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2018 REVIEW ROUND-UP’S. PART TWO: EUROPE- SIGELPA, EAST TOWN PIRATES, LOCKS, IRISH STEW OF SINDIDUN,

Here is Part 2 of our 2018 Round Up’s where we catch up with some of the releases that we missed first time round. Here are four bands and a whole load of music to take in all at once so make yourself a cuppa and relax. Their is something here that anyone can enjoy I’m not kidding. From Celtic-PUNK to Irish trad and Nick Cave-esque Murder Ballads-ish folk-noir all these releases are highly recommended. We prefer to do more detailed reviews but we just couldn’t keep up with everything so a few slipped the net and ended up here as we didn’t want them to be missed out completely. After doing bands from the Celtic nations last week (here) today we are in Europe. Check up again soon where we will be featuring bands from across the world

SIGELPA- ‘País De Titellaires’ EP (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Sad to say this is the final release from one of the Celtic-Punk scene’s most innovative bands. Formed in Barcelona in 2010 this Catalan band are named after the acronym of the initials of the seven deadly sins in the Catalonian language. Superbia/ Pride, Ira/ Wrath, Gula/ Gluttony, Enveja/ Envy, Luxuria/ Lust, Peresa/ Sloth and Avaricia/ Greed making up the letters in their name. With several great releases behind them (all available for *FREE* from the bands Bandcamp page) Sigelpa have sadly thrown in the towel and bow out with this fabulous three track EP which is also available for *FREE*! In the Sigelpa tradition its over in a flash in only seven minutes. Iits all played at a frantic pace with accordion and fiddle leading the way but the standout thing about Sigelpa has always been the dual female/male vocals used to such great effect on the opening song ‘Oda A l’Odi’ which flashes by in a superb 100 seconds.

Not a bad song here with the single ‘País De Titellaires’ a high point but the final track for me cannot be beaten. Slow(ish) but catchy as feck with great rock guitar and fiddle and those gang vocals working brilliantly together. Sigelpa were always a brilliant band and one of my favourites in the scene. Everything they did had a great deal of thought put into it. With great politics, great musicians, great songs and a great spirit too they will be sorely missed. R.I.P. Sigelpa.

Contact Sigelpa- Soundcloud YouTube Facebook Twitter Bandcamp YouTube

EAST TOWN PIRATES- ‘Ship Of Fools’ (BUY)

A home grown band now hailing from the smugglers dens along the East Suffolk coastline of ye Olde Ipswich Towne they have come. With two critically acclaimed album’s behind them, 2011’s self-titled debut album on their own Rumrunner Records label and the follow up, 2013’s Seven Seas Of Sin they have been labelled quite appropriately as ‘Motorhead meets The Pogues’! A regular feature on the UK’s punk circuit and with regular headline appearances they are rapidly becoming one of this island’s better known punk bands. Similar in style to Pirate Copy from Kernow, who we featured in Part One of our Round-Up’s, in that while they have no Celtic instrumentation they do play in that style that is probably best known as Pirate-Punk that crosses into Celtic-Punk quite easily. So has the five year wait since the release of Seven Seas Of Sin been kind to them? Well you bet you last doubloon it has!!

We have twelve songs here clocking in at thirty six minutes and it is as catchy as hell throughout. It’s most definitely punk ROCK but has that accessible feel to it without compromising on their sound at all. At times it has the bluesy hard rock of AC/DC or The Quireboys and others the simple three chord majesty of vocalist Rikki’s last band Red Flag 77 who played just about every square inch of this fair isle in their time together. It’s not all fast as feck though and, it must be my old age, but I really loved ‘Dead Man’s Cove’ and ‘Betrayal’ which even though are the slowest songs here could hardly be described as ballads!! They even slip in a reggae tinged track ‘I, Hedonist’ which I’m not a big fan of but then I’ve always been in the minority there. Otherwise it’s the fast songs that dominate with the title track, the appropriately titled ‘Fast Track’ and ‘Voodoo Pirate Rock ‘N’ Roll’. The album ends with the standout track a re-working of ‘Prisoner’s Lament’ which appeared originally on Seven Seas Of Sin showcasing Rikki’s great punk rock vocals with just acoustic guitar backing before the song erupts and the rest of the band join in and leave the album on a real high. It’s all great stuff and just recently they have even been venturing to London a bit more so keep you eyes peeled for their next visit dust your waistcoat off, get your ‘Arrrghs’ in gear, shake your booty, and join in the fun with the motliest of motley crews around.

Contact East Town Pirates- WebSite Facebook Soundcloud ReverbNation YouTube

LOCKS- ‘Skeletal Blues’ (BUY)

Now this is not the sort of release that features on these pages much but I’ve loved this record from the moment I first heard it. LOCKS are a four piece band from North London comprising singer-guitarist Locks Geary-Griffin, Andy Marvell on drums, Marian McClenaghan on fiddle and Mike Byrne on double bass. Together the band have dabbled in various musical genres prior to LOCKS including blues, rockabilly, trad Irish, indie, nu-folk and our very own Celtic-Punk as well. So the Celtic connections are high and on this basis they would easily qualify for the Irish football team! Having known Mike for more years than I care to remember since his days in one of the original London Celtic-Punk bands Pitful Of Ugly who later became Skibbereen and his rockabilly band The Obscuritones it’s nice to see him continuing to play in really interesting bands. LOCKS have been described as smoky, cinematic, and ghostly and the band themselves play up the comparisons to Tom Waits and Nick Cave and on hearing their debut album Skeletal Blues it is a comparison well worthy of them.

Locks voice is dominant throughout the album and its perfectly pitched accompanied by the fiddle, double bass and rattling drums which on album opener ‘Bones’ sound just like… well bones. The tone is set on ‘Bones’ with a song about burying dead bodies on the moors and be sure to check out the utterly fantastic video above written, produced and starring Abigail Hardingham. While it is ‘Bones’ that steals the show for me they also come close with ‘The Chase’, ‘Toes’ and ‘Skin’.

Back in 1996 Nice Cave brought out a CD Murder Ballads which comprised of him singing songs (old, new and traditional) of death and violence. It’s to that tradition that LOCKS come from with their tales of dead bodies, strange creatures and dark family secrets and like Murder Ballads is complete with both morbid humor and sobering horror. Dark lyrically the music veers from straight up gently played folk into eastern European at times while even finding time to pay the first couple of bars of The Pink Panther theme tune. Skeletal Blues ends with ‘Laveau’ about the voodoo Queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau. Though she died in 1881 it’s still a title she still holds today with people still visiting her grave to leave tokens in exchange for small requests. The longest song here at well over five minutes it gives LOCKS the chance to shine with Mike’s bass rumbling away fantastically and Marion’s fiddle drifting in and out of Celtic airs.

On first play I had assumed it was all fairly similar fair, due mainly to the hypnotic drumming style and Locks laid back vocals but upon a few more plays it became clear there’s a lot more to the songs than I had given credit. It’s a fascinating album and as I have said before man cannot live on Celtic-Punk alone so stretch your horizons beyond the Dropkick Murphys and be prepared to get into someone new and imaginative.

Contact LOCKS- WebSite Facebook Bandcamp YouTube Soundcloud

IRISH STEW OF SINDIDUN- ‘City Of Grigs’ (BUY)

We end Part Two with easily the most blatant Celtic of our releases today, the fourth album from Irish Stew Of Sindidun. Born in Belgrade, Serbia back in 2003 it’s been six years since their last album, New Tomorrow, was released so it’s been quite a long wait but worth it! On City Of Grigs they have never sounded so Irish! With ten songs and three traditional Irish covers, ‘Paddy’s Lamentation’, ‘Step It Out Mary’ and ‘Down By The Glenside’, that are well chosen and show the bands connection with Irish music goes well beyond that of just a covers band. These songs topics feature the three most important subjects in Irish music, emigration, rebellion and romantic tragedy! It’s indeed a shame we don’t more folk like Sindidun vocalist Bojan Petrovic back at home when he explains

“these songs are not included merely to be album fillers, but because they speak of themes which are still actual. Irish music is much more than quick melodies, dance and fun; through traditional folklore Irish songs we keep remembrance of values of one culture, which are still worthy of reverence.”

City of Grigs is their most ‘trad’ sounding album so far and it really cannot be faulted. Besides the three fantastic covers are the bands original songs which are equally as good and they don’t get any better than the album’s lead single ‘Heavier Than Sin’. Absolutely amazing banjo from Ivan giving it a ‘Wild-Western’ feel but based firmly you know where. Bojan’s vocals are smooth and deep and fit in perfectly with the upbeat Irish music and dark lyrics. The song ends with an Irish reel and shows exactly what Irish Stew Of Sindidun are capable of. How these guys aren’t touring Ireland teaching the Irish to re-connect with their culture I don’t know!

All the songs here are great and as catchy as hell to boot but the standout tracks for me are the uptempo opening song ‘Strangers’, the jolly short’n’sweet ‘Drink And Sing’ and, the closest they get to a ballad here, ‘Holiday’. They even find time to mix in a bit of reggae alongside trad Irish on the superb instrumental ‘The Old City Keeper’ where Nemanja and her utterly amazing fiddle playing shines. Irish Stew Of Sindidun are one hell of a band and are absolutely massive at home in Serbia. That they aren’t as well known outside is criminal. Over half an hour of traditional Irish music with folk and rock not just welded on but added with care and love. It may have been six years since their last album but the band have spent it wisely improving on their sound when I didn’t even think it would be possible!

Contact Irish Stew Of Sindidun- WebSite  Facebook  YouTube

So ends the second part of our 2018 Round-Up’s and apologies again to all the bands as each and every release deserved that full London Celtic Punks treatment. I can guarantee we have probably still missed more fantastic music so all the more reason to send us your releases to review. Get in touch via the Contact Us page to find out how. We are also always looking for people to join the reviews team so don’t be shy if you fancy giving it a go. If you don’t want to miss any of our posts then you can follow us by simply filling in your e-mail address in the box that is either below or to the left depending how you are viewing and you will receive every post to your in-box.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE CLAN- ‘All In The Name Of Folk’ (2016)

The Clan. As influenced by AC/DC , punk rock and traditional Irish folk music!

The Clan

We have now been at this for so long that we have recently been doing album reviews of bands that we have already featured before and The Clan are one of those bands. Back in December 2014 we reviewed  (here) their superb self-titled debut album and boy did we rave on and on about how good it was! Well this is the follow up to that and we can confirm that it is indeed equally good, if not better!

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The Clan hail from the small town of Muggiò in the province of Lombardy in the north of Italy and have only been together since 2013. Maybe its a Catholic thing but their has always been a good relationship between the Irish and the Italians. I can’t speak for America (maybe one of our US readers can fill us in but I did hear their was a lot inter-marriage between us) but here in England we got on fine. A couple of my best mates at Catholic school were Italians and they were big Celtic fans too. Their has always been a lot of traffic between Ireland and Italy and so I suppose it’s only natural that some Italians will find solace in Irish music. It’s also clear that Italy’s top celtic bands like The Clan, Kitchen Implosion, Dirty Artichokes and Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards all have that same deep love for Ireland and it’s culture and musical traditions.

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All In The Name Of Folk hit the streets the day after this years St Patrick’s Day on the 18 March which as many of you I’m sure will know it’s the a day not particularly well known to many Irish people! It came out on OnAirish Records and lasts nearly fifty minutes and where as their debut album was a straight up 50/50 mix of traditional folk covers and originals I am especially glad to report that apart from one brilliantly amazing cover these are all The Clan’s own songs.

The album begins with the sound of an ocean in ‘Overture’ which features the first of their many guests, the self taught bagpiper and whistle player, Iain Alexander Marr of The Sidh. A highly original and innovative Italian band whose combination of contemporary and electronic celtic music has led to plaudits galore. It’s a slow dirge with military style drumming that soon explodes into The Clan’s signature tune ‘Folk ‘N’ Roll’ where Iain again guests on the pipes and it’s pure 110% celtic-punk-rock!!! Utterly brilliant with a tonne and a half of energy that bursts out the speakers at you. They follow this up with ‘Second Chances’ and we are joined by fiddle and banjo and with no let up at all with Angel Rock’s vocals shining through. ‘Let Me Go’ features good mate of the band and TV and radio personality and rock star Andrea Rock and again it comes off brilliantly. ‘Jenny Porter’ was the first song they released to the world off the album via the superb video below. An absolute blinder and it has to be said that The Clan do make bloody good videos. Get yourself a beer and a pack of biscuits and be sure to check out their YouTube channel below and treat yourselves.

I don’t have a clue who Jenny Porter (bar that she’s the “queen of the pub”) is but she must be well chuffed to have such a kick-ass song written about her. The album continues with the instrumental ‘Whole Lotta Jig’ featuring one of Italy’s foremost flutists and expert Irish flute player Tommaso Tornielli. The song is yer proper authentic Irish folk jig that if I hadn’t just told you you’d have never have guessed it was played by Italians. ‘Irish Sky’ has a Poguesy feel to it led as it is by the tin whistle while ‘Angel of the Sea’ is one of those swirling around on the dance floor moments with yer arms wrapped around friends and foe alike while yer beer spills down someone’s back and grand it is too. It features Francesco Moneti fiddle player of the amazing Modena City Ramblers and has a seriously good Waterboys sound to it. ‘Horns up and Fight’ turns the volume up again kicking off with the pipes and the fastest/punkiest song on the album is heading yer way. ‘Ulysses and the Siren’ keeps the speed up but is much more traditional based while ‘Reel O’Fire’ is another class instrumental featuring both Stefano Iascone and Jacopo Ventura and comes up trumps again with a trad number that is simply outstanding with the great addition of trumpet making it stand out loud and proud. It’s possibly the best song here and shows The Clan at what they do best. ‘Home of My Heart’ slows the pace down a little but still sounds perfect Clan! They save maybe not the best for last but certainly the two songs that will stand out among the majority of celtic-punk fans. ‘True Story’ featuring the #1 geezer in celtic-punk Francis McLaughlin of Aussie band The Rumjacks who need no introduction and Frankie’s dulcet tones dominate the song as per usual everything this Bhoy turns his hand is simply magnificent and finally the album comes to an end with another Aussie connection. You may heard ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ before especially as just recently its been all over Facebook as performed by the brilliant AC/DC on the back of a van driving down some street in Australia (check it out here). Their are bagpipes in the original and I guess we could definitely consider it celtic-rock (even celtic-punk) these days but The Clan add to it some fiddles and mandolin among the pipes and crank the rock up too making this the perfect ending to a great album. If you can please excuse my language for a moment IT FUCKING ROCKS!!!

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A fantastic album and, as others have written, a definite contender for those end of year Best Of polls. This is perhaps not ‘celtic-punk’ in as much as it is Irish-punk as their love of Irish music seeps through every pore of All In The Name Of Folk. Not a single bad track here in fact the absolute opposite. This is how celtic-punk should be played with love and respect for the past and a eye to to the future and all the time keeping it relevant for everyone from yer old folkie with a finger jammed in his ear to the young skate punker sitting in his bedroom annoying the hell out of his parents with his music. Get this album it’s far too good to miss out on!

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