Street Dogs – State Of Grace – CD Review

One of my favorite Irish infused, punk rock bands the Street Dogs dropped yet another release over the summer titled State of Grace.  Fronted by the one time lead vocalist of the infamous Dropkick Murphys, this CD delivers powerful punk rock anthems fueled with a traditional Irish feel to it.  This is the band’s fourth release and their first under Hellcat Records.

Street Dogs
Street Dogs

Lead singer Mike McColgan is one of the most American punk rockers you will ever meet.  Before fronting the Dropkick Murphys, he served time overseas during the Gulf War to help pay for school.  When he returned, he helped start the Dropkick Murphys in 1996 and released Do or Die; it was the only album he released with the band.  In 1998 he left the Dropkick Murphys to pursue his dream of becoming a fireman.  Fast forward a couple of years later to 2002 and McColgan got the music fever again and started the Street Dogs.

On their fourth full length release the five-some sounds stronger than ever.  Album opener “Mean Fist” is impressive with a full on punk rock approach start to finish.  “Into The Valley” sounded like an anti-war group marching song insuring escalating spirits for all soldiers involved in this senseless war.

Other stand out songs are “Rebel Song” with McColgan signing his heart out about standing up in a poor nation to rise above.  The song reassures the underprivileged that they should continue to do what they do and unite.  “The General’s Boombox” continued the high spirit lyrics about staying true to yourself.

“Elizabeth” reminds me of an Irish pub song that everyone in the house could sing-a-long to.  Another sing-a-long track “Two Angry Kids” would be best listened to away from the bar as the song makes you want to dance wildly around and pump your fists in the air.

“San Patricios” is by far my favorite track.  The Irish meets Mexican song is insane.  I loved the Spanish singing and guitar riffs layered with punk rock.  The Irish/Mexican unity track recalls back to the times when the Irish teamed with the Mexicans for their fight against the US to save Mexico.

If you are looking for a band that has similarities of the Dropkick Murphys keep in mind that even though McColgan was the original lead vocalist that the Street Dogs take a different approach at Irish punk rock with less bagpipe playing and alcohol inspired tracks.  From political views to the love of family and friends this CD was amazing especially the third time I listened to it.

The first listen was an introduction but by the third listen I was hooked.  This is one of the better punk rock albums that has been released in 2008.  Street Dogs exist because of the love of music for an Irish gent straight out of Boston.  If you are looking for punk rock at its finest go out and grab a copy of State of Grace.

Check out the Street Dogs live this fall.  For more info visit their website or check out their MySpace.

Bad Religion @ Cleveland Agora – 1996

Wow did I ever find a gem today on YouTube.

Bad Religion
Bad Religion

For almost 20 minutes this evening I flashed back to one of my favorite concerts ever 12 years ago.  I remember the line up vividly.  It was The Gray Race Tour featuring Bad Religion with special guests Unwritten Law and Dance Hall Crashers at the infamous Cleveland Agora.

I was fresh out of high school, reckless, and an avid punk rocker.  I went to the show with a big group of friends….we took our friend’s mom’s van that had the worst suspension ever.  In fact we had to turn around on route 422 and swap the van out with another friend’s mom’s van.

One thing I recall about that show was there there were cameras all over the place, professional cameras.  The cameras were on the balconies of the Agora as well as on the shoulders of cameramen.  My friends and I got excited because we were going to be filmed during the performance.  We hoped it would be released on VHS (that’s right kids, DVDs did not exist back then).

I owe that tour for introducing SoCal Surf/Skate punk rockers Unwritten Law to me.  I am still a fan of them today.  During their performance I noticed the cameras were not rolling so we all agreed that the camera were there only for Bad Religion.

When Bad Religion took stage we all went insane.  I remember moshing and dancing and just acting like a complete fool.  At times I was just falling on people and letting them push me around as I sang at the top of my lungs.  I was being a carefree 19 year old and was loving every moment of it.  For the record, I was sober too…I got carded when I tried to buy beers….haha.

As the years passed I slowly forgot about that show.  Since none of us could ever hunt down that footage of the show we all figured it was lost.  A few weeks ago one of my buddies who went to that show with me called me telling me he saw some footage of the show on YouTube.  I was in disbelief yet thrilled that it surfaced.  Well thanks to my busy like I completely forgot about that phone conversation until today when I logged onto YouTube and looked it up.

Sure enough, it’s Bad Religion at the Cleveland Agora 1996.  It was a sold out show.  My friends and I were front row slightly to the right of center stage.  I laughed when I saw the pit because I know I was a part of it.  I remember it so clearly and now you can see what I experienced…

Part I:

Part II:

Other footage:

Ohh Kanye

Looks like someone had a temper tantrum that they should have held in…

Kanye West and his road manager assulted a TMZ photographer and smashed his camera at the LA International Airport today…

I do not care who you are, you do not smash a $10000 plus camera on the ground.  What a jerk.

“Ain’t no police, ya’ll shut up” – wise words spoken by Kanye.

Kanye (in the gray hoodie) was arrested as well as his partner in crime/body guard/road manager, Don Crowley (in the red jacket).  Crowly did most of the damage as you can see in the video by slamming a very expensive camera and lens (you could hear it shatter) and Kanye slammed a flash/light source on the ground.  Even though Crowly was the one who slammed the camera the both were charged with vandalism and were being held on a $20,000 bond.  Crowley then lost it even more when he found out the whole incident was videotaped and tried to rip the camera out of the hands of the owner.  The whole ordeal was over Kanye and Crowley demanding that no one was allowed to photograph them outside the airport.

They both were released from jail later in the day after paying bond.

I’ll tell you what, if someone grabbed my camera and slammed it to the ground I would come out swinging.  I do not care who you are, how much money you make, or what kind of lifestyle you live….you do not destroy other people’s property.

Why do some music stars have to think they are better than everyone?  We breath the same air, you just lucked out with your musical abilities.  So people want to take pictures of you and film you.  They do it because you are popular and because they like you.  If you can not handle the pressure, step down.  You make money because of your fans and companies that showcase you for the fans.  Kayne West, you dropped a few notches down in my book…spazbite.

Not Hank 1 or Hank 2…..it’s all about Hank III

I just saw the new video for “Long Hauls & Close Calls” from the new release by Hank Williams III on YouTube and I can not even tell you how excited I am for the album!!!!

This is the “hellbilly” version. There is also a “Muddin” version that I am sure my brother and his hillbilly friends would enjoy more.  I myself prefer this version.

Straight out of Trashville, TN the rebel outlaw of all country outlaws Hank III will be releasing a new album on Oct. 21 called Damn Right, Rebel Proud.  Think outlaw county music slammed up with punk rock carefree attitude and that is Hank III for ya.  Hank III has made me a bigger fan of outlaw country even though his version is darker and more demeneted.

Chris Cornell Teaming Up With Timbaland

Yes you read the title correctly…

If you would have asked me 15 years ago what I would think if the lead singer of Soundgarden would be teamed up with  rap artist/producer Timbaland I would have called you crazy.  I never would have thought that Chris Cornell would depart with the rock grunge band he started in, work on solo material, and then join a super group with members of Rage Against The Machine called Audioslave.

Well it happened…it all happened…

…and now Chris Cornell is releasing a solo album once again.  This time with help from R&B / Hip-Hop producer Timbaland.  How the hell did this happen???

Of course my curiosity got to me so I used my old friend the internet to hear this crazy combination.  This is indeed an interesting mix and after listening to samples of ‘Watch Out” and “Ground Zero” on his MySpace page I must say I’m not sure if I like what I hear.  The beats created by Timbaland mixed with Chris Cornell’s vocals make for a sound reminding me of Gnarls Barkley mixed with Jamiroquai.  “Long Gone” another sample track almost upsets me to hear this once rocker toy with pop rock.  Chris Cornell’s voice is still amazing but I just do not know about this…

Before I say other comments I’ll just wait until Scream is released on Oct. 14th.

Chris Cornell time line….

Once upon a time this was Chris Cornell:

One of my favs:

Years later:

EDIT:

My good buddy Matt and I spoke tonight and he commented on how he got a kick out of my Chris Cornell time line.  We joked about how now Soundgarden will NEVER reunite now.  You see, Chris Cornell stated back in 2005 that Soundgarden would probably never reunite.  From the looks of things I am pretty sure the remaining members of Soundgarden will never want to be associated with him.   After my phone call with Matt from AddictedToVinyl.Com I decided I should elaborate a little more about my humor towards Mr. Chris Cornell.

Matt and I joked about a pseudo phone conversation between Chris Cornell and once guitarist Kim Thayil of Soundgarden.

It would go something like this:

Chris:  “Hey Kim”

Kim:  “Chris”

Chris:  “Kim, I just had to call you and tell you about what I have been doing lately”

Kim:  “Ok…”

Chris:  “I knew you would want to hear!”

Kim:  “…”

Chris:  “So yeah, I was thinking about what I could do to totally make myself look even cooler than I already am.  I decided what could I, Chris Cornell, do that has never been done by a once grunge rockstar turned supergroup rock hero.  I decided to put out a album called ‘Scream’ with help from my newest friend on the block, Timbaland

Kim:  “What?  You did what?”

Chris:  “Yeah!  I know!”

Kim:  “Chris, are you even listening to me?”

Chris:  “Exactly.”

Kim:  “Umm…”

Chris:  “Good question!  I wanted to completely ruin my image by putting out a pop album with glorified beats.  I wanted to disregard everything I have ever done by putting out an album named after one of Timbaland’s hit songs.  I wanted to record garbage.

Kim:  “And you are telling me this because?”

Chris:  “I am going to take over the world.  My new album not only will be the greatest album ever made, it will also prove to the world how awesome I am and they will all bow to my feet.  I will bathe in glory.  I am wonderful… my voice is all controlling… I will rule the… ”

Kim:  “That is not possible, I already contributed to Probot.”

Chris:  “Money, glory, fame…”

Kim:  “I have to go now”

Chris:  “My hair will turn to gold, I will become a robot like Michael Jackson did in Moonwalker and I will save all the lost children…”

Kim:  “Bye Chris, I have to go out and be a musician.”

Chris:  “Mr. Big you look out!  I am power.”