The Tosspints – Have You Been Drinking? Review

tosspintsAs much as one can try to keep their ears open to all the existing bands, there will be bands that fall through the cracks. The Tosspints, a three-piece band from Saginaw, MI is one of those for me. I wish I had heard of these guys sooner! I have been previewing their upcoming release Have You Been Drinking which is set to be released on June 4th and it has really blown me away! This will be their third studio album and I am hoping they will find a venue in St Louis to play on the upcoming tour so I can pick up all their CD’s. The 12 track album highlights different styles and influences of playing and some great vocals that range from melodic to gruff and the music is tight and fast. Most of the songs have a dark tint often hidden by the fast and up tempo pacing of the music.

The album starts with the darkly disturbing “Genocide is Painless” about a soldier struggling with the classical warrior virtues of honor with the harsh face of genocidal war, killing men and children, raping the woman and taking the valuables. The music is fantastic and vocals are tight.  “Soldiers Heart” is one of the top tracks for me. The varying tempos range from highlighting the vocals to hard-driving instrumentals. “Our Last Breath” is another favorite track of mine. As I have been primarily listening at work, it took several run throughs of the album to get how dark and haunting this song is. It is heartbreaking and beautiful, carried primarily by the vocals deliver this chilling ballad. “Shoot at All the Cops” gets you moving with a foot stomping rhythm and gruff vocals. “My Own Country” is another great melodic piece, with what feels like an Eastern European/gypsy folk feel to it. “Train Robber Song” starts with a great feel of a train building steam into this song of an ex-railroad worker that changes the course of their life by becoming a train robber with the inevitable end to someone living the life of crime. “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” and “Come Out Ye Black and Tans” are some hard rocking covers, though I really preferred the songs The Tosspints pinned, so comparatively speaking, they were ok covers and blend together from “Johnny” to “Black and Tans”. “Message in a Bottle” is about a castaway who pins their hopes on rescue by sending a message in bottle. Another footstomper with some great sounding music. “Eleanor” is a poignant song with great vocals, reminiscent of Chuck Ragan and is my top track on the album. The evocative emotions delivered by the vocals and backed by the music really delivers! “Your Name” reminds me of Cutthroat Shamrock with the pacing and bluegrass influences. Even though it harkens to Cutthroat Shamrock, it is clearly not a case of copying another band. “Blood and Whiskey” gives me chills listening to the lyrics. The chorus is rousing and sticks with you.

The Tosspints have a winner on their hands. The more I listen to Have You Been Drinking, the more I am enjoying it and finding little nuggets I did not hear before. Come June 4th, I recommend you track this album down by either getting it from the band directly or through iTunes and Amazon. The range of styles and tempo make for a great and interesting listen. Overall, it is hauntingly and chilling beautiful work! Now I just need to track down their previous releases!

Track Listing:

  1. Genocide is Painless
  2. Soldiers Heart
  3. Our Last Breath
  4. Shoot at All the Cops
  5. My Own Country
  6. Train Robber Song
  7. Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
  8. Come Out Ye Black and Tans
  9. Message in a Bottle
  10. Eleanor
  11. Your Name
  12. Blood and Whiskey

Slainte!

Lexington Field – No Man’s War Review

no mans warThe new Lexington Field album No Man’s War is filled with strife – physical, societal and emotional. The third release from Lexington Field, based out of San Diego, CA is more mature and continues with the string of deep lyrics that has made me a huge fan of this rocking band that tags itself as American Fiddle Rock. With the maturity, comes thoughtful songs that are chilling and a pleasure to listen to, yet still has the fingerprint of the past Lexington Field songs of great vocals and hard playing intruments. The album contains 14 tracks, 3 of which are instrumental – of those three, two were penned by Lexington Field’s fiddle player Cami Smith.

The album starts with the short instrumental “Fiddle Fister” that sets the tone for this album, feeling a bit dark and somber. It deftly transitions into “American Crow”, a soldiers song of brotherhood and fighting for the cause of freedom. The band is in fine form and before you know it drives you into “Daniel Plainview Has a Drinking Problem”. The song is interesting and once again hard driving and for the movie buffs out there, inspired by “There Will Be Blood”.  “Crazy Eyes” starts out slowly before ramping into gruff vocals by Beau Gray with catchy lyrics and pounding string work. In “Fireworks”, Cami’s fiddle work really shines through. “Rest of Our Days” has a great mix of alternating pace and beautiful work . “Dear Old Friend” is my favorite on the album. Even before listening to it, just reading the lyrics, gave me chills. Once the track started playing, the chills were deeper. As someone battling addictions, I find the lyrics really hit home and spoke to me. The music is haunting and sorrowful, yet there is something comforting in the song. “Variation on Promontory” is the second instrumental that features some great work. “The Chemical Worker’s Song” which was adopted from “The I.C.I. Song” by Ron Angel, is another hard pounding tune with some great riffs. “Here’s to You” is at the top of my favorite songs on this album, between the lyrics and various pacing and great vocals. “Cursing The Man” is a song that feels raw, but isn’t – the music is polished and lyrics stinging. Of the last three songs “Lady Arlington” is the third instrumental that is a rapid foot stomper that is bookshelved between “Pioneer” and “Tumble”, both songs are soulfully deep, speaking to anyone who has suffered the loss of love. Both songs round out my top of the album list.

This album is my favorite of the year so far, and I had really high expectations for this follow up to their EP Poor Troubled Life and it certainly lived up to my expecations. When you do get it (there are no if’s, you HAVE to get it), skip the digital download and get the physical copy. The booklet contains great artwork by Jose Pimienta with each song having it’s art plus you get the lyrics for the songs.

Track listing:

  1. Fiddle Fister
  2. American Crow
  3. Daniel Plainview Has a Drinking Problem
  4. Crazy Eyes
  5. Fireworks
  6. Rest of Our Days
  7. Dear Old Friend
  8. Variation on Promontory
  9. The Chemical Worker’s Song
  10. Here’s To You
  11. Cursing The Man
  12. Pioneer
  13. Lady Arlington
  14. Tumble

Slainte!

The Fatty Farmers – Refarmatory Review

refarmatoryThe Fatty Farmers are a Celtic Punk band from Toledo, Spain. After listening to them, the best way to think of The Fatty Farmers is a Spanish Flogging Molly – I don’t mean that they copy Flogging Molly but clearly heavily influenced by them that is clear in the music. That Fatty Farmers have a unique sound of their own and their own flair to writing songs in both English and Spanish. The album starts rocking out hard with their first track “No More Woman You’ll Kill” the pace is relentless and the music goes to your core. “21 Blackjack” starts out with great whistle work, the percussion bringing the rhythm to stomp your feet to. “Sraka dupa” is a bouncy instrumental that alternates pacing from fast to slow back to fast that has a fun gypsy feel to it. “Rather Die Than Forget” brings the tone down to a more dirge like level, the fiddle work beautiful and soulful. Lifting your spirits, “Next Sunday We’ll Begin Again” is my favorite track on the album. This one really got me moving, tapping along, head bopping to the beats. “The Way Back Home” is another tune that ramps up fast, with the strings taking the glory during the fast pieces, the whistle and percussion carrying over during the slower portions of the song. “With Head Held High” and “The American Dream” feel extremely similar, fun little pieces but perhaps a bit to close each other. “Hate Cannot Be Forever” brings the speed of the album back down in a soulful song that is mournful and haunting. “At The Counter Bar” & “Lurfy el Payaso” (track 14) are the same song – one in English, the other in Spanish, speeds up the pace once again, deftly handling changes in pace and letting their instruments shine. “My Childhood Dream” brings some hard rocking string work driving the speed of the song. “Fancy Prankster”  is my second favorite song of the album. Perhaps the most Celtic influenced and unique from some of the other songs on the album. “Johnny Techno Ska” starts to bring the album to a close with a heart pounding romp with boundless energy that is a joy to listen to.

In all, this is a solid piece of work. There are some nice standouts here and few songs that sound very similar to the others. If you are looking for something different and has a good international feel to it, then I do recommend you give this a listen to and enjoy!

Track Listing:

  1. No More Woman You’ll Kill
  2. 21 Blackjack
  3. Sraka Dupa
  4. Rather Die Than Forget
  5. Next Sunday We’ll Be Back Again
  6. The Way Back Home
  7. With Head Held High
  8. The American Dream
  9. Hate Cannot Be Forever
  10. At The Counter Bar
  11. My Childhood Dream
  12. Fancy Prankster
  13. Johnny Techno Ska
  14. Lurfy el Payaso

Slainte!

The Righs – A Retrospective

The Righs River Runs DeepThe Righs Roses

The Righs (pronounced as rigz) are currently working on their album. This Oklahoma based Celtic Punk band has been playing since 2005 and have had two critically acclaimed releases, The Rivers Run Deep (2008) and Roses (2010). As the ebb and flow of the music brings attention to bands as they release new material, my retrospective look at The Righs is to introduce this hard rocking band to people who have not heard of them or to re-introduce you if you know who they are.

The Righs have a very unique sound that could have some detractors for those more in tune with mainstream Celtic Punk. With the use of brass instruments on some songs, there is a melding of ska, original songs, rough vocals and deep songs. To truly appreciate The Righs, you need to set time aside to REALLY listen – you won’t find many party anthems or songs that really fit into the background – to really appreciate the hard thumping tunes and lyrics. The originality of the band and the music put out is a lot of fun which you can listen for free at Spotify or you can support the band by purchase and download at Bandcamp and get your own impressions. I for one am looking to see what the third album holds in store this band in my extended backyard – now I just need to find the time to trip down to Oklahoma!

The first album by The Righs released in 2008 was The Rivers Run Deep. The album contains 10 tracks. The track listing is:

  1. I Hope I Never See You Again
  2. My Life in the Bike Scene
  3. Dublin: Easter 1916
  4. That Guy
  5. My Weary Irish Eyes
  6. Amazing Grace
  7. I’m Bound Away
  8. Agony’s Night
  9. The Shire
  10. Loch Lomond

The second album, Roses, was released in 2010 and contains a whopping 18 tracks:

  1. Double-Edged Sword
  2. You’re Drunk You Limey Bastard!
  3. The Man With Nickel Plating Makes All The Rules
  4. Two Cents
  5. The Day Booze Saved Humanity
  6. Poseidon’s Wrath
  7. My Dear Molly
  8. A Dog Named Job
  9. The Prisoner
  10. Mother Knows Best
  11. And So It Goes
  12. The Sword That Broke The Demon’s Back
  13. The Valley (Billy’s Song)
  14. When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  15. Renunciator
  16. What Good is Death?
  17. The Blessing
  18. Roses

Lexington Field No Man’s War Press Release

no mans warAwesome news! I am so looking forward to hearing what Lexington Field has cooked up and I have extremely high hopes for their upcoming album! Below is their press release for No Man’s War:

LEXINGTON FIELD SET TO RELEASE SECOND FULL-LENGTH ALBUM NO MAN’S WAR ON NEW FOLK RECORDS

SAN DIEGO, CA – Lexington Field announced today they are releasing their second full-length album, No Man’s War, on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 on New Folk Records, in conjunction with Blind Eye Records. Both labels are based out of Minneapolis, MN.
No Man’s War was produced, recorded and mixed by Jeff Berkley at Berkley Sound in San Diego, CA. He is a founding member of the bands Berkley Hart and Citizen Band, and has recorded musicians such as The Lovebirds, Tim Flannery, Josh Damigo, and Gregory Page. The 14-track album was mastered by 4-time Grammy Award winner Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering in Hollywood, CA.

No Man’s War features guest appearances by singer-songwriter Steve Poltz (vocals), Veronica May from The Lovebirds (vocals), Dennis Caplinger (banjo), Anthony Belluto from Horde of Sirens (guitar), Josh Linden from Hoist the Colors (mandolin & vocals) and Matt Maulding from Brick Top Blaggers (accordion).

Los Angeles artist Jose Pimienta, who created the artwork for Lexington Field’s debut album Old Dirt Road (2011) and follow-up EP Poor Troubled Life (2012), returned to do the same for No Man’s War. The album will also include a 20-page booklet of Pimienta’s original sketches.
“No Man’s War is the ultimate American Fiddle Rock album. These 14 songs are dynamic, heartfelt, emotional, and very high- energy. It was an honor to work with such talented musicians during this whole project and to have Jose Pimienta return to provide amazing artwork. Jeff Berkley and Gavin Lurssen are top notch professionals and truly captured our sound. We are so excited to share our American Fiddle Rock songs with the rest of the world!” – Beau Gray, Lead Singer/Guitarist of Lexington Field

The official CD Release show to celebrate No Man’s War will take place on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA. Here are the details:

OFFICIAL NO MAN’S WAR CD RELEASE SHOW

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND BELLY UP TAVERN

143 S. Cedros Ave.

Solana Beach, CA 92075

Doors at 8 PM, Show at 9 PM

$16 adv/ $18 day of/ $28 reserved

http://www.LexingtonField.com

http://www.NewFolkRecords.com

http://www.BlindEyeRecords.com

Spreading The Gospel Celtico Blog

There is a new blog helping spread the word from Argentina, Celtico, who has been quite active on Twitter. I look forward to reading more by him and welcome him to spreading the gospel of Celtic Rock and Punk. His page is at http://www.celtico.com.ar/en/ and has a great review of Sir Regs new album 21st Century Loser. Enjoy!

Slainte!

The Tossers – Emerald City Review

The Tossers new album, Emerald City has just come out this month. This long running band from Chicago has produced a thoughtful piece, that gives tribute to their hometown. I was excited when I picked up my copy, hoping to be blown away by these great Celtic Punk veterans. Instead, this release is like the girl next door. She is cute, maybe even a bit homely, but underneath the exterior lies something very deep and mature. The songs for me blended into each other but all were solid musically. However, in reading the lyrics from the songs contain deep substance and are quite poetic.

The songs I enjoyed the most were “Emerald City” that has a lovely story of Irish immigrants and falling in love, not just of a woman but of the city and “USA” about the community of south side Chicago.

Going back to my metaphor of the girl next door, this album did not set my heart racing or fueling my muse like the wild girl in town. On the surface it ok, but when you dig deeper, get into the lyrics, it is very solid piece of work. And like the girl next door, maybe as time develops, and love affair can develop. We will see what familiarity will spawn as it goes into my daily playlist of Celtic Rock and Punk songs and mingles with other songs. Perhaps breaking the songs away from the others can help me see the trees through the forest.

Track listing:

  1. The Rover
  2. Here’s to a Drink With You
  3. Emerald City
  4. Wherever You Go
  5. USA
  6. St. Patrick’s Day
  7. Bombo Lane
  8. The Break of Dawn
  9. The South Side of Town
  10. Where the Beer and Whiskey Flow
  11. God Bless You
  12. Johnny McGuire’s Wake
  13. The Fermoy Lasses and Sporting Paddy
  14. Slainte

Slainte!