Archive for Punk

Citizens of Boomtown: The Story of the Boomtown Rats

Citizens of Boomtown: The Story of the Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats in Ireland

Citizens of Boomtown: The Story of the Boomtown Rats has its faults but is hugely entertaining and informative. Director Billy McGrath records and analyses both the band’s history and its music. He highlights key (sometimes iconic) footage documenting its huge success and subsequent fall from popularity. Guests include Bono, Sinead O’Connor, Dave Stewart, Jools Holland, David Mallet and Sting, as well as music writers, photographers, and historians all give their views on the history and social impact of the Rats.

I should declare my interest. I am a Boomtown Rats fan. I loved ‘A Tonic for the Troops’ when I first heard it. I loved the mix of punk rebellion with people who could actually play instruments and carry a tune. I loved the relative complexity of the lyrics.

The Boomtown Rats originated in Ireland. An Ireland that was economically grim and socially frozen. Ireland was dominated by the allied Church and State and to many young people was depressing and corrupt. All many wanted to do was escape. That was certainly true of the members of the Boomtown Rats. Added to that sense of alienation or estrangement was there disrupted family backgrounds. All in all a mix for anti-authority, questioning and rebellious positions. And that’s exactly what you got.

For me, the relationship between their Irish roots and the state of that nation was one of the most fascinating aspects of the documentary. The lyric of Banana Republic written in response to the band being banned from performing in the Republic is uncompromising. Take the chorus:
“Banana Republic
Septic Isle
Suffer in the Screaming sea
It sounds like dying
Everywhere I go
Everywhere I see
The black and blue uniforms
Police and priests”

The Irish establishment took a dim view of this song and Geldof’s earlier “denunciation of nationalism, medieval-minded clerics and corrupt politicians” in a 1977 interview/performance on Ireland’s The Late Late Show. The Irish Times described the band as “a thorn shoved into the skin of church and state”.(1)

Yet the Rats were also one of Ireland’s most successful exports for a time opening up opportunities that other Irish bands followed. And Geldof never abandoned Ireland itself whilst maintaining his criticism of the system there.

There are many ‘might have been questions’ raised by the documentary. The Rats were ahead of their time in terms of producing music videos but there was no dedicated music video channel at the time. Had there been maybe they would have broken through in the United States. If Geldof had been less abrasive and understood America and Americans better perhaps they would have done better there. As the Irish Times put it: “Geldof, for whom keeping his mouth shut did not come naturally, went out of his way to alienate US audiences by deriding the sainted Bruce Springsteen.” (2)

You can mark the end of the band at different points but I would place it when they failed to breakthrough in the United States. It didn’t help that the anthemic I Don’t Like Mondays was blocked by legal threats from being produced as a single there.

Bob Geldof kept busy. He starred in Pink Floyd the Wall (released in 1982) cast as the mentally deranged Fascist leader Pink. He brought his energy to organise the massive 1985 Live Aid charity concerts and the Xmas hit Do they know it’s Christmas? and many associated efforts for famine relief in Africa.

The Rats reunited as a part-time touring act in 2013 and in 2020, 36 years after their last release. They also produced a seventh album, Citizens of Boomtown (after which the documentary is named). Although keyboardist Johnny Fingers and early-era guitarist Gerry Cott are both absent, the Rats of 2020 — Geldof, guitarist Garry Roberts, bassist Pete Briquette, and drummer Simon Crowe – are all original members. The album received mixed reviews but the live gigs were said to be filled with energy and passion by those who attended.

In both the documentary and in an interview with Rolling Stone Geldof insists that the band’s older songs aren’t nostalgia but are relevant today:

““When I sing ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ I’m not in 1979,” he says. “I’m in last night’s school massacre, which nobody anticipated at the time. When I’m doing ‘Rat Trap,’ it’s not for the hopelessness of the people in that abattoir I wrote it in, but hopelessness now. When I do ‘Banana Republic’ it’s not for the Irish Republic, which eventually grew up and matured. It’s for the American republic as it descends ever further into political infantilism.”

“When I do ‘Lookin’ After No. 1′ it’s not about the conditions of life in 1979,” he continues. “It’s about Google and Facebook and [Mark] Zuckerberg always on, always monitoring, collating every thought you have, every friend, every choice, packaging and selling it to a third party who in turn exploits you and your preferences. It’s utterly now. That rage, that animus propels the Boomtown Rats.” (3)

I can’t hope to cover all the informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining aspects of this documentary. It is so full. Though there are still aspects missed such as Geldof’s support for Father’s Rights and his opposition to Brexit.

I said at the start that it had flaws. There is a very contrived ‘interview’ with Bob Geldof at the beginning which I think is meant to be funny but isn’t. I didn’t make much of the rather ‘art-schooly’ of the band walking through a tunnel behind a figure wearing a gas mask and pulling a board laden with rocks. Each to their own though! It is also a little self-congratulatory but given the band, and particularly ‘Saint Bob’s’ contribution to humanitarian relief and social progress maybe we can forgive them that!

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington


Picture credit: By Author unknown; Photo courtesy Orange County Archives –, No restrictions,

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CQAF Festival Marquee, Customs House Square, Belfast. May 3rd 2016

As he gets older, the Bard of Salford looks more and more cadaverous. John Cooper Clarke’s wry observation, “As you can see, I’ve been piling on the pounds” won one of the biggest laughs of the evening. Most folk I know have never heard of him, so I wasJohn Cooper Clarke pleasantly surprised to see the venue packed almost to capacity.

The huge audience in the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Marquee had already been warmed up by another Mancunian poet, Mike Garry, who entertained them with a mixture of shrewd observational comedy and heartbreaking pathos. The most memorable item was Pay as you Go, a poem about a young girl who had been inveigled by a conniving boyfriend into ‘sexting’ him intimate pictures of herself. He then betrayed her trust by posting them on line. It was powerful stuff.

With a non-stop rapid-fire line of patter, John Cooper Clarke launched into a series of old favourites; Beasley Street and its gentrified update, Beasley Boulevard; Twat, ending with the full and unexpurgated version of Evidently Chickentown, made famous in an episode of the Sopranos (albeit in a toned down form).

Due acknowledgment was given to the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams TD, who a couple of days earlier had tweeted his appreciation of the Tarantino movie Django Unchained, by describing himself as a ‘Ballymurphy Nigger’. This storm of universal disapproval and outrage – some of it may even have been genuine – that broke over him was still fresh in everyone’s mind. To the delight of the audience, Cooper Clarke dedicated his upbeat rendition of Some Cunt Used the N-Word in the Sinn Féin president’s honour.

Cooper Clarke is rude, irreverent, iconoclastic and at times profane. He manages to be all this and also very, very funny – even when you can see a mile off where he’s going or what he’s going to say.

The Bard of Salford is touring throughout the UK and Ireland during the month of June. If he comes to your town, go and see this show.

**** Four stars.

David Kerr

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CD Review: Made in Oakland

troublemakerfile004Trouble Maker

“Trouble Maker have been knocking East Bay punks flat with their aggressive hardcore punk sound and real-life lyrics. Think Fear, think Agnostic Front (pre-metal days), think that great local hardcore band you loved in 1986.”  -AlternativeTentacles-


This is formidable hardcore brilliance.  The mix on this is great, the vocals are right up front and in your face, the drums are thundering and drive it down the highway like a GTO with all barrels blazing, the guitars sear right through the rest and into your soul.   Yes this CD is scorching.

The Made in Oakland CD is a collection of the band’s new material and includes songs from the 2009 unreleased Smash Hits with some material thrown in from 2003’s Fist Impression.  Currently, Trouble Maker are writing new material and they will be playing the Gilman in Berkley CA on October 18th with the English Dogs.

Trouble Maker were always one of my absolute favourite bands to tour and do live gigs with.  They always were intense, vociferous and great guys to boot, fun as hell.  Trouble Maker are one of the bands that to me, best represent the diversity that is West Coast hardcore.  Not a band to ever fall into the generic hardcore punk abyss, these guys are a Mack Truck barreling down the highway at full speed playing chicken in your headlights.

zpfile001Saturday Night – Saturday Night is a great fist pumping sing along with a hint of Oi.  Complain is full of crispy-crunchy goodness and surprise hooks as it burns rubber around the curves and lays out on the stretches, while I Don’t Care is tight and powerful.  Liquor Store is a sing-along drinking song perfect to start off your Friday night partay. And the hits keep coming on this one, Alcoholic is a rock powerhouse with great melody and Poser, well the intro into Poser reminds me of old 80s buttrock bands.  The beginning of this one takes me back to a time in Portland back in the early 80s, when we punks were hanging out at a rocker party, and typical little trouble maker that I was then, I walked up to the biggest poser in the place with his flowing golden locks. I grabbed and hacked off a handful of his God-like ‘Do’ thereby eliminating his Rock God spandex powers.  As we wandered out of the party a few minutes later, it broke out into an all-out bar room brawl with 2x4s… and that is what this song breaks into after the pretty intro.  Sheer Trouble Making Punk Rock madness.  Outstanding.

zpfile000Rough House – another heavyweight sing along ditty.  Jekyll & Hyde – Chunky goodness that is melodic as hell with excellent lyrics which is what Trouble Maker do best.  All Fed Up – This one reminds me a bit of early Minor Threat.  Outta Control – Tight and fast, again epic West Coast hard-core sound here.  Bad Attitude – This starts with a most excellent bass line and the vocals are riding a tight and winding curve holding on for dear life..  Then it drives straight into a wall of guitar hell that just takes you higher. Another one that you can’t help but sing along to.  This is one of my top favourites on this CD.  Sex with the Ex – another melodic ditty full of in your face hard-core.  Your Scene – More melodic brilliance from the lads, this one’s danceable for all your little Mohawk spike encrusted leather jacket poseurs..  I love the sentiments on this one and it perfectly describes my own complaints about the sad state that some punk has degenerated into.

Trouble Maker – Not one to finish on a light note, Trouble Maker is an impressive hard edged annihilating finale to this CD.  Get yours and play it. LOUD.

Reviewed by Rosdaughr

Track listing:

  1. No Regrets
    This is Oakland
    3. Saturday Night
    4. Never Quit
    5. Hit & Run
    6. Complain
    7. I Don’t Care
    8. Liquor Store
    9. Alcoholic
    10. Poser
    11. Rough House
    12. Jekyll & Hyde
    13. All Fed Up
    14. Outta Control
    15. Power Trip
    16. Dirty Cop
    17. Bad Attitude
    18. Sex with the Ex
    19. Cause for Alarm
    20. Your Scene
    21. Trouble Maker








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Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations PosterAnyone in Belfast who plays in a band, appreciates music or even who buys records regularly will probably have come across Terri Hooley. Terri would admit that he is an unlikely businessman. He certainly can’t claim to be the most successful record shop owner in history, but then again, the Virgin Megastores, Zavvi, Tower Records and Our Price have passed into history and HMV is in deep trouble but Good Vibrations manages to hang on in there, despite it all.

The crazy thing is that Terri Hooley opened his shop in Belfast in the mid-seventies in the city’s most-bombed street above a dusty whole food shop run by the Guru Maharaj Ji’s Divine Light Mission. The city in the 1970s was a bleak place. Belfast city centre emptied at 6 o’clock of all but the brave or the foolhardy. The conflict – which Ulsterfolk euphemistically call ‘The Troubles’ – was at the height of its random tit-for-tat viciousness. People retreated in the evenings to the ghettos where they lived in search of some security. They socialised where they could; in local clubs, pubs, parish halls, Orange halls or illegal sheebeens. They rarely – if ever – met with people from ‘the other side’.

The novelist Glenn Patterson and Colin Carberry have conjured up a film script that really captures the nature of this anarchic mould -breaking larger-than-life character. Their script buzzes with dark Belfast humour and a soundtrack that brings everything to the mix from Hank Williams’ I Saw the Light, Phil Spector’s girl bands, through to Rudi’s Big Time and of course, the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks. The action was intercut with contemporary footage of background events. This gave an immediate reminder of the very real dangers stalking the city then. Many folk of a certain age would have been delighted to see one-time Scene-Around-Six news anchor Barry Cowan, (sadly no longer with us), on-screen again.

Terri’s mum was a devout Methodist and his dad was a revolutionary socialist. He never quite fitted in to Ulster’s divided society. In the Sixties, he protested against the Vietnam war and in favour of nuclear disarmament, but as the Troubles took hold many of his contemporaries forsook protesting for peace in favour of violence.

His first love was music, especially reggae, but he became enthused by the energy of the growing punk movement which drew young folk from both communities to the rundown Pound Club on the edge of the city centre to hear bands like Rudi and the Outcasts. This led him into launching a record label to introduce Rudi to a wider public. Other bands followed. The ‘big one’ was The Undertones from Derry whose single, Teenage Kicks went stratospheric after it was taken up by the influential Radio One presenter, John Peel.

Despite its bleak environment of bombs everywhere, soldiers on the streets, officious cops and random, casual violence, this is a real fun, feel good movie. Dormer’s Hooley often messes things up, not least his life and his relationship with his wife, Ruth. He’s more interested in the music than making money from it.

Some scenes will haunt the viewer for life. I was struck by the scene where Terri hears ‘that’ Undertones song for the first time and fell about laughing at a scene where a bemused British soldiers stops Hooley and the band in the van only to discover that they are both Protestants and Catholics from north, east and west Belfast. Terri had never asked them what they were.

Coming out at a time when old divisions threaten to open up again in Belfast, this movie reminds us that we can do better. In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king. Roll on the DVD release. One Love!

PS.  The DVD is now available,

By David Kerr

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Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD

Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD (Iron Pig Records)

alabaster suns coverALABASTER SUNS is the new band of London-based musicians Nathan Perrier and Kevin Williams, the former guitarist and drummer of Capricorns, along with new boy Anthony Dearlove on bass, and this self-titled mini-album on Iron Pig Records is their debut release.  I liked Capricorns well enough, especially their last album, River, Bear Your Bones (reviewed elsewhere on Judas Kiss), though the only time I saw them play live they were rather overshadowed by Lair of the Minotaur, who totally rocked.  The five tracks of this half-hour release, though, demonstrate some significant changes from the sludgy instrumental stoner rock of Capricorns, as well as some points of continuity.

The album’s seven-minute opener, Iron Gang, is a tangled snarl-up of awkward, angsty guitar surge and complex, technically accomplished drumming.  Kevin Williams belts out some raucous, shouted vocals over the top, and the band’s overall sound has a strong feel of late 80s and early 90s hardcore and noise-rock about it, bands such as Prong, Helmet, Helios Creed, Nomeansno, Lard, Tar, or even the more musically adventurous work of late-era Black Flag and Hüsker Dü.  The length, musicianship and progressive flourishes of Alabaster Suns songs prevent this from being considered out-and-out hardcore, but the influence can definitely be felt, and of course Nathan Perrier used to drum for Conflict before joining Capricorns, so this hardcore punk lineage isn’t too hard to trace.

Alabaster Suns leave plenty of space for time changes, breakdowns and melodic hooks amidst all the riff-rage, though, and whilst Iron Gang and Royal 6 In Hand pack the wide-bore ammo, the relatively short title track Alabaster Suns stands out from the pack as a gentle, introspective instrumental piece, dominated by a bright, clean guitar tone, which could easily have been recorded by Capricorns, or indeed the latter-day, Bees Made Honey-era, incarnation of Earth.  The brevity and tightness of the release keep the attention from wandering, as it was sometimes wont to do amongst the instrumental longeurs of Capricorns jams, and all in all, Alabaster Suns is an accomplished and auspicious beginning to life after Capricorns.



Reviewed by Simon Collins.  Reprinted with acknowledgements to Judas Kiss web-zine.

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Shudder to Think – Pony Express Record

Shudder to Think – Pony Express Record 

Released: September 13, 1994
Genre: Post-Hardcore/Experimental Rock/Indie Rock
Label: Epic

Shudder to Think

Click on image to buy

Number Of Tracks: 13

PONY EXPRESS RECORD is a 1994 album by the Washington, D.C.-based post-hardcore group Shudder to Think.

Sound: Shudder to Think are a post-hardcore band who emerged from the DC hardcore scene in the mid-1980s and were one of the two bands (other being Jawbox) to famously leave Dischord Records for a major label.  Although taking their influence from hardcore punk and alternative rock their music has a pop twist which is quite evident on their major label debut Pony Express Record.

However despite having a clean poppy sound the album is not what could be described as “easy listening”.  The songs on the album jump around abruptly which on your first listen and subsequent listens can take you by total surprise as the song goes in a total different direction than it was going originally.  This is thanks to the number of different time signatures utilised notably in track 5, Earthquakes come Home. 

Another thing to mention is that although being a well produced and a tight sounding record there is a lot of use of dissonance/dissonant chords in the songs and twisted melodies which is what sells the record for me.  It approaches the pop sound from a total different direction which sounds abrasive to the ear but doesn’t put you off. Overall I would give it a 9/10 for sound.

Lyrics and Singing: One of the first things than struck me about this record was the lyrics and the singer’s vocal ability.  Craig Wedren the bands guitarist/vocalist is a phenomenal singer.  I would compare him to the style of Jeff Buckley who in fact did some work with the band for the film First Love, Last Rites.  However the comparison to Buckley is not totally fitting.  In some of the songs Wedren’s singing can become quite intense where he starts almost shouting.  The lyrics are quite intriguing, thought provoking and even clever and funny in places.  From the slightly morbid lyrics in the opening track Hit Liquor“Case of her bones are softer than loose meat” to the funny/weird lyrics in Gang of $ “One honey donut and your lips are stuck to the seat” and his later wailing of “the ghost of my mom is in the telephone”.  The topics and lyrics vary greatly throughout the record my personal favourites being from X-French T-Shirt – “I saw you screaming at the top floor, big window crash, I’m deaf” and Kissi Penny’s“Who’s in distress? Some damsel with a canceled subscription to an ambulance”.  Overall the lyrics and vocals are fantastic. 10/10

Impression: If I was to put it generally, I would say that Shudder to Think sounds like a more abrasive Jeff Buckley.  There aren’t really many bands out there like them.  Maybe Jawbox or Fugazi to an extent, but they lack the poppy/clean sound that Shudder to Think provide.  To me this is a perfect record and I would even go as far to say this is one of the best albums of the 90s.  I would put it up there with Pearl Jam’s Ten, Soundgarden’s Superunknown and many other albums.  I would urge people to go out and buy this exceptional album you will not regret it!
Overall 9.7/10.


Reviewed by Joshua Chisim

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Phantom Ratio: We’ve been to Hell …. So you don’t have to!

Phantom Ratio Review

We’ve been to Hell …. So you don’t have to!

From the PR guys, particularly Brad:

“We have travelled space and time with our well known, but very top secret, invention. Becoming, a tactically versatile and highly competent, scientific awareness unit. We know how to operate our equipment just about as well as we need to. I personally am far more satisfied, but ironically far less monetarily rewarded with phantom ratio than anything I’ve ever done musically… A progression from misery, to the evolution of life, all life.. and, ourselves, sacrifices must be made.”

Industrial post punk trio, Phantom Ratio, formed in the not so distant past, and they have been kickin ass and taking names ever since.

Meet the Band: (click on this to see them live on youtube)

Eric Stene is a long-time veteran of the San Diego music scene.  He has played in countless bands from 1984 to the present.  Prior to Phantom Ratio, he is best known for being the guitarist/noisemaker for the seminal San Diego band Night Soil Man, where he played alongside Mark Trombino and Mike Kennedy, who would go on to become the rhythm section of emo lords Drive Like Jehu.

Jimi Flynn is the stick man for PR.  He played with ministry of truth in 1984 and 85, a band with a so-cal punk sound. He then played in Eminence from 1986 to 1989.  Eminence moved more into the speed metal genre. Both bands were based in San Diego. 

Jimi has always been a music enthusiast in all of its forms and genres.  For personal reasons, he put playing on the back burner.  After getting clear and clean, he’s picked up his sticks again. Jimi said recently he feels as though he is playing better than ever and is more comfortable in his own skin(s)…

Brad Davidson, I knew back when I was a teenage punkette running rampant in Portland.  Brad gained much local respect when he was recruited as the bassist for Portland favourites, the Wipers.  Those of us who were on the younger end of the punk scene then, were quite proud that he got that gig, as the Wipers are near and dear to many a heart in the Northwest.  Following much recording and several tours with the Wipers, Brad started a 3-piece Metal punk combo, called “Klaw.” In this band he began writing.  He also was learning to sing and play bass simultaneously.

In 92, he was drafted into the Jesus and Mary Chain, while living in London.  Brad is an old road dawg, who could do 28 shows in 30 days.. with the JAMC he went on to do the 92 Lollapalooza tour, the Rollercoaster II tour, and the Jools Holland show with Paul Weller taping that night. His contract was cut short due to his party like a mutherfucker attitude…a true Rocking Roller..

Brad ended up back in the US of A.  He met Jimi Flynn and Eric Stene after moving down to San Diego.

Brad was lured by Eric’s guitar, where in parts he sounded like Helios Creed/ Chrome, one of his and Eric’s main influences. Brad says he was encouraged by the way they “jelled together and seemed to have an almost telepathic complimentary connection.”

The band soon after made their 1st recording with a friend, Theo Miserlis,  who engineered the mechanical section of that session.  The plan now is to release a second recording which was completed last summer.  It is said not to be for the faint of heart.

The CD, recorded in 2010 at Chaos Recorders in Escondido, features:  ( hear their songs here…)

§  Secret Invention

§  Skrew your face up

§  God Told Me

§  Gravity

§  Path of Least Resistance

§  The Growth

Phantom Ratio on MySpace

You can contact them here for gigs, tours and assorted craziness:

Adam Marx of New Rock News 43, describes these guys like this,

“These guys are as classic punk/sludge-rock as you can get, and there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re the brainchild of a former Wiper and friends. It’s almost as if the Wipers and Melvins got together and had a child: a sick, twisted, demented monster of a kid that loved to play loud, fast, and hard.”

Secret Invention,  Blimey, heavy post punk slashing melodic badness!  The vocal and bass combo are guttural and grungy. The guitar’s heavy rock riffs drive this like a Camaro at high speeds over a cliff..  These guys were made for each other, and they are smoking. The birth of the next generational scrungy post punk metal madness.

Screw Your Face Up Pulsing heavy dementia with razin vocals that despoil and lay waste to your last shred of innocence.. Hammering drums drive this one right through your soul.

Gravity this one kicks off like classic Iggy then melts into a Helios inspired post punk collision.  The guitar riffs on this one run up and down your spine, then smash you upside the head before laying back into that lashing garage rock goodness that we all loved from Iggy.. and I loves me some Iggy… I have to say I am seldom impressed with what passes as new and popular rock these days.. but these boys have found grandpa’s secret recipe…

The diamond in the rough, in this pile of gems, is God Told Me To.  This has everything an old jaded punk diva requires!  Full throttle is putting it mildly.. this tune smokes from start to finish leaving you gasping for more. Davidson’s animal magnetism and pure crunchy guitar rock-god brilliance on this one. Thanks for that, guys!


News on the street is there is a Greek label threatening to release their recordings, and there is supposed to be an interview with Dimitris Antonopulos (a major rock Dj in ATHENS) which aired a couple of weeks ago.

Adam Marx of newrocknews43, located in Massachusetts has done a recent review of the boys here:  He was so impressed, he is talking about putting some sort of tours together and is busy recruiting these guys.

In the works: recording a song for the upcoming Helios Creed tribute album, requested by Helios’ Manager,  as these guys have said in passing that they  are Helios fans. Did I mention HUGE Helios fans?  And writing new material which is even more sophisticated for your weird palates.

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Music: Pick Yer Poison

Click on image to buy CD

Pick Yer Poison is a split CD featuring two bands, Rum Rebellion and Hammered Grunts.






Rum Rebellion

Rum Rebellion

Rum Rebellion emerged from Portland, Oregon as an acoustic group in 2005. Their bio describes them as a, “a salty mix of Irish tunes, sea chanteys, oi!, and street punk. A union of maritime instrumentation with street punk energy, folk punk and Irish rock bands.” They are one of the better new bands coming out of the West coast scene, and I am seldom easily impressed.

Rum Rebellion are an interesting and hard hitting mix in a similar vein as the Pogues, Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys, in my opinion, they do it better…

They soon added bass and drums and began playing live in January of 2006. They released “Cruisin’ For A Boozin’”, the band’s first full-length album in November ’06. This release was well received and they began playing around the US, mainly West coast.

The CD, I am listening to was a recently released split CD with their mates, Hammered Grunts, called “Pick Yer Poison”. Released on Bostons’, Rodent Popsicle label and distributed by Pyrate Punx Records from Oakland. Recorded at Opal Studios, and engineered and mastered by Kevin Hahn.

Current Line up

Dave Noyes - Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vox
Tyler Miles - Tin-Whistle, Backup Vox
Sage Howard - Bass, Backup Vox
Greg Smasher - Electric Guitar, Backup Vox
Jason Robbins - Drums

A Little Bit of History:

These guys are named for the historical Rum Rebellion of 1808. William Bligh, the Governor of New South Wales made an attempt to normalise trade conditions by prohibiting the use of Rum as payment for commodities. This was an attempt to squash the power of the rum merchants and the NSW Corps who both had stakes in the trade. Bligh’s interference led to a military rebellion in January of 1808. Bligh was eventually arrested by the mutineers, namely George Johnston of the NSW Corps, held for over a year then sent packing off to England.

I seriously can’t say enough about these guys, they are one of my favourite newer bands. I have listened to a lot of punk rock over the years and I am not easily impressed with many newer bands, who seem to me to be mainly generic hard-core and tributes to bands from the early 80s. There are few bands who have come along in the late 90s and after 2000 who I felt were original or really had that genuine quality about them. Rum Rebellion is one of them. Pick Yer Poison is well worth the few quid you will put down on it.
It includes:-

1: Burn It Down
2: Stand Up
3: Drink With The Devil
4: Off To Limerick
5: Gotta Go
6: On Call
Burn it to the ground: what can I say? A snappy little sing-along song of destruction.
Drink with the Devil: My favourite song by far on the CD, This is an driving ditty that gets you up on your feet for a bit of a mosh and a bit of a jig… these guys are really tight and the traditional folk element of flutes and fiddle really add to the composition, bringing a warm touch to their rousing drinking tunes.
Gotta Go: Another traditional melody to get you up on your feet and downing those pints before you head out for some live music! Catchy this one, if you are not careful it will sneak up on you and you will find yourself humming it to yourself as you head out about your day.

Off to Limerick: Nothing soft about these guys, they are straight ahead swashbuckling swaggering punk rock. Much more of an Oi! feel to this one with the sing along choruses and the straight punk beat, but there is a surprise halfway through the song with a lush solo of drums and more traditional acoustics, before they kick back into the good ole punky oi! boys sound.
On Call: Another traditional folk feel to this one, until they hit the top of that intro and it gets quite heavy with some amazing drum work. Damn these guys kick ass! I can’t think of too many young bands on the West coast who can really match these guys in many ways. Funny mix on this one of folk and an old school punk melody that just works.

Further info on Rum Rebellion at:

youtube video



Hammered Grunts

Hammered Grunts

Genre: street thrash
VOX Thaddeus Hammered
Bass Germey Grunt
Drums Bro-dog
Guitar Dooger
Record label: Rodent Popsicle/Underdog Records
Current Location Portland OR
Press contact

Hammered Grunts were established 2004 to the dismay of neighbours and music snobs alike. Hammered Grunts have been compared to bands such as Blood Clots and Carrier Soldiers, however I am not familiar with these bands, so I cannot comment on that comparison. The group consists of four friends dedicated to being involved and making music in the local Vancouver and Portland punk rock scene. After releasing their self-titled 15 song street punk album, the band delivered a very successful 5 state 23 shows tour in August of 2008.

Next the Hammered Grunts recorded a split EP with Hometown Hero’s “Rum Rebellion” and will displayed another 6 song onslaught of energy & angst. “Hammered Grunts” also went on a summer 2009 tour to support the record. This is the CD I have been listening to.

What I can say is the recorded material from these guys is fast, tight, melodic hard-core. I do not like much of the more generic young hard-core that have come along since the late 80s, however these guys are tight and have a bit of a metal edge, and are worth checking out. Listen to them at Reverbnation.
I was perusing through the net to find some band pics of these guys and saw someone make this comparison of them, “Hammered Grunts’ Music sounds like a cross between Metallica (Creeping Death) Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies”. Their singer’s a fucking speed-vox maniac while the guitar bass duo are a mosh pit of brilliant madness.
Self-Destruct This is probably the song I like best of theirs on the CD. It’s the type of song I would love to sing as a speedcore/hardcore vocalist.. with some excellent timing and stops in it. Stand up is another brilliant song – pure in your face punk rock, not for the pusillanimous.
Ok the drummer in this band kicks ass too… where the hell were these drummers when we were looking for one?? And lo and behold I hear an Irish tin whistle in there with all this hard-corey goodness! Thrashingly excellent.
And speaking of Thrash, since 2010, the Grunts have taken big steps towards playing and producing more of a thrash feel with their music. Hammered Grunts, I believe, have released their next album “Hostile Takeover” which is meant to include 12 tracks of a much more brutal sound. If they want to send me this new one as well, I would definitely review it. I can say these guys grow on you.. and they appear to be getting better with the new recordings! Check out Hostile Takeover with a video and song links here

You can find them on MySpace and Facebook.

Review by Rosdaughr

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NEW MUSIC: Black Tartan Clan and Anglo-Saxon

Over the past month I have come across two albums by hitherto unknown bands: Anglo-Saxon and the Black Tartan Clan. One of the beauties of the internet is the ease with which unsigned bands are now able to showcase their work on websites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube for anyone in the world to find.

The Black Tartan Clan take the ‘bagrock’ of the popular Red Hot Chilli Pipers a step further with their ‘Celtic Punk’ sound, a hard-edged foot-stomping fusion of pipes, drums bass guitar and pulsating punk rhythms.
Sounds terrific, you might think, so whereabouts in Scotland do these lads hail from? That’s the odd thing. The band was formed in 2008 in Belgium of all places! Despite this, they sing in English and have managed to gather a popular following in Scotland itself where they have played a few gigs in places as far apart as Kirkwall and Dumfries.
The Black Tartan Clan has followed its last album Boots, Kilts’n’Pipes with a superb 20-track double CD, The Loyal Men. On this album you’ll find the band’s take on such bagpipe standards as Highland Cathedral, The Hills of Argyll and Amazing Grace sitting along their own original songs and covers of some old punk hits from the days of my youth. Their version of Sham 69’s If the Kids are United will have you wanting to get up and dance till you drop.
Check out the band on MySpace where you can listen to a few sample tracks. They even have a couple of videos up on YouTube. Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band it ain’t but it is a lot of fun!

By contrast, Anglo-Saxon isn’t having quite so much fun. The band’s recent album Endangered Species brings together rock’n’roll, folk and metal styles to decry the state of modern England and make a passionate stand for what is right. Lead singer Gary Marsden had the unnerving experience of having his house raided by police because of a complaint made about one of the songs which, for good measure, is offered in both a live mix version and an unaccompanied acoustic versionon this album. This song criticised the 7/7 bombers and the attitudes that spawned them in the lyrics,
They took the passport and the Pound
but then they bombed the Underground
but they’ll never destroy the land of hope and glory

Two other songs, This is not a Crusade and Lest we Forget 7/7 explore similar themes. You might have thought that such sentiments are self-evidently true, and in the end no charges were bought against the songwriter. However, he has suffered for his art and for telling the truth as he saw it; he has lost his job and has had some difficulty getting another one.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s some nifty guitar work in this album Look out for the original song This Thing Called Rock’n’Roll and a fine version of the traditional folksong, Scarborough Fair. As is the case with the Black Tartan Band, you can also access Anglo-Saxon on MySpace and YouTube. This album and individual tracks can be downloaded on iTunes or you can get a physical CD from the band’s website.

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