Various Artists: Shite 'n' Onions Volume 2: What the Shite

Various Artists
Shite 'n' Onions Volume 2: What the Shite

It's not so much that everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, or wants to be, even. (This Mick found refuge among Mexican metal fans at El Nuevo Rodeo last year.) Some of us merely want to feel as we imagine the Irish once felt--to have solidarity with the downtrodden dead, to address a room full of male friends as "boys," and meet the mud we're all headed for with a punched smile and a fight song. Like the black Baltimore cops of HBO's The Wire, raising a glass to the Pogues' "The Body of an American" in honor of a fallen comrade, we're participating in an Irish version of minstrelsy just by joining in.

Freeborn men of the U.S.A. are the natural audience for the "Celtic punk" of Shite 'n' Onions, initially compiled three years ago by Boston webzine editor John Murphy and distributed by Omnium, the Minneapolis label run by Drew Miller. (Miller has plied a hard-rock variation of this stuff with Boiled in Lead for 20-odd years.) Today the same team's sequel suggests a novelty that has flowered into a genre. Amid Muppet-like shouts from New York's Jackdaw, and squeezebox from England's Warblefly, Melbourne's the Go Set are a catchier Social Distortion with bagpipes, Wisconsin's Kissers are Midwestern jump-bluegrass, and Chicago's Sharkydoyles are pub-funk-metal for pool players too old to rap. "You're never too young to die," they warble like gangster Gear Daddies. Trashy romance it might be, but I want thirds.

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