The Wages of Sin "Queensbury Rules" My Checkbook Records MCB669 Release date: September 23, 2014 Running time: 44:19, 13 tracks
The Wages of Sin are one of the most interesting bands of the Celtic/Folk punk scene. They are not a prolific band; in fact their latest offering is only their third release. However all of their albums have been welcomed by fans and critics alike. Maybe there are some bands out there with a similar approach, but the quintet from Seattle are the original ones. Not only do they love the North American folk music, but they also are able to write songs that will become classics.
The Wages of Sin deliver on “Queensbury Rules” their usual gumbo of rockabilly, hillbilly, americana, country and blues. The album starts with a catchy number with addictive backing vocals, “Vigilante”. Then, they shift to another territory on “Queensbury Rules”, another brilliant number.
Track number 3, “Ball Lighting”, begins with a medieval/Nordic sound but it evolves soon to something different. The following number is a fantastic song titled “The Greenlake Wyrm” and features guest banjoist Mike DeBenedictis, and mandolinist Mark Robbern plays harmonica at the end of the song.
Track no. 5, “Fare Thee Well”, is another kick ass song. Fiddler and mandolin shine as usual on this catchy song that reminds me of the English band Macavity’s Cat. “Jenny Finn” is a shanty inspired by the comic “Jenny Finn:Doom Messiah”. After that number, The Wages of Sin move again to a different direction, since “13 Lies” is a blues number.
“Lucky Boy” is another fave, a lively song to sing-a-long and dance. “I’ll Tell Me Ma” is the only cover on the album and it gets The Wages of Sin treatment with fiddle, mandolin, upright bass.Awesome.
“Midnight Train” and “Murder” have a rockabilly twist, the former would even have a psychobilly sound.
“Whiskey Lullaby” is another of the highlights on the album, with both amazing fiddle and bass.
Finally, the CD is over with “End of the World”, a slow number featuring pedal steel.
Any fan loving folk/Celtic/country infused music with a modern twist should grab a copy of this CD. A must have. Enjoy!
01 - Vigilante 2:59 02 - Queensbury Rules [Explicit] 3:48 03 - Ball Lightning 3:46 04- The Greenlake Wyrm 3:14 05 - Fare Thee Well 3:43 06 - Jenny Finn 3:28 07 - 13 Lies 3:51 08 - Lucky Boy [Explicit] 2:53 09 - I'll Tell Me Ma 2:30 10 - Midnight Train 2:59 11 - Murder 2:46 12 - Whiskey Lullaby 3:01 13 - The End of the World 5:17
Dave Hughes has just released an acoustic single (Name Your Price)
"In August I went in to the studio to record a bunch of acoustic tracks
for a project that I was going to release this month. I had a change of
heart with it, and therefore decided to release a wee acoustic single
until the album comes out (probably early next year). So, here's the
acoustic version of Doctors and Dates (title track of our last album,
the way it was written), a brand new recording of Daddy Fought the Law
(one of my oldest songs), and a new version of Dancing Two-Step
(re-configured for playing at Gareth and Lynne's wedding)."
Craic the Lens "Cannon" Self-released Release date: June 5, 2014 Running time: 38:06, 10 songs
Canada is a gold mine for Celtic music. If we focus on Celtic rock and Celtic punk, there is a big diversity of bands hailing from Canadian provinces. When we hear about a Canadian Celtic/Folk rock band, we immediately think about the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec. Even about British Columbia and Ontario. But there are also amazing bands coming from Manitoba or Alberta. The most important band from Alberta would be Captain Tractor. But in the last years new bands are arising from this area. Recently I reviewed the second album by Whiskey Wagon and now it’s Craic the Lens turn.
Craic the Lens hail from Calgary and currently they are our Band of The Month. Back in 1997 I was excited when I heard a “Mary Mac” cover from a Cooking Vinyl sampler. The band was called Great Big Sea. I got a similar feeling when I came across Craic the Lens and listened to “The Jig is Up”, one of the best songs of the year. All the songs on “The Cannon” don’t follow the same path, but the Canadian stamp can be felt on every single number.
As I have already mentioned, the opening number “The Jig is Up” is a hit. Fans who enjoy The Stanfields will love this song too. It’s followed by an upbeat cover of Dominic Behan’s “Come Out Ye Black and Tans”.
Craic the Lens move to a quieter mood on the next track, “As Dust” . This song gets an Oysterband treatment with catchy la-la-la chorus. The next song moves to Great Big Sea’s territory, the awesome number “Tip Your Hat to Broken Crowns”.
Track number 5, another kick-ass number, is a Spirit of The West infused song: “Drawn and Quartered”. The following song is titled “Play White Noise” and is one of the highlights on the album. It’s a brilliant duet with Christina Lackowitz.
The next songs have a Celtic rock twist. “Gallowglass” would be a powerful song in The Stanfields vein and “Same Old Song and Dance” a cross between Great Big Sea and Fiddler’s Wage.
The album ends with the catchy number “The Novel of the Century” and “Sleeps so Easy”, an excellent song with a Weddings Parties Anything touch via The Swinish Multitude.
“The Cannon” is not your usual Celtic rock album. There is banjo, but neither accordion nor fiddle. There are no bagpipes. But don’t be misled, Craic The Lens “The Cannon” is a top-notch album. The Canadian DNA is stuck on every single song and this should be enough to convince you. The best balance of pedigree and fine songwriting. Go ahead and grab you a copy
01 - The Jig Is Up 3:20 02 - Come Out Ye Black and Tans 3:13 03 - As Dust Craic the Lens 3:16 04 - Tip Your Hat to Broken Crowns 3:41 05 - Drawn and Quartered 4:22 06 - Play White Noise 2:58 07 - Gallowglass 4:45 08 - Same Old Song and Dance 3:40 09 - The Novel of the Century 5:19 10 - Sleeps so Easy 3:08
The new single from Creeds Cross depicting life in the trenches during war time. All proceeds from download sales for November and December 2014 are going to the fantastic children's war charity War Child. Please share this message and help us to raise awareness and as much money as possible for this amazing charity. Thank you.
The Mahones "The Hunger & The Fight Part 1" Whiskey Devil Records/East Grand Records/Wolverine Records Release date: 7 October 2014 Running time: 49:33, 12 tracks
I guess that most of you have already bought a hard copy or downloaded a digital copy of The Mahones 8th studio album “The Hunger & The Fight Part 1”. The album was officially released last October 7th on iTunes and Amazon and the CD copies were available last October 14th (East Grand Records, USA) and last October 31st (Wolverine Records, Europe and ROW). But long before those official dates, reviews of The Mahones first chapter of their double concept album were posted on a lot of Celtic punk or punk e-zines. The vast majority of these reviews have listed the album as a 5 stars, 10/10 or the best album in their career. Given that all of you have already read those reviews, I feel that I should play the devil’s advocate role and write about the lights on the album, but also about its shadows. Some people will feel that this is a sacrilege.
I have given quite a few spins to “The Hunger & The Fight Part 1” and my concern was if I could find a different approach to write about it. On the press release it was stated “The Mahones are thrilled to present the first part of their epic double album, The Hunger & The Fight. A concept double album, (…) Part One is in keeping with Irish folk acoustic style (with a little punk thrown in for good measure), with songs based around Ireland, and more specifically, the city of Dublin. Part Two will be more of an electric Irish Punk album, with songs based on the United States, and mainly New York City. The Hunger & The Fight narrates the struggle and perseverance of the Irish people, and the evolution of Irish music from Irish Folk to Irish Punk. “ But when I take into account that “The Hunger& The Fight Part 1 ” is a concept album, I can’t avoid thinking that the last two tracks break the continuity of the concept album. OK, they are bonus tracks and then they are value for your money. But I feel that they don’t fit in the concept. So I’ll focus mainly on the other 10 tracks.
The Mahones have been a prolific band in the last 5 years. They have got the recognition that they deserved and all of us (me too) think that Finny is a brilliant songwriter. But, apart from being a kick-ass songwriter, Finny is a sort of magician, a sort of architect that is able to put together different things and make them fit almost perfect. Listening to “The Hunger & The Fight Part 1”, I felt that The Mahones have gone mellower. But after some plays, it was clear that elements from the different albums from The Mahones discography where present all along the album. One of the best features of their previous work “Angels & Devils” was the addition of a couple of instrumentals. Fortunately Finny has decided to open the new album with another one, “Brian Boru’s March”. “Prisoner 1082” is a number on which The Clash influences can be heard. “Someone Saved Me”, a song that I have particularly loved, has that mandolin sound of their early albums. “Blood on the Streets Of Dublin” would have that “Rise Again” album twist too. And, obviously, there are a couple of raucous Celtic punk anthems to sing-a-long, jump, dance or punch the walls, “A Pint of Plain (A Drop of the Pure)” and "St. Patrick’s Day Irish Punk Song". The real “new” thing on this album would be track no. 2, the amazing “The Hunger & The Fight” featuring Tara Slone. Normally I don’t find Finny duets the best songs on The Mahones albums. But this time I must admit that it’s the highlight on the album.
OK, those were the lights. From now on, let’s focus on the shadows. Guests Miranda Mulholland (fiddle), Dave Gossage (Irish flute) and Jonathan Moorman (fiddle) have guested on previous Mahones albums. In fact, I pointed out on my “Angels & Devils” review that Finny should think over adding a fiddler and a flutist/tin whistle player on a permanent basis. Those musicians create an atmosphere on their songs that unfortunately cannot be found on the live gigs. At least I miss them. The official line-up on the album lists Micheal O’Grady as tin whistle player. I hope that he’ll be playing on the European tour as he did some years ago. This would be a great news. Some of you will respond that I should talk about the studio album, not about the live gigs. However, I feel that they are related issues.
Finny is a master of the studio and this time he has produced the album himself together with Dave Baksh (Sum 41) and the mix and master have been made by his fellow Gene Hughes again. There is a sort of dichotomy between the mellower songs and the upbeat numbers. The solution to balance them is a little bit weird: the rocking numbers have got a live treatment. There are a lot of shouts (hey hey!) and a song like “St. Patrick’s Day Irish Punk” is extremely long. This track length would be OK when you are in the mosh pit, but I find a little bit long for a studio take.
Finally, The Mahones make a recurrent error: they keep on recording the Irish standards that The Pogues and many other bands have already covered. I feel that Tonny Duggins does a great job on “Paddy on The Railway” but does the scene really need that one of its heavyweights covers those over-exposed standards? The balance of twelve tracks and only seven original songs is a little bit poor. IMHO, a couple of self-penned songs would have improved the album.
It’s obvious that The Mahones have invested a lot of energy and passion on “The Hunger & The Fight Part 1”. The stakes were high, but I get a slight feeling of déjà vu. Anyway, it’s a very good album that will please The Mahones diehard fan base and the followers that have jumped in in the last years. In other words, it’s not the best Celtic punk album of 2014, but definitely a Top 10 album of the year.
01 - Brian Boru's March 3:37 02 - The Hunger & The Fight (feat. Tara Slone) 4:40 03 - Paddy on the Railway (feat. Tony Duggins) 2:59 04 - Stars (Oscar Wilde) [feat. Simon Townshend] 6:08 05 - Prisoner 1082 4:23 06 - A Pint of the Plain (A Drop of the Pure) 3:08 07 - Someone Saved Me 4:34 08 - The Auld Triangle 3:54 09 - Blood on the Streets of Dublin 4:03 10 - St. Patrick's Day Irish Punk Song 6:12 11 - I Can Only Give You Everything 3:04 12 - Last One to Die 2:24
The street punk band from Seoul Chanter's Alley is back with a new bunch of arse-kicking songs. Some of you will miss the pipes, but the EP is quite enjoyable. The new Rancid album is having mixed reviews among the fans, but I feel that you won't be disapponted by Chanter's Alley new offering "We are Alive ...".
Whiskey Wagon "Somewhere under the Table" Dead City Records Release date: 3 October 2014 Running time: 37:30, 14 tracks
Bands that stretch the boundaries of the genre are always welcome. And whiskey soaked bands with a raucous attitude are specially the bands that I enjoy. Whiskey Wagon, the septet from Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), are one of these bands that I miss. After having released the vinyl single “Take Me Home” in 2007, Whiskey Wagon issued their debut album “Sex, Booze, Strings and Accordions” in 2010. I have been waiting for their sophomore release and finally I have got my reward in 2014: “Somewhere Under the Table”
The latest release by this Canadian outfit is a well-balanced album rooted in their North American beloved music. Is this a Celtic punk album? Not really. Is this a Folk punk album? Sure. “Somewhere Under the Table” showcases their frontman’s songwriting about losers and booze. That’s the essence of R’n’R and country music. The band has expanded from 6 members to 7 members and the result is a bunch of 14 songs on which trumpet, accordion, mandolin, upright bass or harmonica can be heard.
I don’t know if Landon Barrowman has ever been drinking together with Shane MacGowan, but I guess that Shane is one of his inspirations when he writes his lyrics. Besides, the shadow of The Pogues can be felt all over the album, particularly on the trumpet arrangements. Songs such as “Grave”, “Family Store” and “Whiskey Tuesday” are catchy numbers that can rival with those of The Pogues or Flogging Molly (especially the third one). They are kick-ass booze numbers to sing-a-long. “Lindsey’s Gone” , “Wail” and “Scott Frolics Harmonica” are some fast-paced songs that (Celtic) folk punk fans will love too. Apart from those songs, there are a couple of top-notch duets, the ballads “Said You’d Love Me True” (written by Landon and Kristy Nanise) and “Jukebox” (written by Landon and Celeigh Cardinal). BTW, an earlier version of “Said You’d Love Me True” can be found on the “AA Runaway” 3 track vinyl single that the band released in 2011. The single, whose cover is a tribute to The Clash “London Calling”, can be bought from Bandcamp
Finally, one of my faves on the album is track no. 6, “She Dreams”. It’s a brilliant song about a girl that can be filed together with other master works such as The Men They Couldn’t Hang “Mary’s Present”, Levellers “Julie” or Oysterband “The Oxford Girl”.
Whiskey Wagon second album is delivered in a digipack enclosing a 12 page lyrics booklet. The lyrics to all of the songs and pictures of every band member are included. The design is similar to that of their previous album. That one was “black” and this one is “white”, but the fonts are the same. I have only found a small flaw. They have forgotten to state some of the credits and the line-up on the panel with the guy drinking from his bottle of whiskey, as they did on their debut album.
“Somewhere under the Table” is a brilliant album from a Canadian band that sometimes sounds as if they were from the South of the USA. A highly recommendable album for those people who love Shane MacGowan, Johnny Cash or Tom Waits.
01 - Grave 02 - Belvedere 03 - She 04 - Call Me When You Get Clean 05 - Lindsey's Gone 06 - She Dreams 07 - Family store 08 - Maryanna 09 - Said You'd Love Me True 10 - Scott Frolics Harmonica 11 - Wail 12 - Jukebox 13 - Whiskey Tuesday 14 - Bonus track
Facebook has "invited" me to move the old page from a personal page to a business page. The Old page is still running, but given that both types of pages work in a different way, I've opened a new personal page too.
If you get a Facebook friendship request from the new page (Waldo Kinksmarkham), please accept.