Podcast: Dan Flanagan of Matilda’s Scoundrels & Haest

Recorded on the beach at Punk Rock Holiday, Dan and Sarah talk gigs, bands and festival antics.

As the guitarist in both TNS folk-punk favourites Matilda’s Scoundrels and new sludge punk band Haest, as well as one of the organisers of Wotsit Called Festival, Dan Flanagan is one of the most active members of our current UK DIY punk scene.

I’ve been meaning to catch Dan to record a podcast since we first got started, but we finally managed to make time while both in Slovenia at Punk Rock Holiday! Where better to record than on an deserted beach in blazing sunshine, with our feet dipped in the crystal clear river, surrounded by stunning mountains?

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Photos courtesy of Dave Sloan

Although the scenery is idyllic, you can definitely hear our hangovers in the first section of the podcast, and I struggled a bit with my battered vocal chords. Fortunately, Dan’s capable of stringing a sentence together, and we get onto a proper discussion of festival antics. We talk about the joys of Punk Rock Holiday (including Mad Caddies, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Comeback Kid and Almeida), as well as Manchester Punk Festival, Pie Race, Wotsit Called Fest and all kinda of other shenanigans.

We begin by saying we’re not doing to bad on the hangover front, but you can definitely hear the wear and tear in my battered vocal chords and the difficulty in stringing sentences together. You can hear us verbally wake up about 20 minutes in!

These are the tunes we played:

  • Matilda’s Scoundrels – Mr Martyn
  • Haest – I Didn’t Throw A Single Stone And Still I Got Pissed On
  • Bootscraper – The Family

 

Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud

Antifolk singer-songwriter, Tim Loud, gives us a track-by-track insight into his latest album, ‘Salvation’.

Folk-punk antihero, Tim Loud, is due to release his third studio album Salvation via TNS Records on 28th September 2018. Salvation follows new musical and lyrical themes; a musical chronical of Tim’s personal quest for redemption. Shout Louder asked Tim to give us the background.

I was due to start pre-production on Salvation in December of last year, after a pretty shitty few months. Three years of heavy touring and trying to cram in some semblance of a personal life in the 5-10 day stints when I was back ‘home’ had taken its toll. I tried to go sans abode, thinking that if that financial pressure was gone then it might be better… but the uncertainty that added only made things worse.

My head popped at the end of a tour in August last year. I had to work out a more healthy way to carry on making music, if it was even worth me carrying it on at all?

I’d been drinking a lot over the years and had grown accustomed to taking a good ol’ cocktail of drugs to balance me out on the daily, so I decided to knock those things on the head. I still had a sparsely populated tour for September and October to complete, so I decided I would make those my last dates before taking a break. I wouldn’t stress too much about filling the last dates and maybe even take some days off to camp out in the Western European woodlands. I was doing this tour on my own; I often travel with another performer but due to my state, I knew I had to go this part alone.

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I managed to stay off of everything for one month and then gradually began falling back into old habits, although with less gusto this time. I felt the time to clear my head had been useful. One of the last dates I played was at the ADM festival in Amsterdam; I have played there maybe a dozen times over the past 4/5 years and I have a lot of good friends there. They were all busy running the festival and tour fatigue had put pay to what remaining social skills I had left after the head-popping incident. I spent most of the festival wandering round on my own. It was nice, but it’s a strange experience when everyone else is so involved with each other and you’re just an individual.

So anyway, I wound up taking some acid and in the dawn-light in the back of my van. As electricity danced through every structure and a thin layer of ice shimmered atop everything in my line of vision, I had an epiphany of sorts. Two phrases kept repeating themselves in my head, “Find a home,” and, “I am me, and that’s OK,” for about 6 hours.

I put that together with everything else I’d been thinking for the previous years. It was time to take a break from touring. Continue reading “Death or Salvation: A Year In The Life Of Tim Loud”

Bootscraper: Beware The Resurrection Men

Exclusive news: riotous folk-punks Bootscraper return from the dead!

Shout Louder are pleased to announce that raucous aggro-folks Bootscraper are returning to the stage for two wild and exclusive shows!

Bootscraper are a 6-piece aggro-folk whirlwind from Leeds, who stormed stages across the country between 2008 and 2014, releasing two albums on TNS Records plus a split with Revenge of the Psychotronic Man. They’re known for their skilled musicianship, talented songwriting and rollicking live performances, incorporating elements of blues, balkan, gypsy and bluegrass into a foundation of angry punk.

After vanishing in 2014, Bootscraper have been sorely missed. They’re part of the rare breed of irresistibly-danceable heavy aggro-folks like Matilda’s Scoundrels, Roughneck Riot and The Lagan,, which is the foundation for the two unmissable dates they’ve put together.

Bootscraper will be playing two exclusive club shows in early November, one in the North and one in the South. Tickets are available now and there is absolutely no question that both shows will sell out. Do not hang around.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Friday 2nd November @ The Old Town House in Warrington
    • Support from Matilda’s Scoundrels
    • TICKETS
  • Saturday 3rd November @ The Palace in Hastings

For both shows you have the no-brainer option to buy your ticket in a bundle with one of these delightful limited edition t-shirts for £15 all in. Let’s face it, you already know you need one of these.

We spoke to guitarist/vocalist Tim Loud to find out more about their return.

We played our last gig on 16th Nov 2014 at Leeds’ Pie Race festival following a number of years of playing gigs on the DIY circuit, two albums and a few tours under our belts.

What had started out as a very fun band which we formed at university had become less fun over the years due to increasing time constraints placed on the band by our personal lives. We’d lost a few members and it felt like the right time to call it a day for a while, we didn’t make a big thing about us stopping, we just stopped. Continue reading “Bootscraper: Beware The Resurrection Men”

Album Review: Jake & The Jellyfish – Long In Winters

The new upbeat release from Leeds’ favourite DIY folk-punks is a witty, energetic stomper of a record. FFO: Ducking Punches, Matilda’s Scoundrels and Levellers.

Review by Sarah Williams.

I was very excited to hear that Jake & The Jellyfish were releasing a new album. Their last full-length, Dead Weight, was a splendid slice of upbeat folk punk; each song they deliver is foot-tapping, head-nodding, sing-along perfection. They’re also a band that guarantee a raucous live show, which they successfully replicate in the energy of their recorded material.

Their new record Long In Winters is due out on January 26th, with a shiny green vinyl version coming from Invisible Llama Music. At the base of all the songs is a solid unplugged guy-and-guitar ethos that is given a more expansive sound by the full band and the crystal-clear big-room production. Jake & The Jellyfish clearly take influence from traditional folk and riotous bands like the Levellers, but they modernise the sound with poppier ‘whoa-oh’ harmonies and a consistently fast, stomping tempo. The combination of electric guitar, fiddle, plaintive singing and relatable lyrics is irresistable.

Jake & The Jellyfish Long in Winters Album Review
Photo by David Peltan

The album kicks into action with bright electro-acoustic strumming on the opener Spokesdog. From the first bars we are introduced to Jake McAllister’s witty way with words and gritty, infectious vocal style. The song is uplifting with a sense of urgency behind it: performed solo-acoustic it could be a tearjerker, but instead it floods your stereo with emotive force, not dissimilar to the rousing feel Ducking Punches achieve with a full-band.

Second track, Reading List is more of a singalong opus, with an appealing little fiddle line woven into the mix. The words, “I need background noise so I can sleep, just turn on the radio and leave me be,” is an an ingeniously mundane statement. It’s aptly phrased insights like that which grant Jake & The Jellyfish such mass appeal. Similarly the opening lines to Graveyard (“We used to drink in the graveyard in town…”) encapsulate the experiences of every British teenager with enchanting simplicity. Graveyard is an uptempo stomper of a song, guaranteed to get you dancing whether it be in your bedroom, at your office desk or in sweaty basement venues around the country. Continue reading “Album Review: Jake & The Jellyfish – Long In Winters”

Interview with Matilda’s Scoundrels: “A shit Mumford and Sons, but a good Gogol Bordello.”

We spoke to Dan and Jens about writing their new album, organising Wotsit Called Fest and getting thrown off a pier.

Interview by Sarah Williams. Photos and video by Mark Richards.

Matilda’s Scoundrels must be one of the hardest-working bands in the UK DIY scene.

They’ve been touring up and down the country, popping up on all-dayers, in pubs and at a whole range of festivals this summer, building up a reputation as a cannot-miss live act. Although they’ve been together for three and a half years, it wasn’t until September 2017 that they released their first full-length album As The Tide Turns (review here). It’s 42 minutes of rollicking, overdriven aggro-folk, with all the calms and crests of a rough sea and plenty of rousing shout-alongs.

I sat with down guitarist Dan Flanagan and accordionist Jens-Peter Jensen at The Palace in Hastings, just before doors open for the main day of Wotsit Called Fest. The festival is a two-day blend of different genres, with DIY at its heart. It’s organised by Dan and Jens, plus Kathy Butler and The Barracks’ Mark Tanner.  Matilda’s Scoundrels also treated the Friday night as their album release party, playing a storming set to a room full of enthralled fans.

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Given that we were all still up celebrating at 4am, we had a surprisingly sprightly chat, however when I asked them about As The Tide Turns Dan and Jens both paused to give consideration to each answer, rather than diving straight in with a response. I started to get an insight into the care and consideration that’s gone into writing and producing this brilliant new record…

How did Matilda’s Scoundrels first get started?

  • Jens: We all did exactly the same thing that most people did; we met up at gigs, we drank and had fun together. One day we decided it would be a great idea to start a band. It tumbled from there.

You’ve been together a long time, so it feels like there’s been a lot leading up to the first album. How long have you been working on it?

  • Dan: It’s taken us forever!
  • Jens: We’d released a couple of EPs and some singles. We’ve released music every year.
  • Dan: Getting on for 2 years ago, we wrote the first songs.
  • Jens: It didn’t take long to record…
  • Dan: It did take long to record.
  • Jens: Okay, yeah, that’s a lie.
  • Dan: About 8 months. We wanted to take our time with it; an album is quite a big thing so we wanted to make sure we did it right. There’s a lot of us, that’s the thing.
  • Jens: There are six of us. It’s going to be a lot easier to do it if you’re a two piece punk band, because you have three major instruments and that’s it. To be honest, it wasn’t that hard to write, because we are a very writing-focussed band. There are always songs that we’re playing, trying to push up and trying to write.
  • Dan: We’ve already a got a couple towards the next album.
  • Jens: There are several tracks towards the next album! Whether they make it or not is another story!

Continue reading “Interview with Matilda’s Scoundrels: “A shit Mumford and Sons, but a good Gogol Bordello.””

Album Review: Matilda’s Scoundrels – As The Tide Turns

The first full-length release from this Hastings’ sextet is a masterstroke in modern aggro-folk. FFO: Roughneck Riot, Levellers and Dropkick Murphys.

A few weeks ago, TNS Records posted a teaser for the debut Matilda’s Scoundrels album. I squealed, spilled coffee on my keyboard and got laughed at by my colleagues, before immediately hitting BUY on their pre-order.

Matilda’s Scoundrels formed in 2014 and have since honed their act through hard-graft, rum and good-natured dispositions, touring restlessly around the UK and Europe. They have earned a reputation as a can’t-miss band on the UK DIY circuit for their rambunctious performances. It’s hard to compete with songs like Pisshead’s Anthem, from their EP Crowley’s Curse, for a better boozy crowd-pleaser. One of my favourite memories is their opening set at 2016’s Manchester Punk Festival: despite the early hour, they instantly transformed Sound Control into a boozy brawl, complete with crowd-surfing in an inflatable dinghy.

With raucous drinking bands like Matilda’s there’s always a risk that their recorded material will not stand up to their live show, and I’d argue that their previous release Crowley’s Curse and their split with The Barracks didn’t do justice to their outstanding performances. Fortunately, they’ve exceeded themselves with As The Tide Turns: every songs sounds as good recorded as it does live, if not better.

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The 10-track album uses a familiar formula: protest songs played fast on traditional instruments, accompanied by angry vocals, overdriven guitars and a tendency towards inebriation. It’s designed for drinking, dancing and disorder.

However, As The Tide Turns is much more than a rowdy folk album. The top recording quality allows the variety of layered instrumentation to shine in a way that you cannot appreciate in a live setting, adding a real depth and authenticity to their sound. Listen to the album through a decent stereo, and marvel at the amount of thought and skill that’s gone into these compositions.   Continue reading “Album Review: Matilda’s Scoundrels – As The Tide Turns”