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GBH – Birmingham Smiles

GBHLong running UK punk act GBH has premiered a new song.  The track is titled “Birmingham Smiles” and is from their upcoming album, Momentum, which is set to drop on November 17, 2017 via Hellcat Records. Pre-order the album here.

Listen to the song below.

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GBH Announce New Album; Stream First Track

GBHLong running hardcore punk act GBH have announced that they will be releasing their next album later this year.   The disc will be titled Momentum and is set to drop on November 17, 2018 via Hellcat Records.

The first new song “Momentum” can be heard below.

The band will be touring in support of the album.  Dates are below.

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Rancid TM

Rancid

Troublemaker

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

Do Rancid need an introduction? Well just in case, the legendary Californian punk band have now been with us for over a quarter of a century, ever since the release of their self titled debut full length back in 1993 they have been steadily assimilating different, and often unexpected, elements of punk into their sound, street punk, ska and reggae have all featured heavily but there have also been other elements that have crept into their sound to keep each release from the band fresh and unpredictable, and if their eight previous studio albums weren’t enough each member has developed their own solo and side projects that incorporate influences that go way beyond the constraints of the punk genre, now Rancid have released Troublemaker, their latest, and ninth, full length that is now available vis Hellcat Records.

Troublemaker hits the ground running with Track Fast, a short sharp shock of an opener that channels Motorhead‘s more intense moments, before we head back in more familiar Rancid territory, it’s no surprise that there’s a strong street punk influence on the majority of the tracks, if you’re looking for highlights then Farewell Lola Blue would amongst my choices with it’s straight up punk feel, that for me is reminiscent of the old school approach of the likes of The Lurkers, and a classic Rancid chorus that hits the spot nicely. From here on in we have an album that will be more than enough to keep any Rancid fan happy, there are touches of hardcore spattered across the album that sit alongside Glam Punk Stomp, rock ‘n roll infused bangers and of course full tilt punk rock, including the fine rousing finale, This Is Not The End.

With a few noble exceptions Troublemaker seems to be Rancid playing to their strengths, with a distinct emphasis on their street punk and straight up punk rock roots. This certainly doesn’t pack the punch that …And Out Come The Wolves had, but then again few punk albums do, it’s not as catchy or accessible as Let The Dominoes Fall and it’s not as intense as their early releases or their second self titled release from 2000. On every other Rancid album there has been a song, usually a fair few, that a struck a chord with me and set the hairs on the back of my neck on end, this experience is sadly largely absent from Troublemaker, don’t get me wrong, this is not in any way shape or form a bad album, and there certainly isn’t any filler present on Troublemaker, this just doesn’t seem to quite hit the heights that many of their previous albums have hit, but having said that this is still the equal of many punk releases and a fine addition to their back catalogue.

Troublemaker can be ordered here

Rancid – Where I’m Going

RancidLong running punk act Rancid has premiered a new track from their next full length.  The song is titled “Where I’m Going” and will be on the album Trouble Maker, which is set to drop on June 9, 2017 via Hellcat Records / Epitaph Records.  

Listen to the song below.

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Video: Rancid – Telegraph Avenue

RancidLong running punk act Rancid has premiered a new music video their next full length.  The video features the song “Telegraph Avenue” and will be on the album Trouble Maker, which is set to drop on June 9, 2017 via Hellcat Records / Epitaph Records.  

Listen to the song below.

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Rancid Announce New LP; Stream First Song

RancidLong running punk act Rancid has announced details for their next full length.  The disc will be titled Trouble Maker and is set to drop on June 9, 2017 via Hellcat Records / Epitaph Records.  

Coinciding with the announcement, the band has premiered the song “Ghost Of A Chance,” which can be heard below along with the track listing.

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The Interrupters Confirm UK Tour Dates

Interrupters SIOLHot on the heels of the release of their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, that was produced by Rancid‘s Tim Armstrong and released in July 2016 on Hellcat Records, LA based ska-punk quartet  The Interrupters have announced a run of UK headline shows following their prestigious support to Green Day on their arena tour in February

The Punk Site review of Say It Out Loud can be read here

You can view the video for By My Side, and the UK tour dates, below Read More…

Nekromantix Streams New Album In Full

nekromantixLong running psychobilly act Nekromantix is streaming their full length.  The disc is titled Symphony of Wolf Tones & Ghost Notes and dropped on October 21, 2016 via Hellcat Records.  The disc follows 2011’s What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell.
 
Stream the full disc below.

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Nekromantix Detail New LP; Premiere First Track

nekromantixLong running psychobilly act Nekromantix have announced details for their ninth full length album.  The disc is titled Symphony of Wolf Tones & Ghost Notes and is due out on October 21, 2016 via Hellcat Records.  The disc follows 2011’s What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell.
 
Coinciding with the announcement, the band has premiered the new track, “Glow in the Dark,” which can be heard below.

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The Interrupters Release Two Songs From ‘Say It Out Loud’ Album

Interrupters Band Pic

Los Angeles based ska punk band The Interrupters have released their sophomore album, Say It Out Loud, this week on Hellcat Records. The album packed with snarling guitar riffs and growling vocals that pays homage to the life saving power of music, Say It Out Loud is undeniably fun and urgent in message. Backing their modernized two tone tinged, guitar fueled, melody heavy sound are lyrics that confront everything from social control and self-empowerment to domestic violence and the media circus surrounding the presidential election.

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Interrupters SIOL

The Interrupters

Say It Out Loud

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

This is Los Angeles based quartet The Interrupters second album, this sophomore release follows in the footsteps of their impressive self titled debut. This bears all the hallmarks of The Interrupters ska fuelled punk hybrid, this is an infectious and relentlessly upbeat album from start to finish. The opening track By My Side breaks into a joyous dance floor filling song which sets the tone for Say It Out Loud. This is immediately followed by one of the highlights of this release, She Got Arrested, a track which makes The Interrupters stance on domestic violence clear, a theme that’s revisited on Control, and that’s one of the many wonderful things about The Interrupters, they can convey serious political and social points, but achieve this with an infectious beat.

It’s no surprise that Tim Armstrong makes an appearance on vocals on this album, on the track Phantom City, I’d have been more surprised if he didn’t make an appearance. He is also responsible for production on this album, it was recorded at his studio, and at Travis Barker‘s Opra Studios, and they couldn’t have made a finer choice of person to have at the controls. He clearly understands and loves this band, he has captured the energy and passion The Interrupters bring to their live shows, and his touches and guidance have consolidated the Interrupters sound. You can hear the influence of Rancid on The Interrupters, but that isn’t to say that they are in anyway copying that band. Whilst Rancid are controlled fury with the punk element to the fore, The Interrupters let the beat lead the way.

This is a positive, upbeat and defiant album which is as good as pretty much anything else you’ll hear this year. There are common themes throughout the album, but the overriding theme is unity to those that you love and a healthy spirit of rebellion. There are many bands out there fusing ska with punk but I can only think of a few who manage to do it with the panache that The Interrupters have managed on Say It Out Loud. They have managed to make an album that has built on their excellent debut, Say It Out Loud will undoubtedly be in my top ten for the year come the end of 2016. This is a perfect merging of ska and punk, melding the finest elements of both genre’s with seemingly effortless style.

Say It Out Loud will be released on June 24th 2016 via Hellcat Records

 

The Interrupters – By My Side

INTERRUPTERS Say It Oud Loud color band photoSka-punk group The Interrupters has premiered a music video directed by Tim Armstrong.  The video features the song “By My Side,” which is set to appear on their upcoming album, Say It Out Loud, due out on June 24, 2016 via Hellcat Records

Watch the video below.

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Video: Left Alone – Leather Bound Book

Left AloneCalifornia street-punk act Left Alone has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Leather Bound Book” from their recent album, Harbor Area, released earlier this Fall via via Hellcat Records/Smellvis Records.

 Watch the video below.

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Rancid Stream Honour Is All We Know

Rancid - Hellcat RecordsFor those who have yet to hear the much anticipated release from punk legends Rancid, the guys have released an official stream of the full album Honor Is All We Know. The album was officially released to the world today.

The music is accompanied by a video that features the band cruising through the Bay Area in bassist Matt Freeman’s 1964 Chevy Nova.

The album is the band’s first in five years and is out through Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records imprint of Epitaph Records. The stream can be viewed below. Read More…

Rancid – Face Up

RancidLong running punk veterans Rancid has premiered a brand new song.  The song is titled “Face Up” and is set to appear on their upcoming album, Honor Is All We Know, due out October 27, 2014 via Hellcat Records.  Brett Gurewitz serves as producer.

Listen to the song below.

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Video: Rancid – “Collision Course / Honor Is All We Know / Evil’s My Friend

RancidLong running punk veterans Rancid has premiered a brand new three song music video.  The video features the songs “Collision Course”, “Honor Is All We Know”, and “Evil’s My Friend,” all of which are scheduled to appear on their upcoming albums, Honor Is All We Know, due out October 27, 2014 via Hellcat Records.  Brett Gurewitz serves as producer.

Watch the full Music video below.

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Rancid Unveils New Album Art And Track Listing

RancidLong running punk veterans Rancid have released track listing details and album art for their long awaited next full length.  The highly anticipated disc will be titled Honor Is All We Know and currently remains without a set release date, but will is expected to be released by Hellcat Records.  Brett Gurewitz serves as producer.

Check out album art and track listing below.

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Left Alone Album Teaser

Left AloneCheck out a new teaser for the long awaited new fell length album from California street-punk act Left Alone.  The album is titled Harbor Area and will mark the band’s first new full length since 2006’s Dead American Radio, although the band did release a new EP in 2013.  Harbor Area will be available September 23, 2015 via Hellcat Records/Smellvis Records.

Watch the teaser below.

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The Interrupters Announce Debut Release With Hellcat Records

The InterruptersLA ska band The Interrupters will release their debut album on August 5 through Hellcat Records.

The first track from the self titled debut, Family, features a guest appearance from Tim Armstrong. Guitarist Kevin Bivona got to know Armstrong when he was touring as The Transplants keyboard player in 2005. The material on the debut album was created by the band and Armstrong and recorded in a few days. The band toured as an opening act for Rancid and The Transplants in 2013 and regularly collaborate with Armstrong on his Tim Timebomb & Friends project. 

You can stream Family here. Full track listing for the forthcoming self titled album can be seen below. Read More…

Westbound Train - Come and Get It

Westbound Train

Come and Get It

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Apart from their frequent appearances on Hellcat’s Give Em The Boot comp series, which I enjoyed, I’d never actually heard Boston’s Westbound Train before. To me, they’re synonymous with fellowHellcat band The Aggrolites: injecting an inherent sense of fun and joy into the genre while carrying the banner of much of its traditional sonic roots. Which is the right angle to take – meaning, whileWestbound Train’s fourth full-length may not be the most lyrically introspective masterpiece, that’s not the point. The point is fun, is getting the dance floor jumping and using – unlike much of punk rock – the vocals as a vehicle for the music, rather than the other way around. While Obi Fernandez’s lead vocals – recalling the best of Desmond Dekker’s stuff – may be sweet as sugar, they serve mainly as icing on the cake that is the music to Come And Get It. The music takes front and center here, and for good reason: the band performs this shit seamlessly and make this collection of songs seem effortless. Dudes are so tight, it sounds as if they could play this stuff in their sleep.

While my personal knowledge of ska and reggae is limited as hell and mired in a healthy dose of ignorance, this shouldn’t reflect on the band at all. The lack of comparison is simply because I’m rarely exposed to traditional reggae and ska stuff of this caliber. I’ve just got very few points of reference. I do know that they’re incredibly good at what they do, and while the lyrical content (party tunes, lovesick laments and the like) doesn’t always do a whole lot for me, there’s no denying these dudes are an insanely talented and well-versed bunch. For me personally, Come And Get It will serve as one of those excellent summer records: not terribly challenging on the brainpan but goddamn, what a treat for the ears.

Give 'Em The Boot Vol. 5

Various Artists

Give 'Em The Boot Vol. 5

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

When you’re looking through your local record store’s compilation section, there are a few CDs you are always sure to find – and if you buy them, always sure to enjoy. There’s Epitaph‘s yearly Punk-O-RamaCDs (which, now has sadly come to an end), SideOneDummy‘s Warped Tour CompilationsHopeless Records‘ Hopelessly Devoted To You series and of course, any compilation CD backed by Fat Wreck Chords is sure to be a winner. A little less known, but just as well received by it’s loyal fan base is HellCat Records‘ Give ‘Em The Boot series – and the fifth instatement is no different.

Once again the album takes a look at the label’s prominent roster with everyone from Dropkick Murphys to The Aggrolites and Roger Miret & The Disasters making an appearance. Label owner Time Armstrong kicks off the compilation with Rancid‘s Tattoo which is great to hear since I’ve fallen in love with Subb‘s cover of the track. From then on, they don’t stop with songs by the likes of Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards, Left Alone, The Unseen and Time Again. They also through in some good ska and reggae with The Aggrolites and Westbound Train, some pshycobilly withNekormantix and Horrorpops along with the newly signed Europeans Orange. Add in the fact that eight of the eighteen tracks are unreleased, any Hellcat / Epitaph Records fan will love this disc.

Although, to be fair, when compared to the previous selection in the series, Give ‘Em The Boot Vol. 5 does fall short a bit as the earlier instatement featured eight more tracks bringing the total up to twenty-six; many of which were bands from other labels to introduce loyal Hellcat followers to new bands and new distributors.

Nevertheless, Give ‘Em The Boot Vol. 5 is still a great collection of harder punk rock songs. More distortion, more mohawks and more street angst. None of that over-produced, slick, MTV pop-punk anywhere in sight.

 

Give 'Em The Boot Vol. 4

Various Artists

Give 'Em The Boot Vol. 4

HellCat Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

California based record label Epitaph is one of the most prominent names in the independent punk rock scene. For the past twenty years they have constantly released solid punk rock albums that have become cornerstones in punk rock history. From The Vandals‘s debut Peace Through Vandalism EP, to Bad Religion‘s How Could Hell Be Any Worse, to The Offspring‘s Smash and NOFX‘s White Trash, Two Heebs, And A Bean, almost all the major punk releases have been through Epitaph. Then, around eight years ago (1996), Rancid front man Tim Armstrong formed the sister label HellCat Records, which helped propel the punk scene even further. In 1997, the label released their first compilation showcasing the label’s impressive roster along with some bands that they liked. Seven years has now passed and we are graced with the fourth edition in the Give ‘Em The Boot series.

With twenty-six tracks on it, seventeen of which are unreleased, Give ‘Em The Boot Vol. 4 is sure to send you a rock ride as it passes by punk, ska, reggae, pshycobilly, Oi!, celtic, hard-core, and melodic punk. It, of course, features songs by the label’s main acts like Rancid (Killing Zone), Dropkick Murphys (I’m Shipping Off To Boston), Roger Miret And The Disasters (Kiss Kiss Kill Kill), Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros (Junco Partner – live), and Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards(1%). Then it features the label’s pshycobilly roster with Nekromatix (Dead Bodies), Tiger Army(Atomic), and HorrorPops (Where They Wander).

There’s also a handful of non-HellCat Records bands on here too. Thorp Records lends us the Ducky Boys song Break Me while A-F Records gives us The Unseen‘s Waste Of Time. The one man ska band, Chris Murray shares a fan favorite with Let There Be Peace while The Aggrolites give their reggae tune Dirty Reggae to the comp. Any Casualties fan will fall for S.C. Drunx by South Central Riot Squad while Transplants fans may enjoy the Romper Stomper remix (and yes, I do realize Transplants are a HellCat band too).

Give ‘Em The Boot Vol. 4 may not be the best compilation to be released this year, but it’s still a damn good one. Showcasing some of the best underground punk bands around today, it is sure to introduce you to some new bands and help you relive some old favorites. So go down to your local record store, hand them a five dollar bill and walk home with this, you won’t be disappointed.

Tim Timebomb & Friends 7″ Series

Tim TimebombAwesomely prolific, that’s really the only way to describe Tim Timebomb & Friends, side project of Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. According to the man himself:

“Tim Timebomb and Friends is a place for me to share with you some of my favorite songs that I’ve recorded with friends of mine. I’ve always enjoyed sharing music, whether I’m just sitting around playing acoustic guitar with my friends or breaking out old 45’s. I guess you could call me a music nerd. I like everything from Bob Dylan to the Ramones, to Jimmy Cliff to Cock Sparrer. I plan to bring together a great group of players to record covers as well as some originals. I hope you dig it and encourage you to pass them on.”

Songs are released digitally on youtube, and withe literally 100’s available it really is an impressive body of work. Now Hellcat Records and Pirates Press Records are joining forces to compile a series of three 7″ releases featuring a select few of these songs.

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Time Again - These Stories are True

Time Again

These Stories Are True

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

The instant a band member starts a label, you can have an idea of what type of bands he’ll sign. Sure, sometimes he’ll switch it up and surprise you completely, but for the most part, band members will sign bands that play almost the same style of music that they play. Just look at Pete Wentz’s Decadence label with Panic! At The Disco, no one can debate that they don’t sound like a Fall Out Boy offspring. Rancid‘s Time Armstrong’s label, Hellcat Records is no different. While he sometimes has some very different sounds, like The Horrorpops or NekromantixHell Cat is also the home of bands like The Unseen, US Bombs and Roger Miret & The Disasters; you know, bands that sound slightly familiar to Rancid – and Time Again is no different.

Daniel Dart has a uncanny resemblance to the nasally vocal style of Tim Armstrong, and he sounds good. Armstrong even makes a nice appearance on the album-titled track, which definitely helps push the track to the forefront of the album. Even without Armstrong’s help though, Time Again have given the listener an album full of good, old school punk tunes. Slightly distorted guitars, a great amount of bridges and well placed breakdowns, along with a solid drum backbone by Ryan Purucker is on every single track. Still, the thing that will really make this a perfect album for any old-school punk rocker is the perfect sing-along chorus. Those choruses, mixed in with the simplistic, catchy verses make it so that almost every single song on These Stories Are True become perfect mosh pit anthems. And by “mosh pit anthems”, I mean songs that gets the listener instantly imagining throwing their fist up in the air as they run in a circle pit and sing along with Dart and his pals.

These Stories Are True is an album that’s definitely for a very specific demographic. It’s not for any of the MTV generation or pop-punk fans, it is instead an album for those mohawked, studded jacket, old school punkers who love a good pit and a catchy anthem. If you are one of those few, then Time Again is for you.

Time Again - Darker Days

Time Again

Darker Days

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

There’s a running joke between many people about Time Again and it’s rather simple really; it goes like this: “Time Again? Shouldn’t it be Tim Again?” While it may not be all that witty, it’s pretty well spot on when you think about the quartet from LA. Because no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid Time Again‘s uncanny resemblance to Rancid and even though they’ve matured a lot and become immensely tighter on Darker Days compared to their debut, it’s still Rancid to a t and I dare you to try and find any review that says differently.

Darker Days is a fourteen track album of street punk that features an immense Rancid influence – particularly their …And Out Came The Wolves era. Daniel Dirt’s vocals bare a striking resemblance to Tim Armstrong’s but he saves himself from a complete comparison thanks to a slightly less nasally delivery. Backing him up is a never ending stream of gang vocals that push the choruses to the forefront of every single song, take a listen to Lookin’ Back or TV Static for proof of that. The guitar work is the crunchy, distorted street punk style but does flourish on a few tracks like Lines Are Faded where they aren’t afraid to throw in a little solo and impressive bridge. The back bone of the songs, apart from the constant gang vocals, is definitely the thick bass line that drives each song forward. The title track, Darker Days, and Soon It Will Be are actually built on the thick bass line before they get kicked up by the bass drum kick and, you know it, gang vocals.

The songs are your normal punk rock anthems. Outcast is a passionate call to arm that pointedly asks “Would you fall through the cracks? Lie flat on your back? Or be true to yourself and live life as an Outcast?” TV Static is a two minute song about the live of the aforementioned outcast and Montreal (Street Kids) retells the story of a night of pure chaos in Quebec. The lyrics are never anything life changing but strong enough to connect to the rebel at heart and have them singing alongside with them.

The album is a straight forward punk rock attack. It’s a replanted version of …And Out Came The Wolves without as much of a ska/reggae feel. Instead, Time Again focuses on the street punk side and stay in that alley the entire way through. At times there is a severe lack of originality in the songs, but the songs all contain enough raw energy to make up for it. Add in the marked improvement in sound quality compared to many of the street punk records around today (Time Again‘s debut, These Stories Are True, included), and Darker Days is an impressive, albeit sometimes predictable, fist-pumping album from start to finish. Highly recommended even if it does sound awfully similar to Rancid; but then again, since when is that a bad thing?

Tim Armstrong - A Poet's Life

Tim Armstrong

A Poet's Life

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

I’ve always been mildly attracted to The Aggrolites, their reggae/rocksteady melodies have always impressed me. However, there was always something missing in their vocal delivery. While it’s hard to explain, the vocals always turned me away from their records and onto other albums. But now I’ve solved that problem thanks to Tim Armstrong‘s wonderful debut solo record, A Poet’s Life; for you see, on A Poet’s LifeArmstrong melds with song writing ability and always unique vocal delivery together with the style of the The Aggrolites as his band on the record.

Filled with beautifully written mid tempo rock steady tracks, A Poet’s Life hones in on what so many reggae bands try to capture but fall short on. The album is a upbeat yet laid back throwback to Jamaican performers like Desmond Dekker. Every little sound and instrument is crisp and clear, working together to get the listener bopping his head and two-stepping (that is, before the hardcore kids took over the term). But while almost any reggae act can have that musical element and beat to their sound, Armstrong successfully adds his own style and flare to every song – and it is in those snippets that A Poet’s Lifereally shines.

First up is the man’s signature nasally vocals. It is those vocals that have become a signature sound in the punk scene over the past few decades and it is those vocals that bring the album to new heights. Secondly is Armstrong‘s unique writing flare and vision. The addition of DJ Odi of The Circle, along with the doubling up of Armstrong’s voice, on Inner City Violence leans a bit towards The Tranplants material, while Ritchie Stites‘ vocals on Translator constantly remind me of Reel Big Fish‘s Scott Klopfenstein when he tried to go for the weird high pitch notes – and both of those surprising guests fit and work perfectly.

Oddly enough, that’s not even the weirdest guest appearance. Do you remember the song Billy Shakespeare by Skye Sweetnam? Yeah, she’s the female singer on the single Into Action – and if you’ve heard the single I dare you to say that she doesn’t do the song justice and make it even better.

On top of all of that, the one shining quality that makes the album so spectacular is the carefully crafted companionship between Armstrong‘s vocals and The Aggrolites‘ music. They successfully work off one another, each letting the other take control of the song at the needed moments so it never becomes overwhelming and it’s constantly maintains the same momentum.

Anyone who likes ska, this one’s for you. Anyone who likes reggae, this one’s for you. Anyone who likes rocksteady anthems, this one’s for you. It shows why Tim Armstrong is a musical legend and is more than just one more page in his already impressive resume. It shows what can be done if you’re not afraid to wear your influences on your sleeve and mix those in with your own musical ideas. Basically, this album is great.

Street Dogs - State of Grace

Street Dogs

State of Grace

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

In their short time together, The Street Dogs have done quite a lot. In five years they’ve released four full lengths, an EP and a split. Unlike most bands who spit out that kind of output, each and every release is able to stand out on their own. However, it is only now on State of Grace that the band has really found themselves. It is the album which will define them, help them progress and be the definite Street Dogsalbum. Its the album that you can point out when someone asks “What does this band sound like?” because now the Boston street punks have found their place in the world, stepped out of the Dropkick Murphys shadow and found a sound that is their own.

Yes, State Of Grace is still seeped in celtic influences, just listen to Two Angry Kids and you can hear that; but they’ve also gone for a more street smart punk here. Instead of a drinking album or fully celtic sound, The Street Dogs have created a record with a more blue-collar sound than anything they’ve done before; which is saying a lot considering Fading American Dream and Savin Hill were both seeped in blue collar references but State of Grace just seems more prominent. It has tinges of oi! greats like Sham 69 and even some Clash elements too, all wrapped together in a pumping rhythm that isn’t afraid to slow it down when needed. Ted Hutt’s (Bouncing Souls, Flogging Molly, Chuck Ragan) production helps push that sound forward by creating a well rounded Boston blue collared punk record.

There’s also a nice sense of diversity amongst the songs. For every fist pumping anthem like Guns or Into The Valley, there’s also a slower one like Elizabeth which shines thanks to guest vocals by Heather Waters that contrasts Mike McColgan’s pipes perfectly. This ability to slow down and think has also trickled into McColgan’s lyrics and he leaves behind the drinking songs for a more honest, heart felt territory. From the touching eulogy of Kevin J. O’Toole, to the aforementioned tribute track ElizabethState of Grace has a somber layering to it but it also has some hope embedded within it. Like The General’s Boombox which is a tribute to the late Joe Strummer that doesn’t lament over his death but instead shines the light of the spark he ignited within a new generation of musician or the folk-inspired closer, Free,depicts a tale of finding safety within music against all odds. Both songs have slightly disparaing content but sung with a hopeful outlook.

In the end, it is the honesty of the songs that make them more relatable and more memorable than anything the band has done before and even though they’ve already had three records out beforehand, State of Grace is the record that truly defines who The Street Dogs are.

Street Dogs - Self Titled


By

 
 

 

 

Ever since Mike McClogan formed The Street Dogs in 2002, the band has been delivering solid album after solid album to an ever growing fan base.  It all started with Savin Hill and now, five records in, the band is here with their first Self-Titled effort where they once again build on their already impressive back catalogue.

On my review for State of Grace, I called the album the perfect Street Dogs record – that one record that you’d point to when trying to describe what the band sounds like. After listening to their Self-Titledalbum, I can safely say that they’ve given State of Grace a run for its money for what is the go to Street Dogs album.

The album features everything that has come to define the Boston street punk band. It’s an energetic romp through eighteen songs that emphasize McClogan’s signature vocal style. A mixture of street punk and oi punk, Street Dogs leaves behind most of their Celtic influence but instead rally around a sense of blue-collar working anthems.

The songs are anthemic, calling out to you to sing back with them. Fast enough to get your blood flowing and fist pumping while melodic enough that every word comes through clear and strong – making it so much easier to sing along with. And when they decide to slow it down, like on Bobby Powers, 10 Wood Road or Poor, Poor Jimmy, they’re able to still deliver the songs with urgency and passion as McClogan sings about friends long gone.

Lyrically, Street Dogs continues in the same vein as most of The Street Dogs material: positive, blue collar anthems that tell tales of the working man, the passing of friends and loved ones, living for today or the powers of music.  So while the lyrics in Punk Rock and Roll may not be the most innovative, the sincerity and excitement seeps through that you become obsessed with them; and I, for one, can’t help but love and agree with the sentiments that McClogan expresses in there.

Really, the only thing that hinders the complete success of the album is the length. At eighteen songs and forty minutes, it lasts a bit too long for comfort. None of the songs ever stick out as a weak spot; but as a whole it would’ve felt better had it been a bit more concise in its delivery.

Still, Street Dogs is an impressive album that any Street Dogs fan will love; and frankly, if you don’t like them five records in, you never will at this point.

Static Thought - Motive for MOvement

Static Thought

Motive for Movement

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

Well, as far as compilations go, The Motive For Movement is, unfortunately, even markedly lamer than the last Give Em The Boot record, and that’s saying something.

Wait, what? This isn’t a comp? Seriously? This is one band? Bullshit. No way.

Really? Okay.

Well, let me start over then.

The Motive For Movement is the most fractured, all-over-the-map album I’ve listened to in a long time, and yet for all of it’s strained genre-hopping, it remains pretty goddamned tepid and uneventful throughout.

First there’s the fact that this is one of those sweet Hellcat “just send the reviewer lackeys the shit in a cardboard sleeve with no info whatsoever” packages with no lyrics, liner notes or anything else. Secondly – and this is after repeated listens over a decent span of time – the band itself still seems so confused as to the type of music they even want to fucking play. There’s no hooks, no real direction, even the production quality seems to jump around, as if the album was recorded during different sessions and not mastered very well. Which, for all I know, could be the case; again, since there’s no information included, I couldn’t say for sure.

There are brief moments of reggae (“3rd World”), decent singalongs scattered here and there (the chorus on “Vindication” is actually more than decent), the Tesla-like classical noodlings (complete with strings!) on “Conquest Of Saints”, and the really strong streetpunk of “Ambivalence.” I mean, if they’d managed an album – or even three or four more songs – roughly in the same vein as that one, I’d feel like I could get some sort of a handle on this album. Unfortunately, Static Thought chose to fill the rest of the record with so much lukewarm punk that’s remarkably void of feeling or intent, the songs becomes nearly impossible to classify or even remember once the song’s over. It’s just, uh, punk-sounding music. Boring punk-sounding music.

Judging for the song titles and what lyrics are decipherable, it seems like Static Thought at least have a reasonable head on their shoulders. And the vocalist can belt out his lines pretty decently. Yet again, the lack of lyrics don’t help, nor does the fact that the music he’s singing over is so resoundingly weak.

 

Static Thought - In The Trenches

Static Thought

In The Trenches

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

Some labels can always be counted on to release solid records, records that you know what you’re getting, and records that fit the general vibe of the label. Epitaph‘s sister label Hell-Cat Records are one of those labels, they constantly find small bands that know how to spit off consistently good punk tunes;Static Thought is their newest fine, and their record, In The Trenches, just amplifies that Hell-Cat is a label to trust.

In The Trenches is a thirteen track onslaught of all that Hell-Cat has worked hard to create. With tinges of Rancid, Lars Fredrickson and the Bastards, Roger Miret & The Disasters, US Bombs andLeft AloneStatic Thought is your perfect example of street smart punk rock from the grimy Californian underground. The songs are fast, with a drumbeat that will rip open plenty of circle pits and snotty, fast, nearly undecipherable vocals being spat at you in a harsh manner with the occasional gang vocals to really cement the chorus in the listener’s mind and help pull the fists into the air.

But while they fit into the street punk mold, Static Thought are able to break free a bit and really create a sound that is there own. Yes, they do pull influences from many of Hell-Cat‘s back catalogue, they constantly transforms their songs into their own with crazy guitar solos being rampant throughout the release. Each song as at least one complex guitar solo that is as complex, fast and high as any other guitarist can do and always helping the song break free and become more memorable in the mind of the listener.

The songs are raw, fast and agitated. The band touches on touchy subjects like sex, classes, drugs and poverty – all with a backdrop of loud and fast music (and the solos that leaves the listener awe-struck). It may not be the most original, but In The Trenches doesn’t falter because of it. The album is still strong front to back. It’s fist-pumping, raw, and in your face showing that the East Bay still has some venom in their roots, and Hell-Cat will always find it for us.

U.S. Roughnecks - Twenty bucks and two black eyes

U.S. Roughnecks

Twenty Bucks and Two Black Eyes

Hellcat Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

In a scene bombarded with emo bands and pop-punk bands, its sometimes hard to remember what real punk is. Sure, there are a few bands out there that still play old school punk rock, but its always nice to find another one that brings back the memories. U.S. Roughnecks are one of those few bands, and their 14 track debut album on Hellcat Records reminds us of what punk used to be.

Hard hitting guitars, heavy bass melodies, powerful drums, and hard, fast, somewhat rap-like, vocals. Think of bands like Lards Frederiksen and The Bastards, or Roger Miret & The Disasters, or maybe even the Forgotten, and then you’ll have a good idea of U.S. RoughnecksTwenty Bucks And Two Black Eyes is a tough, solid album about cops, the working man, young punks roaming the streets at night, and rejects. The only real downside to it is the fact that most of the songs sound somewhat familiar, there isn’t really anything that distinguishes one track from the other. Sure, there’s an occasional spur that makes the song special, maybe a great guitar riff or bass melody, but those aren’t often.

Twenty Bucks And Two Black Eyes is a album for the aging punk. The one who wants to remember the good old days of fast punk, hard hitting, tough, punk rock. The new listeners may not be as interested in it as its not something they can really relate to; but it is still fun for a listen.