The Stab Rovers have a strong connection to the Atlantic. Born and raised in the Maritime Provinces, and now calling Nova Scotia home these maritime boys play a mix of Trad and original Celtic and Folk inspired tunes, reimagined in a high energy format.
The Irish outside Ireland outnumber those at home many many times. For instance in the mid-70’s it was estimated their were more people from Mayo in Leeds than in the capital of Mayo itself! The children of those Irish are now fathers themselves and so the Irish diaspora continues to grow and hopefully flourish. Now some places just roll off the tongue when discussing the Irish diaspora, Boston, Liverpool, New York and London but their is nowhere as proud of their Gaelic roots as Nova Scotia is. The very name Nova Scotia translates as ‘New Scotland in both Scots and Latin and the Irish have been calling the area Talimh An Eisc (‘The Land of the Fish’) for centuries. With over 25% of residents ticking the Irish ethnicity box on recent census and many doing likewise with ‘Scottish’ it’s no surprise to find out that wherever Celtic music is you’ll also find Celtic-Punk too.
Formed as a trio in 2014, The Stab Rovers have since grown to include 5 members. The band members possess decades of experience playing in alternative rock and punk bands all over Eastern Canada. Their self titled debut album was released in 2018 and included several traditional tunes but all with original Stab Rover arrangements.
“We like to think that the songs sound much more interesting when re-imagined as if performed by rowdy pirates.”
During the pandemic, the Stab Rovers used their time in the studio to write and record and after two years without live performances The Stab Rovers are happy to be back playing before the masses! Their new single ‘Off To War’ reflects back on the strong military and naval traditions that are so important and engrained here in the Maritimes. It also paves the way for many more forthcoming releases.
The Stab Rovers left to right : Reece Baird – Mandolin, Guitar * Allan Muir – Guitar, Whistle, Vocals * Alden Huskins – Drums, Bass * Kory Wade – Bass, Guitar, Vocals * Cameron Strong – Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals *
We like to think we have our collective finger on the pulse of Celtic-Punk but occasionally a band will slip through and we’ll wonder how on earth we hadn’t heard of them. When we first heard of The Stab Rovers we had thought they had disbanded years ago but were delighted to find out we were wrong. It may have been a few years since their debut album but it’s not that unusual with Celtic-Punk bands who tend to concentrate more on playing live than recording. That debut album is available for download at the link below.
So absolutely great to have The Stab Rovers back in the fold and we look forward to hearing lots more by them in the near future.
Finally the last of the 2021 releases to review. Black Matilda’s debut release came out just before Christmas and shows their Gaelic / sea-faring roots. Hardly surprising for a band from Nova Scotia.
While many places across the world are rightly proud of their Irish connections. Places like Boston, Liverpool and New York are synonymous with Ireland and it’s even thought up to 1 in 10 Londoners has a Irish grand-parent but their is nowhere outside the Celtic nations that has a Gaelic culture comparable to Nova Scotia in Canada. Well over 25% of the territories residents trace their roots back to Ireland and Scotland and the Scottish language is still spoken regularly across the province though it’s decline in use in use over the generations is perhaps to be expected but their are still speakers in Pictou County, Antigonish County, and Cape Breton Island, and the language is taught in a number of secondary schools throughout the province. The very name Nova Scotia translates as ‘New Scotland in both Scots and Latin and the Irish have been calling the area Talimh An Eisc (‘The Land of the Fish’) for centuries.
So no surprise then that Nova Scotia has thrown up a wealth of Celtic influenced bands over the years and you can add some pretty amazing Celtic-Punk to that list. The Stanfields, The Stab Rovers, East River Rats are all bands that have featured on these pages and the latest to arrive are Black Matilda and they released their self-titled debut EP in the middle of December. Founded in 2019 in Lunenburg, a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia it is still reliant on the fishing industry and is home to Canada’s largest secondary fish-processing plant. Back in 1995 the town was designated a World Heritage Site and is considered today the best example of British colonial settlement in the whole of North America as it retains its original appearance from the 1800’s.
So with such a background and wealth of history no wonder Black Matilda have joined the Nova Scotian Celtic-Punk crew! The EP kicks off with ‘Intro’ and the not uncommon start to many releases the sound of the ocean accompanied by a bell ringing in the wind and the mournful sound of an accordion its an atmospheric start that slips gently into the EP’s lead single ‘I Must Sail Away’.
Accompanied by an outstanding stop motion animation video the song is a piece of pure Celtic-Punk joy with the refrain “if heaven is a place it’s a ocean” leaving you with no doubt where they are from. The song leads with some excellent accordion before the rest of the gang join in. ‘Life Of The Party’ reminds me of Hold Fast with tongue placed firmly in cheek and a catchy hard nosed Celtic-rocker. It’s all acoustic but with the sound turned up loud. I’ve seen many a wee Punk rocker get his cobwebs blown away by bands like Black Matilda assuming the sight of acoustic guitars and mandolins means finger in the ear music! ‘Batten Down The Hatches’ is a perfect example, purely acoustic except for a small guitar solo in the middle. Their are only five songs here but plenty of promise too. Their social media is a bit sparce so hopefully they are squirreled away busy writing and recording as I write this. The final song ‘Lost At Sea’ sees the band rock out completely with great spoken/ shouty vocals and a heaviness that eclipses the previous songs and sees the EP going out in real style.
“We are beyond thrilled to share our music we wrote during the pandemic. While in lockdown, we knew people were looking for an escape. This is what we came up with!”
One thing we must all know by now is that the Irish are everywhere but today with globalisation their obvious presence is waning somewhat. No so in Nova Scotia wherever you look you will find the traditions and customs of the people who washed up there over the years and they are honoured today by bands like Black Matilda.
Ever since Shane and The Pogues knocked our ears into gear in the ’80s, hundreds of bands have followed in their footsteps. Year after year, they bring us exciting Celtic punk songs, albums and gigs to light up a somewhat shit world. But what about Celtic punk stories? Why ain’t there many of them floatin’ aboot?
Maybe there’s more than one way to entertain people. If you’re into Guinness, St. Paddy’s Day and young people embracing the Celtic spirit worldwide, then what we have here will be right up yer alley, ye ken. They say hope springs eternal…and so does folk!
Have you ever wanted to read a short story, or even a novel, about Celtic punk? As if The Pogues, Tossers and Mahones were ready to jump off the page at ya? If that sounds cool, then meet Gus, Lin, Herman and Rash. Four characters from the far-flung reaches of Nova Scotia, Canada. They’re passionate musicians, folkin’ the Irish pubs and refusing to bend to society’s wishes. Below, I give ye four reasons why you should give a shit.
1. They have the bottle of smoke
Yes, that’s a Pogues reference! The Bottle of Smoke is the band’s aptly-named local Irish pub. We kick things off with them playin’ The Smoke mid-week to an appreciative audience; Gus on guitar and vocals, Herman on mandolin, Rash workin’ the accordion, and Gus’s cousin Lin banging the bodhrán (not in a sexual way). Gus is essentially the band’s very own Shane MacGowan; a troubled ratbag who likes a drink or six, but a songwriting genius with a fistful of dreams and a big, beating heart at the centre of it all. And speakin’ of The Pogues, if there’s one band you would automatically compare these four musicians to, then the London Irish legends are it.
As well as playin’ The Bottle of Smoke as often as the pub’ll book ’em, the band are making inroads into the rest of Atlantic Canada as well. They’ve played out west a little, they’re set to play Cape Breton Island on St. Patrick’s Day, and they’re keepin’ their well attuned ears to the ground for more. The stage is quite literally set for a Celtic punk love affair.
Sounds good so far? Read on, ya big bollocks 😉
2. They have ideals
We all realised we weren’t gonna get anywhere in life unless it was through the music. Ozzy didn’t wanna do what his father did for a living, and Tony didn’t wanna do what his dad did. Neither did Bill, and neither did I.
Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath
While Kilmainen (being the band’s name) might not be working-class, backstreet kids from Aston, Birmingham, they ain’t exactly moneyheads either, to use Gus’s own word. Gus himself is a standout example of this, working just 15 hours a week in a music shop. Underpaid, no doubt, but doing something he actually cares about. Cousin Lin is similar, having snubbed the corporate world to go part-time in an artsy café. The band members take the time and energy saved, and reinvest it into the one thing that matters most to them: their music.
The plan is that writing songs together, recording albums, doing interviews, playing gigs and working with other musicians will one day become the quartet’s full-time gig, their sole source of income. That’s certainly what the Austrian-born Herman dreams of, as he spends Sunday afternoons promoting the band’s music online. The biggest dreamer, though, is once again Gus: what you’re about to read is one of the entries he pours into his diary mid-way through the story.
I don’t want to live by society’s rules. It’s boring. I don’t wanna live life with no idea what I want. Society wants you think you’re worthless, and that it’s YOUR fault if you’re unhappy. But I can see through that. I KNOW what my purpose in life is. It’s the best feeling you can get, when people say your music’s helped them. Tell me it’s just a hobby? Bollocks to that. I wanna BE someone in life, change things up.
Guthrie “Gus” Ward, Folk Springs Eternal
I once saw a great film where actress Julia Jentsch said, “I want to live young, wild and free.” Most people will tell you that’s stupid, but her co-star Daniel Brühl said, “that’s not stupid.” He was right, and so is Gus above. There’s nothing wrong with having a dream, with looking at the world and asking questions. Asking whether life can be lived differently, rather than the way it’s spoonfed to us. That’s where the hope lies, my friend. And hope – like I started out saying above – springs eternal, right?
Will folk music spring eternal in Kilmainen’s case, too? Read on, because here’s where it gets nail-biting.
3. They have to fight society
Unless you’re sheltered from the world, or just strike lucky, you won’t follow your dreams without some serious backlash along the way. Numerous examples exist: Mahatma Gandhi, Carl Brashear, Jacinda Ardern, Mark Oliver Everett, the list goes on and on. These people had to battle their way to success, and our four musical heroes are no exception to this rule. We get a glimpse of it in chapter 4, when Rash’s office colleagues disregard his ambition to become a professional musician. “There’s no money in that game,” they tell him.
If that seems quite harmless, wait a little. Lin gets on a bus five days later, and is violently attacked by three youths who don’t like women who think and dress for themselves. “Irish music ain’t cool,” they say, and apparently neither is being a lesbian. Luckily a trip to hospital is averted just in time, BUT: bring on St. Patrick’s Day, where things go from bad to worse. In less than 24 hours, the band is all but over, with their morale and reciprocal support in the gutter.
4. They have to win.
What will become of the band? Will the quartet survive their trial by fire? Or will they fail and self-destruct among the flames? Well that I won’t tell you 😉 I will only promise you that the Celtic punk author doesn’t make a habit of letting people down.
So you have two options, my friend. One: you’re invited to take a wee look around my website, where the story and other cool stuff is available for purchase. Click HERE to check it out. Or two: if you want chapter 1 for free first (plus a free song!), then click HERE instead. I swear by the holy iron which I hold, that I, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (okay, no), will not pass your email addresses on to any gobshite else.
I hope you enjoyed the read, my friend. Sláinte mhaith! 🥃
Immersed in a hotbed of Gaelicculture that smashed head on into a love of whiskey, poetry, footy, debauchery, ska and punk The Peelers may not be the most prolific band on the Celtic-Punk scene but for 20 odd years they have certainly been one of its best!
Sadly for The Peelers the release of their fantastic new album Down And Out In The City Of Saints was overshadowed by the release of the new Rumjacks album. Coming out around St. Patrick’s Day we are normally overwhelmed with releases but it’s understandably been more of a slow trickle so far during 2021!
The Peelers left to right: Scotty Mitchell – Bass * Jonny Mooreman – Fiddle * Steve Creep – Lead Guitar * Dave Barton – Lead Vocals/ Rhythm Guitar * Eric Diamond – Organ/ Irish Whistles * Will Laurin – Drums *
One of North America’s more popular bands The Peelers are celebrating their 22nd anniversary this year after forming in 1999 in a small farmhouse kitchen in North Glengarry County in Eastern Ontario, Canada. Glengarry holds a special place in Canadian Irish history being separated from New York State by the St. Lawrence river it was originally settled by Irish immigrants who chose the name Glengarry in memory of home. It was where, during Án Gorta Mór, the coffin ships sailed to after being refused entry from America. It is thought over 15,000 Irish people are buried on the small island of Grosse Île where a huge Celtic cross now stands as a memorial to their poor souls. Nowadays though The Peelers are based in Montréal, the largest city in the French speaking province of Québec and The Peelers and their fame has long spread beyond Canada.
Their debut album Boots And Suits came out in 2002 followed by Liquordale in 2004 but it was an incredible 13 (thirteen!) years before they released another album with Palace Of The Fiend arriving on January 3rd, 2017. Recorded in five different studios, located in Montreal, Toronto and Morocco it was very well received across the Celtic-Punk world reaching #4 on the LCP Best Of 2017 list that year. So it is that a four year gap is not bad at all for The Peelers! The new album was again recorded in multiple places in Montreal, Dundee and Vancouver (sounds a bit like a version of Del Boy’s three wheeled van!) between December 2019 and June 2020. We can thank Covid for the gap this time with recording and production interrupted for several months while most of the world went into lockdown. The new material again reflects the North American experience of the Irish diaspora
“blending truth and fiction, glory and sport, love and loss, darkness and despair, while introducing composites of individuals, companions, friends and foes met along the punk rock journey.”
Now signed to local record label Stomp Records Down And Out In The City Of Saints begins with ‘Give Us A Roar’ and its Celtic-Punk in it’s purest form. A backbone of Irish music ably joined by Punk and Rock’n’Roll that from the first few notes lets you know what you’re in for here! The title track follows and ‘Down And Out In The City Of Saints’ follows in the same energetic mode of music to beat up the floor to. Lyrically these are not your usual Celtic-Punk fayre of drinking and fighting songs (though their is some of that!) and these songs tell stories in the traditional sense.
“You can drive me to drink, I’ll give you the keys And I’ll chart a path to the sea”
The first track from the album to be released was ‘Prizefight’ and a great decision being the album’s standout track for me with singer/songwriter Dave Barton again coming up tops with a sing that channels both Rancid and The Tossers. Bagpipes appear for the next track on ‘Spirits Seldom Sober’ and if you can keep up with Dave here singing along to the words then hats off to ye. Heavy but not fast it has slower interludes of gang vocals and a brilliant pint in the air chorus.
“In bliss or torment judge him now but it’s not what you are thinking. It was an angel that put it in his hands but a devil made him drink it”
We step into real Irish territory with ‘Stick And Move’ a corker of a Gaelige rocker about Irish boxer Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, the pride of Cork city! Holder of multiple belts including Irish, WBA and WBO titles he also tread the boards starring in several films. ‘Rakes Around The Point’ carries on in the same Irish vein with a track telling of hoods, gun and gangsters.
The only video to promote the album was for ‘Glad To See The Back Of You’ which came out on St. Patrick’s Day. The song itself was actually a reworking of a demo from 2004 along with the album closer ‘From Here To Halifax’. The band excell themselves next with ‘Last Glass’ a rather beautiful wee gentle number with piano with Dave’s words spilling over with emotion proving again this guy is up there with the best in Celtic-Punk history.
“And what if this is our last glass
Just know I loved you all along
If all we’ve done is all we have
And all I’ve left you is this song”
The boxing metaphors continue on ‘Harder They Fall’ an irish rocker laced with a spirit of rebellion and defiance. The curtain comes down with ‘From Here To Halifax’ and I don’t think they mean the market town in West Yorkshire so it must be Halifax in the overseas Celtic territory of Nova Scotia. A working class fishing port it has long been associated with Celtic culture and immigration. The track is a cracking light hearted drinking song celebrating the town and a real good way to end things.
It may only be their third album in 22 years but isurely a case of quality over quantity! The albums ten tracks last almost forty minutes and has superb production as well as a pretty amazing cover by Canadian / Filipino artist @therealdannyrebel. Hope you guys are getting this knocked up as t-shirt? So St. Patrick’s 2021 did come good in the end and I look forward to still be playing this on next years one too!
(Stream / download Down And Out In The City Of Saints on the Bandcamp player below)
Buy Down And Out In The City Of Saints Download / Vinyl – Bandcamp
That time of the month again! Odds’n’Sods our regular monthly feature of all the Celtic-Punk news that’s fit to print. Band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet sadly), live streams, crowd funders etc., send it into us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Contact Us page. All will get a mention but I need YOU to help if it’s going to work.
Your favourite pirate band from Osnabrück in the Caribbean! MR. HURLEY AND DIE PULVERAFFEN released their 7th album recently and this track is the first single taken from it.
Celtic music has plenty of offshoots and not just Punk Rock. Ever heard of Renaissance Folk? Well its pretty massive in the States and Europe (here I don’t know. Maybe someone can enlighten me?) but the kings of it are BLACKMORE’S NIGHT. Created by the utter legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore founder of Metal icons Rainbow and his Mrs, the American singer Candice Knight. Nature’s Light is their 11th album and their first in 5 years combining Folk music traditions and their love of the Renaissance, inspired by myths and legends of a bygone age.
FIVE LEAF CLOVER from Prague with their new single a vigorous Celtic-Rock ballad about the life of the infamous legendary Irish hero Grace O’Malley, the queen of the sea.
New 14 track album from Bristolians THE SURFIN’ TURNIPS.
“We had considered going more folky as we get older – but no! We have created this album in honour of the old Cider Punk scene, you will hear plenty of new cider punk anthems as well as stories of the olden times when cider was stored down the park er else yer Mum would drink it when you got home, of adventures off to brave new lands where you’d risk hoards of local tribes chopping yer head off and using it as a football. There be some salty songs of the sea, some of the fields and orchards too. So when you listens to this, turnip up loud and get thy dancing boots on, get in the pasties and invite round the neighbours, let the party begin and dance like lunatics! We all bin locked up fer too long! See ya all down the allotment!”
Doesn’t seem like it but it’s been 10 years of THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS. Celebrate with them on their free full band live stream on Saturday 10th April. They also have a really nice set of new merchandise out too. Details on their FB page.
NEVERMIND NESSIE – Another Six Pack Of Drinking Songs EP
MR. HURLEY AND DIE PULVERAFFEN – Seemannsgrab
BLACKMORE’S NIGHT – Nature’s Light
THE DEAD RABBITS – 7 Ol Jerks (review in the next few days!!)
SURFIN’ TURNIPS – Down The Allotment
EBRI KNIGHT – Carrer
remember band folk we can’t review it if we don’t hear it!
This is our feature where we showcase bloomin’ brilliant albums that passed us by when they were originally released. This months ‘Blast’ is from 2018 from Canada and the northern shore of Nova Scotia, a place we have visited many a time and a place steeped in Celtic culture.
“Six passionatemusicians come together to create a unique high energy blend of Celtic rock that has a little something for everyone to enjoy as well as a live presence and performance that will keep you dancing and singing all night long.”
THE EAST RIVER RATS are one of many bands in the region proud of their Scottish heritage and their album is available as a ‘name your price’ download from the link below.
Barcelona band EBRI KNIGHT have a new eleven track album out and it is available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download on Bandcamp.
DONNY ZUZULA of Michigan Celtic-Punk band THE TOSSPINTS has released his first solo music since his well received album Chemicals a couple of years ago. Written for St. Patrick’s D as part of a ‘100 songs in 2021 Songwriting Challenge’.
“Beer, Beer, Beer” a great way to celebrate Paddy’s Day from brilliant Russian Medieval-Folk-Punk band TEUFELSTANZ. A pretty unique band they call ‘Alternative Medieval Music’.
More St. Patrick’s Day releases with WIDACRE from Milwaukee playing a supercharged Punked version of the Irish Folk classic ‘Molly Malone’. Available as a name your price download.
As usual lots of news out the FEROCIOUS DOG camp with a massive new tour announced going right from end of Britain to Scotland! (I fancy Edinburgh birthday weekend myself if they’re watching hint hint!!!). Their new album The Hope is also available on pre-order from Graphite Records.
If you missed the St. Patrick’s Day FLOGGING MOLLY live stream from Dublin like me the pre-show video is now out but no sign of the ‘proper’ show yet. Dave King was interviewed by Folk ‘n’ Rock magazine about it.
After 21 + albums with THE MAHONES frontman Finny will be going it alone for his next release. His first solo album will be coming out on True North Records soon.
All we need to do now is for you to help fill this page with news and remember if you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Also if anyone is interested in helping out on the reviews front then let us know via the Contact Us page.
Well here we go again. It seems an awful long time since we were compiling all the votes into 2019’s Best Of. Last year saw The Walker Roaders triumph but with this year being a lot quieter on the Celtic-Punk front thanks to the lockdowns around the world bands have found themselves unable to tour and promote new releases so have held onto them till things got better. Still that’s not to say it was a complete wash out and as you can see from below their have been some absolute knock-outs during the year.
Remember this is only our opinion so feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. The Readers Poll is back again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2020 yourself. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
(for more information click on the release title in green)
Was very close between the top three this year but Ogras seem to have been not only our favourites but also most of the Celtic-Punk medias too. A lot less albums may have come out during the year but still plenty more that didn’t make the cut. Don’t be down hearted if you are one of them it could just be that one of the judges hadn’t heard that album. Again if we don’t hear your album we can’t review it so the massive majority here are ones that were sent in to us. We only need a download link (NO Spotify!) and we’re happy. Out of the 30 albums 18 countries were represented including 2 from the Celtic nations Scotland #4 and Brittany #13 and our first from Hawaii!
Several bands have taken the chance during the lockdown to release compilations of sorts. While it would be a little unfair to include them in the main ‘Best Of’ section they still deserve a mention. Among these were two 30 year celebrations from two of Celtic-Punks most successful and popular bands in THE MAHONES – This Is All We Got To Show For It and FIDDLER’S GREEN – 3 Cheers For 30 Years. Both fully deserve a round of applause, a raise of the pint and a tip o’ the hat! Band compilations included ANTO MORRA – Twenty, THE DEAD RABBITS – The Dead Rabbits, LEXINGTON FIELD – Here’s To You Ten Years Of Fiddle Rock and LQR – Barrel-Aged. A couple of live albums THE STANFIELDS – Welcome To The Ball and ShamROCKS – FCP Livewere both well received, you may have heard that a little known band THE POGUES put out a new album of previously unreleased materialBBC Sessions 1984-86andQuintessential Quarantuneswas a 6-band compilation released in the Summer featuring the Bible Code Sundays and The Reels. MacSlons Irish Pub Radio also released volume 5 of Raise Your Pints the best Celtic-Punk sampler around of 19 of the Celtic-Punk scenes best bands.
You have to go back to the beginning of January for 1916’s release and though many more would challenge it stayed top of the pile all year long. Some great debut releases here from bands that will I am sure go on to bigger things. This time last year I was crowing about Shanghai Treason and how much I was looking forward to seeing them play… well I still am!
This year’s winner of Best Debut Album comes from a continent where Celtic-Punk appears to be booming! The South American scene has been dominated in the past by bands from Brazil and Argentina (last years winners in this category were Aires Bastardos from Argentina) but with Batallón de San Patricio from Guadalajara in Mexico things are changing with several bands popping up over the last couple of years. The last twelve months have seen Batallón de San Patricio garner favourable reviews from various singles and live streams. Hermanos De Guerra/ Brothers Of War is delivered entirely in Spanish and spans the length of Celtic-Punk from trad Irish up to Celtic-PUNK making it fully deserving of the award.
Always the hardest list to compile as it covers so much ground. Some of these bands play Trad Folk with a Punk Rock heart like Clover’s Revenge while others didn’t quite fit as Celtic-Punk releases but the winners are the Rose family from NY state otherwise known as The Wild Irish Roses. An album that took us by surprise and managed to please everyone.
Now this section is tinged with sadness. There is no question which site has the biggest impact on the Celtic-Punk scene over the last year and while not strictly a web-site the CELTIC PUNK, FOLK AND ROCK FANS group on Facebook fully deserved this years award. Sadness because the group founder Mike Kilroe very sadly passed away at the beginning of the month. Created back in February 2019 it was around the time of last years ill fated St. Patrick’s day and the subsequent Dropkick Murphys live stream show that membership of the group exploded and has now passed over 8000 members. If on Facebook they should be your first port of call, alongside us of course! We had a great interview with the founder of the group Mike back in May that you can find hereand of course our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
We are not alone in doing these Best Of 2020 lists in fact all the major players in Celtic-Punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.
So there you go. Remember we have never pretended to be the final word on things in fact have a look at the other Celtic-Punk media’s Best Of’s and I’m sure they are all pretty different. Our Best Of’s, as usual, cajoled and bullied out of the admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and then tallied up over a few pints in Mannions in north London. One important thing to note is that not all of us heard the same albums so like all the various Best Of’s ours is also subjective.
Nine years we’ve been doing these lists now. It seems incredible looking back at some of the previous winners and also-rans how so many bands are still with us from Year 1. If you would like to check for yourself then just click on the link below the relevant year.
Alongside the Best Of polls we also run a special Readers Poll where you get to pick your favourite release of the year. This will be The Readers Poll’s third year with Krakin’ Kellys and Mickey Rickshaw previously champions! There is only room to list the Top Ten albums but there is an option to write in your favourite release of 2020. You are allowed to vote for up to two releases but not for the same artist.
The Poll will close at midnight on Sunday 31st January with the result announced soon after.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2021
The Stanfields are a folk punk band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On Classic Fadeout they have released six original brand new sons for their sixth release all written and recorded within six months!
The Stanfields have been around now for well over a decade having been formed in 2008 and have a very impressive back catalogue with five very well received albums that each have troubled the top spots of the various Celtic and Folk-Punk end of year Best Of polls including ours. Never being one to accept the label of ‘Celtic’ The Stanfields have always travelled under the banner of Folk-Punk and thus far has served them well. Described rather well i think as “the bastard children of AC/DC and Stan Rogers” their music blends working class hard rock with the strands of folk that make up traditional Canadian music with much of it heavily influenced by Scotland and Ireland. The band started out playing cover songs during open mic performances at the Seahorse Tavern in Halifax, Nova Scotia quickly gained notoriety for their rowdy, entertaining performances and with the benefit of a relatively stable line up the boys few years together have seen them traversing the globe even washing up at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival here in England for a few years in a row.
Their new release Classic Fadeout is six original songs that span the history of The Stanfields throughout their illustrious career. Opening with ‘Southlands’ definitely the most Celtic influenced song here with a song evoking a long distant past. Next up is ‘Born On The Wrong Side Of Town’ is the kind of song that Bruce Springsteen is singing these days. A sort of Country/ Rock/ Folk mash up that streams along at a grand pace and has the feel that it could (does) appeal to a whole multitude of different genres. I love the idea that bands can make music that will reach the young and the old. After all that is how it use to be. When I was a young kid we use to beg Mum to put music on and now decades later I find myself still listening to that music she introduced me to. One subject I like to hear tackled is the scourge of drug addiction and The Stanfields sensitive and beautiful ‘Breakers In The Dark’ does it superbly.
(Shot at Churchill House in beautiful Hantsport, Nova Scotia)
Right across North America young people are falling foul to this terrible affliction and working class communities are suffering.
“Your eyes tonight are little pins
Looking for a friend
And tell a story locked inside of you
Your lips provide a different spin
One to be believed
If we were strangers on an avenue”
We are half way through and ‘Laser Beam’ may be many miles away from the fast folk and roll of their early days but it shows a maturity in their willingness to never to stand still and always keep moving and adapting. I mean who wants to be like The Queers still singing songs about your Mum finding your porno mags when your fifty! Slow and steady and perfectly balanced and accompanied by a video that I don’t think I have ever seen the like of it while writing for London Celtic Punks site.
Definitely take a few minutes out of your time to watch this incredible video. After that we need a bit of a lift and ‘Rules Have All The Fun’ supplies it with another catchy folk-country-Americana blend.A real foot tapper here among a bunch of songs that are perhaps a bit too on the reserved side.
The EP comes to an end with ‘Good Night, So Long, Goodbye’ the longest track here and a real epic to see us out. The emphasis may have changed from Celtic to Americana but the fire in their belly is the same and music with passion and emotion is what we love here. Classic Fadeout is not yer typical Stanfields release (as they say in their press release “predictably-unpredictable”) but another step in the progression of a band that have achieved much more then most in their time together.
(you can stream Classic Fadeout on the Bandcamp player below)