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Follow the Suggestions: The Tossers and The Killigans

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While listening to Flogging Molly's latest release Live at the Greek Theater it dawned on me that I have not purchased their iTunes only release, The Complete Control Sessions. So I headed to my computer and logged in. I typed in the name and found what I was looking for. As I went to click "purchase" I saw the suggestions menu at the bottom of the page. My curiosity piqued I clicked on one of those links instead, a band called The Tossers.

The Tossers are a Chicago based Celtic punk band that formed in the early 90s. This means they predate the likes of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys. They are a seven piece outfit that mixes traditional Irish folk music sound with a brashness of punk lyrics. The end result? Pretty cool! They don't have the hardness of Dropkick Murphys but are definitely more raw than Flogging Molly. The band currently has five albums out. The most recent one, On a Fine Spring Evening is available on iTunes and is the one I chose to purchase. The first track, “Katie at the Races” opens with the blaring of a bugle. A symbol of a fun filled ride of music to come.

There was almost nothing about the album I didn't like. I purchased it on Sunday, March 21, and have listened to it at least four times since. The fusion of traditional and punk music is very well done. Lead singer Mike Pawula has a voice that is distinctly reminiscent of Shane MacGowan of The Pogues. Although I would think that most of the Irish/Punk bands of today can be compared in someway to The Pogues.

The band has gained a lot of notoriety by touring with the likes of Flogging Molly, Reverend Horton Heat, Dropkick Murphys and Catch 22. On a Fine Spring Evening was released in 2008.But I didn't stop there.

After purchasing The Tossers album I saw more suggestions. The band that drew my eye was called The Killigans.

The album was Brown Bottle Hymnal, released in 2006. I gave them a listen that night and was immediately struck by how they were mixing traditional with punk but had heavy influences of, well, Johnny Cash. The stories of hard times in the fields and struggling with personal demons were all evident on the album.

The song “Season of My Weakness'” tells of the struggles to deal with day to day life and the hopes that something brighter may come tomorrow. Pain, sorrow, factory life, these are the themes that echo through the album.
Lead singer Brad Hoffman has a voice that is more similar to Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.

The Killigans are from Lincoln, Neb. They formed in 2004 and have played all over Lincoln and Omaha. The recently played a St. Patrick's Day show at Lincoln's famous punk venue Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker has hosted bands such as Michael Graves(Misfits), Reverend Horton Heat, Hank III and more.
Again I have found myself listening to this album a lot since purchasing. It is an excellent album and one I would recommend to anyone.

So I guess the moral of this is be willing to check out the suggestions offered to you. You might just fond a couple of diamonds in the rough!

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  • Capt. Trav

    As a fan of The Tossers I welcome you to the fold, but unfortunately I need to correct you on part of your blog. Many of your facts are correct, except for the one blaring error… Mike Pawula is NOT the lead singer in the band, Tony Duggins is.