Tag Archives: Black Rawk Dog

EP REVIEW: BLACK RAWK DOG- ‘Suburban’s Folk Stories’ (2017)

Another top quality Indonesian celtic-punk band belt it out of the ball park with their new EP! Black Rawk Dog continue the Indonesia love in…

Just a couple of days ago we reviewed a great EP from an Indonesian celtic-punk band (here) and low and behold just like buses up rolls another one five minutes behind! As with Rain In Summer we first came across Black Rawk Dog on the absolutely superb Indonesian celtic-punk compilation ‘Wind From The Foreign Land’ from 2014. Fourteen tracks from fourteen different celtic-punk bands from across Indonesia and from right across the whole celtic-punk spectrum from folky traditional folk to celtic-Oi! and hardcore it’s all there and is definitely one of the best album’s I have ever heard. We described Black Rawk Dog then as

“fast paced fiddle and mando punk played at breakneck speed with gang vocals”

and on the basis of Surburban’s Folk Stories I can see no reason to change that!

(The EP teaser a collection of videos by friends of the bands showing them hanging)

The Black Rawk Dog story begins at the end of 2010 when a group of Sidoarjo friends become interested in and decide to take up an unlikely form of music for youths in their country. It takes a while to get going and in November, 2011 they begin their journey playing with another of Indonesia’s celtic-punk greats Skarockoi! They began to invite some of the other great bands from around the country to play in Sidoarjo and soon enough they were being invited to play around the country as well leading to their performance at the Jogja Celtic Punk Night. BY now the band had set out to find more about traditional Irish music and the wider celtic music scene in Indonesia and Black Rawk Dog were now firmly on their way to transform from a punk band with folk instruments to a fully fledged celtic-punk band. A skinhead mate suggested ‘Black Dog Conspiracy’ as a band name and somewhere along discussions they ended up as Black Rawk Dog and set out to take Indonesian celtic-punk to the masses!

Surburban’s Folk Stories was sent to me by an old mate on Facebook Jr Miko from the record label that released this and pretty much everything Indonesian celtic-punk related. The first thing that strikes you on listening to this EP is how much energy the band has. If it’s possible to tell how much fun a band has through listening to them on record then here is the best example I have heard it quite a while. They roll out all the celtic instruments to kick start ‘Brand New Day’ the opening track.

Tin whistle, bango, fiddle all leading the song with vocals shared among the band and a real Dropkick Murphys singalong going on. Now the band sound more like Flogging Molly than the Murphys but the songs do remind me of them more somehow. A fantastic start to the EP and the sound of quality Irish folk music fills the air on the second track too. ‘Work Proud’ is again sung in English and is nice and clear and just on the right side of punky gruffness. Again its fast but without losing the folky sound and the ‘Woah Woah’ gang chorus is great. The celtic instruments are out in force again but the whole band is on top form here with nice drumming and guitar. Now regular readers will know how i wax lyrical about the most under-rated instrument in celtic-punk, the harmonica. My uncle Pat bought me a mouth organ when I was a kid and though I never did quite master it I still love the sound. ‘Still One’ slows it all down a little and the harmonica kicks it off until more gang ‘Woah Woah’s come in and beautiful guest female vocals take the song slowly up in tempo into a fast and frantic hardcore celtic folk punk number. The song ends with a high kicking blast that comes with a tinge of country included. More than half way through the EP and I am absolutely loving it. Play this in a bar in Dublin, London or NYC and tell the regulars these are a local band and you’ll get no argument I am sure. In fact the way that Black Rawk Dog have taken to Irish music would put most Irish bands on the island of Ireland to shame. Indonesia is a 80% majority Muslim country so great to hear ‘Rumble In The Bar’. Celtic-punk as our header states is music of rebellion and resistance and great to hear Indonesian’s playing it as well as anyone else, and sometimes better. Starting off with banjo it all turns into a massive ceilidh and like some sort of Irish-punk-celtic-hoedown with more gang vocal chorus and fiddle to die for. Super production here on all the songs and the music is flowing as the beer is flowing out and sadly the EP comes to an end with ‘The Old Man Stands Alone’. Expecting a slow maudlin ballad Black Rawk Dog kick out the best song on the record that takes me right back to to the days of The Pogues. Whoever is sharing their record collection with these guys is doing a fantastic job and I’m left wanting to hear more from this great band.

All the songs here are penned by the band themselves and if I had any criticism it would be that it’s only twenty minutes as I am now desperately wanting to hear more from them. This EP is a perfect example of what can be done with a bunch of extremely talented musicians and a wish to move beyond playing bog standard punk music. This is easily as good as anything I have heard this year and I only wish that bands like Flogging Molly or The Murphys would put their hands in their pockets and get some of the bands from Indonesia over to the States for some exposure. How about getting them on the next Salty Dog cruise Flogging Molly?

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Contact wlrv.record@gmail.com

Contact Black Rawk Dog

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WLRV Records is a Yogyakarta based independent record label, focusing on celtic punk and punk. Started by YK Mass in 2012 we are here to support Indonesian Celtic Punk / Irish Folk Punk / Paddy Punk movement.

ALBUM REVIEW: VARIOUS ARTISTS- ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic Punk Compilation’ (2014)

superb

/sʊˈpɜːb; sjʊ-/

adjective
1. surpassingly good; excellent a superb actor
2. majestic or imposing a superb mansion
3. magnificently rich; luxurious the jubilee was celebrated with a superb banquet
Derived Forms
superbly, adverb
superbness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Old French superbe, from Latin superbus distinguished, from super above
Wind From The Foreign Land
Well what to say about this album…? Well its an album of fourteen tracks from fourteen different celtic-punk bands from across INDONESIA. Aye, that’s right. Indonesia out there in the Indian ocean and a thousand or two miles from Australia. These facts alone should have every self respecting celtic-punk fan from across the globe racing to their computer screens to order copies. First a few facts about Indonesia… they gained independence from Holland pretty much straight after the second world war. Their language is Indonesian (that’s not as obvious as it sounds when a country has been invaded and colonized!). The country itself has a population of over 230 million and comprises nearly 13,500 different islands and for a country that is 87.2% muslim this diverse bunch of bands have certainly adopted some of celtic-punks better known subject matters, if you know what I mean…
So now you know how worthy it all is the next question should be “is it any good?”. Well the answer to that is “yes its bloody brilliant”! As with all compilations there’s going to be some tracks you like better than others but this album really does showcase the Indonesian celtic-punk scene very well and everything from the albums production to the cover to the mix of songs and the order they’ve been put in has obviously been a labour of love for all involved and in fact the only fault i can pick with the whole thing is that one of favourite bands have included a ballad rather than a more punky song! You’ll be amazed at how well these guys’n’gals play their instruments and you can have hours of fun playing this for your mates getting them to guess what part of Ireland the bands are from!
Musically the fourteen tracks veer from everything from the Mollys to the Murphys to the Pogues and all points inbetween. Many sing in their own language which i love to hear, despite the obvious floor in not knowing what they’re singing about…Kicking off with a  new band to me, Party Time, and great accordion and tin whistle led punk it is too. Traces too of what I can only suppose are Indonesian instruments and tunes. Unmistakable celtic-punk though with shouty lyrics and choruses. Panglima Kumbang are more north american sounding to these big ears, nothing wrong with that, with a more celtic-pop punk sound.

Skarockoi start with a brilliantly played mandolin and fiddle and a more traditional celtic punk vocal style. Heard these before and always been impressed by them. Billy The Kid I have a few tracks by and this fantastic ballad shows exactly how good musicians they are. Black Rawk Dog is fast paced fiddle and mando punk played at breakneck speed with gang vocals. Ciusquad and Dirty Glass, another band I have heard before, and we’re half way through the album and still waiting on a duff track. No sign yet! Dirty Glass provide one of the standout tracks and its the production on this track i’m most impressed by. Gang vocals, celtic and brass instruments melting together with yer punk perfectly in a proper celtic-punk classic tune. Charlie’s Rum And The Chaplain are a band I only recently picked up on and are definitely one of the scenes leading bands. Starting off slow before heading to a more traditional fast paced tune and another of the standout tracks. Rain In Summer sound like The Pogues in their heyday with an acoustic punk song that soon turns into a proper celtic punk belter. Jeralax is another beautifully played ballad about whiskey. This track could be any of the scenes greatest bands to be honest. The Barley Hops I have also come across as well and they don’t disappoint either. Another standout track and followed by The Working Class Symphony who are quite simply a superb band. See definition at beginning of the review. Very accomplished musicians with great songs and vocals. Lots of instruments and band members but in the perfect production nothing is out of place or too loud or too quiet. Super Mario start with a bit of a DKM piss take and a great song follows.

Finally the last track and the band we’ve been waiting for. The Cloves And The Tobacco (a kind of cigarette i’m told!) are arguably the best known of the Indonesian celtic-punk bands and  they bring the curtain down on this great album with ‘The Indian Ocean’ the standout standout track. We can forget sometimes that we’re not the only sea faring race and in a country of over 13,500 islands these guys know their sea shanties. This album is, to put it as simple as i can, faultless. Great bands and great songs. Each one is worthy of following up on and each deserves to be as famous as any of the scene’s leading lights.

Contact The Bands
simply click on the band name in Italics and you’ll be directed straight to them. They are mostly Facebook pages but not all.
Buy The Album
Decent Sites To Visit
heres a couple of decent Indonesian places to check out
Punk Indonesia MP3  free music
Celtic Punk Indonesia  facebook group for all things Indonesian celtic-punk!
CelticFolkPunkAndMore Spanish blog with lots in their vaults about Indonesia.

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