Finnegan’s Hell: Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class

I know Finnegan’s Hell have just released a new album (it’s winding its way to me) but I wanted to give, Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class, a quick review first. Released at the tail end of 2020, Work……,, is Finnegan’s Hell third full-length album and while the previous two albums were solid Celtic-punk with a drinking problem, there was not much that made those releases stand out of the crowd. Well that has changed with, Work….., which after a few spins is a real standout album. The Finnegan’s Hell on, Work……,, is tight as hell, and the songs are first-class, no frills Celtic-punk with strong melodies and a drinking problem. Check out the title track below, there is a lot more of this quality through the album.

The Templars of Doom: New Album – Rising of the Doom!

Rising of the Doom! is the third album from Kingston, NY Bagpipe Punk Rockers, The Templars of Doom. A review will follow shortly but in the meantime here is Will Ye No Come Back Again from the album.

Finnegan’s Hell: New Release – One Finger Salute

Swedish Celtic-punks, Finnegan’s Hell, have release their fourth full length release, One Finger Salute. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve just started to listen to their magnificent number three, Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class. The question is, should I review #3 or wait till I have #4?

The Go Set: New album – The Warriors Beneath Us

Aussie legends, The Go Sets’ new album, The Warriors Beneath Us, drops March 17th. This is the bands eight studio album and marks the bands 20th anniversary.

The first single off the album is, West Into The Sun.

Pre-order here

The Winter Codes: Set The Darkness Reeling

The Winter Codes are an Irish folk duo featuring David Walshe and Barney Murray…..yes that Barney Murray, the original legendary signer of Blood or Whiskey, here joined by David Walsh another ex-Blood or Whiskey man. It’s been 20 years since Barney’s last outing with Blood or Whiskey. Now there have been a few crumbs dropped over the years, an appearance on Shite’n’Onions volume 2 in 2003 and a digital EP a few years back. I’m happy to report  Barney still has a voice that could strip paint at 50 feet though the music has moved away from Celtic-punk to a more traditional base – think Luke Kelly/The Dubliners or even Damien Dempsey with an attitude. Yeah, the Barney Murray attitude is still there.  

“I’d rather die all alone in a bedsit off the North Circular Road than go back to you” North Circular Road

There are 14 tracks here of attitude-filled contemporary Irish folk with an edge. Highlights included the aforequoted, North Circular Road, an f-you break-up song. Troublesome Girl, was originally on Shite’n’Onions volume 2, it’s more polished here with folk singer Lisa Loughrey guesting on lead vocal. The Irish folk with horns,  Friend in Tullamore, about coming back from rock bottom. The Fenian rebel song Erin’s Lovely Lee and Ovidstown about the men of 1798 keep the green flag flying high. In all, a very good album and it’s good to have both lads back.

Dropkick Murphys: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

The Dropkick Murphys and the Ryman Auditorium are two things I would never have expected to collide. Now, you all know who the Dropkick Murphys are if you are reading Shite’n’Onions. The Ryman, if you don’t know, is a former revival hall in Nashville, Tennessee that for the last 100 years or so has been the spiritual home of country music. The hall itself has two levels of church bench seating in a half circle around the stage with some of the best acoustics of any venue in the US. When I read the Dropkick Murphys were playing here I jumped on getting a ticket and a flight down. Being Nashville I was real curious to see who made up a Dropkick Murphys crowd – like most places its was the seven to 70 set and if Waldo had a bushy beard and scally cap you’d never find him, but being Nashville there were plenty of trucker caps and and more then a few cowboy hats. 

So what brings a bunch of Boston Micks and the Mother Church of country music together? Legendary American folk icon Woody Guthrie is the catalyst. Shipping Up To Boston, Dropkick Murphys big breakthrough is of course a Woody Guthrie song. The Murphys were approached by the Guthrie family to put music to some of Woody’s original lyrics that had not previously been released leading to their new album, This Machine Still Kills Fascists, and an acoustic tour to support and this date at the Ryman.

Woody’s grandson Cole Quest who joined the Murphys on stage

Counting tonight I think this is my 10th time seeing Dropkick Murphys since 1999 and the first time in a few years. The line-up is very different, Ken Casey on vocals, Al Barr is not touring due to family commitments. A new bass player allows Ken to jump around the stage like a man half his age. Scruffy Wallace is gone but the main stays of Matt Kelly and James Lynch are still there. 

Tonight’s set was rocking hard despite being an “acoustic” set with nine songs from the new album that went down really well despite being unfamiliar to most of the audience. The rest of the set were old favorites with songs you would of course expect them to play – Fields of Athenry, Boys on the Docks, and Rose Tattoo (which brought the house down) and a few you wouldn’t expect given the acoustic set – Citizen CIA, Barroom Hero and Skinhead on the MBTA. No stage invasion was allowed at the Ryman in case someone broke a hip as Casey quipped though this may have been directed at his mother who was in the first row. 

Ma, I told you no stage diving

The night had two openers, The Washington state raised but Nashville based Jaime Wyatt, who played to my ears authentic old school country (her guitarist looked like a reincarnation of Blaze Foley), she was really talented but not my thing. 

Jesse Ahern from Boston was first on. Jesse was one man with an acoustic guitar that he occasionally swapped out for an electric. I’d best describe Jesse as what Springsteen would sound like if he had to work a real blue collar job for a living or Bob Dylan driving a Mac truck. Authentic blue-collar folk’n’punk with engine grease under his finger tips.

Brand New Zeros: Back to Zero

I just got, Back to Zero, the second album by London based rockers, Brand New Zeros, in the mail a couple of days back and after multiple spins on the turntable I’m loving it. 

Brand New Zeros features BibleCodeSundays vocalist and songwriter, Ronan MacManus, and guitarist, Luke James Dolan. Now, despite the Irish names and Ronan’s tenure with BCS there is nothing Celtic here, just really great Rock’n’Roll. MacManus is a fine signer with a rich, raw voice, sometimes reminiscent of another up and coming Londoner, Declan McManus. While Dolan bring with him a big dirty bluesy guitar sound that seamlessly moves from classic rock’ n’ Americana to new wave to grunge.

Like I said, Back to Zero, is really great rock’n’roll and an album I suspect I’ll be listening to for a long time into the future.

The Mahones: Jameson Street

Jameson Street is a place you go to find warmth on a cold night or cool on a hot summer’s day.  To see old friends and meet new ones, but most importantly, Jameson Street is somewhere you can go to while you leave your baggage and worries elsewhere.

Jameson Street, kicks off with the title track, a full force Céilí romp and possibly the most authentic trad sound I’ve ever heard coming out of any Celtic punk band. Once inside Jameson Street there is truly a meeting of old and new friends, all living Mahones past and present contribution to the album.

Rise Up (Be Strong), brings us back on a trip to the classic days of 1990s Mahones when the Mahones were the only game in town with their Pogues meets Waterboys meets The Replacements sound. Devil In Every Bottle, has you drinking arm in arm with your mates and you all in this together. Freeway Toll, also harkens back to the classic 90s days though this has just a touch of 90s alt-pop. While Watch Me Fall, has a raggle-taggle campfire feel. Lonesome Boatman, an instrumental, gives a loud nod to Celtic-rock granddaddies, Horslips, while winking at the Pogues at the same time. Holloway Jack, the first single off Jameson Street, started life on the Mahones debut, the cassette only, Clear the Way!! This is the definite version. While, Fiddle On Fire, is a manic Celtic jig – authentic as feck and if this doesn’t raise the dead and get them dancing I don’t know what would. She Comes For Love, is the second reworking of an older Mahones track (originally from Here Comes Lucky) this has a nice Replacements vibe.

The album closes appropriately with, Last Call At The Bar, which send us packing into the night as the barman yell’s “go home to fuck”. 

Tacked on to the end of the album is a special bonus live cover of The Pogues, If I Should Fall From Grace With God, recorded when the Mahones toured Canada with Terry Woods and the late great Philip Chevron.

Jameson Street is in a toss up with, Angels and Devils, as the best Mahones album since the masterpiece, Here Comes Lucky.

Potato-eating, Whiskey-drinking, Bog-trotting, CELTIC PUNK ROCK

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