Tag Archives: Pipes And Pints

ALBUM REVIEW: PIPES AND PINTS- ‘The Second Chapter’ (2019)

One of the best known, most popular and most travelled bands in the the Celtic-Punk scene Pipes And Pints from Czech Republic are back with their third album and a radically different sound!

Pipes And Pints are definitely one of the better known Celtic-Punk bands around so it was a bit of a shock when I sat down to do this review that I realised The Second Chapter is actually only their third album release. Their debut album Until We Die coming out in 2009 and the follow up Lost And Found in 2012. So what have the Bhoys been doing during that time? Well the answer is of course touring. One of the busiest bands in the scene a moment never seemed to pass at one point that I don’t see a tour poster packed with Pipes And Pints dates invading my FB timeline. They even made it over to these shores a few times with performances at Rebellion festival and a rather unfortunate (but still pretty damn amazing!) St. Patrick’s Day London Celtic Punks show at Mannions in Tottenham when the tube network went down and their was travel chaos in London like I had never seen before at that time.

Formed in Prague in 2006 the guy whose inspiration got Pipes And Pints started on the road was the self taught bagpiper Vojta Kalina. He had dreamt of a band that would make Punk and Folk its home in equal measures with the idea of combining all the elements of good old fashioned Rock’n’Roll and Punk with the sound of some glorious Highland bagpipes. This combination served them well in the early days as they played all over Europe and at Europe’s biggest alternative music festivals. The pipes were an integral part of their sound and they were not just a punk band with a piper tacked onto them. Their first release, a Demo, back in 2007 took the punk rock sound to the extreme and won over legions of fans at home while their first single the self titled EP from the following year contained the track ‘City By The Sea’ (here) which went viral across the scene and, until The Rumjacks and their multi-multi-million viewed ‘An Irish Pub’, was one of the most watched Celtic-Punk videos on the internet. This set the scene for their debut album and they celebrated the release of Until We Die with a tour that took them across Europe, Russia and the UK for the next two years. This version of the band featured Californian Syco Mike on vocals who had scrapped plans to return home from Austria and moved to Prague with only his dog Tequila to his name just to join them.

Pipes And Pints left to right: Vojta Kalina- Highland Bagpipes * Ondra Balvin- Bass * Travis O´Neill – Lead Vocal/ Banjo * Lukas Vincour- Drums * Ivo ‘Rafan’ Traxmandl – Guitar

The second album Found And Lost was recorded with well known Californian producer Darian Rundall (Pennywise/ US Bombs/ Suicidal Tendencies) and again the heavy sound of the band didn’t neglect Vojta’s bagpipes. Released towards the end of 2012 the album was very well received by both fans and critics alike winning many awards back home and universally applauded within the Celtic-Punk scene too. The years of touring took their toll and following some band changes including Mike moving back to the USA the group took a two year hiatus before returning. The first signs of life of the new Pipes And Pints was the release of a video for ‘Raise Our Flag’ in November 2017 and featured the new voice of the band in Travis O’Neill a singer/songwriter from County Sligo, Ireland who had washed up in Prague as a member of the, now defunct, 5 Foot Assassins. Incidentally Travis also performs as Travis O’Neill And His Cardinal Sins and are well worth checking out in their own right.

So this brings us slap bang up to date and the release last week of their third album The Second Chapter. Yeah I know it don’t make sense to me that either! It may be a new line up but have they still got the same passion and enthusiasm that made them so popular in the first place? Well the first thing I noticed is the sound of the band is much less Punk-Rock. In fact they could easily have been filed in the Hardcore section back in the day so the new melodic more folky sound was still a bit of a surprise despite the slow trickle of videos the band have put out in the run up to the album’s release. The Second Chapter begins with ‘A Million Times More’ and Vojta’s Highland bagpipes fill the airwaves as the band eventually join in and some class gang vocals before Travis takes over and while his vocal style is nothing like Mike its a new beginning from the band so no more comparisons. Travis vocals are strong and perfect for this Pipes And Pints sound. Chugging guitar and a catchy as hell chorus makes this a fantastic opener for the album and only sets the scene for the other nine tracks. Next up they leave you in no uncertainty that they are a Celtic-Punk band on ‘Raise Our Flag’ as they proclaim allegiance to Ireland

“you know I love this Green, White and Gold”

The song was the first that introduced fans of the band to the new line up and owes a lot to the crossover punk/metal influence of bands like AC/DC. Melodic and catchy and packed with Gaelic references and accompanied with a killer video that you must take the time to watch below. The pipes sail along neither dominating or dominated and it’s fantastic to have them back.

The majority of the songs hover around the three minute plus mark and give them plenty of chance to give full reign to exactly what they want. ‘Shadow On Your Wall’ is a slow rock ballad of a song that still comes across as heavy and gives Lukas a chance to shine with some excellent drumming alongside Ondra and Rafan on bass and guitar. ‘Rebel In My Veins’ speeds it up again with some great lyrics about taking the past and conquering it.

“Straight edge x’s on my hands
and old lovers names I don’t regret
Blood red roses, punk rock bands
all are memories we cant forget”

They keep the pace up with ‘Diamonds And Dreams’ a more traditional straight forward Punk-Rock song while ‘Dark Into The Night’ is the classic tale of a man who is left by the love of his life but finds redemption in the arms of his punk rock family. The song introduces us to something I thought I would never say and that is a Pipes And Pints country song! Of course it’s not straight up country and Travis on banjo gives it an extra buzz but the catchyness is still there and though I think that could have gone heavier with the sound it’s still a great tune.

‘Fist Of Defiance’ has more of that punk/metal crossover appeal while on the short ‘We Are The Scene’ they even chuck in a spot of Ska-Pop and a real positive message of acceptance as well.

“Some scenes are pretend, tattoos and t-shirts are a trend,
Stand with me and sing with us friends
we want you to join our celtic rock and roll family”

‘Karma Killer’ is an album standout for me and represents one of many diverse directions that the new Pipes And Pints take us in on The Second Chapter. Influenced by Rock’n’Roll here the pipes shine as the song keeps up a fast pace that show the progression of the band into what Votja says “is a cutting of ties to the past and taking destiny back in our hands”.

“No tear was dry, singing Fields of Athenry
Standing for what I lived and the days gone by
Eireanns soil beneath my fingernails
It don’t mean a thing unless you lived my life twice!”

A fantastic song and a bit of a warning the accompanying video is a bit … er  … risque so watch at your own peril. The album ends with ‘Wait For You’ and we are back in rock ballad territory with the Pipes leading the way throughout a great ‘lighter/pint/fist in the air’ moment to bring down the curtain.

 

So a new direction for one of my favourite bands and do I approve? Well I loved the hardcore-Celtic-Punk sound of the early days of Pipes And Pints but on The Second Chapter they have managed to still convince me they are the same band. They may have replaced hardcore with a much more melodic base but have done it in a way that will not alienate old fans which is always the danger when a band goes in a new direction. It’s a cracker of an album that I have been playing solidly now for three days and show no sign of getting sick of! A fantastic return and will open many doors to them I am sure.

( You can stream the whole of The Second Chapter on the Bandcamp player below before you buy it that is! Its only $7!)

Buy The Second Chapter  Tape/LP/CD- FromTheBand  Download- Here / iTunes

Contact Pipes And Pints  WebSite  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube  Bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: CHEERS!- ‘Daily Bread’ (2017)

Snarling, swirling, raging, roaring Celtic folk-punk brewed in Pilsen and tempered by accordion, whistles and flutes!
Cheers! are a band I have heard about for a few years now but bar a couple of tracks on compilations and the odd video here and there I hadn’t yet got round to properly listening to them till Daily Bread popped through my letter box the other day. They released their first single back in 2011 and their debut album Wrong and Right in 2013 and since then have toured extensively across their home country and throughout mainland Europe. They hail from the city of Pilsen in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic which is about 50 miles from the capital city of Prague. Of course the city is most known worldwide for Pilsner beer created in the city in 1842.  The combination of Pilsen’s famously soft water, Saaz noble hops from nearby Žatec and Bavarian-style brewing produced a clear, golden (and delicious!) beer which was regarded as a sensation and is still a big hit today among aficionados of the odd drink or two.
(have a listen to the debut Cheers! album Wrong And Right below)
There have been a handful of Czech celtic-punk bands kicking up a storm with the most famous being the excellent bagpipe punk band Pipes And Pints, celtic rockers Benjaming’s Clan and the relatively new Pirates Of The Pub. The scene over there may not be massive but is in a very healthy state with many touring bands choosing to stopover and play, especially in Prague. That all these bands have proved popular outside their home country proves they all are doing something right and on listening to Daily Bread I can see why.

Cheers! left to right. Top: Pisek- Electric guitar * Mates- Accordion. Middle: Kata- Tin Whistle Maty- Drums * Fifa- Fiddle. Bottom: Laska- Bass * Pafka- Acoustic Guitar/ Vocals

I’ve noticed a trend recently of bands releasing videos for the opening song on their album’s. Maybe they always have and it just hadn’t clicked before but it does makes sense to kick your album off with one of your strongest songs and here Cheers! are no different opening with the great track ‘Chances’.

Fiddle and tin whistle provide the celtic side of foot-tapping and melodic punk rock. Celtic-punk is best suited to a pub environment and make a perfect place to film your videos and ‘Chances’ is no exception. The punk takes a back seat to some exceptional Irish folk music next in ‘London Days’. The story is of the many who come to London and fall through the gaps. The ones who don’t become rich and live their lives solely surviving. In my day it was the Irish, the Scots and the northern English and these days they come from across the world. A catchy, gang chorus and strong fiddle keep the song ticking over till the heartfelt ending.

“For life is quite short you know and to fall is not wrong at all”

This leads into ‘Misery’ and the accordion stands out here in an angry song about the faceless workers everywhere toiling away. The chugging guitar keeps it tuneful and ‘Dagger’ takes us down a different path with its upbeat Flogging Molly-esque Irish folk. Pafka’s vocals are strong and clearly sung in English. The CD has the lyrics but they are clear enough just from listening. ‘Here We Are’ is kind of Bad Religion meets Irish folk. Fast rapid drumming and accordion keep it going before next song, ‘Standard’, returns us to Molly’s territory and a song that starts acapello before familiar sounding fiddle takes over. Brilliant lyrics next in ‘Pie Of Shame’. Not about pie as you may think but the wish for a better and more peaceful world. It could be a bit cloying but isn’t at all especially as it lasts just a few seconds short of five minutes. I’m well jealous of songwriters with the ability to write like this. We haven’t had a slow one yet and ‘Saint Of The Scene’ comes at the perfect time. Poguesy accordion and a swirling sound surrounded by gang vocals and tin whistle and fiddle give it a perfect pint in the air feel. ‘Mr. Batter’ is a fast and furious tune with great funny story about a copper stealing bum who ends up on the wrong side of the law. Again Cheers! turn it on its head as just as your settling in they pull out something different to rouse you. ‘Hey Devil’ is next and the band this is most reminiscent of would be The Dreadnoughts fast as hell and completely led by Filip’s glorious fiddle playing.

They slow it down again next with ‘Land Where Nobody Lives’ which suddenly erupts into life and the tale of the prodigal son returning home ends with a Flogging Molly burst of life. We are rolling up to the end of Daily Bread and ‘Once We Reach The Ireland’s Bay’ takes the album to premier league status. The wonderful sound of uileann pipes from album guest Zdeněk Bugoš blaze a trail through this fantastic ballad. The sort of song I would love to push down the throats of the folk purists (snobs!) who say celtic-punk bands have no folk tradition or feeling. Cheers! nail it here with this song. Daily Bread comes to an end with the short and sweet and punky ‘Only Thing’. Seventy seconds of Dubliners style punk rock wraps things up nicely.

Thirteen songs clocking it at an impressive near fifty minutes! The music is of a solid punk rock backdrop with fantastic celtic musicians driving it along and Pafka’s great vocals atop. Very hard to pigeonhole Cheers! as they change tempo and their sound quite regularly on this album but despite that they have still managed to make a album that flows along very nicely. On this showing it’s easy to see why they have become so popular already and with only one album behind them that is is even more of an achievement.

Buy Daily Bread

FromTheBand  Amazon

Contact Cheers!

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  Soundcloud  YouTube  Instagram  Bandcamp

  • A very nice review of the album and an interesting interview with singer/guitarist Pavel here on the Celtic Music Fan site.

ALBUM REVIEW: PIRATES OF THE PUBS- ‘Drunken Forever’ (2016)

celtic-punk from the home of authentic Budweiser beer!

Pirates of the Pub

Pirates Of The Pubs debut album Drunken Forever hit the streets on St Patrick’s Day this year and immediately won over large sections of the international celtic-punk media. The album has been sitting in my inbox for quite a while now waiting for the opportunity to give it a proper listen and so with a few days off work the chance came round and I can only say how daft I have been to wait this long!

Pirates O T PThe seven piece band were formed on New Year’s Day in 2012 and hail from České Budějovice, the capital of the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic. The area is most famed for the production of Budweiser lager. Not the watered down pish available in the UK and the States but the original and superior Czech brew. Founded in 1895 the Pivovar Budějovický Budvar (Budweiser Budvar Brewery) has the legal right to sell Budweiser in much of Europe but a inferior American version, which was originally brewed as an imitation of the original, is also available. The US brewers Anheuser-Busch attempted to buy out the Czech company in order to secure global rights to the name Budweiser, but the Czech government has refused all such offers, regarding the brand as a matter of national pride. For once money did not win!

POTP

Pirates Of The Pubs left to right: Dr. Zicherheitz- accordion, knuP- electric guitar/ukulele, Bára- violin/main vocal/tin whistle, Jirka Průša- drums, Rimmsie- bass guitar, Jirka Dropkick- acoustic guitar, Skippy- main vocal/mandolin

There are a handful of similar bands already kicking up a storm in their home country with the most famous being the excellent bagpipe punk band Pipes And Pints and celtic rockers Benjaming’s Clan. So they are not alone in playing this great music at home and their have been several, now deceased, bands over the years that played variations of celtic-punk so it may not be new but Pirates Of The Pubs certainly give it a new spin compared to those older bands. Together for four years Drunken Forever may be their first studio recording but it has certainly paid off for the record shows those four years together have given them the chance to perfect their sound. The album was made with the support of the bands fans on the fundraising site Startovač.cz where the band managed to collect almost twice as much as originally requested.

Drunken Forever kicks off with a short piratey intro with ‘…Are Coming’ and plenty of “Yo-Ho-Ho’s” before ‘Vítejte Na Palubě’ and the lyrics switch from Czech to English already and the music is certainly trying to keep up by switching from celtic to punk to celtic-punk and we only two songs in.

By the time of third track ‘Jolly Roger’ I’m getting an idea of what Pirates Of The Pubs are about. The vocals go from male to female and back to the whole band giving it a go altogether and it works. Believe me it works. It may be much more pub-rock than arena-rock but that only makes it more fun and you can bet your bottom Euro that they are one hell of a band to catch live. ‘Irish Music Heart’ showcases Bára’s superb fiddle playing while she also takes up vocal duties on the song too. ‘Stupid Drinking Song’ is exactly that! Tin whistle and a great celebration of alcohol with a shouty “La La La-La Li” chorus. Catchy as hell and sure to go down a storm at concerts. The band’s signature tune is next and no exaggeration to say ‘Pirates Of The Pubs’ is fecking brilliant. The album’s stand out track. The band come together with a catchy as hell tune and everything works to perfection here with fiddle and accordion seemingly on fire. The album’s only cover follows and if you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a thousand times but at least ‘Tell Me Ma’ is given a good seeing to with Bára’s great female vocals and its all fast and furious and over in dead on two minutes. They follow this with a very interesting song called ‘Bohemian’ a gang vocal acappella anthem about their home sung in English, where Bára sings lead vocals and the boys sing backing vocals. We are back in Czech for ‘Na Vlnách Naděje’ and the folkiness takes a back seat and the punk is ramped right up and is followed by ‘Vlci’, another song in Czech and based on the tune of the old Irish song ‘The Star of the County Down’. Yet another song in tribute to their home is the brilliant ‘Budweis Pirates Clan’. One of a handful of songs here that could all be the official anthem to their home town.

More gang vocals and plenty of accordion here accompanying the frenetic drumming. With the 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising in Ireland being celebrated this year ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ is a fitting tribute to the rebels who fought an empire eventually bringing it to its knee’s. The song is not the version made famous by the likes of The Clancy Brothers or, more recently, Solas but their own tribute and a great slice of celtic-punk it is too.

“Sun rose in the sky so now I must go, don’t wait for me, my love

I’ll just take my guns and your kiss, the last, tonight maybe I’ll die
For freedom, for our land and for our home
for freedom, for Ireland I must go
For hundreds of years the occupied our land
the evil in name of crown
but our time is coming, time for revenge
let the Irish Republic alive”

Drunken Forever comes to an end with Bára back again on vocals singing the beautiful love song ‘Boy From Copenhagen’ alongside a simple acoustic guitar.

Recorded over several nights and with the help of their local brewery (!) the band have come up with an album that rocks and folks at both the same time. Thirteen tracks playing at over half an hour with the lyrics sung in both Czech and English. The vast majority are self penned numbers with just the solitary cover and I have to say it is easily their own numbers I am most impressed with. A great debut album with excellent production that also comes with great packaging as well.

Buy The Album

From the band by E-Mail to piratesofthepubs@email.cz or via Facebook

or from here

Contact The Band

Facebook  Bandzone  YouTube

%d bloggers like this: