Return To Main

The Bloody Irish Boys: Drunk Rock
BIB are a “band” that managed to cause a lot of controversy and piss off more then a few people on the strength of the track “Drunk Tonight” that they circulated as a mp3 prior to releasing “Drunk Rock” – the big piss off factor was that it was maybe just a little to close to Flogging Molly’s “Swagger” to be a coincidence. Now while the rest of the CD is still hugely influenced by Flogging Molly and SoCal punk (“My Wicked Ways” is a little to close to something of the Mike Ness solo CD whose title escapes me) there is nothing else that can be stamped with the rip-off accusation, and in fact everything is highly listenable (even if the traditional instruments are electronic studio creations) and top quality.  So let’s give the guy (BIB are basically a one man show) a break and some encouragement and support and remember nobody in this scene is truly original and even  the mighty Flogging Molly have been accused of lifting from others – remember “Another bag of Bricks” and the riff from “Swagger” itself sounds like it was lifted from Slade.
http://www.thebloodyirishboys.com/
 

McDermotts 2 Hours: Live at Ferneham Hall
While the D.I.Y.-ish cover of Live a Ferneham Hall give the appearance of a bootleg there is nothing bootleg or D.I.Y.-ish about either the music or production on this superb live CD (recorded in March '05) from one of the most influential Celtic-folk-rock bands of the 80's (ask The Levellers). If your unfamiliar with past works of this Brighton, England based Anglo-Irish quintet then think Bragg, Moore (Christy of course), Strummer and of course MacGowan and the Pogues and not as mere imitators but as peers. 
http://www.burbridgearts.org/music/index.htm
 

Darkbuster: A Weakness for Spirits
Darkbuster are the kings of Boston street punk, period.

18 songs, clocking in around 30 mins. Darkbuster are fast, catchy and loud with a wicked sense of humor. Influences on a Weakness..... include Stiff Little Fingers, Bouncing Souls and The Clash along with old school Boston hardcore (and Thin Lizzy - the lyrics to the Ska tinged "Rudy" are a little to close to Lizzy's "Jailbreak" to be a coincidence.)
http://www.darkbuster.net/
 

Dropkick Murphys: Warrior's Code
Sing Loud Sing Proud part deux...

Warrior's Code represents the next step in the evolution of Dropkick Murphys from a pure punk oriented outfit to a more refined, mature band. They've found their niche and are sticking to it.

That said, the Murphys don't totally abandon their roots and have created a sound like previous releases and good on 'em for that. Songs such as "Your Spirit's Alive", "Warrior's Code", "Take It And Run" and "The Walking Dead" are classic Dropkick Murphys while songs like "The Green Fields of France" show a nice evolution of their skills. Tunes like "The Auld Triangle" is a good mixture of new and old.

Still, a lot of their songs are reminicient of earlier offerings and that will not disappoint fans while recalling days past. All in all, the Murphys continue to deliver an energetic, enjoyable outing and it's worth the money on this latest offering too.

Their live shows are worth attending as Ken Casey and crew continue to deliver the goods and you could do a lot worse than attend a live Dropkick Murphys show. I would recommend seeing them at a club or hall rather than a venue like an outdoor festival however. The sound and energy are better and you get the chance to join them on stage at the end of the night!

In summation, "Warrior's Code" is a good Dropkick Murphys release that shouldn't disappoint fans but won't garner any new ones that don't like them already.

Review By: TheBlackStuff
http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/

Mutiny: Rum Rebellion
I'm pretty sure the majority of S'n'O readers understand that folk music (No matter what ethnicity) can tell us about the tales of the past in ways history books never could. Folk music speaks of the truth, and when I want to find out about the daily life of a paticular place, I'm not going to reach for some bland travel guide from AAA, I'm going to be looking for some folk music from that paticular area of interest. I've always been interested in the history of Australia. Maybe it has something to do with the convict way of life, or maybe it's something nautical, or maybe a combination of both. Whatever the case may be, I'll always reach out for the folk music first. I have learned alot from Aussie bands such as: Roaring Jack, Weddings Parties Anything, and the random traditional numbers. Now there's another band I need to add to the list: Mutiny.

Mutiny has been around since the early Nineties, and have been around the dock more than a few times. As you may or not know, the album "Rum Rebellion" is not exactly brand new. It was originally released back in 1997, and lucky for us, a label in Pennsylvania, (Fistolo Records) re-released the next-to-impossible album earlier this year. In my humble opinion, "Rum Rebellion" is not another Celt-Punk album at all...Sure there's hints here and there, but It's more of a combination of: Aussie folk, Sydney streetpunk, pirate punk-inspired sea shanties, and whatnot. Think of Mutiny as the music of yesteryear, & the lyrics as the lastest news of today. Oh yeah, I know it's only May, but at this point "Rum Rebellion" just might be my favorite record released this year. (Do re-releases count?)

The band, Mutiny, are one of my all-time favorites!

Review By: Brian "Shelia" Gillespie
http://www.mutiny.com.au/

Junkman's Choir: Junk Rock-EP
If you ever showed up early to a few Pogues gigs in 1986 at the Hamersmith in London, you probably heard the opening band, Nyah Fearties. If you didn't blow your cash on pints in the pub you may have picked up their latest album at the time, A Tasty Heidfu'. A two man band of brothers from a tiny village in North Ayrshire, Scotland, Nyah Fearties were known around the streets of London, as a busking, acoustic, punk-thrash band that used various objects they found nearby as the "percussion". Influenced by punk, reggae, rockabilly, and country, they developed a unique sound that spat a gob of folk-punk inspired flem into the faces of the synth-pop wankers, and kicked the new romantics of the day in the nuts with a steel-toed boot soiled with Ayrshire sod. After years of touring together as a two-peice they eventually found themselves involved in various projects such as :"Dub Skelper" or "Mr. Luggs".

Today, they have a new band, somewhat similar to their old Fearties sound, Junkman's Choir are now a four-peice, and sound more original than ever. "Junk Rock" is their third effort and contains four tracks of acoustic flavored mayhem that will have you begging for more.The first song, "Hey Joe!" is an ode to Mr. Strummer. The song contains various Clash/Strummer melodies brought to you in the Junkman style. Another standout is the traditional track "The Cuckoo". Honestly, I've heard everyone from Doc Watson, to Bob Dylan cover this song, and I must say, the Junkman version quite possibly might be my favorite! Great accordian! The other two songs are: "Evangeline" & "Raven's Yard".

So, it seems as if the lads are quite busy again. A new website is in the works. www.junkmanschoir.co.uk/ * they have some upcoming gigs in the London area, and I'll bet you they probably have another album in the works. I don't know about you, but I've got some catching up to do. In one way or another, these guys have released about 17 albums, and all I have to show for it is this four track ep, and an old, sticky, Nyah Fearties cassette covered in Irn Bru.

Review By: "Beer Busking" Brian Gillespie
http://www.junkmanschoir.co.uk/
http://www.nyahfearties.co.uk/
http://www.yonko.co.uk/

Perfect: $$ Live Free $$
Live CD's can be either hit or miss in my book as they rarely capture the true energy of a bands live performance - with both the recent live CDs from the Dropkick Murphys and Shane MacGowans Popes veering towards miss in this humble scribes opinion. Not having seen Jamie Clarkes Perfect live I can't say if $$ Live Free $$ has captured their authentic live energy but based on this CD a Perfect gig is one powerfully performance; high energy and tight as hell with a lot of Pogues covers - 7 out of 18 songs, often instrumentals, but I guess those are the songs that get the punters in the door and paying asses on the seats and being a 3 piece of just guitars, drums and accordion there is a different twist.
http://members.aol.com/mailperfect/index.html

Blaggards: Standards
Don’t know too much about The Blaggards except they are from Houston, Texas and are fronted by Irish Man, Patrick Devlin. Standards is a collection of well, standards, you know, the stuff made famous by The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, Johnny Cash (an honorary Irish man) - who’s “Folsom Prison Blues” becomes “Fields of Athenry” as “Prison Love Songs” - and Elvis (I kid you not, “Suspicious Minds” is given the Celtic kick up the ass). The music is high-energy Celtic rock that will be on heavy rotation at my next Paddy’s day party (especially “Suspicious Minds”)
http://blaggards.com/

Icewagon Flu: Mr. Norman EP
Mr. Norman is 4 new tracks (plus a radio edit of the title track) of quirky, roots’n’roll. Think of The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys crossed with Hothouse Flowers and Revenge of the Nerds. Mitch Easter of REM fame mixes so yeah it’s top shelf stuff.
http://www.icewagonflu.com/

The Steam Pig: Ugly Bastard Everything
The Steam Pig continue their vicious audio assault against all those they despise (and mankind in general) with their 4th release. “Ugly Bastard Everything” continues the shift towards Hard Core/Industrial sounds started on the last release “Potshots” and away from the more straight ahead Street Punk/Oi of the earlier releases. To my untrained ears it’s a mix of old Therapy?, Helmet and US Hard Core – and I’m sure someone will tell me I’m either deaf, stupid or ignorant for making those comparisons (and oh yeah doesn’t the cover look a bit like the back of Queen’s , “The Miracle”).
http://www.thesteampig.com/

Dropkick Murphys: Singles Collection Volume 2
Kind of a stop-gap between releases I guess, putout just in time for Paddy’s Day and the DKMs now traditional run of shows in Boston, Basically this a collection of b-sides and other rarities that you spent a lot of money on eBay trying to amass. It’s a mixed bag of covers. A decent but not essential release.
http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/

The Electrics: Old, New, Borrowed and Green
The Electrics have gone and recorded the CD they have threatened to make for a while and could have made on “Rock’n’Reel” if the producer hadn’t lost his nerve and buried the guitars in the mix. This time the guitars are loud, loud and louder - rumor has it ManOwar on hearing “Old, New, Borrowed and Green” have hung up their leather jock-straps and the Real McKenzies have bought long trousers. If you heard Killicranked-up on Shite’n’Onions vol. 1, this is in a similar vain. If not then imagine a cross of Scottish and Irish traditional, 70’s Glam (Slade & T-Rex) and PUNK ROCK (Sex Pistols.) All men play on McTen – indeed.
http://www.theelectrics.com/

Neck: Sod ‘em & Begorrah
If the 6-song “Psycho Ceilidh” is considered an EP, and “Here’s Mud in your Eye” is essentially the same as a remixed “Necked,” than an argument could be made that “Sod ‘em & Begorrah” is the second actual release from the band Neck. As such, it proves to be a strong sophomore release.
As in all of their previous CDs, one of Neck’s strongest identifying characteristics is the arrangement. The band plays in many layers; the solid, rock rhythm section is sharply accented by the fiddle, banjo, and occasionally, the Uilleann pipes, providing an elaborate and consistent backdrop for O’Keefe’s vocals. Marie McCormack’s wandering whistle completes Neck’s sound with its continuous exploration of the melody.
The new CD maintains a level of rowdiness just a notch or so above the band’s usual approach with the electric guitar occupying a more prominent role in the majority of the songs than it has in past releases. Although this obscures the clarity of the vocals in some cases, it provides the overall feel of the disc with a fuller, edgier sound
“Sod ‘em…” does, however, contain a few slower numbers, (“May the Road Rise With You,” “Caoineadh/Blood on the Streets,” and an Uilleann pipe-infused “I’ll Take Me Back.”) These are approached with a degree of emotion that really draws out the passionate capacities of Leeson O’Keefe’s voice, and makes these songs standouts on the disc.
Of the traditional tracks on the disc “The ‘Psycho-Ceilidh’ Mayhem Set” is an eight and a half minute long set of traditional jigs and reels that starts innocently enough, but soon snowballs into an intensity akin to that of riding a rollercoaster holding an armful of cats! (As soon as this track ended, I caught my breath, and played it again! It’s that good.)
Bean-counters should be pleased as the disc clocks in at a hair shy of one full hour from start to finish with no weak “filler” tracks included.
As a second release, it clearly surpasses the dreaded “Follow-up” stigma that plagues many second discs. As a fourth release, it continues to combine great song-writing with excellent orchestration. However you count it, “Sod ‘em and Begorrah” is a CD that any visitor to the Shite ‘n’ Onion site should have.

Review by: Christopher Toler, The Blathering Gommel
http://www.neck-neck.freeserve.co.uk/

Oysterband: The Big Session, Volume 1
Once regarded as prominent torchbearers of the alternative folk-rock movement along with the Pogues and Men They Couldn’t Hang (some even labeled them as punks), Oysterband have gradually settled into the role of venerable, thoughtful folkies. In fact, perhaps to their chagrin, Oysterband now more closely resembles artists like Fairport Convention and Richard & Linda Thompson than they might be willing to admit. On this, their umpteenth release, they are joined by longtime friend June Tabor (remember FREEDOM AND RAIN), Eliza Carthy and members of Show of Hands and Chicago alt-country group Handsome Family, among others. There is nothing particularly alternative here, instead, reliable British folk-rock in the classic mold; “John Barleycorn” is performed in the Fairport style and the a cappella “The New Jerusalem” sounds as if it belongs on any number of Steeleye Span albums. This album is so chock full of inspirational and moving songs that it begs the question, when will THE BIG SESSION, VOLUME 2 be released?

Dave Sleger
hhttp://www.oysterband.co.uk/

Transsylvanians: Igen!
IGEN! Is the fifth release by this Berlin based folk-rock band. This self-described “Hungarian speed folk” group combines many elements toward their unique sound. A rhythmic punk intensity is matched by Eastern European compositional stylings and catchy melodies. Rapid-fire electric rhythm guitar generally dictates the mood of each piece and is accentuated by accordion, gypsy violin and relentless bass and drums. Stylistically they resemble the Ukrainians and vocally, the Transsylvanians bring to mind the contemporary Finish vocal group Värttinä. Suffice it to say, this band relies as much on traditional sounds as contemporary, but fuses them in a way that will especially appeal to listeners of alternative folk and folk-punk. Igen! was one of the most pleasant surprise releases of 2004.

Dave Sleger
http://www.transsylvanians.de/

Lack of Limits: Live Too
This is the fifth album release by this German folk-rock outfit and the second live CD since 2000. Overall they perform in the classic Celtic-rock configuration of drums, bass and guitar augmented regularly by accordion and fiddle. On rare occasion saxophone and didgeridoo color their arrangements – and not always for the best. Their rendition of “16 Tons” takes on a dubious identity with the heavy saxophone and overwrought lead vocals. Of the eight tracks included here, five are traditional while two are borrowed from Pressgang’s FIRE album – “Take a Jump” and “Merrily Merrily.” Although Lack of Limits’ thick German accent may cloud one’s impression of this band, they are an extremely competent band, instrumentally speaking, who might benefit from a more natural, English speaking vocalist.

Dave Sleger
http://www.lackoflimits.de/

An Cat Dubh: Light
Unlike Lack of Limits, An Cat Dubh is a German band that has a solid grasp on English and its nuances. On this, their seventh release An Cat Dubh employs an exclusively acoustic lineup that more closely resembles the Dubliners than their previous rock-oriented efforts. Predominantly comprised of traditional Irish tunes (including the suddenly trendy “Fields of Athenry”) LIGHT also tackles selections by Tommy Sands, Eric Bogle and Bruce Springsteen. This band fares better when the amps are turned up, however, this coffeehouse set works better than expected. And the sing-along nature of these songs would be accompanied nicely by a pint of Beamish or Sprecher Irish Stout (shameless local plug).

Dave Sleger
http://www.ancatdubh.de/

Foggy Dew: Sleight of Hand
After a steady string of CDs dating back to 1992 that were influenced heavily by English and Irish folk-rock, this Austrian combo scaled back its membership and increased its songwriting responsibilities, yielding a stripped down, subdued modern folk sound. This retooled group refocused its efforts toward instrumental precision and strength of melody, an approach hinted at slightly on 1999’s WHEN I’M THERE. That release relied solely on original compositions, albeit with a rockier edge. Unfortunately, like Lack of Limits, Foggy Dew would be received much better in the US and other English speaking regions if their enunciation were sharper and cleaner. Still, if you enjoy the sounds created by accordions, mandolins and acoustic guitar there is definitely redeeming value to found here.

Dave Sleger
http://www.foggydew.at/

No Smoking Orchestra: Life is a Miracle
Although not received until early 2005 this ‘04 release instantaneously rocketed to the top of my “best of” list for last year. How do I even begin to describe this totally unique band? While Bosnian filmmaker and guitarist Emir Kusturica seems to attract most of the attention of No Smoking Orchestra these days, this is truly a group effort that depends as much on singer Dr. Nelle Karajlic’s acerbic vocals and violinist Dejan Sparavalo’s inspired arranging and writing as Kusturica’s celebrity. Equal parts vaudeville, punk rhythms and gypsy music, this is unlike anything many of you have ever been subjected to. It must be noted that this music is “inspired and taken from” the quirky film of the same name so variations on the main theme are revisited throughout the album. But the individual songs like “Wanted Man,” “Who Killed the DJ,” “Ovo je Musiki Svet” and “Gladno Srce” are the main attraction here -- marches driven by the sloppy (by design) gypsy brass band, unhinged operatic singing, reasonable acoustic jazz guitar, swirling interaction between tuba, accordion and gypsy violin and more indescribable zaniness. This CD is an utter delight and highly recommended for those who are looking for uniqueness that isn’t confined to any one genre. Punk? At times. Folk-rock? Absolutely! Camp? If that’s what you wanna call it. This is the best damn soundtrack recording ever created, period!

Dave Sleger
http://www.thenosmokingorchestra.com/

Antichrisis: A Legacy of Love Mark II
In an odd move Antichrisis has re-recorded their 1998 artistic breakthrough A LEGACY OF LOVE in its entirety on a new record label, Reartone Records. I’m not exactly sure why this was necessary as this final product isn’t measurably different from the original. But if it generates buzz and attention to this erstwhile overlooked gem perhaps it is justified. Antichrisis is somewhat of an anomaly as they combine progressive metal with Celtic-rock in a highly theatrical yet melancholy manner. The attentive listener might conclude that this album is more cohesive and consistent than the original. I try to convince myself that this mix is superior and the rearranged tracklist makes for better continuity but I’m not really sure. There is one new track called “End of December” that (in a real stretch) might remind listeners of Black 47. In any event this is a fine recording that deserves to be heard again. Hopefully this strategy will pay off for Antichrisis.

Dave Sleger
http://www.antichrisis.de/

Blood or Whiskey: Cashed Out On Culture
So finally we have the new, much anticipated CD from Blood or Whiskey. The first without original vocalist Barney Murray, and actually it’s pretty much an entire new line up since “No Time to Explain”. Only guitarist and now vocalist Dug’s and drummer Chris O’Mara survive.

So what’s it like? Musically it’s still the familiar Trad-Punk of before just punkier, way more punkier, but old time fans will recognize the sound as distinctively Blood or Whiskeys. Dug’s does a reasonable job on vocals though he’s no Barney Murray (for those who heard the promo CD from last year, the vocals are much improved.) The attitude is still Fuck you. And the songs? When the songs are good on” Cashed Out On Culture” they are very good-the Ska tinged “Poxy Pub”, “Glory O”, “Jar’D fror Life”, “Impaired Vision” and “Ruler, Ruler” to name a few–and Blood or Whiskey are top of the game. When the songs are not, they are just average
http://www.bloodorwiskey.ie/

Los Langeros: Very Interesting
Now for something from way out in left field. Los Langeros are from Cork, Ireland and they play quite possibly the most intense country music ever put to disk - it's punk, trash and Hank feckin Williams. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah... very interesting CD. Curious, go to http://www.unsignedireland.com/artists/loslangeros.htm and listen to some mp3's.
http://www.loslangeros.tk/

Lecker Sachen: Universum d’Amour
The third release by this German outfit reveals some of the most innovative advances in modern Celtic music. Combining the pop and hip-hop foundation of their first album and the sophisticated acoustic arrangements of RAUS, their second effort, UNIVERSUM is the logical next step for front man Markus Brachtendorf. Sung exclusively in German, Lecker Sachen rivals the sampling and techno efforts of such groundreaking Celtic artists as Tartan Amoebas, Paul Mounsey, Shooglenifty and Slainte Mhath. And as is the case with those bands, Lecker Sachen shines when they allow the folk instruments like banjo, fiddle and wood flute to be heard above the programming. The non-German speaking among us may gravitate toward instrumentals like “Schnelle Melodie” and “Fabrik Melancholique,” two outstanding selections driven impeccably by their inherent folk melodies but accentuated creatively by peculiar rhythms and effects and boldly supplemented by the neo-classicist Gangsta String Trio. An exceptionally artistic effort, this album provides mood music for both the background and foreground in an unconventional yet appealing manner.

Dave Sleger
http://www.leckersachen.de/

Ronan O’Snodaigh: Tonnta Ro’
The second solo offering from Kila lead singer Ronan O’Snodaigh differs vastly from his 2001 debut TIP TOE. That album was resplendent in its swirling and rich melodies. While rhythm is always key to O’Snodaigh’s music, it wasn’t the driving force of TIP TOE. This album, however, is a rhythmic affair with virtually no lasting melodies to speak of. O’Snodaigh’s passionate yet monotonous vocals coupled with his percussive accompaniment create an omnipresent and droning rhythm that is inspirational and tiresome all at once. The fact that this album was sung entirely in Irish Gaelic (TIP TOE was sung in English) adds to the mystery and complexity of this recording. This is clearly an acquired taste that could either leave the listener begging for more or refusing to finish the serving on his plate.

Dave Sleger
http://www.kila.ie/

Piirpauke: Piirpauke
Long before such eclectic artists like Boiled in Lead and Reptile Palace Orchestra tantalized discerning listeners with their unique brand of rock-driven ethno-fusion, and even before Brave Combo was recognized as leading purveyors of offbeat world music, there existed a little known band from Finland. Piirpauke was formed in the early seventies and continues to this day. They specialize in combining folk melodies from throughout Europe and the Mid East with Latin rhythms, a rock beat and a free-jazz mindset. The jazz element does dominate some of the earlier recordings as leader Sakari Kukko hails from a jazz background, however, as this band progressed so did their musical influences and performance style. If that’s problematic for you but this description intrigues you, try their mid eighties period as a starting point. Albums like THE WILD EAST and particularly ALGAZARA are loaded with diverse sounds like the Romanian “Turceasca,” the beautiful Finnish traditional piece “Kantele” and their rendition of Wolfgang Mozart’s “Rondo a la Turca.” Indeed, Piirpauke creates compelling music for discriminating tastes.

Dave Sleger
http://www.rockadillo.fi/piirpauke/

Siobhan: Welfare State
Welfare State just scraped into the Shite'n'Onions 2004 top 10 CD's of the year at number 10, and that was only after 2 listens at that point. If I had a chance to give it a real blast it would have been higher, much higher and since I set the rules and compile the list, I think I'm going to include it in 2005 list as well. Siobhan have come a long way since recording McGravy's Iron Liver" in a basement with a single microphone and a Casio keyboard, and while that was good and their first full length, "The Patron Saints of Debauchery" was better, "Welfare State" is fantastic. Occupying a musical middle ground between The Pogues and Flogging Molly - high energy whiskey and vodka inspired Celt-Punk with a few familiar melodies. Not a bad track insight but particular standouts include; "Jakeys gone to Germany"(about touring with Neck), the re-recorded very maniac "Celtbot" and "Straight from hell". Very highly recomended
http://www.siobhan.ca/