Hellcat Records’ newest signing, the highly revered Street Dogs, will release their new studio album, State of Grace, on July 8th.
Teeming with fist pumping punk-influenced rock, the group’s fourth full length speaks from and to the working class with poetic heartfelt tales of family, hardships and cries for unity.
The Street Dogs’ ability to craft unique, thought provoking music has helped the band amass a dedicated following over the years. Having served in the Gulf War and as a Boston firefighter, singer Mike McColgan draws on a wealth of life experiences and observations to inspire his impassioned vocal performances, adding a touch of sincere urgency to the non-stop fist-a-cuffs of teeth-gnashing rock that the band is known for. Produced by Ted Hutt (Bouncing Souls, Flogging Molly), the group’s latest release surpasses their earlier recordings, both lyrically and musically, with new energy and awareness.
McColgan kicks off State of Grace with the consequential story of “Mean Fist,” which sets an intense tone for the album when combined with the vigorous punk riffs and beats of Paul Rucker (drums), Johnny Rioux (bass), Marcus Hollar (guitar) and Tobe Bean III (guitar). Rolling almost seamlessly from song to song, the Street Dogs maintain a high level of energy throughout the record with tracks like the politically charged Skids’ cover “Into The Valley,” and the fist-pumping call for change “Rebel Song.”
The Street Dogs give a nod to family throughout the album with songs like “Kevin J. O’Toole,” an ode to McColgan’s uncle and fellow Boston firefighter who recently passed away, and the Irish folk-inspired track “Elizabeth,” about McColgan’s grandmother who was the matriarch of the family. Their reverence for family, friends, and those who fight on our behalf can be felt throughout the album, especially on the band’s homage to Joe Strummer, “The General’s Boombox,” who they cite as their main influence.
“This is a more organic record,” says Rioux. “It’s more raw than our previous records. The end result is a more powerful and honest record. It’s less political and more everyday life delivered in a more powerful way.”
No strangers to crowd participation at their shows, State of Grace boasts a plethora of tracks that are made for the pub and pit, like the bouncing rhythms of “Two Angry Kids” that will have the crowd churning in no time.
The album closes with “Free,” one of the most personal songs McColgan has ever written. Opening with the somber cries of a harmonica and acoustic guitar, the Street Dogs show the raw emotion of coming to terms with the struggles of life and looking for hope in a sometimes bleak world.
Street Dogs are currently wrapping up a tour with Anti-Flag and will be previewing the new album for fans in June when they play the main stage at this year’s Vans Warped Tour.
Photo By: Bryan Sheffield