Category Archives: Review

Continental: Hello

Hello, is the fourth (or fifth?) full-length album by New England based Continental. Fronted by Boston punk legend, Rick Barton, along with his brother, David Alex Barton, formerly of The Outlets. Rick was a founding member of the Dropkick Murphy, playing guitar on their legendary albums, Do or Die, and, The Gangs All Here. Like The Outlets, Continental is a family affair as Rick is joined by son Stephen Barton on Bass as well as drummer Andrew Dickson and Paul Yu on lead guitar. Continental play punk-influenced rock’n’roll. The Clash is an obvious influence but I hear the melodies of the Beatles, the sleaze of the Rolling Stones, and the pop sensibility of Cheap Trick along side some dirty blues guitar. Continental is a very fine band and Hello is a fine album that deserves your attention.

Pete Berwick: The Damage Is Done

I’m a long-time fan of Cowpunk originator, Pete Berwick. Now, I thought Pete’s last album, The Island, was supposed to be his last, and honestly, despite the quality songs, it was too mellow and too Nashville, and honestly, I thought he was going out with a whimper. Well, I guess I was wrong as he is back with his seventh full-length release, and out of the gate, he explodes with punk energy and redneck attitude. This is very much a return to form for Pete. Maybe the most intensive album he has ever done. For a reference point, The Damage Is Done, reminds me of Steve Earle when he worked with the Supersuckers, but louder. Peter does manage to sneak on a couple of old-school gritty country ballads and a growling gospel number for balance. Recorded in Nashville, I’m reminded of the old Kris Kristofferson song, To Beat The Devil, about a down-on-his-luck Nashville songwriter who drinks the Devil’s beer and steals his song. Well in Pete’s case, he steals the Devil’s whiskey, his song, and then kicks his ass.

The Tossers: The Tossers

I picked up the vinyl version of the new self titled Tossers album at their recent gig at the Middle East in Cambridge, Mass. There is not a lot of info on this album. I’m guessing it’s a self-finance, stop-gap release to support the bands 30th anniversary tour.

This album is a mixed bad of re-recorded Tossers classics (Aye Sir, and Buckets of Blood), some standards and a few new originals (Americay, and Irish Blood). The Tossers LP is a good reminder of just how good the original American Celtic-punk band still are. I’m super impressed with Tony Dugging channeling MacGowan at his finest on their covers of Dirty Ol’ Town and Paddy On The Railway.

The Tossers is a fun album and a great listen. Here’s to another 30 years for “The World’s Loudest Folk Band”. Cheers’ lads.

Flogging Molly: Anthem

I’m not going to do a long review on Anthem as the album has been out a while and it’s got lots of in-depth reviews elsewhere. Flogging Molly had gone off on a bit of a tangent with, Speed of Darkness, but with the follow-up, Life is Good, they got back on track. I’m happy to report that Anthem keeps them heading the right direction. I will say while Anthem rocks hard it is also their most Celtic-sounding album with an almost Seán Ó Riada style Celtic orchestration (especially, The Croppy Boy ’98). There are plenty of songs here that will be in the band’s live set for a long time – These Times Have Got Me Drinking, A Song of Liberty and, The Croppy Boy ’98.

Finnegan’s Hell: One Finger Salute

I reviewed, Finnegan’s Hell’s last album, Work Is The Curse Of The Drinking Class, a few weeks back and it was outstanding. I now have a copy of their new one, One Finger Salute, and can happily report it’s another cracker. The band is tight, and aggressive with a great sense of melody. The songs are very strong, as good as anything the big boys are doing, while the lyrics betray a sense of humor and a touch of a drinking problem.  The album kicks off on side one with, What Have You Got in the End, which blends tin whistle and aggressive guitars with a bleak outlook on life.  One Finger Salute, is an F-U to an ex and their extended family –   I love the growling vocals here. Mickey Finn is about a bad trip and it’s a wild ride of a song -the double lead vocals are reminiscent of the Dropkick Murphys. Read My Lips, has a bad attitude and strangely reminds me of Motorhead (well if Lemmy played the banjo). Godforsaken Town, closes out side one as a hard luck barroom singalong. Side two opens with, Run Boy Run, a strong accordion-driven Celtic rocker. Comin After You, is growling Celtic-Cow-punk. I’ll make it up to you, is a frantic jig of promises that may not be true – very reminiscent of fellow Scandinavians Greenland Whalefishers. Nothing Left to Lose, is maybe my favorite track here and musically is as nihilistic as its lyrics. The album closes with the doom and gloom of Oh Death.  Overall a great album.

Jesse Ahern: Heartache and Love

If you scroll down a little bit on main shite’n’onions page you will see my review of Jesse Ahern opening for the Dropkick Murphys in Nashville late last year. After seeing Jesse live I got my mitts on his three full-length releases. Heartache and Love, being the latest, hence the review. Live, Jesse is one guy, a guitar and harmonica. On vinyl, it’s Jesse plus a band, a big frigging band with a full brass section. Heartache and Love, is raw old-school American rock’n’roll – if you look closely at the picture on the back of the sleeve you see Jesse is playing some Bo Diddley. In addition to Bo Diddley and the Rolling Stones whose, Salt of the Earth, he covers, Ahern tips his head to Dylan, Waits, and Strummer. This is real blue-collar rock’n’roll with the authenticity you can only get from someone who actually works hard for a living (cough, cough, not you Springsteen.)

Fuck streaming

Fuck playlists

Fuck todays pop

The Templars of Doom: Rising of the Doom!

And on this one, the bagpipes go up to 11. Rising of the Doom!, the third full-length from Ulster county, New York, The Templars of Doom. The music here is very similar in style to the band’s previous two releases. Primitive, low-fi, DIY, punk rock, almost Oi, smashing headfirst into a bagpipe band.  While this may not be everyone’s cuppa tea, I think it’s great. I love the two versions of O’Donnell Abu – one bagpipe and one punk’n’bagpipe. The album is currently available digitally from Bandcamp, the two previous albums made it to vinyl so hopefully, Rising of the Doom!, does too.

Dropkick Murphy: This Machine Still Kills Fascists

This Machine Kills Fascists is the famous 1940s slogan written on the guitar of America’s folk poet, Woody Guthrie (1912 – 1967). This Machine Still Kills Fascists, is the Dropkick Murphys ode to Woody. Of course, most of you will know ,Shipping Up To Boston, the Dropkick Murphys crossover ‘”hit”, popular with punks, skins, Celts and soccer moms was originally a Woody Guthrie song.

The Dropkick Murphys were approached by Woody’s family to do an album based on Woody’s unpublished lyrics and hence we have, This Machine Still Kills Fascists. The Murphys here have stuck to Woody’s acoustic tradition but just a wee bit harder in the style of, Boys On The Docks.

Honestly, this is a solid album with a few fillers. There is some great stuff like, the low down and dirty, Cadillac, Cadillac. Where Trouble Is At, is reminiscent of Peace & Love era Pogues. Dig A Hole, features Woody Guthrie himself. Talking Jukebox, is like slowed down surf punk and Ten Times More, is that chant along/shout along style we love so much from the Murphys. There are a couple of somewhat dull tracks such as, Waters Are A’Rising, but all in all it’s a great concept for an album.

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 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.