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From Ireland to Japan: this is what punk sounds like around the world

Punk was around before its popularisation in Britain in the 1970s. Some believe that the genre is more than just that word, it’s an ideology that has endured throughout history from the first moment someone felt the need to rebel.

Now over four decades since The Clash and Sex Pistols were making their names, punk has flung far and wide, morphing as it propagated. Anywhere there is dissatisfaction, control, or corporatism, punk thrives like a wildfire.

flogging molly celtic punk

Punk music exists in all corners of the world, separated by context yet united by ideology. This is what punk sounds like around the earth.

Flogging Molly – Ireland

A taste of Celtic punk comes from the minds of Flogging Molly, a group led by Dublin-born singer Dave King. After forming, they made a name for themselves not in Ireland but in Los Angeles, where they began an infamous Monday night residency at a pub called Molly Malone’s (hence the name).

Blending hometown stories and a strongly Irish vocal with breakneck melodies incorporating guitars, violins, banjos and a tin whistle, Flogging Molly sing the tales you would expect from angry Irishmen. Drinking, the seas, personal demons, their home, and drinking.

This April they tour Australia with appearances at Bluesfest and a series of rapidly selling headline shows. Find out more info here.

Chai – Japan

Formed by twins Mana and Kana plus their school friend Yuki, and later fourth member Yuna, Chai’s mission is to redefine the shoehorned meaning of kawaii (cute) in Japan. Instead of girls striving towards a homogenised cuteness, they explain, all women are born kawaii and should think of themselves thusly.

Their recent sophomore album, released in February 2019, is simply named Punk.

IDLES – England

Bristol-based quintet IDLES are not what a punk band is supposed to be. They’re kind and courteous, they’re proudly joyful and willing to explore their softer sides. And they wear these traits on their sleeve – defiantly.

Their 2018 sophomore album Joy as an Act of Resistance was the full realisation of this idealism, a record tackling toxic masculinity, class, self care and more with stunning transparency.

Downtown Boys – USA

When Downtown Boys take aim, you listen. Politics sit at the helm of the Providence group’s ruinous performances, a live show bent by energy from frontwoman Victoria Ruiz, a frenetic bass section, and lead guitarist Joey DeFrancesco’s blinding riffage.

For them, no target is safe. They see the America built on slave trade, corporate greed, sex obsession, and sin, and they’re here to tear it down.

Iceage – Copenhagen

Kicking their careers off with a bang when all four members were aged just 17, Iceage are the Danish so-called prodigies many have hailed as the saviours of contemporary punk.

Whether or not punk needs a hero is still up for debate, but there’s no denying the fire that burns beneath all of Iceage’s recordings. Their latest LP Beyondless dropped in 2018, check it out below.


Find out more about Flogging Molly’s Australian tour here.



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March 15, 2019

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