Category Archives: Review

Celtic Punk Superfan –   Recaps & Reflections Chapbook, 2002-22 by Michael Croland

Celtic Punk Superfan is to my knowledge the first* book written on the genre of Celtic-punk.  Michael Corland is a New York based, long time fan of Celtic-punk and the previous author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk (Praeger, 2016). Superfan is a short collection (think Cliffs Notes size) of essays that Michael has written over the years. The essays are very well written and bring back fond memories to me of the early days (i.e., the 2000’s) of Celtic-punk. What is particularly insightful is that Michael is coming at this from a strong Jewish-American background and it goes to provide you don’t need a drop of Irish blood to be a Celtic punk Superfan (though a drop of Irish Whiskey always helps).

Superfan is available in paperback and for the Kindle via Amazon.

*I bought a book on amazon a number of years back about Celtic-Punk but it was essentially a collection of Wikipedia articles so it doesn’t count.

The Rumjacks / Flatfoot 56 split EP

I love the idea behind split releases. They allow bands to share each other’s audience. Here we have two of the more established bands on the Celtic-punk scene splitting some vinyl. Australia’s The Rumjacks and Flatfoot 56 from the US. Since this EP is an Australian release I’m guessing this is more an introduction of Flatfoot to fans down under then The Rumjacks to the US.

Both bands contribute three tracks here with The Rumjacks kicking off on side 1 with the hooligan-ish Celtic punk of “Whitecaps”. The catchy “Fifth Ward Firestone” is more of the same. The side closes with a version of the old music hall standard “What Was Your Name in the States?” The flipside finds Chicago’s Flatfoot 56 initially with a little bit more of a laid-back groove on “Mud” before ramping up the energy. Tracks 2 and 3, “Sorry” & “Trouble”, are the bagpipes and punk rock growling vocals that Flatfoot 56 is best known for.

https://www.flatfoot56.com/

https://therumjacks.com/

Dan Booth & Nick Burbridge: Icons

If I could get away with doing a one-word review for any release then this would be the one. The word? Beautiful!

But……even I’m not that lazy.

So expanding. Icons is a collaboration between Nick Burbridge (vocals, acoustic guitar, national treasure) who with McDermotts 2 Hours was one of the pioneers of folk-punk highly influencing both the Levellers and Ferocious Dog; and Dan Booth (fiddle) of the aforementioned Ferocious Dog and soon to be national treasures.

Icons is stripped down acoustic and fiddle versions of some of McDermotts best songs and new tracks co-written by Nick and Dan. And as mentioned before it’s beautiful – musically, lyrically, and sounding.

http://www.nickanddan.co.uk

Whiskey’s Wake: Wake Up, Whiskey

Whiskey’s Wake is a new band to me. From Salt Lake City, Utah of all places. Wake Up, Whiskey, the bands second release is a six-song collection of what I would describe as 90s indie rock – you know, all happy and jingly – meets a bottle of Paddy Irish Whiskey. Well for the first four songs at least. By song five (Bloodlust) they’ve downed the bottle of whiskey and gone is happy and jingly and now they are barroom brawling and by the close they are in Dingle, fighting with the Tinkers over Red Haired Mary.

I really enjoyed Wake Up, Whiskey. Whiskey’s Wake have great pop sensibilities, strong melodies and the music is a lot of energetic fun. The album is available digitally on bandcamp.

https://bio.link/whiskeyswake

Trouble Pilgrims: Blood, Glass & Gasoline

Blood, Glass & Gasoline is the second full-length release from Dublin rockers, Trouble Pilgrims. The Pilgrims arose out of the ashes of the seminal punk band, The Radiators from Space, who disbanded after the untimely death of founding member Philip Chevron in 2013. 

Trouble Pilgrims take their name from the last Radiators album of original songs, Trouble Pilgrim. Trouble Pilgrims continues on with former Rads, Steve Rapid (vocals), Pete Holidai (guitars) and Johnny Bonnie (drums) with the latterday Rad’s sound – 50’s rockabilly/surf, 60’s beat, the glam of Bowie and T-Rex and some ’77 for old times sake.  

Blood, Glass & Gasoline is a great follow up album to the band’s excellent debut, Dark Shadows and Rust, that does their legacy proud.

http://www.thetroublepilgrims.com/

Bow To Your Masters Volume One – Thin Lizzy

And now for something completely different. Bow To Your Masters is a Heavy Metal tribute to legendary Irish hard rockers, Thin Lizzy. Released on double coloured vinyl, in a gatefold sleeve with art that pays homage to the work of original Lizzy artist, the great Jim Fitzpatrick. In all, a beautiful package.

With the exception of Worshiper (a Boston band I’ve caught live), I’m unfamiliar with the contributing artists. That doesn’t matter as the material they have to work with is great. What I really like about Bow To Your Masters is the choice of material – it’s not the obvious Lizzy material. There is no Whiskey in the Jar (a good thing as Metallica fans may get confused) or The Boys Are Back In Town. Here there are lots of overlooked classics such as Johnny, Massacre and It’s Only Money. Some of their later career metal stuff – Cold Sweat and Thunder & Lightning. The Celtic rocker Emerald and some real deep cuts from the bands Decca days (Ray Gun/Vagabond of the Western World)

As a long-time Lizzy fan I’m very impressed.

https://gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/product/bow-to-your-masters-volume-i-thin-lizzy

Full tracklist:

LP1

Mothership-Are You Ready

Mos Generator-Massacre

Wizzerd-Ray Gun

Egypt-Suicide

Red Wizard-Chinatown

Worshipper-Johnny

Slow Season-She Knows

Duel-Jailbreak

GOYA-Cowboy Song

LP2

Great Electric Quest-Cold Sweat

WoFat-It’s Only Money

Gygax-Emerald

KOOK-Thunder and Lightning

Mouths of Thieves-Opium Trail

White Dog-Don’t Believe a Word

Funky Junction-The Rocker

Isaiah Mitchell-Still in Love With You

High on Fire-Vagabond of the Western World

The Dead Rabbits: 7 Ol’ Jerks

Honestly, I don’t know too much about The Dead Rabbits except that they are from Texas and they seem to have been around since about 2009. I’m guessing they are named after the infamous New York Irish gang rather than a deceased bunny.

The vinyl version of 7 Ol’ Jerks which I’m reviewing is a mini album i.e while it plays at 45 RPMs they manage to squeeze in an impressive nine songs.  

Side A opens with the pure hardcore of “A Mic, A Band, A Pint, A Fan”. The Pogues’ “If I Should Fall From Grace With God follows” in a hooligan plays bluegrass style. “L. Elaine” the first original is great aggressive Celtic-punk with strained vocals from the appropriately named Seamus Strain. “Fr. McGregor” is Dropkick Murphys meets classic Blood or Whiskey in a brawl in the confessional box. Side A closer “Danny Boy Medley” is more fast Celtic-punk that swings from “Danny Boy” to “My Bonnie” to “The Gambler” to “You’re Not The Boss of Me”.

There are 4 tracks on the flip side opening with the aggressive yet catchy Celtic-punk meets Americana “Train Song” which rolls into a bruising “Leaving of Liverpool”. “7 Ol’Jerks” is very Dropkick Murphys-ish. The side closes with a powerful cover of The Cranberries “Dreams”.

 I’m very impressed with the whole thing. Here is a band that is as aggressive as hell but never loses that sense of melody while they make a huge racket. Now I need to track down their back catalog.

https://www.facebook.com/rabbitsofrock

Blaggards: Blagmatic

Blaggards are the long running Celtic-punk’n’rock’n’a bit of country band outta Houston, Texas. Fronted by the irrepressible Dub, Paddy Devlin. Amazingly Blagmatic is only Blaggards second studio album, the first being “Standards” from the early 2000s (and to think I gave The Peelers a hard time over the gap between their albums).

What we have here on Blagmatic is 11 tracks of fun and energetic celtic-punk with a Texas swagger. The songs are almost evenly split between originals and traditional Irish standards punked-up and countrified (the album Standards was, well, all standards). The originals songs to me sound like they have as much a hard-rock / metal influence as punk – the intro of Lights of El Paso is pure Danzig until the song takes a cow-punk twist. Wild Rover (“and I spent all my money on the hookers and beer”) is an irreverent punk’n’hoedown. The only disappointment is that I was speaking with Paddy a few years ago and he mentioned a song he was writing about growing up on some of Dublin’s meanest streets (cough, cough) called The Slums of Killiney but it’s not here. 

So if you’re looking for a good time (musically speaking) then Blagmatic is the place to head to.

https://www.facebook.com/blaggards

https://blaggards.com/

FEROCIOUS DOG: HOPE

Congratulations to Ferocious Dog on their recent overnight success (after 32 odd years together as a band), when they almost cracked the UK top 10, charting ahead of Drake, with their new album, Hope. We here at Shite’n’Onions HQ have admired Ferocious Dog since its 2013 debut for both its music and DIY spirit. Hope, is the band’s fifth studio album and in my opinion their best to date. If you are unfamiliar with Ferocious Dog, the Nottinghamshire based six-piece, play fiddle infused, English folk-punk with an occasional ska or reggae undertone and a nod in the direction of The Levellers and McDermott’s Two Hours mixed with old fashioned English labour politics. Hope, contains 17 tracks and each one is as deserving as the next to be on the album – there is not a filler to be found. Though, if I had to pick my absolute favourite tracks they would include the first world war inspired ballad, 1914, the old school Punk Police, Born Under Punches and Broken Soldier, a track about PTSD, a subject very close to the band.

https://ferociousdog.co.uk/

FINNY MCCONNELL:THE DARK STREETS OF LOVE

A second opinion on Finny McConnell’s solo debut from our Springfield, Mass scribe Brian Grady.

The Dark Streets of Love, is the strongest reminder that Finny McConnell is one of the best Celtic-rock minds of our time

Is this a love letter to all things Celtic rock, or rock and roll in general, maybe? Finny McConnell has penned some of my favorite songs in the genre, one of which is my wedding song (Little bit of Love). So watching him on social media building this album and working on it before and through the pandemic, I was excited to hear it when it came out. Having a mix of new and older music on it, the new versions of existing songs have such heart and soul. I’m in love with them in a completely different way.

Stars (Oscar Wilde) is one of those songs with a completely new arrangement and feel, you can hear a strong swell of emotion throughout this song, a vibe you get in most of this album, these are personal, almost breaking his heart to sing, it just about puts a tear in my eye to listen to them. You’re on a journey with Finny on this CD, one that may be slightly uncomfortable, but you’re going to love him even more deeply and appreciate this album the more you listen. Technically this has a garage band recording quality towards it, that feels intentional, and something I personally love. There are points you can hear him give notes to the band under his breathe in Atlantic City that clearly were meant to stay and add an atmosphere that your there in the room with him while they were recording, is this style for everyone? Maybe not, but I love it and think it adds so much more to this experience than just listening to some songs on a digital download. Also, there are points in some of the songs you can hear him well up with emotion, and my God that’s some artistry opening your heart to everyone like this, some people are great at singing on an album, but it takes a real artist to perform like this on a solo album. So the summary is its 11 tracks, some you’ll like, some you’ll love, and if you’re like me you’ll absolutely fall in love with Finny all over again. I found the album on Amazon, they are selling it on the label’s site too, and I’m sure it’s all over Spotify and Apple too. My suggestion is to get it, listen to it a bunch of times to get the fullest out of it, you’ll pick out your favorite songs, and probably keep them in a Playlist. If you’re not already following the Mahones or Finny on the socials, I suggest doing that as well, tell him I sent you.

Brian Grady