It’s been exactly 8 years since Street Dogs released their self-titled studio album, and since then, a LOT has happened. [You can read the review of the original album RIGHT HERE at Faygoluvers. We’re always steps ahead in the underground when it comes to artists you all need to check out. And why? Cause we’re just cool like that!] Marcus and Paul left after the 2010 album, and Tobe left a year after they did (right after the Rust Belt Nation EP). The band released a series of EPs and singles through Pirates Press Records. Mike and Johnny formed an Americana band with Mike’s fellow ex Dropkick Murphys brother Rick Barton called FM359. That led to the drummer of that project, Pete Sosa, joining the band alongside new guitarists Matt Pruitt and Lenny Lashley. They released a split EP with English punk band No!se. And now we come to the band’s long, long, LONG awaited return [8 fucking years!] with Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing, which was produced by longtime Bassist and 2nd vocalist Johnny Rioux.
Mike McColgan explained the album’s concept:
The dumbing down of America is a reason to write songs in 2018. The theme is wake the fuck up and the working class needs to unite across all colors, creeds, nationalities, genders and realize that we are being pitted against each other by snake oil salesmen and autocrats.
This statement echoes the sentiments of fellow punk bands Bad Religion, and Pennywise whose latest album Never Gonna Die helped create the soundtrack for the #Resist movement. But enough of that shit. Let’s get to the Street Dogs album. First off, it was released on Century Media Records which is strange because Century Media is known for hard rock bands like Fozzy and Buckcherry and metal bands like Lacuna Coil, and Queensrÿche. But nonetheless, the album is here!
The album begins with a “breaking news” segment telling you that the American Government has taken away the Constitution and have forced us to censor ourselves and that we need to make a choice. Then, it goes right into the title track “Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing” which is your typical east coast street punk sound that the Street Dogs are known for. The lyrics pretty much define the great Anti-Trump Resistance movements that have become part of modern day pop culture, complete with attacks on The Trump Administration and Trump’s Wall.
“The Other Ones” is a song about being an unsung antihero who in the eyes of loved ones see that antihero as a hero. A good anthem for friends and brothers. “The Comeback Zone” is another great punk anthem about how brotherhood is among the whole scene in the New England area. The next song I feel is gonna be the song that might break this band through to the masses. “Angels Calling” is about being prepared to die and having to accept everything you have to answer for when it’s time. With added rap vocals from La Coka Nostra‘s Slaine, it really makes this song stand out over all others. Just take a listen to it yourself:
“These Ain’t The Old Days” is a song about accepting that today is not ultimately how things are going to be. Although a lot of bands, friends, and loved ones are no longer with us, they’re all still alive in our hearts. “Working Class Hero” is another pro-union track laced with more criticism of the government who are trying to eliminate fair wages and union laws. “Lest We Forget” is a tribute to firefighters and military, something Mike McColgan has personal ties with. McColgan served in Desert Storm and left Dropkick Murphys in 1998 to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a firefigher. Up next is “The Round Up”, which is another attack on the current policies in this country, this time taking aim at Trump’s immigration plan. “Mary On Believer Street” brings you some of the old street punk and “Oi!” flavor of the Punk Rock movement with a touch of AC/DC style Blues rock. It tells a story about a woman named Mary who went from the top of the class to white trash junkie. It once again makes a connection to the American heroin crisis, echoing McColgan’s former band Dropkick Murphys with their version of “Never Walk Alone”. Both songs really hit home for a lot of us.
“Never Above You, Never Below You” is another Street Punk/Oi! style anthem about the underground punk movement in the Boston area. Big Truth’s catchy chorus and a very hard guitar melody make even the oldest of rock fans bang their heads and dig the tune. The album concludes with an oldie but a goodie. “Torn and Frayed” is a cover of the classic Rolling Stones song from their infamous Exile On Main St album. It’s a really good cover and a great way to end the album. Rumor has it that international editions feature bonus tracks from their EPs and splits over the years between their last two albums such as “GOP” (a rewritten/cover of a classic GLC/Menace song from 1977), “Johnny Come Lately” (a Steve Earle cover), “War After The War”, and their cover of Rancid’s “Avenues & Allyways” (Hooligans United a Tribute to Rancid compilation), but that’s not been confirmed. I’ve looked up international versions of the album and I’ve only seen just the 11 main tracks. So we’ll leave that as just a mystery.
All in all Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing is a great follow up to their series of EPs and side projects over the years. Even with the new lineup, you can barely notice a difference because of how in-sync the band members are among one another. To record a new album with a new guitar player or a drummer, you normally can tell immediately that something doesn’t feel right. It also confirms what I said in my last review, which is that the bands and musicians who were laying it down against the Bush Administration were going to do the same for Donald Trump. It’s exactly what’s happening right now. But don’t let that be the reason that you give this album a try. If you’ve never heard a proper punk rock record before, then this album would be a perfect beginning for your journey into this genre of music. In my opinion, this album will define punk rock in the 21st century just as albums like The Clash‘s London Calling, Black Flag‘s Damaged, The Ramones‘ Road To Ruin, and Green Day‘s Dookie, did for the 20th.
- Stand For Something Or Die For Nothing
- Other Ones
- The Comeback Zone
- Angels Calling
- These Ain’t The Old Days
- Working Class Heroes
- Lest We Forget
- The Round Up
- Mary On Believer Street
- Never Above You, Never Below You
- Torn And Frayed
- The Comeback Zone
- Angels Calling
- Never Above You Never Below You