fu!: Stout, Whiskey, And Wine (CD)- 9/03
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I think I pissed these guys off a little while ago, and if they really know kung fu, then my days in Portland might be numbered. Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but I did promise these guys I go to see them live back in May. My excuse? It was opening night for the Portland Timbers Soccer Club. Sorry guys, I forgot. Now that I've cleared my name, I'll continue with the album review. I Know Kung Fu! literally kicks ass. It's closer to punk'n roll, but also leans heavy on the metal side of things. Also known to throw in a rowdy drunken sing-a-long, the best way to describe them is like this, it's loud, it's good, and it rocks!! Last time I checked these guys were still unsigned, and that's simply uncalled for. The local Portland record labels need to get off their arses and sign these guys A.S.A.P.

I usually don't do this, but I think their bio does a better job describing I Know Kung Fu.

From The Bio: We are here for the Rock. We are not here to get famous. We are not here to get chicks. We are not here to show off our wardrobe or our collection of indie t-shirts. We are here for the beer. We are not here to be part of the record industry. We are here for the volume. We are not here to fight. We are not here to listen. We are here for the brotherhood. We are not here to find a record label. We are not here to look good on stage. We are not here to impress. We are here for the groove. We are not here to sell CDs. We are not here to take our shirts off. We are not here to wear make up. We are not here to whine about girls. We are here for the riffs. We are not here to dance. We are not here to gossip. We are here for the tone. We are not here to push religion while wearing leather pants. We are not here to teach. We are not here to learn. We are not here to change the world. We are here for the Rock.

In 1999, a tangled web of friendships, hobbies, employers, spouses and alcohol brought three wandering satellites together, and forged the brotherhood bond that would spawn the audio war-hammer that would later be known as IKNOWKUNGFU. Bill Niese, bass player and long-time veteran of the Southern California metal scene, joined forces with Dave Becker, a heavy guitar wielding, proto-punk music disciple and the willing, talented, hard-hitting and lightning-fast drum set player, Justin Craft to give birth to one of the most honest, straight-forward and balls-out power-trios that Rock Music has ever encountered. We are here for the Rock.

While the music produced by this enigmatic combo is not easily categorized as punk, metal or otherwise, it is not so pretentious to claim to defy genre classification. IKNOWKUNGFU music is pure, unadulturated Rock that has been influenced by everyone from Black Sabbath, the Pogues and Iron Maiden to the Cure, Slayer, Tom Waits and the Pixies to Motorhead, the MC5, Operation Ivy and NOFX to Free, the Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and AC/DC. We love the music we listen to almost as much as the music we make. IKNOWKUNGFU is not about making music for the people, IKNOWKUNGFU is about making music, period. We are here for the Rock.

We love small shows, we love big shows, we love playing parties, we love shows where we make money, we love shows where we don't get paid. We especially love shows where we get free beer. We love to play. We love to see people in the groove of our music. We love to talk gear with the other bands. We love to see people in the audience singing along to our songs. We love the shows where Dave pukes after the set. We love shows where we've played with the Jimmies, The Catholic School Girls, the Rats, Darkbuster, the River City Rebels, Avalauncher, the Rock and Roll Soldiers, the Hung Kung Product and Blue Star Creeper. We are here for the Rock.

about 1/4 of this review by Brian Gillespie
http://www.iknowkungfu.com/


Skattish: Demo- 9/03
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The thing that struck me was the name. Skattish. That's a catchy one. As you might expect from the name, Skattish play ska music, with a little twist, they also use bagpipes. From what little I know of ska music, one thing is for certain, they have a horn section. Out of the four tracks on this demo, Skattish use a bagpipe and brass on two of 'em. It's a cool sound that from what I know has never been used before, and for that I give 'em a nod. They will have a full album out soon. Let's hope they stick with the pipes.

Review By Brian "Tosspot" Gillespie
http://www.skattish.tk/


The Whole Sick Crew: The Whole Sick Crew (Demo)- 9/03
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When I heard that The Whole Sick Crew was a pirate band from St. Louis, I honestly wasn't expecting too much. Call it geographical prejudice, but I figured if St. Louis was hundreds of miles from the ocean, it would most certainly be too far away to live if you're a Salty Dog right? How on earth could a landlocked pirate band possibly be any good with out saltwater in the air??

Well, I was wrong about the whole "landlocked pirate" thing, because I was very impressed when I played this album for the first time. According to the band bio, The Whole Sick Crew plays all-acoustic, anachronistic folk-punk sea songs, jigs, and original pirate ballads. Not storybook pirates, mind you, but songs that are as caustic and ugly as the band members themselves. It's a perfect description if you ask me. This isn't a festival costume pirate band at all! In this reviewers opinion, it's: Grade A 100% Nautical-Pirate-Punk. An interesting thing to point out is it's also acoustic, and the lyrics do an excellent job of telling the tales of all forms of pirate life, including disease, executions, evil scallywags, and port whores. The vocals somewhat remind me of The Ruffians.

Formed in June 2002, they haven't exactly sailed the seven seas yet, but with the material they've made so far, i'll have to keep a eye on these guys! Argghhh!

The songs include:

1. Honest Sailor
2. Crimes At Sea
3. The Effigy Song
4. O'Keene The Mean
5. Girl At Every Port
6. The SLow Song
7. Captain Samson's Song
8. The Vomits

Have a look at the new website http://www.wholesickcrew.com
or the old one at http://hometown.aol.com/thewsc/wsc.html

Review by Brian "Capt. Redbeard" Gillespie


The Honeymans: Plugged Up - 9/03
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Those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest have more than likely seen the mighty Columbia River at one point or another. (The fourth largest river in North America.) Now grab yer pirate gear, and a canoe (complete with nautical pirate flag) and follow it 1,250 miles to it's source, and you'll find Columbia Lake. Way the fuck up in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Here's a list of what you will see along the way: Sasquatch, big ass brown bears, Evergreen trees, a complete modern replica of Stonehenge, and eventually, Canucks all over the place playin' hockey & drinkin' Rye & Cokes.You will also find out it's home to The Honeymans. That ska-skankin' folk-funk-fiddle fest of a band that's impossible to describe unless you've heard it already.

Based on their sound, I always thought these guys were either from Vancouver, or maybe Calgary, or at least in a place that has concrete. I never thought they lived in the middle of the sticks, hundreds of kilometers away from any form of civilization. Okay, okay, enough of the geography crap, and on with the music. The Honeymans are the ultimate party band. Blending together funk & punk, with fiddle, folk, & ska, these guys have a true sound of their own. I know Joey Shithead of D.O.A. is a big fan and even signed them to his label Sudden Death Records.

The Honeymans just released a live album, "Plugged Up" and it was recorded at some mountain pub in their hometown of Kimberly, B.C. and sounds like they all had a damn good time. They had the fancy lights and smoke machines present. (I must also report that Bigfoot was at the gig wearing diapers, and slamdancing in the pit.) I reviewed a studio album of these guys last year, and always wondered how they sounded live. I can now tell you they are just a tight, just a smooth, as they sound on the studio albums. (Not an easy feat, considering all the mayhem involved!) "Plugged Up" contains 16 live tracks with 4 tracks that were recorded in a cabin near the Skookumchuck Pulp Mill. (F.Y.I., Skookum loosely translated means Sasquatch in the Native-American Chinook language, so you know these guys are high up in the hills!!)

Favorite tracks include: Fiddle Solo- Death Metal- Big MacNeil's John- Uncle Jack's Bag Of Farts- and Drink Up Rude Boy!

Seriously, Check 'em out at http://www.thehoneymans.com/

Review by Brian "Funkadelic" Gillespie


Kevin Quain & The Mad Bastards: Hangover Honeymoon - 9/03
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So it's Friday night, let's just say late October, and you decide to tell the lads you're not going out on the town with 'em tonight. There won't be any drunken group sing-a-longs of The Wild Rover, or Streams Of Whiskey with the boys just yet. It's one of those nights you decide to hang out with a wee lass ya just met. Maybe it's dinner, or maybe a movie, whatever, but there is one thing for certain, there will be drinking, oh yeah, lots of drinking. So let's say you end up in some swanky jazz joint. Not excatly familair stompin' grounds, but, whatever, you're just trying to have a good time with your new freind. The drinks keep a comin' and the night smoothly rolls right along. The table piles up with beer, cocktail and shot glasses.You get up and waltz with her a little. Eventually, it becomes late, real late, and both of ya repeatatly get cut off by the bar staff, so the two of you stumble back to the house. Laughing, stumbling, and slurring, the two of you use each other for leverage on the short tek back to the pad at 2 or 3 in the morning.

You unlock the front door, and both of you drunkenly fall right onto the floor, and you crawl across the rug. Finally, you're safe on the couch and you turn on the CD player, it's time to decide the rest of the mood for the evening/early morning. Loud punk guitars? naw. Screamin' vocals? nope. It's a perfect night for this band from Toronto, Kevin Quain & The Mad Bastards. It's not really celtic, nor is it punk, sure it's a wee bit folky, but more in a ballad sort of way. Actually, it sounds alot like a Tom Waits meets a Shane MacGowan/Nick Cave ballad in some downtown, smokey, late night, cocktail, salsa-lounge on Halloween. Almost a dark, drunken-romantic album if you will. Lots of great piano, smooth accordian, even some Spanish guitar. The best thing in my opinion are the poetic lyrics, (I like to think of the Oscar Wilde quote: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" as an example) Add on top of everything those rough smoke filled vocals that sound like somebody's shoveling gravel. So, if you're ever in Toronto, and it's a late night, you can see what I'm talking about. The band plays over at The Cameron Public House every Sunday from 10pm-1am.

Simply put, if you're a fan of Waits-MacGowan-Cave ballads like I am, then it's an album to get for sure.

(Okay, back to your normally scheduled Celtic-folk-punk review.)

Review by Brian "Gutter" Gillespie
http://www.kevinquain.com/



Lancaster County Prison: Every Goddamn Time - 9/03
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There are 3 reasons to buy “Every Goddamn Time”, the newest CD from NYC’s (the outer boroughs) Lancaster County Prison and 1 reason not.

Reasons to buy:
1. LCP are the loudest, most rocking, outlaw Country’n’Irish’Punk band to ever strap on a banjo and plug into a Marshall stack and “Every Goddamn Time” does justice to that tradition. This is loud, raw, shit kicking country with a nod to the Ramones and Motorhead. I honestly believe LCP are truly closer in spirit to the late Johnny Cash then any of those mullet wearing, music by numbers clowns presented to us as country these days.

2. This is the nearest thing to something new from Shane MacGowan in a long time. Shane shares vocals on 4 tracks (plus a hidden bonus track) and co-wrote one of them (“Satan is Waiting”). Shane is in decent voice and particularly strong on “The Town I Love So Well”.

3. LCP are the ultimate anti-boy band. Sick of pretty boys with slick dance moves. LCP are the perfect antidote.

Reasons not:
1. Your Justin Timberfake. Did anyone else think it was hilarious when he got bottled when playing with AC/DC, I suppose he should count himself lucky he was in Canada, the Brits piss in the bottles before they chuck’em.

http://www.lancastercountyprison.com/


The Bloodline: Razorstrike - 9/03
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Italy’s the Bloodline have been getting a lot of press recently, from good reviews in zines, to a stateside tour with DC’s own CounterAttack, to an upcoming CDEP on one of America’s finest labels, Reality Clash - word of mouth on the Italian skinheads has been all positives.

I recently acquired a copy of the Razorstrike LP to see what all the fuss was about. I’d heard them called “Negative Oi,” “Horror Skins,” and “Bleak Skinhead Rock-n-Roll” along with many other choice misnomers; upon listening to the record several times, I’d say those are pretty apt descriptions. I myself would liken the band to a combination of: the 4-Skins jamming with a few members of Rose Tattoo (bringing the rock) with lyrics by Misfits-era Glenn Danzig. Weird description, I know – but it’s all I can come up with.

The album’s main theme and lyrical content seems to be a horror movie come to life – with song titles like “Worms Under My Skin” and “Night of the Living Dead” the lyrical comparison to Danzig becomes obviously apparent – but these guys do it skinhead rocknroll-style, and it’s impressive all around.

The musicianship on the album is first rate; at times the playing almost reminds one of a more Oi-inspired Motorhead. Heavy and melodic. The vocals are tough-as-nails, gruff and fit the horror theme to a tee, as the singer at times sounds like a sledgehammer-wielding madman, and at other times like his victim. Many of the songs contain great ominous singalongs, which contribute to the eerie feel that this whole thing is a soundtrack to an old splatter film. The horror movie references don’t end there – the album contains audio samples from Night of the Living Dead, as well as a musical sample from fellow countrymen Goblin’s score to the Dario Argento classic Deep Red on the track by the same name.

My favorite cuts are “The Bloodline,” the awesome “Razorstrike” “Buried Alive” “The Basement,” and “Deep Red,” although the whole album is top notch.

The Bloodline are a refreshingly original skinhead band in today’s sorry world of “oi oi, boots, braces, byrds and bovver” crap. Pick it up and hear something damn good and damn different. The Bloodline are the real deal - heavy, horror-filled skinhead anthems. Believe the hype.

Review by Sean "SMH" Holland


Think I Care: Think I Care - 9/03
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I’m convinced. This band is one of the few playing hardcore the way it’s meant to be. One listen to this album and I think you’ll understand what I mean - like the cover shot of a knife about to find a home in the throat of some poor fucker, Think I Care plunge forward like said shiv, and twist and tear through flesh and veins, before curbing your corpse on the sidewalk. This is hardcore sounding violent again, just like it should.

TIC is among a newer crop of hardcore bands (RNR, Violent Minds, Knife Fight, and many more on the DeadAlive label ) that have me reinvigorated with the genre I was ready to write off a few years back. This is hardcore like an old skinhead remembers. The comparisons with older SSD (as well as a slew of other older Boston bands – a little Deep Wound here, a little DYS there) are accurate: the vocals are pissed off, growling and in your face, daring you to turn the CD off, yet daring you to listen. The music is, in one word, hard. And the whole package leaves me thinking this is one of the better bands of the last ten years.

The lyrics deal with themes common to the genre, yet do it in TIC style: the opening cut prays for a broken neck for those knocked off their soapbox, 28 Visions begs for teeth on a curb, It Surrounds describes the rigors of everyday life and the sheer hate associated with dealing with it. But it’s in the final song, Bitter End, that TIC offer some light at the end of the tunnel, and sum up what they’re about: “Try my best to never break or bend/Staying true til the bitter end.”

When you see this record, pick it up. When this band plays in your area, get to the show. They are among my saving graces of old-style, pissed off hardcore.

Review by Sean Holland