This year has been quite brilliant for celtic-punk releases, and they haven’t all been Hungarian either, but sadly we haven’t had the chance to review everything we received or heard so here is Part 1 of our 2015 Round Up where we catch up with all the bands we missed first time round. This time two American and three Canadian bands.
THE BAY STREET BASTARDS- ‘Self/Titled’ (BUY)
The debut release from this seven piece celtic-punk band, and devotees of Ice Hockey, from Ontario in Canada. This seven track, half an hour long mini album came out in May and is typical of a lot of Canadian celtic-punk. A strong working class ethos runs through the lyrics while the music is fast and furious and hard to compare. They certainly know what they are doing and there are plenty twists and turns on this album with instruments like cello appearing. The music veers from straight up celtic-punk to Tom Waits style ‘pissed-up’ ballads to even a sort of psychobilly number. All the tracks are quite lengthy and despite that don’t outlive their welcome due to the speed at which they are played. Stand out track is probably ‘Slappywags’ where the fiddle holds court in a song about the Bastards favourite boozer. Just a bunch of beer swillin’, foot stompin’, mosh pittin’ Canadians.
THE STANFIELDS- ‘Modem Operandi’ (BUY)
Another cracking Canadian band who play a similar style of celtic punk to the Bay Street Bastards but mainly concentrate on thrashing out some brilliant fast as hell punk rock. They have toured over here a couple of times and even played the prestigious trade union music Tolpuddle Martyrs festival last year. Catchy hooks galore and some proper toe tappers and mosh pit favourites but The Stanfields can give it the celtic treatment too and the album’s influences are plenty. So much more to this band than just thrashing out. Again that working class ethic beats strong in their hearts and dominates what they do. Only eight songs but over half an hour and a couple of real epics here too. ‘Fight Song’ stands out especially and the band chose it, quite rightly, to be the first single from the album.
The album ends with ‘Will The Circuit Be Unbroken’ that takes through a trawl of pretty much every style of music that The Stanfields have in their arsenal. A great album and we look forward to seeing them back in London again though hopefully this time with a better promoter!
THE WAXIES- ‘Down With The Ship’ (BUY)
Hailing out of Michigan these Irish-American lads have a stack of releases behind them and I intend to get round to hearing the lot of them so impressed I was with this album. Released in September with twelve tracks and over forty minutes of music The Waxies keep it acoustic but they also keep it loud and in fitting with the way they describe themselves- Irish Gypsy Punk. The music though firmly with both feet in Irish music does take in influences from the sea as you will see from the album cover. Catchy as hell once again and with great vocals and lyrics. The lyrics are all included on the Bandcamp page by the way and theres a poignant song in tribute to fellow Irish-American musician and Grand Rapids resident Nate Carey who passed away last year. Only two covers and The Waxies have a real feel for their community with plenty here for anyone who is proud of their Irish roots but they also can play and the instrumental ‘The Silver Spear’ shows that they can play a pretty fantastic reel as well. Another cracking album and I know there’s some ‘electric’ bands out there that wish they could kick up a storm like the The Waxies! The album ends with a good a version of ‘The Parting Glass’ as I have ever heard… seriously.
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SEAMUS STOUT- ‘For Your Purchasing Pleasure’
Formed in 1999 Seamus Stout have been around a good while and have built up a healthy following around their home state of Texas playing their local hostelries with a grand assortment of irish and Scottish classics. Of course they don’t confine themselves to covers and with five previous full length albums under their belts they sure do have a healthy amount of songs to choose from. Musically its straight up celtic music well played and with a shitload of gusto. Again its purely acoustic but kicking up a real racket. ‘For Your Purchasing Pleasure’ is a live album that has a perfect production that ensures all the instruments are clear as a bell and the vocals come out nice and strong too. Sixteen songs officially squeezed onto this CD but its actually a load more as they play some pretty damn good reels as well. There’s a whole host of instruments at play here giving the impression that this four piece band is more akin to a troope so busy are they. Can’t find a link for this album but you can find Seamus Stout’s previous releases here and here.
THE SHILLELAGHS- ‘Bury Me At Sea’ (BUY)
Here’s another Canadian band to end our North American round up. The Shillelaghs hail from Calgary in Alberta and despite being founded in 2005 ‘Bury Me At Sea’ is the bands first release and even though its been a long time coming its certainly been worth the wait. Twelve tracks and 3/4’s of an hour long and only one cover means The Shillelaghs sound is stamped all over ‘Bury Me At Sea’. Fiercely independent the music is fast, well played and mostly acoustic with raspy vocals and tales of the sea, drinking and other dark themes. Our comrades over at Celtic Folk Punk & More noticed that the singer sounds like an angrier Mark Chadwick from The Levellers and by George that’s amazingly accurate. There’s quite a Poguesy sound going on here but the electric guitar steers it just away while also keeping it firmly in celtic-punk country. Album opener ‘Shillelagh Justice’ lets you know exactly where the album is going but there’s some real suprises here with the beautiful ballad ‘Dark The Days’ with dual male/female vocals and the closing number the acoustic ‘Better To Bleed’ which begins with just Dave’s voice and acoustic guitar before the band join in. It is though the heavier numbers I prefer and it’s the title track that grabs you by the throat and rocks your socks off. If you like this song then you simply MUST get this album!
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So ends Part 1 and we are sorry we weren’t able to give each album the full London Celtic Punks treatment but just not possible with time on our backs. Anyhow more to come in Part 2 so check back in a few days and catch up with some European releases. If you don’t want to miss any of our posts then you can follow us by simply filling in your e-mail address in the box that is either below or to the left depending how you are viewing and you will receive every post to your in-box.