Tag Archives: The Winter Codes

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS THE BEST OF 2022!

It’s that time of year again for the London Celtic Punks annual Best Of list. Has it really been a year since The Peelers waltzed (or should that be jigged) off with album of the year? It’s been possibly the best year for Celtic-Punk since we started doing this site and this was easily the closest it has ever been in that time. Pretty much all the big hitters, with one or two one notable exception (The Tossers where were you!), released records and on top of that a bunch of debut albums that were top class too.

so without further ado…

CLICK ON THE GREEN LINK TO BE FORWARDED TO REVIEW

2022’s #1 was the amazing new album from THE MAHONES. That they are as prolific as they are and yet can still put out quality like this 30 + years on is incredible. Well done Finny & co. FLOGGING MOLLY won the battle of the big Celtic-Punk 2 with the DROPKICKS and were also the best gig of the year for me personally (August in Dublin). THE LUCKY TROLLS followed on from their Best EP award from 2019 with the highest place for any ‘outsider’ this year while Scandinavian stalwarts SIR REG gave us possibly their best album yet. REINA ROJA from Spain were another highly placed new band and their were several others among the Top 30. Their were also a handful of albums that didn’t qualify for the chart but were worth noting including a couple of greatest hits albums THE REAL McKENZIES Float Me Boat and UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS The Story So Far that were both superb introductions to the bands, the second volume of the Black 47 covers compilation AFTER HOURS VOL. 2 and finally the HEADSTICKS 10th anniversary album of the best songs of their career to date re-recorded.

1. THE MAHONES – Jameson Street

2. FLOGGING MOLLY – Anthem

3. DROPKICK MURPHYS – This Machine Still Kills Fascists

4. THE LUCKY TROLLS – Raised Fist And Rebel Songs

5. SIR REG – Kings Of Sweet Feck All

6. REINA ROJA – Hooligan Folk

7. FINNEGAN’S HELL – One Finger Salute

8. REAL McKENZIES – Songs Of The Highlands, Songs Of The Sea

9. HOIST THE COLOURS – When Daylight Breaks

10. SHANGHAI TREASON – Shanghai Treason

11. PADDY’S PUNK – With Full Horse

12. THE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN – Regressive Folk Music

13. ZECKYBOYS – Dirty Brands

14. THE MOORINGS – March On

15. THE MULLINS – Gold In Our Hands

16. PADDY AND THE RATS – From Wasteland To Wonderland

17. SYRSentinel 

18. MAN THE LIFEBOATS – Soul Of Albion

19. THE GROGGY DOGS – Still Groggin’

20. WHISKEY’S WAKE – Wake Up Whiskey

21. JAMIE CLARKE’S PERFECT – Monkey See Monkey Do

22. O’HAMSTERS – From Green Hills To Raging Sea

23. SLAINTE – Up Down 95

24. THE ENDINGS – Completely Pickled

25. THE CUNDEEZ – Geez It

26. THE ROYAL SPUDS – Roots Of Life

27. THE DREADNOUGHTS – Roll And Go

28. THE SCARLET – Freedom Call 

29. TEMPLARS OF DOOM – Rising Of The Doom!

30. DRUNKEN FIGHTERS – Someday

Bubbling over: THEIGNS AND THRALLS – Theigns And Thralls 

As funny as it may seem the Best Debut Album award for 2022 was decided way back in January last year when the long awaited self titled debut album from Yorkshire banjo Punks SHANGHAI TREASON arrived in the post. Eleven original songs of high tempo energetic Celtic-Punk with some of the best banjo we heard all year long! On top of that later in the year they released a 3-track EP of songs that didn’t make the album that was also superb!  That’s not to say it was a easy choice as by the end of the year REINA ROJA, THE LUCKY TROLLS and ZECKYBOYS all put albums that challenged the Treason and in any other year could easily have won the award themselves.

A well deserved top two for THE RUMJACKS and their new singer Mikee. The split EP with FLATFOOT 56 in particular was absolutely flawless! Their were fantastic debut releases from THE DEAD IRISH, THE GALLOWGATE MURDERS and THE RAMSTAMPITS out of the Celtic nations of Ireland and Scotland that completely blew us away and were eagerly anticipated. A word here for BOG IRON from California who I found completely by accident and been playing ever since.

1. THE RUMJACKS / FLATFOOT 56 Split EP

2. THE RUMJACKS – Brass For Gold

3. THE DEAD IRISH – Four Corners Of Hell

4. THE GALLOWGATE MURDERS – ‘ Dead, Gone And Living On’

5. BRICK TOP BLAGGERS – Obey The Tyrant

6. BOG IRON – Star Of The County Down

7. DISTILLERY RATS – We Are Rats

8.  THE KILLIGANS – Dread Naught

9. KRAKIN’ KELLYS – Old Ways New Days

10. THE RAMSTAMPITS – Light The Beacon

Bubbling Under: THE CLOVERHEARTS – Still Pissed / JAMESTOWN BROTHERS – Just Is

In what is usually the hardest category to choose from we actually had a very easy choice this year with the new album from Boston singer-songwriter BRYAN McPHERSON never off our play list all year long. The great news is that Bryan is heading to these shores in the Summer and we are very happy to be helping out. Dundalk’s THE MARY WALLOPERS were busy all year round and ended 2022 with a sell out London show and a debut album in December. The debut album from THE WINTER CODES saw a welcome return to the wider music scene for Barney the original vocalist for Blood Or Whiskey. Some may be surprised to find the first solo album from MARCUS MUMFORD listed but it really was a great album both musically but especially lyrically. 

1. BRYAN McPHERSON – How To Draw Everything

2. THE MARY WALLOPERS – The Mary Wallopers

3. OYSTERBAND – Read The Sky

4. IAN PROWSE – One Hand On The Starry Plough

5. PRONGHORN – Welcome To Pronghorn Country

6. BODH’AKTAN – Valcourt Sessions

7. BURBRIDGE AND BOOTH – Icons

8. THE WINTER CODES – Set The Darkness Reeling

9. THE ALT – Day Is Come

10. MARCUS MUMFORD – (self-titled)

A new section this year and the first winner is THE OUTCAST CREW out of Laois in the Irish midlands. A new single and video directed, filmed and edited by Thomas Moyles that came out at the end of the Summer. Laois is famous for an abbey, some gardens, a castle and a couple of lakes and now a kickarse class Celtic-Celtic-Punk. They won the 2020 Celtic Punk debut album of the year and it’s about time we heard some more guys!

The competition for best Celtic-Punk video of the year was incredible so next year (which will be our 10th anniversary) we will make a bit more effort and maybe even include you in the decision!!

There were several people involved in the collation of these results and so it is that some of those people may not have heard every album listed or released through the year. If you’re album is not listed maybe you didn’t send it us or not all the folks here heard it so couldn’t give a opinion so really don’t feel too put out. We’re not perfect but we do try our best.

This is the ninth year we’ve been doing these Best Of lists. It seems incredible looking back at some of the previous winners and also-ran’s just how many bands are still with us from Year 1. Have a look for yourselves just click on the year below to redirect.

*  2013  *  2014  *  2015  *  2016  *  2017  *  2018  *  2019  *  2020  * 2021 *

THE LONDON CELTIC PUNKS SHOP

If you like what we do then why not visit our  shop where you can buy all manner of Celtic-Punk tatt including t-shirts, badges, stickers, CD’s, fridge magnets, patches, Celtic nations flags and we just got in new for ’22 some bobble hats and polo shirts.

https://the30492shop.fwscart.com/

Alongside the Best Of polls we also run a special Readers Choice poll where you get to pick your favourite release of the year. This will be the fifth year it’s been running with Krakin’ Kellys, Mickey Rickshaw, The Go-Set and Ferocious Dog our previously champions! Last year we had well over 1500 votes (the most ever!) so remember the auld Irish adage ‘Vote Early – Vote Often’. There is only room on the form to list the Top Ten albums but there is an option for YOU to write in your favourite release (album or EP) of the year.

Poll will run until midnight on Tuesday 31st January 2023. You can vote twice. If the release you want to vote for is not listed then you can write it in.

Keep up to date with London Celtic Punks web-zine for all the latest news, record reviews, features and plenty more. Find all our social media here

https://linktr.ee/londoncelticpunks

to subscribe to the web-zine email londoncelticpunk@hotmail.co.uk

The poll will close at midnight on Tuesday 31st January 2023 with the result to be announced soon afterwards.

Dedicated to our good friend Scott Chrystal

Slainte, The London Celtic Punks Bhoys – January 2023

ALBUM REVIEW: THE WINTER CODES – ‘Set The Darkness Reeling’ (2022)

Debut album from The Winter Codes an Irish Folk duo formed by David Walshe and Barney Murray who found fame as the original, and distinctive singer, of legendary and ground breaking Celtic-Punk band Blood Or Whiskey.

Back in June we posted a review announcing the debut single from Irish band The Winter Codes. The song was utterly fantastic and instantly made me think ” Jeez, that sounds like that fella from Blood Or Whiskey” but as the press release made no mention of it I thought no more. After all if you were the singer in one of the most popular and influential Celtic-Punk band in history surely you’d give it a mention? Well it seems the guys were just being modest and it was indeed Barney from Blood Or Whiskey! For The Winter Codes Barney has teamed up with virtuoso musician David Walshe, brother of the late Paul who was also a founding member of Blood Or Whiskey, and a handful of guests to record their debut album, Set The Darkness Reeling.

The Winter Codes are based in Tullamore, the county town of Offaly in the Irish midlands. The town is famous above all else for the wonderful Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew, which since 2010 is being produced in the town again after decades away. Offaly also have the nicest shirts in Gaelic games which is why I had their pictures on my wall as a kid despite having no connection with the county! With Barney’s unmistakable voice it will come as no surprise that comparisons to Blood Or Whiskey come easy but we will try our best to avoid them, after all this is a Winter Codes review not Blood Or Whiskey.

Originally planned as as a five track EP but when the creative juices began to flow it soon developed into the full length album Set The Darkness Reeling. The duo recorded at the famous Grouse Lodge studio, which once housed Michael Jackson where he recorded and lived for a time! The album begins with ‘NCR’, short for North Circular Road which could be Dublin or London or maybe it could be anywhere but is packed with imagery about a terrible relationship and the bitterness that comes with it. Spicing up the song with mariachi trumpets alongside some cool Irish trad and we are in the same territory that Barney left us with with his old band but how he hits them low notes is beyond me!

“rather die all alone in a bedsit room on the North Circular Road than go back to you”

‘Long Time She’s Been Gone’ is a catchy number that again talks of regret though this time in a lost love way. ‘Troublesome Girl’ stars Irish Folk singer Lisa Loughrey on vocals and after recording originally with Barney the bhoys thought it needed something different so asked Lisa to recommend someone and that person ended up being Lisa herself! A soft-poppy Folk/ Country number her voice fits perfectly. The title of the album from a line in the song.

The music is definitely Irish Folk but comes with a pop edge to it that brings in elements of Country too. Barney flexes his vocal chords next on the moving ’30 Years Of Tears’ a poem half sung/ half half spoken with no accompaniment that really makes you sit up and listen. For Barney it is the next song ‘Friend In Tullamore’ that means the most. Moving from his home town Leixlip to Tullamore after leaving Blood Or Whiskey and years of relentless touring and almost burnt out he settled in easily

“I feel that it was the town that gave me a second chance and maybe the song is my way of saying thanks for that.”

‘Erin’s Lovely Lee’ is a Rebel song whose origins are a bit obscure despite having been recorded by Willy Clancy in the mid-60’s. The story tells of a Irish immigrant arriving by boat in New York in 1863 who are met by Americans who curious and want to know more about important figures of Irish rebellion like the Manchester Martyrs, Wolfe Tone’s, Captain Mackey and Michael Dwyer. He then thinks “to float a Fenian boat down Erin’s lovely Lee”. One of the album’s highlights.

‘Satellite Town’ is another moving song about a young girl moving from home in search of fame and glory. The album has a mournful feel to it and, of course, Barneys voice is the perfect fit for such songs. Maybe it’s not surprising seeing as the album is an emotional tribute to the late Paul Walshe who is immortalised within the album that even features him on banjo on several of the tracks thanks to some rough demos of the songs that Sean Montgomery Dietz was able to adapt and mix into some of the tracks. ‘Dublin Girl’ rings of The Pogues track ‘London Girl’. We’re back in Rebel territory again with ‘Ovidstown’. Not sure if this is a cover or not, it certainly has an ancient ring to it. The song tells of the battle of Ovidstown, between Irish forces and the during the 1798. It took place at 19 June 1798 at Ovidstown Hill not far from Barneys hometown of Leixlip in County Kildare.

His home town pops up again next in ‘Last Night In Leixlip’ and another standout track. With electric guitar (could been a bit louder) and then them trumpets again make for a great song., The trumpets reminding me of ‘Ring Of Fire’ ironic considering the hilarious name check Johnny Cash gets in the song! The album has a great choice of covers and ‘Skibereen’ is no different. Thought to originate from the 1880’s the songs tells of a son asking his father why they had left the village of Skibbereen, in County Cork to live in America. The father tells him of the hardship he faced at home. Of An Gorta Mór / The Great Hunger and of the oppression the British rained down on the Irish after the Young Irelander rebellion of 1848. The song ends with the son promising his father

“O father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call,
And we will rise with Erin’s boys to rally one and all.
I’ll be the man to lead the van beneath our flag of green,
And loud and high will raise the cry ‘Revenge for Skibbereen”

Next up is the track that announced The Winter Codes to the Celtic-Punk world back in June and ‘Too Sly To Die’ went down a storm. The video was filmed in the landmark Dublin pub The Cobblestones, located in one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods and famous for hosting traditional Irish music for decades. A rousing number that we went into detail back in June if you care to look up. ‘Dearthairin O Mo Chroi’ (Irish for brother of my heart) written and recorded originally by Pauline Scanlon it’s a beautiful ballad which leads us onto the album’s final song, fittingly, ‘And Then No More’.

Sadly The Winter Codes have no intention of ever playing live. In a recent interview this was put down to

“The problems with playing live is that you are at the mercy of the local sound person. If they are good then the gig might go well but if not the whole night is ruined. In a studio, you have almost complete control and that’s the way I like it.”

I’m done with gigging so he says but I hope he changes his mind. Maybe they can be persuaded to do a live stream or something but it’s still absolutely fantastic to hear those dulcet tones again taking me back a few years when everything was a lot simpler. Thanks for the memories but it’s time to make some more now fella’s.

Buy Set The Darkness Reeling  Spotify

The Winter Codes  WebSite  Facebook YouTube

IRISH BAND THE WINTER CODES RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM

Irish folk duo The Winter Codes release the first single, ‘Too Sly To Die’, from their upcoming new album Set The Darkness Reeling. Led by Barney Murray of Blood Or Whiskey fame the song is fuelled by classic Irish folk influences.

Just the other day we received a track in the mail from The Winter Codes, a duo based in the capital town of county Offaly, Tullamore, almost bang centre in the middle of Ireland. Now sorry local folk but Tullamore is only known for one thing. A big thing admittedly mind, the Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew. Traced back to 1828 the original distillery closed in the 1950’s only for the brand to be bought by Powers and resurrected at their Midleton Distillery in Cork, until 2010 when the brand was sold to new owners, William Grant & Sons,  who brought whiskey production back to the town when a new distillery was opened back in Tullamore. Now I’m fond of a bit of waffle (see above for prime example!) but it surprised me that The Winter Codes neglected to make any mention of their ‘heritage’ in one of Celtic-Punk’s all time greatest bands. Now this is a Winter Codes review not Blood Or Whiskey review but you simply cannot understate the effect and influence Blood Or Whiskey had upon Celtic-Punk and it’s development. Here the sound is uncannily similar to BorW and no surprise with Barney Murrray with his unmistakable vocals having teamed up with David Walshe, brother of the late Paul who was also a founding member of Blood Or Whiskey. With a new album, Set The Darkness Reeling, to be released for the 1st August they have put out lead single ‘Too Sly To Die’ this week. The album is an emotional tribute to Paul Walshe who passed away ten years ago. With this release he is immortalised with the album even features some of his expert banjo musicianship on some of the tracks.

Saw you on the high stool holding court I know you ruled by pain and fear
Dishing out the suffering for the sport I’m glad I never got too near
All that unease you couldn’t show you had a conscience like a sieve
Anyone who crossed you came to know you didn’t forget or forgive
Chorus :
I thought you were too sly to die
I thought you were too sly to die
I thought you were too sly to die
But you bought it still
You were no stranger to revenge I know you gave more than you took
Half of the time it made no sense you would avenge a crooked look
Paranoid feelings in your heart though you ignored them come what may
Many had tried to take your part but you held the tide at bay
One cold night one simple mistake they had the whole thing organised
Didn’t feel sad or go to the wake but I really was surprised

(David Walshe and Barney Murray)

On the strength of this single I cannot wait to hear the album August 1st roll round quickly please. The lads are joined on the album by a wealth of Irish music expertise including Daithi Meila from the Irish/Bluegrass band Jig Jam, folk singer Lisa Loughrey, and engineer Sean Montgomery. The album saw the duo travel to the famous Grouse Lodge recording studio in Westmeath, which famously housed Michael Jackson when he recorded there.

“We got the idea to record an EP of five of our songs which then became the Set The Darkness Reeling album.”

‘With Too Sly To Die’ the band stick to their roots of trad Irish folk but with an uplifting and positive twist. The single’s accompanying video was filmed in landmark Dublin pub The Cobblestones. Having hosted traditional Irish music for decades, and being located in one of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods, the bar is synonymous with music from the region and with Too Sly to Die, The Winter Codes join the annuls of such musical greats.

Too Sly to Die available across all platforms now. 

The Winter Codes  WebSite  YouTube

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