Black Water County – Living and Giving
Celtic punk is the most fun musical style in the world unless you are required for health or medical reasons to abstain from drinking. Let me rephrase that. For my friends and me, Irish punk is the most fun music in the world.
Yes, its feisty and the, usually, well-crafted lyrics (Ireland seems to have a fascination with booze and the art of writing) deal with serious topics in gallows humour, us against the world kind of a way.
With that being said, you’re unlikely to find a more positive, fun-loving Irish punk group than Black Water County. The hard-working band makes fast, aggressive, yet pleasant songs about hard-working people.
They are not as angry as Dropkick Murphy, as serious as Flogging Molly, or as dangerous as the Rumjacks. They’re dressed as characters of Scooby-Doo for the video to Living and Giving, for Heaven’s sake. As unpretentious as they present themselves, there’s a working-class mentality behind how seriously they treat their music.
Gila Monster – Neon Rain
You can tell a lot about someone from the way they strum a guitar. Not only can you tell if they have a sense of rhythm or not. But, based on the opening acoustic guitar lines of Gila Monster’s Neon Rain, I could conclude that this was not a band content with making sad, folky music.
No, instead this sounds like the last gasp assault. It’s the final song before all the strings break, the drums fall over, and the singer is left breathless. It’s not delivered with the aggression of Bad Brains, but with, seemingly, all the energy that Gila Monster can muster.
The melodies are large, the harmonica intro gets helped along by a pummeling drum beat, and those guitar chords keep being strummed manically. In a world where musicians tend to either play it safe or merely act their part, it’s heart-warming to hear artists simply giving their all.