Monday, April 21, 2014

A review of Street Dogs and Noi!se split - OUT NOW on Pirates Press Records

I hope everybody had a swell record store day this past weekend.  I didn't (I was at work) but it seems that a lot of great stuff came out including a brand new split with two of my favorite bands right now, Boston's Street Dogs and an amazing Oi! band to come from Washington, Noi!se.  A fantastic six song split dropped in stores Saturday on Pirates Press Records and became available online Sunday!  The six songs shows vast improvement of both bands and offer a huge punch to the gut with their brute honesty, and sincerity in their song writing and musicianship.  When this was announced late last fall, my excitement built up in anticipation. When their label started releasing songs in countdown to record store day, I was floored with the quality the Street Dogs and Noi!se put forth in their songs.

On side A, the Street Dogs storm into an upbeat and positive track, We're Still Here which makes you instantly sing along.  Lead singer, Mike McColgan explodes into, "Well my bank account is empty, and my girl is on the way out, I guess I'll go get loaded, so I can finally be tossed out..." which leads right into the sing along and fist pumping chorus.  One of my favorite parts of this song is hearing Lenny Lashley sing his part, as well.  Over the last year, he has been an amazing addition to the band and has added such a live presence and new element which was displayed here.  Hearing him sing his part, "Well there ain't nothing easy about it, but still we can't give in.  We gotta do our best, and keep moving forward, so someday we might win.  And we got to live a little and laugh a lot, because thats what livings for.  Hold your head up high, and keep moving on..." was absolutely outstanding. For anybody who is going through a hard time, this would be the song to listen to. 

The Street Dogs also recorded an amazing version of Johnny Come Lately by Steve Earle which is simply applicable in today's world.  The musicianship on this track is catchy, simple, and easy to latch on to, and its another sing along song, as well.  Street Dogs have always have had a fantastic talent on taking traditional Americana songs and turning them into punk rock songs without losing its authenticity.  The band by nature is a band that tells a story extremely well in their own songs and then covering a song by Steve Earle is perfect for them in that respect.  One of my favorite parts about this cover is how there are three different vocal pieces done by Mike McColgan, Johnny Rioux and Lenny once again, as well.  Hearing three of them sing adds a dynamic to the song like none other.  

The third track to side A is my personal favorite.  Its called First Cut and is a powerful and personal song written by the band.  Many of us have heard the saying before, "the first cut is always the deepest" and its safe to say it's in that regard.  The band once again mixes up the vocal changes very well and you can tell that this song comes from personal experience within the band.  The chorus pleads, "We got to find a solution, nobody wants to fight this war.  How can we end this confusion?  Someday I'll walk out that door" which includes Lenny on back up vocals.  Hearing Johnny Rioux and Mike McColgan switch up vocal lines is a great addition to their newer material with, "I can't stand to see you suffer, I never meant to cause you harm.  I've exhausted every option, I got your reverence today..."  Hearing a band who puts their heart and soul into their music and then writes a personal song such as this is makes for a tune that everybody can relate to somehow.  Not to mention, that is the beauty of the Street Dogs because there is always something for somebody.  We all fall down, and we all live to see the failure of interpersonal relationships in life, and to hear a song simply about that is fantastic.

Flip over the vinyl now if thats how you roll, or let your I Tunes play through to the next side of this split and you will find a fantastic band called Noi!se.  I have been following this band the last couple of years and with each release, they continue to get better and better.  The first song by these guys is a tune called Broken Bonds which starts of slow and kicks right into a whirlwind of guitar and drum easily instigating a circle pit.  This song is one of the catchiest I have heard them record and to hear Matt Henson (Bass/Lead Vocals) and Nate (Guitar/Vocals) switch vocal lines is something that sets this band a part. One of the major things I respect about these guys is their blunt honesty in the world around them which is displayed throughout this split and their other releases!  Two of them currently serve in the United States military and they see first hand the world around them and they deliver that to their music.  That makes them extremely respectable people as a whole and sets them a part from many bands coming out today.  Their experience always shines through and they are not afraid to talk about what they have been through, either.  

Their second track is titled Chameleon and is simply one of the more intense songs on this release.  The first verse is sung by their guitarist, Nate who has an extremely distinct voice from many others in the scene today.   What I love about this band is that they are not like other Oi! bands.  The musicianship really shines through with Matt Henson's bass playing and especially on this song.  Hearing him play is reminds me of Matt Freeman in many cases which I believe he has cited as an influence.  Not to mention, their sound combines several different influences and not one song sounds the same.  You will hear songs that sound very similar to the Bruisers, the Anti-Heros or Cock Sparrer. You will also hear a darker and deeper influence that lean over to the hardcore genre and they always manage to change it up.  Noi!se is a band that can't be beat because they stick to their guns and they know works for them. Their last track, Bottom Rungs is another upbeat and fast song which is one of the best written by them.  To quote Matt, "Bottom Rungs is about self reliance. It's about seeing the outside world and how it effects you and getting off your ass and doing something about rather than engaging in the great American pass time...complaining".  I sincerely look forward to more releases from this band.  I feel every time they put out new music, they constantly grow and evolve which is a sign of true success.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for Noi!se and the Street Dogs.   


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