Tag Archives: Middle Class Bastards

ALBUM REVIEW: O’HAMSTERS- ‘Где бы мы ни бывали’ (2017)

More masterful celtic-punk from Eastern Europe with O’Hamsters from Kyiv Ukraine showing us all how its done”

ohamsters

Now we love celtic-punk music that much must be obvious as the nose on my face. The people who write for the London Celtic Punks are lucky (or unlucky considering all our ‘issues’ ahem) to be Irish but when it comes to our music we never discriminate and it’s a good job too as we would miss out on some great music if we ever bought into such ridiculous notions as ‘cultural appropriation’ or that folk/trad snobbiness that saw legendary bands like The Dubliners and The Pogues castigated as ‘un-Irish’ in their time.

This brings us nicely onto today’s band O’Hamsters (their is no ‘The’ just O’Hamsters) who have featured on these pages several times in the past including reviews of their last two EP’s (here) and (here). O’Hamsters hail from the capital city of Ukraine, Kiev, and have been playing together in a band since 2009 and Где бы мы ни бывали/ Gde By My Ni Byvali is their third album release. Now we are in a music scene that is truly worldwide but does tends to sing in English. Even bands from the celtic nations tend to sing in English, with the odd notable exception of bands like Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs from Brittany, and even bands from further afield and well away from the Celtic diaspora nations tend to sing in English. Now this makes it easier for my job as a reviewer but I do worry about the effect this has on the music scene of the country the band comes from. Therefore I do find it refreshing when bands sing in their native language but it does mean I miss out on what the band are singing about. Going on what I know of O’Hamsters it will be the things we love here at London Celtic Punks. Folk, punk, football, Ireland and drinking and some other things we couldn’t print on a family blog!

Где бы мы ни бывали kicks off with ‘Истинный Ирландец’ and all I really want to say here is that the album is fourteen f**king brilliant songs that clock in just over forty minutes so just get to that download button below and get downloading. The opening song gives you the perfect taste of what is to come. Slow and soft accordion gives way to thrashing guitars, rapid punky drumming, quality mandolin and raspy vocals. As is the way with a lot of celtic-punk bands at the moment there’s a brief foray into celtic-ska before we are back again. Great country style intro for ‘Winter Hill’ before its celtic-punk all the way. I hear the word Massachusetts so can only guess that the song is about the home of famous ex-on the run Irish-American gangster Whitey Bulger and his notorious Winter Hill Gang. It’s pretty much the same story right through to the end. This is fast and furious celtic-punk of the hardcore kind. Much like their neighbours from Russia, Middle Class Bastards, its’s unmistakable celtic-punk but with a much harder edge to it than we are use to in the soft west. They keep up the pace, and the quality, and it’s not until ‘Где бы мы ни бывали’ that we are treated to a cover version and its the brilliant sound of ‘Come To The Bower’. Having opened the album with their own compositions we are treated to a wonderful set of Irish songs that you never thought you hear in Ukrainian! Gang vocals kick it off and them thrashing guitars and furious accordion give it a sound that would shake the cobwebs from yer average Dubliners fan. This is also the name of the album and suits it perfectly as the song is written to reach out to Irish people exiled to escape political persecution or for financial reasons. A bower is a leafy seated area found in country gardens and often used by lovers but in the song, however, the bower refers to Ireland itself. We back in Irish history again next with ‘Храни, Боже, остров Эрин’ which goes to the tune of ‘God Save Ireland’ though not sure if it’s the same lyrics or not. Vera Brenner guests on Bagpipes and she is simply amazing and her playing adds so much. guys you need to persuade her to join the band full time I’m telling you! ‘Батальон Святого Патрика/ Batal’on Svyatogo Patrikais’ a cover of the David Rovics penned classic ‘Saint Patrick’s Battalion’  which was a Mexican army unit comprised of Irish Catholics who defected from the US army during the Mexican-American War. The St. Patrick’s Battalion was an elite artillery unit which inflicted great damage on the Americans during the battles of Buena Vista and Churubusco. After the battle most members were killed or captured and most taken prisoner were hanged. They are still celebrated widely in Mexico. The boys borrow the tune next from ‘The Wearing Of The Green’ for ‘Странный союз/ Strannyy soyuzand its classic celtic withthe tin whistle moving it along at a swift pace. ‘Cath Sulchuait’ is my album standout track. All the elements combine to make a song that at times could spill into the Dropkick Murphys but each time O’Hamsters steer it back into their own world. A great chorus and the band are never better here though it is close several times. We steering near the end and ‘Рыжий Айриш Бой/ Ryzhiy Ayrish Boy’ or in English ‘Auburn Irish’ takes us back firmly into the celtic ska-punk of earlier and is another standout. ‘Я из Коннахта/ I’m From Connaught)’ is officially the end of the album and ends with the ballad I have been waiting for. Joined by Anna Vasil’chenko from fellow Ukrainian band Kings & Beggars it brings the curtain down momentarily on a great album. I say momentarily as O’Hamsters have added two bonus tracks for you lucky people

(Lyrics in English!! Directed by Andrey Ganzevich and Artem Brin)

‘Стакан/ Glass’ came out in 2015 and is a frantic fast as hell celtic-punk classic that is all over and done within just eighty seconds. The final song here is ‘Ліжко Кухуліна/ The Sickbed of Cuchulainn’ abelter of a song which was one of the absolute highlights of the fantastic mainly Eastern European compilation album from last year The Tribute To The Pogues which is still available for free from here.

so in this year of our Lord two thousand and seventeen that has already gone down in history as the best year of celtic-punk album releases we have another to add to our growing list. A superb album from a superb band and you can listen to this and most of O’Hamsters back catalogue through their Bandcamp page below but it’s bands like this that make it celtic-punk a worldwide scene and if any band deserves a few pounds/ dollars/euro’s chucked their way then its them.
(you can have a listen to the whole of Где бы мы ни бывали before you download it)
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For another review from our comrades over at Celtic Folk Punk And More read here.

ALBUM REVIEW: THE Пауки (THE PAUKI)- ‘La Isla Del Muerto’ (2016)

Russian beer-core legends have been around for over 20 years and as strong as ever giving us fast HC influenced celtic-punk with beer, pirates and a Russian mentality!

Pauki3

One of the highlights of the last few years has been the emergence of Russia as a celtic-punk powerhouse within the scene. Middle Class Bastards have blown us away with everything they have done (here) and the recent Tribute To The Pogues compilation album (here) showcased exactly what Russia and some of the other neighbouring ex-Soviet Union countries have to offer. From beginning to end it was simply magnificent and is still available as a free download. One of the common themes is that most celtic-punk bands veer a line that takes in The Dubliners, The Clash and The Pogues while a lot of the Russian /eastern Europe bands take a different route that includes Scots rather than Irish folk music and hardcore punk like UK82 bands like The Exploited or GBH.

Pauki2

The Pauki (left to right): Miguel Deviakovich – guitar, back voc * Boris Britva – guitar, back voc * Sasha Tankovich – vocal, flute * Alexey Kozlovskiy – bagpipe, back voc * Vetal “Basillo” Baranoff – bass, back voc * Ivan Laptev – drums

With all the songs sung in Russian its not going to be easy to do a review but will try my best and at least introduce you to a band that deserves to be heard across the world. The Pauki (translates as the much less interesting The Spiders) hail from Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, St Petersburg. It is said to be the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital so all forms of music are popular there and to that we can now add our own as well. The Pauki began playing in September 1991 so are one of the longest running celtic punk bands in existence, let alone Russia, so its about time they had a bit of coverage outside their own country.

Their seems a very clear sea-faring theme throughout the album with the opening track ‘Мы Никто’ beginning with the sound of the ocean before bagpipes wail in followed by electric guitars and you may think its heading into celtic-rock territory but then a thundering bass and all of a sudden the song takes off with the band all singing along before Sasha’s main vocals kick in and wrap around the song perfectly. Comparisons to Middle Class Bastards can’t be helped but hey they are fecking brilliant so whats it matter. ‘Doomsday’ is straight up punk and stands up well for it while the bagpipes are back for ‘Маски’ a really catchy tune and one of the album highlights. ‘Живой’ is an old song re-recorded and is fast as hell with Exploited style rapid drumming driving it along. Another catchy as hell one in ‘Поганый Drug’ follows and again is straight up bagpipe punk. Another re-recorded song next in ‘Я Вижу’ and the bagpipes are loud and proud. Expertly played and clear as day in the excellent mix. ‘Морская Задорная’ has the flute leading and easily makes the song the most ‘traditional’ celtic-punk song on the album with a famous Irish ‘air’ dotted throughout the song. The gang vocals are a great touch and nowhere better than on ‘Die Die’. ‘Тортуга Ждёт’ begins as a sea shanty before the chugging guitar and pipes and more gang vocals join in. Another top song on this album. We are nearing the end and having listened a lot to this in the car with the sound right up and the window down ‘Куда Девался Рай?’ came as a right shock. Shouty vocals and acoustic instruments and a sort of calypso thing going on. Still great just unusual! Well if that was a shock then ‘Kivema (12345 Remix)’ nearly made me hit a tree! Bloody techno I tells you. I’m not a fan as you can probably imagine but as its stuck on the end as a bit of a piss take then I can except it. A dance beat over the band shouting away with the occasional burst of guitar its certainly a novel way to end a celtic-punk album!

The title of the album is Isla de Muerta, in English ‘Island of the Dead’. Famous now for being the famed mysterious phantom isle in the Caribbean Jack Sparrow wanted to find in Pirates Of The Caribbean. No map marked the way so the treasure of Hernán Cortés remains to be found by whatever buccaneer or adventurer would like to claim it. Super happy I came across this album. Like most of you out there I’m coming into celtic-punk with a love of both folk And punk so sometimes I love to hear something with a bit harder tougher edge and I certainly got that from The Pauki.

Pauki1

Eleven tracks, all written by the band, that comes in at thirty four minutes with a couple of re-recorded old songs and that techno mix! The Pauki take the bagpipe punk of bands like the Real McKenzies and take it to the next level. The added elements of Russian and hardcore punk definitely give them something extra and mark The Pauki as a band to follow. I really loved this album and goes to show that you can have a bit too much folk in your life sometimes.

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ALBUM REVIEW: BUNCH OF BASTARDS- ‘My Drinkin’ Ain’t Done’ (2016)

‘FULL FORCE FOLK’

from a Bunch Of Bastards from The Hague, Rotterdam and Dordrecht!

BOB2

I’m not sure quite what it is about the word Bastard in celtic-punk but their are a whole host of bloody brilliant bands about with it in their name. Think Mr Irish Bastard from Germany, Bastards On Parade (now shortened to just Bastards) from Galicia, Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy, Middle Class Bastards from Russia and Bastard Bearded Irishman from Pittsburgh in the United States. It’s just a shame we don’t have a decent band here in the UK to add! Well to this bunch of Bastards we can now add another Bunch Of Bastards from the Netherlands.

BOB

Bunch Of Bastards left to tight: Cor- vocals * Huib- electric guitar and mandolin * Dex- bass * Andries- accordion * John- drums * Peter- electric/acoustic guitar and banjo

Coming together in mid-2013 the main inspiration for the band was accordionist Andries (better known in the celtic punk scene as Mr Dutch Irish Bastard) who has graced the stage with many of the top European celtic punk bands like Circle J, Mr.Irish Bastard (and even The Mahones)  and recorded with the likes of Bastards On Parade, Sir Reg, Greenland Whalefishers and Firkin. Fed up of being a guest he decided it was time to form his own band and vision and this is what he did, over what seemed like a loooong time to those of us watching on Facebook!

Fey

perfect timing too as Feyenoord won the Dutch Cup yesterday beating Utrecht in the Final. well done from all your friends at Celtic.

(Listen to one of the tracks from the album here but it was recorded at their 5th gig sometime ago so they have moved on and got much tighter as a band since then. Just to give you an idea!)

And so the trials and tribulations sorted The Bunch Of Bastards began to play live and picked up some nice support slots along the way before they released My Drinkin’ Ain’ Done their debut long player to an eager and awaiting public. Now Holland has some amazing bands like Circle J and LQR both of whom we have featured recently and the Dutch celtic-punk scene is famous for not solely sticking to celtic music allowing other genres and influences to seep in. Bunch Of Bastards keep it mainly celtic and punk though and is no poorer for it.

BOB3We get fourteen songs lasting exactly fifty minutes and like all the aforementioned bands its all brilliant stuff alright. From the first bars of opening song ‘Lucky Break’ the mandolin kicks it all off before the whole band join in and its great joyous sounding music even though the story is about one of life’s losers. ‘Back In The Day’ follows and ‘Middle of Nowhere’ and the pattern is forming. The music is fast and definitley on the folky side without being any less punk. Shouty vocals that fit in perfectly with gang choruses (that I especially loved) and the production is amazing. All the instruments are clear as crystal with Cor’s vocals over the top they have got everything just right here. We all here in England never cease to be amazed how well the Dutch speak English and here they sing in it as well as one or two English bands I could mention! The lyrics are all pretty damn cool as well. Mostly dealing with the downside of life but the music is never less than uplifting even if the tales sometimes aren’t! The first signs of that famous Dutch style is, unsurprisingly, next on ‘Katuska Kalashnikova’ where Andries lets his accordion do the talking and some great Russian/eastern European music seeps in. ‘Hey Barkeeper’. next and from the off its as catchy as hell, accordion and vocal led. The mix is great with the balance just right and fitting the Bunch Of Bastards sound perfectly. This is followed by ‘Sky Over Rotterdam’ which tells the moving and emotional story of the bombardment of Rotterdam by German planes during World War 2. Desperate to destroy the city and its manufacturing base hundreds of people per week starved to death or were killed in the bombing.

“The sky over Rotterdam is so peaceful now
But my old man, he still remembers how
That war made that sky such a restless place
And airplanes were never hard to trace
First them planes brought war, then they raised hopes high
And in the end, they dropped food from the sky
The sky, the sky, the sky, over Rotterdam”

The song celebrates the ending of the blockade and the allied food drops into the city that saved countless lives. The song is Andries Dad’s war time memories as a kid in Rotterdam. He wrote them down and Andries made them into first a booklet and later into this song so when I said it was moving and emotional you can bet it is. ‘Sing With Us Bastards’ sounds like a celtic-punk Toy Dolls and the humour is self evident. Not much of a story to this one but

“we are part time punks but full time folkies”

its a happy pint in the air moment before ‘Michael Malloy’ tells the true story of a homeless Irish man in New York who is famous for surviving a number of murder attempts on his life by five friends, who were attempting to commit life insurance fraud. Iron Mike (or Durable Mike) was originally from Donegal and was a fire fighter till he fell on hard times. After several attempts he was finally finished off but his murderers were caught and all bar one went to the electric chair.

“not easy to kill Michael Malloy, this tough Irish bloke was hard to destroy”

‘Run’n’Drink’ is another ode to the pint and the Bunch punk it up for this but you still get plenty of accordion for your ear holes. Not remembered much these days but Holland was very much a colonial power back in the day and like most of the European countries that dabbled in imperialism they have lots to be ashamed of. Don’t get me wrong though pretty much every country in the world has something that they are embarrassed to teach in schools. ‘The Dutch’ tells of their role in slavery in times past and smuggling in modern times. AS usual the Ruling Classes have a lot to answer for. They slow it right down for ‘Live Again’ and a beautiful song about a loved one slipping away. ‘Let’s Call It A Day’ again has a strong and positive message like a lot of the lyrics on My Drinkin’ Ain’t Done. We have all got pissed, nicked, left, beaten up etc., haven’t we but the pain soon goes and what better advice than

“head’s up tomorrow and you will be okay”

Catchy is not the word for ‘Many a Good Reason’ as again the Bunch give us a brilliant drinking song. The Dutch know plenty about the pleasures of alcohol and its celebrated here in song and ‘Many a Good Reason’ is as good as they get. Definitly one of the album highlights!

So fourteen songs and fifty minutes worth of quality celtic-punk comes to an end with the only cover and it’s a good one in both choice and execution. Traced back to the 17th century and made most famous by The Dubliners and later Thin Lizzy ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ is a classic Irish folk song and well deserving of its place too. Bunch Of Bastards give it plenty of oompf and bring the curtain down on the album very nicely indeed.

BOB UK TourWell what to say except we are not even half way through 2016 and already we have a tonne of fantastic album’s challenging for that coveted Album Of The Year award. Here is fifty minutes of some of the best celtic-punk you are going to hear this year I promise you. Now for the good (and bad) news. Bunch Of Bastards are heading over to England in early May but the bad news is they are sadly not coming to London. You can still catch them playing three gigs around Hampshire and Shropshire. They play 5th May at The Vaults in Bishops Castle, 6th May at Percys in Whitchurch and 7th May at The Bear in Bridgnorth. The support for all gigs will be Paul Henshaw and friends so if you fancy a few days away in a lovely part of the country then there’s your chance. I just might join you! 

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(great and very interesting interview with Andries and Peter from the band here)

ALBUM REVIEW: TRIBUTE TO THE POGUES- Various Artists (2016)

A huge compilation of songs written by the world’s #1 celtic-punk band as covered by today’s generation of modern celtic-punk bands from every single corner of the world!

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Tribute To The Pogues

We were sent this brilliant album by our good mate Vladimir, who also did the fantastic artwork and also seems to do the artwork for most celtic-punk releases in Russia, just before St Patrick’s Day. I had to warn him that we wouldn’t be able to do it justice in time to put a review up on release day as we would all be in the pub busy celebrating our Irish ancestry so here a few days late is our opinion on this years must hear compilation album.

As far as I know this is the first international tribute to the Godfathers of celtic-punk – THE POGUES! Everything we hold dear in celtic-punk comes out of the influence of The Pogues and their seminal and legendary front man Shane MacGowan. What they mean to celtic-punk is unmeasurable and the only question you must ask of this album is whether or not this is a worthy tribute to them or not and the answer is of course is that it most definitely, certainly  is!!! The whole thing clocks in at nearly ninety minutes and has 27 bands from right across the entire globe with just about every corner covered. The list of countries here goes from the obvious ones like the USA, Norway, England, Italy, to some ones that may surprise you like Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic,  and Russia to some that will downright shock you like Indonesia, Ukraine or Belarus. They have all combined to bring you The Pogues most popular London Irish ballads from the era of safety pins, ripped jeans and dishevelled hair!

Now this has been put together by our mucker and artist Vladimir from Novosibirsk in Russia and has a whole host of bands that are both new to us as well as some that are already firm favourites. It would be pointless here to go too far into the history of the songs as they are surely known to even the slightest fan of The Pogues. The whole thing kicks off with one of The Pogues least known songs ‘Curse Of Love’, which was a bonus track on the Hell’s Ditch re-issue album, by Indonesian band The Cloves And The Tobacco. They recently released a new album and it has been making huge waves across the international celtic punk scene and it is a fantastic start and swiftly followed by ShamRocks from the Ukraine and Dzieciuki from Belarus before the London Irish very own The Craicheads weigh in with ‘Sally MacLennane’. They give it plenty of oompf and one of The Pogues fastest ever songs is delivered more than safely with a hint of country and bluegrass. Next up is easily one of the most inventive bands in the whole scene, and one of my own personal favourites, from California are Craic Haus playing ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’. You won’t have heard another band like them in the world of celtic-punk I can guarantee it. They have even invented their own genre called ‘Shamrockabilly’ and though their rock’n’roll may be a little lacking on this track it is still outstanding and worthy of you checking out the rest of their back catalogue. Another bunch of my favourite bands roll up next playing some of my fave Pogues songs. A good combination indeed. Happy Ol’ McWeasel from Slovenia doing ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ with the band I once described as being a cross between The Exploited and The Chieftains Middle Class Bastards from Russia next with ‘Big City’, Ukrainian band O’Hamsters sing ‘The Sick Bed of Cuchulain’ before possibly the album’s biggest band The Greenland Whalefishers from Norway chipping in with a brilliant version of ‘Birmingham Six’. A couple of bands I don’t know follow with Kelush and the Bastards (feat. Chris Dutchak) from the Ukraine with an absolutely fantastic skate punk ‘Fairytale of New York’ before Harley McQuinn from Russia nails it with ‘London Girl’. Keeping just enough of the originals rock’n’roll sound before adding some great guitars and gang vocals. Czech’s Benjaming’s Clan and Italians Dirty Artichokes are both bands that have impressed us here over the years and you could almost call them celtic-punk veterans compared to some of the groups here! Russian band The Real Blackbeards I don’t know but they present a great fun pirate version of ‘Sea Shanty’. Americans CRAIC are another big hitter here and they also do a Hell’s Ditch classic ‘Sayonara’ and is one of the many album highlights. Troty hail from Poland and are one of the few bands with a female vocalist. They give us a faultless Polish version of Bottle of Smoke while Hell’s Ditch is revisited again by another Indonesian band Forgotten Generation with ‘Rain Street’ and again it is absolutely superb. Amach  I don’t know but they offer up ‘Transmetropolitan’ and bloody great in its simplicity it is too. They come from the Crimea and like the best bands here they don’t over complicate things but just add a twist to add their own stamp to the songs. Yet another Indonesian band pops up next and The Working Class Symphony give it plenty in their cover of ‘Fiesta’. Never one of my favourite songs but this version bloody rocks and I have fallen for it big time. Like all the Indonesian bands here they play traditional Irish folk influenced punk and is so well played you would think they were all Irish if heard them on the radio! БНД I can’t even pronounce their name but ‘Boys From County Hell’ keeps up the high standard while The Humble Hooligans are a band I only got into recently and these Californians give Turkish Song of the Damned a right auld kicking complete with proper authentic moans and wails. Great accordion leads and Troy’s perfect vocals mark them out as a band to watch out for. Red Box from Russia again I don’t know but offer up a decent ‘If I Should Fall from Grace with God’ before Rum Rebellion from Portland, USA serve up an epic ‘Boat Train’. Been fans of these for a long time and they do not disappoint. Всё_CRAZY are from Belarus and their ‘My Baby’s Gone’ is another album highlight. Taken from the first post-Shane Pogues album Waiting For Herb it’s a brave choice and fits in and works perfectly. We are nearing the end of the album and the last band I know here is the marvellous Moscow Celtic Punks group Drunken Fairy Tales. Keep an eye out soon for the review of their new EP it’s both fantastic and free to download! Crow Dog Clan have another brave choice with ‘Oretown’ from the final (non-Shane) Pogues album Pogue Mahone. They take the song and give it a real shake to come up with something outstanding. Almost gothic country its actually great to hear something not so celtic. Finally the album comes to a sad end with Kozlobar from Russia bringing down the curtain on this amazing tribute with the mental instrumental ‘Battle of Brisbane’.

Well what to say now in summing up. With 27 bands you’d think their would at least be a few duffers here but you’d be mistaken. I’m sure if their were any they ended up on the cutting floor as from beginning to end the whole thing is simply fantastic. From the selection of bands to the bands own selection of songs this is as good as it could have possibly have mine. Yes this is kinda dominated by eastern European groups but it has been put together by a Russian guy and I for one am glad its not dominated by American bands. If celtic-punk exists and is to prosper beyond The Pogues/Dropkicks/Molly’s then it must also exist outside the countries of the Irish/celtic diaspora like the States, Canada, Australia or England. Compilations serve a purpose in introducing you to new bands and if there was a problem in celtic-punk it is that far too many people think the scene these days revolves solely around the Dropkicks or The Molly’s. I am sure this album will introduce everyone hearing it to today’s generation of bands that are carrying the torch for Shane and his buddies and not only that but will inspire another generation of fans as well.

Tracklist

1. The Cloves and The Tobacco feat. Cathy Shannon – Curse of Love
2. ShamRocks – Wild Unicorns of Kilkenny (Wild Cats of Kilkenny)
3. Dzieciuki – Не Саскочу! (Streams Of Whiskey)
4. Craicheads – Sally MacLennane
5. Craic Haus – A Pair of Brown Eyes
6. Happy Ol’ McWeasel – Sunny Side of the Street
7. Middle Class Bastards – Big City
8. O’Hamsters – Лiжко Кухулiна (The Sick Bed of Cuchulain)
9. Greenland Whalefishers – Birmingham Six
10. Kelush and the Bastards feat. Chris Dutchak – Fairytale of New York
11. Harley McQuinn – London Girl
12. Benjaming’s Clan – The House of Gods
13. Dirty Artichokes – The Rake at the Gates of Hell
14. Real Blackbeards – Пират и Колдун (Sea Shanty)
15. CRAIC – Sayonora
16. Troty – Butelka Smoke (Bottle of Smoke)
17. Forgotten Generation – Rain Street
18. Amach – Transmetropolitan
19. The Working Class Symphony – Fiesta
20. БНД – Boys From County Hell
21. The Humble Hooligans – Turkish Song of the Damned
22. Red Box – If I Should Fall from Grace with God
23. Rum Rebellion – Boat Train
24. Всё_CRAZY – Ты Ушла (My Baby’s Gone)
25. Drunken Fairy Tales – Плот “Медузы” (The Wake of the Medusa)
26. Crow Dog Clan – Oretown
27. Kozlobar – The Battle of Brisbane
So there you have it. Don’t forget to tell all your friends about it now! Share it with all you know and let the world enjoy this superb free compilation! And a happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day to you!!!
(you can listen to the entire record here for free by pressing play on the Bandcamp player below and follow the link below that to get the download)

Download The Album- Bandcamp

any problem with Bandcamp then you should try here)

EP REVIEW: ZUNAME- ‘Pipes Not Dead’ (2015)

Furious fast paced punk rock with bagpipes from Moscow.

Zuname- 'Pipes Not Dead' (2105)

The recent years have seen celtic-punk music pop up in very odd places that you wouldn’t imagine and it’s also true that it’s in some of these places that the celtic-punk scene is at its strongest. Russia may not spring to mind when you mention celtic-punk and this time last year I would have been in total agreement. Then I heard the fantastic Middle Class Bastards from St.Petersburg who romped away with the Best EP Of 2014 here and the absolutely brilliant compilation ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ which we reviewed here and also featured the band we are covering today Zuname from Moscow.

This is the fifth release from Zuname, three full albums and an EP have come before this their latest EP, ‘Pipes Not Dead’ and for anyone new to them they are in for a real treat. One of the earliest bands in Russia playing celtic music Zuname have pretty much influenced everyone that has come since and you can certainly see why on this recording.

Zuname band

Zuname left to right: Vadim – guitar, voxAndy – bagpipes, vox, Yarosh – guitar, vox, Santey – bass, vox, Simon – drums

Right from the off you get thrashy guitars, expertly played bagpipes and throaty rasping vocals. ‘Moscow’ begins this class EP and lets you know exactly where you’re standing. Band theme tune ‘Zuname’ is up next and is all over in just 90 seconds and is more of the same. Fast and furious and not unlike Middle Class Bastards in their approach to celtic-punk. The emphasis is on the punkier side of things but plenty here, if you got an open mind that is!, for your more folkier fans too. If most celtic-punk  bands aspire to be a combination of The Clash and The Dubliners then Zuname are more like a cross between The Exploited and Silly Wizard!!

‘Freedom’ is for me the standout track on the EP and shows that there is a lot more to Zuname than just just thrashing out. A real catchy tune with great piping and some fantastic vocals. With celtic-punk it’s sometimes those pint in the air moments that catch your attention and ‘Pipes Not Dead’ comes with plenty. ‘Music From The Heart’ is another classic and finally ‘Pirate Song’ brings the EP to a close with a modern day sea shanty that sails close to metal in places but we’ll not hold that against them! Over sixteen minutes long ‘Pipes Not Dead’ is also that rare creature in that it is a celtic-punk record that is not sung in English. We are anything but imperialist here at London Celtic Punks so it matters nothing to us what language bands sing in. Obviously for most bands to make any impact outside their home countries it’s understandable why bands would choose to sing in English but speaking for myself I would prefer it that bands sang in their native tongue BUT I also know that a lot of celtic-punk fans are fickle and sadly won’t give bands like Zuname a chance because of that.

Zuname logo

The EP was recorded thanks to three Russian DIY labels,including the bands own, Gigant Records, Distemper Records and Zuname Records and was produced by Denis Ivanov. Overall this album will greatly appeal to all fans of bagpipes in music and if you’re a fan of the popular Czech band Pipes And Pints then you will absolutely love this. Often the music in celtic-punk does struggle to get over the punk line in the sand but Zuname have no trouble and if it’s fast as hell, tuneful but hard punk rock with bagpipes that you like then you are going to love being a fan of these. The majority of their previous records are available for only a measly $1 or $2 only and even this their latest can be bought for just a single dollar… yes a single dollar it’s true! Bands like this deserve the fame and acclaim that normally gets heaped onto north American bands when all they have to do is pick up a mandolin let alone play it. I often find myself telling you to take a chance and step out of your comfort zone and try something new so let this month you check out the Russian band Zuname and I am even prepared to give them the London Celtic Punks seal of approval!

(you can listen to ‘Pipes Not Dead’ by simply clicking play on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy The EP

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LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
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.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014)  here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)  here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014)  here

TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015

No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

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 them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!

BEST GIGS

Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.

I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
 London Celtic Punks
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

ALBUM REVIEW: VARIOUS ARTISTS- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014)

tribute to the worlds most famous and popular celtic punk band The Dropkick Murphys. recorded by the best celtic, punk, hardcore and Oi! bands in Russia and Ukraine!

Ex-USSR tribute to The Dropkick Murphys

Hot on the heels of our recent review of the Russian band Middle Class Bastards new EP we return to the former Soviet Union for this compilation album from bands from Russia and Ukraine. Vladimir began work on the album back in the autumn of 2012 with over forty bands scheduled to appear. Well fast forward a couple of years and the list has been whittled down to eighteen bands with all but one from Russia and one band from Ukraine- our old favourites O’Hamsters from Ukraine. Unfortunately  Бостонское Чаепитие (in english Boston Tea Party) the only celtic/pirate punk band in Belarus had to drop out of the project.

As you would expect the album is dominated by celtic punk bands and several of these deserve to be internationally famous but other musical styles are represented too giving the album a real feel of what’s currently going on in the Russian/Eastern music scene.

The whole album is 18 tracks that runs for over fifty minutes and moves along at a rare old pace. The opening track is ‘Walk Away’ by Zuname one of the best and original celtic punk bands out of Moscow. thThe starting point is that these are brilliant songs to cover and most celtic-punk bands will have included one or two DKM’s songs in their live sets at some point so the songs are all pretty well recorded and played.  Zuname do a great job but is a shame that for a band with a piper they didn’t choose a song with pipes. Nevertheless a great opening. Assholes Syndicate next with ‘The Boys Are Back’. They hail from the same town in northern Russia as Middle Class Bastards and run through the song in a straight forward punk rock style. Not just yer standard cover the Assholes add plenty in and make the song their own. Great guitar work. Думай Сам up next with ‘Sunshine Highway’ and though its not one of the DKM’s strongest songs they give it a good shot. Next up is one of our favourites O'Hamsters O’Hamsters from Kiev in the Ukraine. The lads have appeared on these pages before and if there was an award for the best record sleeves then these lot would be a whole lot bigger than The Dropkick Murphys! They pick ‘The Dirty Glass’ and top marks for singing in their native language and as expected they knock it right out of the park. Featuring guest vocals from Maria Naumenko. Only six of the bands on the album sing in their own languages which is a shame but completely understandable really. Just wish it didn’t have to be and people were a bit more adventurous. FatalYear play ‘Noble’ and also sing in Russian and do a great job of one of my own DKM favourites.Middle Class Bastards Following is one my current scene favourites Middle Class Bastards playing ‘Your Spirit’s Alive’ and as I thought they play the bejaysus out of it. Mandolin and pipes kick the arse out of the song turning into a ska song halfway through with the brilliant inclusion of a trumpet before returning to celtic punk again. A classic! Track seven is from Kids Of The Street with ‘Road Of The Righteous’ with the early DKM Oi!/streetpunk classic. The vocals are a bit muffled otherwise a pretty decent job though the song inexplicably fades away far too early. Drunken Fairy TalesDrunken Fairy Tales play ‘Boys On The Dock’ and they are one of the better known celtic punk bands outside Russia. From Moscow they deserve that recognition and plough through their song with gusto. Riot Radio play a melodic hardcore version of ‘The Thick Skin Of Defiance’. The accordion is well to the fore in St Petersburgs  The Beerocephals version of ‘The Hardest Mile’. No matter how hard they try thrashing guitars can’t play louder than a well played accordion! One of the albums standouts is the Citramons ‘Never Alone’. Great guitar work and shouty dual vocals mark this  band from Kalingrad out. Another band who were pioneers of the scene in Russia are another St Petersburg band The Пауки (in english The Spiders) who run through ‘The Gauntlet’ without missing a beat though one quibble is the celtic instruments needed to be turned up a bit in the mix. Patronage get through ‘Barroom Hero’ and play it as if The Toy Dolls were covering it. Great stuff. TWIF up next and sail through ‘Boston Asphalt’ in a straightforward fast as hell punk rock style. Another band from Novribosibirsk is  Беz Фанатиzма (in english Without Fanaticism) with a speeded up version of ‘Pipebomb on Lansdowne’ the DKM’s would love to be able to play this fast if they could keep up. Real ShamrocksReal Shamrocks have a fiddle led version of  ‘Hang Em High’ and again the celtic instruments are a bit low in the mix at times but that doesn’t detract from the song that much as its another album standout track. City Stones do ‘World Full Of Hate’ as its original except in Russian. Квэкс get the pleasure of doing the Dropkicks most famous song ‘I’m Shipping Up to Boston’. Played to death throughout the world at sporting events it never loses its appeal and the boys do it great justice with what sounds like two pipes bring this album to a close in great style.

Well there you have it. A must have for any Dropkick Murphys fans. Its available for ‘Pay What You Want’ on Bandcamp but first you can grab a listen to it below anyway. We have tried to link to all the bands but its been hard so click on the red band name and hopefully it will take you to somewhere you can find out more information. As with all compilation albums its gonna be a hit and miss affair for most people with not all the tracks bound to move you but theres enough corkers here for you to give a go. Vladimir deserves a real pat on the back for this labour of love and it deserves to be heard. The scene in the ex-Soviet Union is small but growing and there’s some amazing bands so as usual I end with a plea to leave your comfort zone and check out some of these great bands.

Buy The Album

Name Your Price at Bandcamp

Previous Blog Reviews

Middle Class Bastards  O’Hamsters 

EP REVIEW: MIDDLE CLASS BASTARDS- ‘Rebel To The Core’ (2014)

Russian nuclear cooked mixture of Scotch whiskey, Irish temperament, celtic, folk and old school punk rock! 
AND FREE DOWNLOAD
Middle Class Bastards- 'Putin In The Charts Again' (2014)
Middle Class Bastards are for certain one of the most original bands in the celtic-punk scene at the moment and it will also not suprise me one bit that you’ll have never heard of them either. Tucked away in northern Russian in a city, Arkhangelsk, that streteches for over 25 miles along the northern Dvina river in an area that is most famous for its story telling and its folklore. The internet claims thats its a ‘dead art’ but we’ve heard that too many times to start believing it. Maybe this old artform is actually as dead as the thriving celtic languages of Cornish or Manx!
Middle Class Bastards were formed way back in 2006 by a group of mates who wanted to start playing good old fashioned punk rock. Many have passed through the band for them to end up where they are now. For most of the current line up the band was their first band but since then some of them have also side-projects mostly punk but Alexander and Dmitry play in a Russian traditional folk-punk band (I want to hear them as well please!) and MacGregor the bands piper also plays in a medieval metal folk band. So the band are doing their bit you could say to not only spread the celtic but also to keep alive their local traditions.
Middle Class Bastards Left to right: Roman - mandolin, Denis - bass, Alexander - guitar, McGregor - bagpipe, Vitaliy - drums, Dmitry - trumpet, Andrew - vocal, Kirill - naked balls!

Middle Class Bastards
Left to right: Roman – mandolin, Denis – bass, Alexander – guitar, McGregor – bagpipe, Vitaliy – drums, Dmitry – trumpet, Andrew – vocal, Kirill – naked balls!

Now onto the music. Way back at the start of this review I called Middle Class Bastards “one of the most original bands in the celtic-punk scene” so heres to explain why. Recently we have covered a lot of purely folk music. Not been intended its just what I been listening to. Then I came across this and fecking hell its blows any folk cob-webs away. Most celtic-punk bands sound like any combination of The Clash,The Dubliners and The Pogues but these guys take after a much better era of punk and play what use to be called UK82 style punk rock, most famously played by Scots rockers The Exploited. The music started as a working class subculture right across the estates of Britain. Punk before this was the preserve of the public schoolboy and its pretensions were obvious to all. UK82 shook the music scene. Its not easy listening but I grew up on this stuff so I love it to bits. Middle Class Bastards take UK82 and the anger and angression and infuse it with the spirit of the celtic nations. MacGregor the piper is proud to be actually descended from a Scottish regiment’s warrior who arrived in Arkhangelsk in the years of the Russian Civil War 1918-1920. I guess that makes them a celtic celtic-punk band dont you think?
first album from 2013 'Russian By Birth, Celtic By Heart'

first album from 2013
‘Russian By Birth, Celtic By Heart’

Anyroad 0n with the music and the five track EP starts with ‘Putin In The Charts Again’ and the classic UK82 guitar sound kicks it off but then the mandolin and pipes join and when Andrew starts his tirade against Putin you’re certainly in celtic-punk territory but not sure how many of you will be able to hack it here with me! The Rancid style vocals fit perfectly and even though they sing in English its delivered immaculately and its easily understood despite the speed they’re playing at. A trumpet only adds to the enjoyment and ‘Rebel To The Core’ that follows is a bit more of a traditional punk rock song sounding a bit more American than the rest of the EP. Starting with a snippet from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest the mandolin dominates the sound though and i have to say that the EP is mixed perfectly with all the instruments as clear as a bell. ‘Cop Land’ is yer classic anti-cop song and as we know the Russian police take no prisoners so we can’t blame the boys for taking this opportunity to get one back on them. The EP’s standout track it really showcases all the strands of the band coming together perfectly from the great vocals and catchy lyrics to superb mando and piping and the trumpet adding that extra bit of originality too but the rest of the band contribute greatly. The other great enemy in Russia is swiftly up next and ‘Politicunts (Deserve The Boot)’ is yet another beauty with McGregor’s piping out front while Andrew puts the boot in! ‘Boston Hospitality’ is more of the same and is an ode to Boston and its Irish roots. Catchy as hell and a great singalong chorus bring this fecking brilliant EP to a close.

There are a few other notable bands in Russia flying the celtic-punk flag, most famous are Zuname and Drunken Fairytales from Moscow and The Pauki and Garlic Kings from St.Petersburg. Middle Class Bastards live too far away to have played with them so having grown up on their own they have developed sound all of their own so unusually for me in one of my reviews I haven’t been able to compare them to anyone. Its great fun and boy I bet their something else to catch live. This band deserves your support so help them out any way you can. You can start by downloading for free this EP. Link is at the bottom of the page. I just got their debut album from last year with the great title ‘Russian By Nature, Celtic By Heart’ and after a couple of plays its already grown on me! A superb band that maybe wont appeal to any one of a folk nature but take a chance on them anyway and why not. Celtic-punk is all about taking those traditional tunes and instruments and attitudes and taking them to new places and these bhoys from the cold north of Russia have certainly done that.

Contact The Band

on the Russian version of facebook VK.com or their brand new (as of yesterday!) facebook page here

Download The EP
Bandcamp

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