Tag Archives: O’Hamsters

ALBUM REVIEW: O’HAMSTERS – From Green Hills To Raging Sea (2022)

Delayed, delayed and delayed again the fourth album from O’Hamsters, Celtic-Punk band from Kyiv, Ukraine, finally sees the light of day. Not even a full-scale Russian invasion can stop Celtic-Punk! Ireland, women, alcohol, football hooligans, pirates and genitalia, reflections on the Ukrainian-Russian war, the brotherhood and unity of the Celtic-Punk scene and a daring story of prisoners’ escape from jail all feature on this great album. 

The release of From Green Hills To Raging Sea has been on the cards for a while now. First along came the Covid pandemic and then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. With no end to the war in sight O’Hamsters have decided to put the album out and raise awareness of the invasion and to raise money for HMV.UA, a group of volunteers lead by friend of the band Alex Sedov who aid the Ukrainian army. One of the many tragedies around the war in Ukraine is that the first time I heard of O’Hamsters was on the compilation album Ex-USSR Tribute To Dropkick Murphys, which featured eighteen Celtic, Punk, Celtic-Punk, Hardcore and Oi! bands from Russia and Ukraine. The album is still available for free download and is heartily recommended. So their existed a very friendly relationship between bands from both countries and whatever happens in the future I really hope that this friendly relationship can survive.

From left to right: Anton Skvortsov (top, looking somewhere far away) – vocals, acoustic guitar *  Ruslan Viter (bottom) – guitars, backing vocals * Andriy Ganzevych (top) – mandolin, whistle, backing vocals * Volodymyr Mazur (bottom) – accordion, piano, backing vocals * Denys Zhukowsky (top) – drums, backing vocals * Maksym Sokolov (bottom) – bass, backing vocals

O’Hamsters have been together for twelve years and have well over 200 gigs under their belts from playing across Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Belarus. Their previous releases include Alcophilosophy (2011), Kyiv /Dublin /Alcohol (2014)2014 and Wherever We Go (2017) and two EP’s Sassenach, Go On Home (2010) and Kiss My Irish Ass (2015) as well as contributing songs to the compilation albums Ex-USSR Tribute To Dropkick Murphys (2013), see above, and the Worldwide Tribute to The Pogues (2016).

The album begins with ‘Cath Ghleann Molúra’ and the rat-a-tat-rat beat soon explodes into full on accordion led Punk slammer. From the first notes you get the idea of where O’Hamsters are going and its great! The tune is dedicated to the Battle of Glenmalur from 1580, when a united army of Irish clans defeated the English army in the mountains of Wicklow setting the mood for the rest of the album. They have in the past sung mainly in their own language but on ‘Black Sails’, their first video in almost five years, it is also the first time they have sung in English. Dating from five years ago it shows how long the planning for this album has been and tells of the fate of James McGraw aka Captain Flint, renowned pirate from the book Treasure Island and the 2014 television series Black Sails.

“As a kid you dreamed of leaving a port town you’ve grown up in 
And you saw yourself a captain like your dad has always been 
Years later you are smiling, standing firmly on the deck 
Famous storm of seas and oceans sailing under the black flag”

Both the lyrics and the context of the songs and adjoining history is superb and instilled with meaning.  ‘Пісенька про Капітана Бена Лаферті / Captain Ben Lafferty Song’ is a song of two halves kicking off as a mental instrumental before bursting into the story of a brave seaman. Anton on vocals has a voice that rivals Ronnie Drew himself for its gruffness. Ronnie was once described as having a voice “like the sound of coke being crushed under a door” and Anton is not far behind! For a band that rocks so heavily Irish Folk melodies still play an enormous part in everything they do and ‘До Ірландії / To Ireland’  tells of an Irish rebel dying in Brixton Prison who asks of the priest who comes to hear his confession if his soul will have one last journey to Ireland. It’s an unusual song here in that it is quite mellow but filled with symbolism. ‘September’56’ features Eugene Tymchyk, vocalist from Ukrainian bands Septa, The Nietzsche and others. It is no surprise that the war dominates this album and O’Hamsters borrow from the Irish rebel songbook next with a updated Celtic-PUNK version of ‘Mій Армалайт / My Little Armalite’ with a Ukrainian fighter taking on the Russian army with the help of his Armalite rifle. Next up is ‘Rocky Road to Odesa’, a song recorded originally by a O’Hamsters side project. ‘Пагорби Дніпра / Dnipro Hills’ springs along spiritedly almost Ska-ish at times but most definitely catchy as hell at all times in a love song to their home city! Finny McConnell has been a busy man of late popping up on these pages in the last few weeks guesting on the recent Paddy Waggin’ single ‘Life On The Booze’ and then when his band The Mahones released their outstanding album Jameson Street last month. Here he is again guesting on vocals for the next song here, ‘Together As One’. The song is one of the albums highlights and was the second single to come out. The video is a tribute to everyone who has supported O’Hamsters over the years. Former members, bands they have played with, the fans and crew.

“In these difficult times, when an army of barbarians is trying to conquer Ukraine, it is more important than ever for us to be Together As One”

Like us O’Hamsters see the link between football and Celtic-Punk and ‘За Свій Клуб / For Your Club’ is for everyone who fights for their team. Lots of “Oi! Oi!” gang vocals and another standout. This is so bloody catchy!! ‘Пеггі Летермор / Peggie Lettermore’ short but fast tune telling of a man whose life was made a misery by the aforementioned Peggie. The fiddle here is played by ex-O’Hamster Dmytro Danov. Like many European countries many, many people left their homes for an uncertain future in north America and elsewhere. Over a million Americans declare themselves of Ukrainian descent many of whose ancestors arrived escaping from ‘the red terror’ after the events of 1917. My industrial home town in northern England, like many others nearby, has a thriving Ukrainian Centre for example. ‘Наш Дім / Our Home’ is the story of those Ukrainian immigrants who sailed West to start new lives. The curtain comes down on Green Hills To Raging Sea with‘П’яний Скрипаль / Drunken Fiddler’ featuring Anatoliy Khomenko of fellow Ukrainian Celtic-Punk band ShamRocks on fiddle. A uttely superb way to end things witha swirling heavy but gentle (!) Celtic-Punk pint (or fist?) in the air moment. Speaking of nostalgia for youth, friends that have left us and music that is capable of creating utter joy. A time for unity and a time to contemplate what these poor guys are going through at this exact moment in time.

The album was recorded during March 2021 – September 2022 at PystelnukArt Studio, Kyiv. It was mixed and mastered by Dmytro Bastanov and the excellent artwork is from Oleksii Demianiuk. I’ve always loved O’Hamsters partly because of the uncompromising way they refuse to soften their sound and stick to their principals of playing it loud and proud. These are extremely talented musicians and capable of playing Irish-Folk that would make any homegrown band swoon. What these Folk-Punk folk, and the rest of their nation, are going through at the moment we can only imagine but we send our love and best wishes to them and while it may sound like some kind of ‘worthy’ review but this is seriously a contender for album of the year. I guess that’s what recording it for four years does!

(You can stream / download From Green Hills To Raging Sea from Bandcamp)

Buy From Green Hills to Raging Sea  Bandcamp

Contact O’Hamsters  Facebook  Soundcloud  YouTube

I’ll leave the final word to the band themselves

As for our plans – right now most of the plans of most Ukrainians look like this: survive and win. That includes us 🙂 We constantly ask for support for our army, which gives us the opportunity to make music. You can do this following the links below

https://savelife.in.ua/en/donate-en/ 

https://prytulafoundation.org/en/home/support_page 

https://linktr.ee/hmvua 

ODDS’N’SODS. A CELTIC-PUNK ROUND UP NOVEMBER 2022

2022 is nearly over and hasn’t it gone quickly blah, blah, blah. But it has hasn’t it? November already and almost time to raise a beer to the freedom fighter Guy Fawkes. The only person to enter parliament with good intentions!

A brand new Odds’n’Sods round-up of all this months Celtic-Punk entertainment from the scene’s bands big and small, established or just starting out.

Irish sensation (that’s the only word possible!) THE MARY WALLOPERS released their debut album a couple of days ago. The self titled album is eleven songs and forty minutes and is a collection of both unusual and rare and a some pretty well worn covers but brought to life in the unique Wallopers way.  Looking forward to them visiting London in December as they head off on a major tour of the UK and Ireland.

We often repeat the mantra that Celtic-Punk man cannot live by Dropkick Murphys alone but we are as guilty as anyone with being obsessed with them! With their new album out a month now here’s the guys with a short eleven minute set recorded live at The Boch Center Wang Theatre by the The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.

During the recording Ken mentions the new video they filmed of ‘The Last One’ that features Evan Felker of TURNPIKE TROUBADOURS who will be supporting the Murphys in Boston on March 16.

In case you missed them we recently had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of Dropkick Murphys with ex-member Marc Orrell and drummer Matt Kelly gracing these pages.

We featured MADIGAN’S WAKE and their debut single last month and here is their follow up a song written after the night terrors and they can be added to the list of great Aussie Celtic-Punk bands in my head! Available on Spotify or to pre-order.

Ukrainian band O’HAMSTERS have a 13-track album out soon and available for download as a pre-order from Bandcamp for $7. A band we have followed for a few years always great music and we look forward to more. All money raised from this album pre-order will go to HMV.UA – the team of volunteers headed by our friend Alex Sedov helping the army of Ukraine.

Another band we have been huge fans of over the years is ZUNAME Punk-Rock with bagpipes from Moscow. They just released a new album as well called Vertigo. Their fifth album and is on all streaming platforms  https://band.link/vertigo. Recording of Vertigo began four years ago and events since then no one could have ever foreseen so they decided to stop postponing the release again and again and hope it will give folk the strength to get through these hard times and the best way for the band to support you.

The Black Tartan Clan were onew of the best and most popular Celtic-Punk bands in Europe with their McKenzies-ish bagpipe heavy Scots Celtic Rock’n’Roll so we were all saddened to hear they were non more but they re-surfaced and began life again as THE BLACK TARTANS and have been recording and playing live. They have a new song called ‘F’Corona’.

Even as this is ready to publish I’m still adding to it and THE MULLINS from the South of France have a new album, Gold In Our Hands, that I am writing the review to at the moment. It’s a cracking 40+ minutes of uptempo Celtic Punk’n’Roll I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime here’s the latest single from the album.

This is an incredible live performance from French Celtic-Punk band CelKILT recorded live at this years Hellfest Open Air Festival in Clisson, France. Fifty glorious minutes!!

Great video from the Horslips influenced THE POXMEN. Formed in the bogs of Donegal thousands of years ago and recently ventured out into the cold modern air, with a bag of songs and a wheelbarrow full of instruments. Fuelled by Poitín, mushrooms and spuds, roaring and shouting and singing and playin, about the horses, the wee folk, the witches, the turf, the thunder and lightnin’, and the silver tractors of ancient times.

Not quite a new video from SWAINN but I only just rediscovered it so here it is again. It is from their awesome Under A Willow Tree album which we did review last year.

Brilliant Argentinian Celtic-Punk band RAISE MY KILT were on the telly last week. It’s all in Spanish of course but there’s a wee interview and the music starts about a minute in. They have 2 (two!) pipers!!!

Kings of Cow-Punk PRONGHORN still out there entertaining the masses in the South-West of England. This is them with an old traditional Ukrainian Folk song just a few days ago as I’m writing this.

THE REAL McKENZIES – Songs Of The Highlands, Songs Of The Sea

THE MAHONES – Jameson Street

MARCUS MUMFORD – (self-titled)

ZUNAME – Vertigo

MAN THE LIFEBOATS – Soul Of Albion

ZECKYBOYS – Dirty Brands (reviewed last week)

THE MULLINS – Gold In Our Hands (review coming!)

THE MARY WALLOPERS – The Mary Wallopers

Remember we can’t review it if we don’t hear it!

We’ve been doing this now for nearly 10 years and in that time we have covered 100’s of bands and musicians but still plenty of bands have passed us by. We can’t see everything after all so this column is to remind us of bands that never made these pages at the time but deserve another mention. These hopefully come with a free download like today so you can help yourself to some free music. DOOZER McDOOZE is a singer songwriter from Essex with a passion to play everywhere and anywhere! This is his debut album from 2014 but look a little closer and all his music is available for ‘name your price’ download from Bandcamp. In a download world of media solitude, Doozer likes to give music back to the people. He has a new single out now ‘Pirate Captain‘ and as usual if you can afford to leave him enough for a Guinness or two as a tip please do so.

The BIBLECODE SUNDAYS are at the Powerhaus in Camden (formerly Dingwalls) on Saturday November 5th. NEW MODEL ARMY play 3 Christmas dates ending at the Roundhouse starting on the 10th. SHEELANAGIG play groove heady traditional folk and have quite the following and play November 18 at their regular haunt in Brixton, the Hootananny. An interesting night in store on Decem,ber 15 with both THE SCRATCH and THE MARY WALLOPERS playing in Camden (mad I know!) so if you’re stuck check out our preview, One Night In Camden,  to help you make your mind up which way to jump on the day itself! DROPKICK MURPHYS have announced THE RUMJACKSPENNYWISE and JESSE AHEARNE as support for their Euro tour starting in Jan. One for the diary now and DAMIEN DEMPSEY is back at the Electric Ballroom in Camden the day after St. Patrick’s day which means he’ll probably be at the St. Patrick’s Parade in the afternoon though that is now shite and I promised myself I would never go again after last years abomination!

If you like what we do then you can support us by checking out our online store. The Harp’n’Bones design is back in all sizes and on black or white shirts. Also we have new polo shirts, in all sizes, and some nifty woolly hats as well as the Green’n’White ‘Skully Cap’ ringer shirts. Click the link below for the full range of all our other tatt. Shirts, badges, stickers, flags, CD’s and fridge magnets all the discerning Celtic-Punk fan could ever need! Help keep Punk Celtic! https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

It’s been great watching MAN THE LIFEBOATS career and we played ever such a tiny tiny part in it having put them on a couple of times but they truly are a great band. Funny, fast and raucous Folk-Punk with a few Celtic style flourishes. We’d call them Celtic-Punk though I doubt they would themselves still whatever they are their new album is tremendous. 11 songs but check out the first couple of songs here for an idea of the scope of their songs.

London Celtic Punks north-American writer Ray has a new EP out with his band RAVENSWALK out for Halloween. All-Hallows is 5 songs of his typical eclectic taste with spirited versions of  Echo And The Bunnymen, The Rocky Horor Picture Show among 2!

RADARNA were founded by Rikard Falk after joining forces with José Miguel Martinez to write their debut album. With all the artists living in different countries live shows are unlikely to happen but they continue to record and just released a 3-track EP of FINNTROLL inspired Folk-Metal.

Accomplished multi-instrumentalist DAMIEN O’NEILL of legendary bands The Undertones and That Petrol Emotion has a solo project and has just released his third album, a collection of largely instrumental tracks, mixed by veteran producer Paul Tipler. The title ‘an crann’ is Irish for ‘The Tree’, a symbol of growth and inspiration.

I don’t know much about TIM LOUD except some people whose musical taste I respect are huge fans of his. He describes his new release as “These are some tunes I wrote for what was going to be an album but now it won’t be”. It’s available as a ‘name your price’ download via Bandcamp.

The re-released and re-mixed second album from DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS (now just to be called DEXY’S) Too-Rye-Aye from 1982 is out now on vinyl, CD, download and a beautiful 3 disc box set packed with extras. I have compared it to the original and yes it is much improved. It’s down with the treble and strip back the echo and give Kevin Rowland’s vocals room to breathe. As my mate said “it’s like they have taken off the polish and added wood stain”.

Finnish Celtic flavoured Punk band THE LORETTA PROBLEM have a new single Green ‘n Gray out in a couple of weeks. Expect a feature here of this fantastic innovative band.

Facebook is rubbish and I can’t wait to see it fold. It has a stranglehold on all forms of expression that is not good and it’s no surprise to see people leaving in droves. Don’t despair though if you are one of them as you can keep up with London Celtic Punks posts via group on the phone app Telegram. Similar to What’s App but completely free from outside interference. Join us on Telegram, don’t miss a single post and even receive the odd exclusive and special offer! https://t.me/londoncelticpunks/

Well we have been blown away by the response to the new London Celtic Punk badge. Not surprising really as they are so bloomin’ gorgeous. Just about the nicest bit of merchandise in Celtic-Punk if you ask me! Comes with butterfly clip and made in Ireland (Guaranteed Irish!) It’s available for just £5 – UK and £7 – EU post-paid and we’ll throw in a few stickers and a button badge too. For further overseas contact us and we’ll work it out. Send to Paypal (friends & family) to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk

Even though we hate it Facebook does supply the (very) occasional ray of sunshine so a shout out to some good friends of ours over on Facebook. The Dropkick Murphys- Fan Page and the Celtic Punk,  Folk And Rock Fans are two of the best music forums on FB let alone Celtic-Punk. Ran By Fans For Fans just like you and me. Like and join in the fun!

Finally a message to bands. Its Christmas soon (yes I know!) and if you are planning on doing a Christmas release then be sure to get the details to us by the beginning of December. Last year we could hardly keep up so give us a chance folks!

A reminder too that we need your news so anything you would like to share with the rest of the Celtic-Punk scene send it onto us.

If you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Bands, promoters, record labels, venues send in any news to londoncelticpunks@hotmail.co.uk or via the Contact Us page.

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2017!

Yes I know it only seems like five minutes since the last one but it’s that time of year again when we give you, for what it’s worth, our opinion on who made the best music in the celtic-punk scene over 2017. It’s been another outstanding year for the music that we all love and some truly fantastic records came out in the last twelve months. So read on to find out who came #1! Remember though this is only our opinion and these thirty album’s are only the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year. 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…

1. FLATFOOT 56 (Chicago)- ‘Odd Boat’  here

2. THE TOSSERS (Chicago)- ‘Smash The Windows’  here

3. THE BIBLECODE SUNDAYS (London) – ‘Walk Like Kings’  here
4. THE PEELERS (Canada)- ‘Palace Of The Fiend’ here
5. FEROCIOUS DOG (England)- ‘Red’  here

6. BLACK WATER COUNTY (England)- ‘Taking Chances’  here

7. THE O’REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS (Germany)- ‘Sign of the Fighter’  here

8. IN FOR A PENNY (USA)- ‘One More Last Hurrah’ here

9. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS (Brittany)- ‘Breizh Anok’  here

10. MATILDA’S SCOUNDRELS (England)- ‘As The Tide Turns’  here

11. KILMAINE SAINTS (USA)- ‘Whiskey Blues & Faded Tattoos’  here

12. ORTHODOX CELTS (Serbia)- ‘Many Mouths Shut’  here

13. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS (Italy)- ‘Handmade’  here

14. THE SILK ROAD (England)- ‘S/T’ here 

15. FLOGGING MOLLY (USA)- ‘Life Is Good’  here

16. THE LUCKY PISTOLS (USA)- ‘Where The Orioles Fly’  here

17. THE REAL McKENZIES (Canada)- ‘Two Devils Will Talk’  here

18. DRUNKEN DOLLY (Netherlands)- ‘Alcoholic Rhapsody’ here

19. CASSIDY’S BREWERY (Serbia)- ‘One Brew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’  here

20. THE MOORINGS (France)- ‘Unbowed’ here

21. CRAIC (USA)- ‘Sounds Of Vandemark’  here

22. JOLLY JACKERS (Hungary)- ‘Blood Sweat and Beer’ here

23. THE SCARLET (Hungary)- ‘Hardfolk Shanties’ here

24. THE DISTILLERY RATS (Germany)- ‘Tales From County Whiskey’ here

25. CELKILT (France)- ‘Stand’ here

26. DROPKICK MURPHYS (Boston)- ’11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory’  here

27. O’HAMSTERS (Ukraine)- ‘Где бы мы ни бывали’  here

28. SONS OF O’FLAHERTY (Brittany)- ‘The Road Not Taken’  here

29. THE BABES (London)- ‘Greetings From London’  here

30. CHEERS! (Czech Republic)- ‘Daily Bread’ here

Just bubbling under:

THE TEMPLARS OF DOOM (USA), GHOSTTOWN COMPANY (Germany) McSCALLYWAG (Netherlands)

No surprise here at all as all four admins voted #1 for Flatfoot 56 and their utterly brilliant ninth album. Not only that but we also all gave second spot to The Tossers, making it a Chicago #1 and #2! The year began with news of two new Dropkick Murphys albums coming but we only got the one and it met with, well quite a muted response to be honest. Saying that they were fantastic live and they certainly added a new dimension to these new songs when played in the flesh. The list leans heavy towards the bands from these shores it has to be said but it was always going to be with bands we get to see live regularly. It’s especially fitting to see The Bible Code Sundays in there too. In a year when every ‘big’ celtic-punk band released an album the competition was great so well done to all. Keep them coming. If you are not here then it just means we didn’t all agree or even all hear it and maybe we didn’t receive it too. The amount of debut albums from loads of these bodes well for both the scene here and internationally with a great mix of bands from thirteen countries.

BLACK WATER COUNTY- ‘Taking Chances’

This was a very hard category to fill with so many new bands arriving on the celtic-punk scene this past year. Soooo many to choose from but in the end we pumped for our very own Black Water County who just pipped Cassidy’s Brewery and In For A Penny to the title!

1. BLACK ANEMONE (Sweden)- ‘In It For Life’  here

2. RAIN IN SUMMER (Indonesia)- ‘Discordant Anthem From The Gutter’  here

3. IN FOR A PENNY (USA)- ‘Every Day Should be Saint Paddy’s Day’  here

4. THE BOTTLERS (Australia)- ‘The Bottlers’  (here)

5. BLACK RAWK DOG (Indonesia)- ‘Suburban’s Folk Stories’  here

6. BogZH CELTIC CATS! (Brittany)- ‘Kazh al Lagenn’  here

7. THE CRAZY ROGUES (Hungary)- ‘Rebels’ Shanties’  here

8. THE McMINERS (Brazil)- ‘Tales of Betrayal and Deceit’  here

9. BORN AGAIN HEATHENS (USA)- ‘Born Again Heathens’  here

10. THE DEAD MAGGIES (Australia)- ‘Wild Dogs And Flannies’  here

Stand out winner here from Sweden’s Black Anemone which none of us were sure was either a big EP or a small album so we gave it the benefit of the doubt and placed it in here. Outstanding! Two representatives of Indonesia’s fantastic celtic-punk scene made up for no album releases from there last year and one band from a Celtic nation with the BogZH Celtic Cats! The Bottlers sneak in as they only sent it to us the week before Christmas. Glad they did though.

1. DECLAN O’ROURKE- ‘Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine’  (here)

2. ShamROCKS- ‘Ye Ould Chariot’ EP  (here)

3. CRIKWATER- ‘Crikwater’  (here)

4. BEOGA- ‘Before We Change Our Mind’

5. FOLLOW THE CROWS- ‘West is East’ EP  (here)

6. PLASTIC PADDY- ‘Lucky Enough’  (here)

7. DAMIEN DEMPSEY- ‘Soulson’

8. GALLEY BEGGAR- ‘Heathen Hymns’  (here)

9. I DRAW SLOW- ‘Turn Your Face To The Sun’

10. ANTO MORRA- ‘From The Vaults’

Absolutely no question who romped home here. from the first time I ever heard Declan O’Rourke’s monumental album Chronicles Of The Great Irish Famine I was simply blown away. I simply cannot recommend it enough. Go and acquire a copy now. A mix of folk and trad makes up the rest of the list with a special mention for Ukrainian band ShamROCKS who play Irish folk as if they were naturals! We would like to feature more trad and folk on these pages in the future hopefully. Also Vince Cayo had a fecking brilliant album but was neither celtic-punk nor folk. Was tempted to make a separate list just for him!

MERSEY CELT PUNKS

This use to be the Celtic Folk Punk And More Best Celtic Punk Web-Site award so often did they use to win but last year it went to the new kid on the block, our good mates over at Mersey Celt Punks. Well we were in a bit of a quandary about who would win this week but then in the last few weeks of the year the Mersey Bhoys upped their game and won a unanimous vote. They finally started to use their Web-Site (here) and published a whole host of great reviews and things like a events/gig section. You can also join in their fun and games at Twitter and Facebook and we heartily recommend you do.

So there you go. Remember we don’t pretend to be the final word on things in fact if you check the other celtic-punk media I’m sure we’ve all come up with relatively different lists. Our Best Of’s are cajoled and bullied out of the four admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The assorted scraps of paper and beer mats were then tallied up over several pints of Guinness in Mannions. Not all of us heard the same albums so like all Best Of’s ours is subjective.

CARLTON HUNT

Of course we cannot go any further without mention of the saddest news of the year. That of the passing of Carlton , the drummer of The Bible Code Sundays. A friend of London Celtic Punks and an absolute diamond stand up guy he will be forever sadly missed by all who met him. We are grateful To Ronan for penning a few words for him.

We lost Carlton on 3rd November 2017 unexpectedly and it has left a massive hole in our family. Carlton joined The BibleCode Sundays some twelve years ago when we were still called Slainte.

His work ethic was second to none, he even dragged us into the studio to record our first CD, he did a lot of pushing in the early days and the Lord knows we needed it!

He was always the first to say yes to any gig, whether it was a small Irish pub like The Old Crown in Hayes or The Shawl or whether it was some of our bigger gigs. Over the years we played some fantastic gigs and venues, such as The Royal Albert Hall, New York’s Beacon Theatre, The House of Blues in Boston, Shepherds Bush Empire, The Roundhouse, Glasgow Barrowlands, Indigo at The O2, Glastonbury Festival, Finsbury Park, London Irish, on the pitch at Twickenham Stadium and at Celtic Park (the night Celtic beat Barcelona). We’ve played with Elvis Costello, The Dropkick Murphys, The Wolfetones, John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd, the Saw Doctors and he even got to realise a dream when we shared a stage with Thin Lizzy. They were minus legends Phil Linnot and Gary Moore but this mattered not to Carlton, his hero Brian Downey was still behind the drums. Carlton got to meet his idol and even got some Thin Lizzy drumsticks as souvenir, he was like an excited little kid that night. We did TV appearances on Sky Sports, BT Sport and even a live St Patrick’s Day performance on BBC’s The One Show.

We got to travel around on trips and tours all around the UK and Ireland as well as Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA to mention a few. This was all just topping up the stamps on his passport that he had accrued in his days with Bad Manners, Feast of Fiddles and The Melody Fakers and many more as he spent so many years on the London Irish music scene.

Not many would know that he also wrote poetry and song lyrics, they are very clever with pun-tastic wordplay and generally came out sounding like Bernard Cribbins songs with titles like ‘Breakfast Epiphanies’ or the Brighton-themed song ‘All Things Brighton Beautiful’. He used to always say

“I try to be serious but the humour always takes over”

He did, however, manage to pen two of the best songs on our latest album, he was very proud of his songs ‘Disorganised Crime’ and the beautiful ‘Clouds’. Drummers writing songs?! Whatever next?! He truly was the engine room of the band, a quiet and gentle man off stage who turned into a one man wrecking ball when he was sat behind his drum kit.

Things will never be the same without him but he would want us to and we will carry on making music and playing his songs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on drums.. Mr Carlton Hunt

This is the 5th year of us making these lists so if you would like to check out out who was where in our previous Best Of’s then just click on the link below the relevant year.

We are not alone in doing these Best Of lists in fact all the major players in celtic-punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.

CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE

FOLK’N’ROCK

PADDYROCK

MERSEY CELT PUNKS

SHITE’n’ONIONS

MacSLONS IRISH RADIO

CELTICPUNK.PL

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

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2018

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)
Download The Album
Contact The Band
For another review from our comrades over at Celtic Folk Punk And More read 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!

FREE DOWNLOAD!

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 disheveled 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 usual 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 Punk 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)

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…

EP REVIEW: O’HAMSTERS- ‘Kiss My Irish Ass’ (2015)

Drink, Feck, Fight, Ireland!

O'Hamsters

With the London Celtic Punks gang on tour in Dublin for this last St Patricks Day we missed the bunch of releases that all came out on the glorious 17th so we are now slowly slowly working our way through them for you. One of the best of the bunch is this four track EP from the Ukrainian celtic-punk band O’Hamsters, hailing from Kiev. With a bunch of solid releases, both albums and EP’s, behind them they have risen to the top of their scene and have been recognised by those in the know as one of the best bands around.

O'Hamsters1

The EP starts off with ‘Kiss My Irish Ass’ a cover of the classic celtic-punk standard written by Frank Mackey of the American band The Keltic Cowboys. Starting off slowly before thrashy guitars and celtic instruments, a wee ska bit and growly lead vocals and shouty gang choruses storm in and set the pace for rest of the EP.

“We’re stubborn as mules, with our blood on fire,
When we ain’t at Sunday mass
We’ll look any man straight in his eyes
and say “kiss my Irish ass,
you better kiss my Irish ass”

but don’t expect to be able to follow any of the song’s as its all sang in Ukrainian. Not that I mind and I for one applaud them for that. Too many bands sing in English including ones from the celtic nations so it makes for a refreshing change to hear a band singing in their native language. So with it impossible to judge them from their lyrics we have to judge them on their music and luckily for us the rest of the EP is just as worthy with much the same formula as ‘Kiss My Irish Ass’ with tin whistles, fiddles and accordion competing but never smothered by the sometimes loud electric guitars. The final track sounds reminiscent somewhat to me of the great Breton celtic-punk band Les Ramoneurs De Menhirs with a Breton sounding fiddle dominating and female vocals.

O'Hamsters

All in all yet another great record from a great band and, like a lot of Eastern European bands, they have made it available for free download. You can also go to their Bandcamp page and download all their previous records as well. O’Hamsters have gone a long way with their music but it would be a awful shame if they didn’t get the popularity they deserve simply because they sing in a language other than English for they deserve to be fecking massive!!

(click play below to hear the entire record)

Contact The Band

Facebook  Bandcamp  Soundcloud  LastFM  YouTube  VK.Com

Download This Album

Here  

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

Tribute album to the worlds most famous and popular Celtic-Punk band The Dropkick Murphys. Recorded by the best Celtic, Punk, Hardcore and Oi! bands from Russia and Ukraine!

Ex-USSR tribute to The Dropkick MurphysHot 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: O’HAMSTERS- ‘Celtic Crew’ (2013)

O'Hamsters1

A couple of weeks ago we reviewed the new LP from A Pint Of Stout and now here’s the latest recordings from the Ukraine’s only other celtic-punk band and big Celtic supporters O’Hamsters. Coming from the capital Kiev they’ve so far released one studio, one mini-album and one live album and now this their new 3-track EP ‘Celtic Crew’.

O'Hamsters6The first track is ‘Celtic Crew’ and starts off with a sample of that wee lad leading the singing at Celtic Park before  flying off into fast as feck manic Irish folk punk. The croaky vocals and drumming give it a proper punk feel but accordion and tin whistle keep it firmly in celtic-punk. The lyrics are sung in Ukrainian so anyone out there who can translate them please do… though I’m 100% certain their complimentary!

The following tracks (that I can’t pronounce) are all in the same vein so no disappointments here!

O'Hamsters5You can download the EP from Soundcloud here for as little as a quid so get on it and have a listen to their other records too while you’re there. Just like Pint Of Stout they have made their previous releases free to download so get them all but remember to chuck them at least a pound for the new one. you’ll not be regret it!

Check Out O’Hamsters:

Facebook  Soundcloud  You-Tube  Last FM

O’HAMSTERS LIVE VIDEO

%d bloggers like this: