Review: Pure Rock Scurvy

Rating: ★★★½☆
brinebastards_scurvyGenre: Pirate Rock
Rating: R
Target Audience: Grease monkeys, pool hall junkies, and garage rockers that wish they were pirates.

Rather than settle with “Watered-down Rock Scurvy” or “Cut with Baking Soda Rock Scurvy”, the pirate-core band Brine&Bastards has selected nothing short of “Pure Rock Scurvy” for their second album (following Set Sail for Sodomy.) Something of a mini-album featuring only six songs, it nonetheless holds its own as a worthy addition to today’s growing genre of pirate rock. Continue reading

Review: The Return of David Gale

Rating: ★★★★½

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Genre: Pirate rock/folk.
Rating: R
Target Audience: Fans of pirate-rock or rough, swaggering traditional

It wasn’t that long ago that no one had heard of The Pirates Charles – primarily in that they didn’t yet exist. And yet in only a couple short years, they quickly rose from obscurity into what is arguably one of the best known, best loved, and “truest” pirate bands around. The secret is a rare blend of the traditional and new – sea shanties mixed in with just enough rock&roll to, well, rock, but not so much as to wholly modernize their music. Of course, the icing on the cake is that The Pirates Charles both look and sound the parts of true scallywags – an important factor in the evolution from sea songs to pirate songs. Continue reading

Review: Legends Never Die

Rating: ★★★★½
thedreadnoughts_legendsneveBuy the CD
Genre: Celtic Pirate Punk
Rating: PG-13
Target Audience: Anyone looking for a modern Irish-punk spin on traditional and traditional-style shanties

I doubt it comes as a surprise to seasoned readers that I have strong preferences with regards to pirate music. By and large, I want it, well, piratey. Meaning shameless, brazen, and loud. All too often sea shanties are performed in the folk-song manner of your Great Aunt Gertrude (meaning toothless and dry) – or worse yet, a kindergarten teacher just before nap-time. But it’s bands like The Dreadnoughts that show us why traditional sea shanties can still kick ass. Continue reading

Review: Skulls&Magpies

Rating: ★★★☆☆
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Genre: Pirate Folk Jazz
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Adults

With its cover of what appears to be a young pirate girl staring at the sunset through a telescope (terribly unwise, now that I think about it), The Mad Maggies new pirate album “Skull&Magpies” has the appearance of a children’s CD. The inside art, featuring the band in fun, colorful cartoons as well tends to reinforce this notion. But, while it doesn’t really feature any material inappropriate for the young’ns, Skull&Magpies is hardly a children’s CD. Rather, it’s for anyone who loves pirates and has a taste for the eclectic. Continue reading

Review: Sovereign of the Seas

Rating: ★★★★☆
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Genre: Pirate Rockabilly
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Teens and adults looking for pirate rock with a punk/ska edge

One of my favorite things about Pirate-Core music is when a band takes pirate themes and lyrics and injects them into a musical genre that on its face would seem entirely not-piratey. Sometimes this results in humorous contrasts. Other times, as with the album Sovereign of the Seas, it’s done so flawlessly as to make the combination seem as natural as parrot poop on a captain’s shoulder. Continue reading

Bilgemunky at Chicago Maritime Festival

If you’re in the neighborhood, this Saturday Chicago will be hosting its 2009 Maritime Festival. Event features loads of sea shanties (including Bounding Main!), plus I’ll be revisiting my 2008 multimedia presentation Pirate-Core: Sea Shanties in the 21st Century…

As a musical genre, the sea chantey has gone largely unchanged since the age of sail. But where most maritime artists have chosen to embrace and preserve the rich heritage of this music, others have opted to take their fascination with the sea into surprising new directions. This session will explore the development and current state of Piratecore, a relatively young yet incredibly diverse musical genre that blends the traditional sea chantey with such contemporary styles as rock, rap, punk, metal, and more.

Hope ta see ya there!

Review: From the Seas to the Streets

Rating: ★★★★★
captaindan_seas2streetsBuy the CD
Genre: Pirate-themed gansta rap
Rating: R+
Target Audience: Immature adults ­čÖé

Where to begin when describing the wonderful oddity that is Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew? By all common sense, such an apparent novelty act should long ago have gone the way of the dodo. But the crew hit the ground with surprising momentum – their first pirate gangsta rap album, Authentic Pirate Hip Hop was a shameless joy to the ears. It seemed an impossible act to follow, and yet, a mere year later, follow it they did with Rimes of the Hip Hop Mariner. But rather than treating us to “more of the same” The Scurvy Crew expanded and developed their hip-hop pirate concept to make for an even better end product. And now, just one year since Rimes, the Scurvy Crew has struck again with their third album, From the Seas to the Streets. Continue reading

Review: Flight of the Filthy Vicar

Rating: ★★★★☆
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Genre: Pirate Jazz, funk, disco, etc.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Anyone with a sense of humor and a taste for the odd

With their second album, The Flight of the Filthy Vicar, Rustmonster continues its unique mix of jazz, funk, and experimental to explore pirate matters in a manner which no healthy mind could ever conceive. No fewer than 20 artists lend their creative talents to impress, entertain, and at times befuddle. There is, after all, nothing in this world quite like manly ‘heave ho’s shouted in time with a saxophone, and it’s thus this album begins with its first track, Blood and Bone. It’s a formula that led to astoundingly fun results with their first album, The Last Voyage of the Black Betty, and it works equally well this second time around. Continue reading

Review: Emphatical Piratical

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: Children (and adult) Pirate Rock and Alternative
Rating: G
Target Audience: Kids will definitely love it, but adults will also find some good stuff

Since the very beginning, Captain Bogg & Salty has always walked a fine line. On the face of it they’re children’s entertainers, and therefore sing silly songs of a kid-friendly nature. But the genius of their first album, Bedtime Stories for Pirates, was that – rather than sounding like preschool teachers like so many other childrens’ “pirate” entertainers – Bogg & Salty lent the impression of being real pirates; actual buccaneers, albeit good-natured ones, doing their level best to “keep it clean” for the duration of the album. This made Bogg & Salty a rare beast, being a pirate band that could be enjoyed by kids and their parents (and even angsty teens and 20-somethings) alike. Continue reading

Review: Drink & the Devil

Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: Contemporary Pirate Folk.
Rating: PG
Target Audience: Pirate music fans, particularly those who would enjoy traditional shanties with some extra “teeth”

Drink & the Devil, by There Be Pirates, is an album that begins absolutely perfectly. Storm-brewed winds are met with a steadily growing drum beat, and then a shanty-styled introductory male voice begins the opening lyrics to High Barbary. But then the song quickly launches into a charged mix of energized instrumentals and vocals. This is still High Barbary as you know it, but reenvisioned in such a way as to remain true to its roots, but fresh and virile. Continue reading