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ALBUM REVIEW: McSCALLYWAG- ‘Dirty Water’ (2017)

Celebrate the good life with Dutch celtic-punkers McScallywags. Influenced by traditional Irish folk music, sea-shanties and good ol’ drinking songs McScallywag are on a mission to put a smile on everyone’s face!

Got this album in the post from Waldo over at Celtic Folk Punk And More web-site (always worth checking out here) but with such a backlog of reviews its taken me till now to have a listen and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long!

McScallywag describe their sound as “Dropkick Murphys meets The Pogues” and while live they they provide a healthy mix of classic traditional Irish folk songs and McScallywag originals here on Dirty Water they gone for the originals approach with every song one they have penned themselves. The band are based in the Dutch city of Groningen, an area of the Netherlands renowned for its music and arts. Formed in 2013 when local hardcore punk band De Klootviolen parted ways with their vocalist and the rest of the band decided to continue but in a completely different direction. Armed with new instruments they continue to blaze their way through life celebrating their love for that life through alcohol and folk music. The Dutch scene is particularly strong at the moment with such great bands as Circle J and Bunch Of Bastards , who have both featured on these pages extensively as well as touring these shores, as well as the likes of LQR, Drunken Dolly and The Royal Spuds who we are hoping to catch up with at LQR’s ’10 Pinter’ festival next January.

McScallywag left to right: Tom Kootstra– Guitar, Vocals * Frodo Bosma– Accordion *  Ruud Platje– Drums, Vocals *  Arian Sikkens– Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals * Peter Janssen – Bass Guitar * Talitha Barelds– Cello, Vocals * Ashley Buitenwerf– Guitar, Vocals. Not in picture Sebastiaan Hidding– Violin

So what do we get here. As I say its nine original songs so that is already a plus in my eyes and the whole album comes in just shy of half an hour. the album starts with ‘Billy’s Curse’ and you not sure which way the album’s going with acoustic guitar and accordion swirling round while Arian’s voice sings out both tunefully and strong. The song doesn’t get much faster but does get louder and you can hear the cello here and it sounds great. Not yer typical celtic-punk instrument but all the better for that. Needless to say of course that Billy’s curse was in fact alcohol! ‘Days of Travel’ is up next and the band start to show what they can do here. Fast and furious acoustic celtic-punk party music. Stop and start fast music that owes much to hardcore punk in many ways.

The video gives you a great example of what McScallywag do. That they are acoustic, except for bass guitar, is incredible and reminds me of what was said about The Pogues that they were louder than any punk band! next up is ‘The Road’ and a real Poguesy feel to this. A slow ballad that speeds up near the end with gang vocals and is a real catchy foot-tapper. Some great positive lyrics here too that had me belting out the words in me living room.

So get up while you can, stand up and be a man.
Cuz there’s no such a thing as getting old,
you’ve got to live it up while you can.
So even when this world is at its darkest,
And your just clinging and holding on to that light.
You’ll find again and again that when your drinking with friends,
you’re gonna make it through the night,
shining bright”

Definitely one of the album highlights without a doubt. ‘Letter to Megan’ is about a subject that crops up quite often in celtic-punk. Hopefully as a warning to others? Screwing up your life and hurting the ones you love. The song starts off slow before bursting into life and ending in typical celtic-punk fashion and while the video below shows the song done to perfection it is annoying hearing people talking throughout BUT…

this is music for the live setting and McScallywag come into their own live from what I can see. That’s not to say that they haven’t managed to transfer that sound onto disc as they have done a brilliant job here and the production is perfect. ‘St. Paddy’s Anthem’ is up now and McScallywag’s tribute to that day where indeed

“It’s Saint Paddy’s anthem keep singing along,
as loud as you can, cuz tonight, everybody is an Irishman!”

Great vocals here and as loud a song as any on Dirty Water. Close your eyes and you can forget your not still listening to De Klootviolen and a band containing banjo, accordion, cello and mandolin.

“And the pubs around the corner there,
said: open all night.
There was Dropkick Murphys on the jukebox,
shouting, drinking what a sight.
They passed me down a bottle, and I bought a round of beer.
We raised our glass to the drinking class,
and we all sang and cheered”

This is hardcore punk-folk! Then  we have ‘Eye of the Storm’ and a dramatic shift in style with cello-player Talitha taking over vocal duties for a slow ballad about losing your love at sea. The mandolin accompanies her beautiful voice in a very under stated song where you can smell the salt air. ‘Ashes to Ashes’ is another stand out track for me. As I often say man cannot live on punk rock alone and he needs to slow down occasionally. It’s good for the soul. Vocals are shared again by Talitha and Arian and this is the moment on the album where you must raise your pint to the air. Every half decent celtic-punk album must have one and this is it. Love this song. We nearing the end of Dirty Water and ‘Whiskey I Love You’ is a singalong/clappalong folky number with gang vocals and a catchy chorus. Think Dropkicks ‘Boys On The Docks’ and you’ve got it. The album wraps up with ‘Johnny Went Away’ and it’s more of that stop and start hardcore folk that I love. The mandolin is in overdrive and the band all join in on vocals and bring the curtain down leaving me out of breath!

Having always been a fan of punk music it’s really refreshing to hear a folk band play as though they were a punk band. Its mostly very fast but incredibly tuneful and still folky despite the speed it’s played. They don’t sound like any of the scene’s favoured bands which is something I have said before about Dutch celtic-punk groups and that is something special. A great debut album and a band to watch out for. All the lyrics are on the bands web site (here) and are well worth a look while you listen to the album.

(have a free listen to Dirty Water below)

Buy Dirty Water

iTunes

Contact McScallywag

WebSite  Facebook  Soundcloud  Instagram  YouTube

(not quite a full length concert but great video with good sound)

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LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2015!

Best Of 2015 (2)
One of the best things about doing this here blog-zine is the end of year ‘Best Of’s’. This is our chance to reward, for what it’s worth, and recommend those releases that tickled our collective fancies over the last twelve months. Where as in 2013 the Best Of’s were dominated by local bands and releases and in 2014 it was international bands that stole the show this years is more of a mix of the two. No shocks at the top I’m afraid. It was always going to be a slug out between the big hitters of celtic-punk with The Rumjacks just shading it from the The Mahones by the slightest of margins. One of the team commented that the only difference was that ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 1’ was slightly better than Part 2. In third place came 1916 out of New York who only just sneaked in with the December release of ‘Last Call For Heroes’. The album came out so late we didn’t even get a chance to mention it let alone review it nevertheless it blew us all away with their brilliant combination of rockabilly and celtic-punk. Another one to file in the ‘shamrockabilly’ category. Overall no major surprises and all four admins lists pretty much tallied up with each other but it’s especially great to see some non-English speaking bands in there as well as some bands that were new to us in the last twelve months. I was particularly happy to see Skontra and The Cundeez make the grade representing celtic-punk as played in the celtic nations. As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review. If your album is not here do not be downhearted. These twenty album’s are the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year in what was an outstanding year for celtic-punk. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…

TOP 20 CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS

1. THE RUMJACKS- ‘Sober And Godless’  (here)
2. THE MAHONES- ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 2’
3. 1916- ‘Last Call For The Heroes’ (here)
4. FEROCIOUS DOG- ‘From Without’
5. THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS- ‘The Thirsty Mile’  (here)
6MR.IRISH BASTARD- ‘The World, The Flesh & The Devil’  (here)
7.  THE DEAD MAGGIES- ‘Well Hanged’  (here)
8THE GO SET- ‘Rolling Sound’  (here)
9. MICKEY RICKSHAW- ‘No Heaven For Heroes’  (here)
10. HAPPY Ol’ McWEASEL- ‘Heard Ya Say’  (here)
 11. JASPER COAL- ‘Just The One…’  (here)
12. THE CUNDEEZ- Sehturday Night Weaver  (here)
13. THE FATTY FARMERS- ‘Escape From The Dirty Pigs’  (here)
14. THE SHILLELAGHS- ‘Bury Me At Sea’  (here)
15. JOLLY JACKERS- ‘Sobriety’  (here)
16. MALASANERS- Spanish Eyes’  (here)
17. SKONTRA- ‘Foguera’  (here)
18. THE WAXIES’ ‘Down With The Ship’  (here)
19. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- ‘Selfish’
20. THE TOSSPINTS- The Privateer  (here)

TOP TEN CELTIC PUNK EP’S

Now onto the EP’s. These are classed as shorter usually four to six songs long and around anything right up to 15-20 minutes long. No shock here at number one as a unanimous vote saw this years new band of the year Mick O’Toole walk away with the title. They have been a solid fixture during the year building up quite a reputation and following. At number two it’s long been a well known secret that Indonesia is a hotbed of celtic-punk and Dirty Glass are one of the best bands in their flourishing scene and ‘Drunken Summer Nights’ ran O’Toole very close while another English band came in third. Matilda’s Scoundrels really hit the heights in 2015 and just like Mick O’Toole bigger and better things await them in 2016. The rest of the list is made up from bands from across the globe with Slovenia, South Africa, Hungary, Catalonia, Russia, Holland, France and Yorkshire all making the list.
1. MICK O’TOOLE- ‘1665 Pitchfork Rebellion’  (here)
2. DIRTY GLASS- ‘Drunken Summer Night’  (here)
3. MATILDA’S SCOUNDRELS- ‘Split w/ The Barracks’  (here)
4. ZUNAME- ‘Pipes Not Dead’  (here)
5. THE HYDROPATHS- ‘Wailing Away’  (here)
6. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- ‘Open Room Sessions’  (here)
7. O’HAMSTERS- ‘Kiss My Irish Ass’  (here)
8. LOCH NESZ- ‘Leave The Captain Behind’  (here)
9. CIRCLE J- ‘Year Of The Goat’  (here)
10. SIGELPA- ‘Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn’  (here)
11. THE MOORINGS- ‘Nicky’s Detox’  (here)

TOP TEN FOLK/TRADITIONAL RELEASES

As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved each of them all to bits. If you like celtic-punk then you should not be afraid to give traditional folk a listen. Most of it is more punk than punk these days you know. It’s a direct link to the music that inspired celtic punk music and their are some amazing bands and performers out there. Hard to decide which order they should go in especially as O’Hanlons Horsebox could have just as easily won this years Best Celtic Punk Album as well! This is how the Top Ten ended up.
1. O’HANLONS HORSEBOX- ‘Songs And Stories From The Border’  (here)
2. BARRULE- Mannannans Cloak’  (here)
3. LE VENT DU NORD- ‘Têtu’  (here)
4. BRYAN McPHERSON- ‘Wedgewood’  (here)
5. THE RATHMINES- ‘Ramblin With The Rats. Stolen Songs of Struggle’  (here)
6. ANTO MORRA- ‘Boudicca’s Country’
7. JACK OF ALL- ‘Bindle Punk’  (here)
8. JOHNNY CAMPBELL- ‘Hook, Line And Sinker’  (here)
9. FFR CELTIC FIESTA- ‘Fresh Blood’
10. THE PROCLAIMERS- ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’  (here)
11. SKWARDYA- ‘Domhwelyans/ Revolution’

TOP CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE

Celtic Folk Punk And More BlogAgain Waldo over at Celtic Folk Punk And More walks away with this award. There is simply no better site on the internet. Everything you would possibly need to know is here with a HUGE range of bands covered and there is no doubt in my mind that the site you are reading here now would not exist without the inspiration of Celtic Folk Punk And More. Sadly Waldo published a post on January 3rd titled ‘New Year, New Life’ (here) announcing the suspension of the site for a while. We wish Waldo well and look forward to his, and his fantastic web site’s, return.

* The lists were compiled from the scraps of crumpled paper, and one beermat, handed to me by the other three admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and tallied up over several pints of beer in a seedy working man’s Irish boozer in north London.

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015

all the major players in celtic-punk do Best Of lists so click below to check out what they thought

CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE

CELTIC-ROCK

PADDYROCK

MacSLONS IRISH RADIO

remember any views or comments we would love to hear them…

ALBUM REVIEW: CIRCLE J- ‘Year Of The Goat’ (2015)

Hard hitting celtic punk from the Lowlands

Circle J

Grab your pint, put your fist in the air and scream along!

The first ever gig we ever put on under the banner of London Celtic Punks was way back in August,2009 and starred these fantastic celtic-punkers from Holland. Since then they have popped up on the internet loads and despite releasing a cracking album, ‘Weekend Warriors’, in 2010 and an even better EP, ‘Diggers’, in 2012 they have not really been recognised much on this here web-zine. This we will rectify today with a review of their new mini-album. Too big for a EP and not big enough to describe as an full album ‘Year Of The Goat’ is seven songs and over twenty minutes of celtic-punk delight!

Circle J Live

left to right: Ed, Jasper, Tomba, Remi and Marianne

Formed back in 2002 every release by Circle J has been received extremely well by both fans and critics alike and with ‘Year Of The Goat’ you get pretty much more of the same but hey that’s no bad thing when that same is as good as Circle J’s. Their reputation has spread well beyond their native Netherlands too as shown by their recent announcement on their Facebook page

“Circle J finally tops the charts! More than 6000 illegal downloads from a certain kind of torrent-site in 3 days. It won’t pay our bills, but it’s kinda funny and punk”

so no one can accuse them of being devoid of a sense of humour!

The album begins with ‘The Ones We Left Behind’ and the bagpipes and banjo and electric guitar throw up an almighty clash and we get off to an almighty start. Over before we know it and ‘Fields of Pretend’ comes  right up at ye! Again the electric guitar drives it along and keeps proceedings firmly in celtic-punk territory. Jasper’s furious banjo picking comes out nice and clear and if you like that sound then Circle J are one of the best bands in the scene. Two songs in and the energy level is busting through the roof!

The whole band is giving it their all but even Circle J cant keep it up for ever and they slow it down a wee bit for ‘Warrior Monkey Princess’ with tin-whistle shining through and Tomba sounding like an American pop-punker . The song may be slow but still has a heavy sound and the electric guitar is still present and they cant resist speeding it up near the end anyway! ‘Lost And Found’ could easily be any number of recent English bands we have reviewed here like Jack Of All and Under A Banner. Beginning with acoustic guitar the song gets well under way before the rest of the band join in. An under stated song but one of the stand outs for me. ‘Jenny’s Song’ returns Circle J to what they do best a rocking celtic-punk number with the band playing very strongly together and the chorus of ‘sha la la’ ringing in our ears as well as a few Oi! Oi! Oi!’s as well.

Sadly ‘Year Of The Goat’ is coming to and end and ‘Beyond the Edge’ continues with the drums, metal guitar, mandolin kicking of a hell of a racket before Tomba’s voice comes in and the track sails off with him crooning away. The whole thing ends with ‘Knockapoulka’ a grand old Irish traditional stylee instrumental with… watch the video below and you’ll get the gist. Getting faster and faster you can bet this song has seen plenty of beer spilt in its time. Not a favourite of the person who has to clean up after the gig I would imagine. Short and sweet, a lot like the whole thing to be honest.

Circle J are certainly one of the European celtic-punk scenes more famous and popular bands and deservedly so. They tour like mad and their record releases are without doubt regularly among the best when end of year polls and Top Tens are done. We are ever hopeful they will return to these shores again soon and we’d just like to add that in those six years we have got a lot better at organising things as well!! Watch out for Circle J washing up in your town or at nearby festivals and get on your toes to catch them. You will not regret it!

Year Of The GoatBuy The Album

FromTheBand  iTunes  AmazonPlay

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  YouTube  Twitter  MySpace  LastFM

*there’s a great review of ‘Year Of The Goat already posted in the excellent  ‘Celtic Folk Punk And More’ web-zine site here be sure to check it out.

EP REVIEW: LQR- ‘A Touch Of Liquor’ (2014)

And Free Download!

LQR- 'A Taste Of Liquor'
LQR hail from the town of Eersel in southern Holland and follow in the footsteps of fellow Dutch bands Circle J and The Royal Spuds in playing a brand of celtic-punk that’s tinged with country and bluegrass.
Formed back in 2007 they have previously released two other EP’s, ‘Murder By Liquor’ a 5-track EP in 2008 and ‘Boxpak’ a 4-track EP in 2012. With this their third EP the boys must be due a album out next. All their releases have so far only contained their own self penned numbers and they are to be applauded for taking that rather risky route rather than the tried and tested, and safe, route of throwing in a load of covers that everybody loves.
LQR
The music is a mish-mash of influences with ska and country mingling with celtic-punk and the spotlight on the accordion and mandolin even though the rock’n’roll pumped up to ten. The five tracks on here last just shy of twenty minutes and fly past before you know it in that way that only celtic-punk bands can. All the songs are fast as feck Irish tunes and only leave you wanting for more of the same. By the sound of LQR on here they must be amazing live so take the time to check out their YouTube channel. As is usual there’s touches of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick’s in there and it’s the opening track ‘I’ll Never Get Drunk Again’ that sounds most like either with it’s Molly-esque accordion ramped right up and lyrics that I’m sure need no explanation. It’s followed swiftly by ‘Wargames’ a great rocking anti-war song with great lyrics.

LQR1Coal mining songs feature quite heavily in American celtic-punk so was nice to hear ‘Black Mining Company’ even though the subject is suitably grim. There’s a fantastic tradition of folk songs from out of mining communities and ‘Black Mining Company’ can take its place among them. ‘Liquor’ is about drinking and has a real good pint in the air, sing yourself hoarse chorus. Last song ‘Coulrophobia’ shows LQR’s sense of humour and starts with a wee gypsy-punk feel to it before singer Mark tells us of his fear of clowns and the music goes flying off into a great celtic tune before slowing right down again.
Once again I find myself saying that if LQR were American, or even English, they would be massive…and if we had our way they f’ing would be!
 All of the songs from ‘A Touch Of Liquor, can be downloaded for free (yes that’s right for FREE!!!!) from Soundcloud, along with all their previous releases as well. The playlists of the EP’s are at the top of the page so simply scroll down to find the different tracks.
Contact The Band
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