The Drop

By Kyle Stegerwald, Trevor Hale

Street DogsState of GraceHellcat RecordsAvailable July 8

Mike McColgan has finally come full-circle, calling Hellcat Records home once again. McColgan was a founding member and original vocalist for Dropkick Murphys, but only appeared on the group’s Hellcat debut in 1998.

Since 2002, McColgan has been fronting the Boston punk band Street Dogs, and the group has been flying under the radar from label to label. Now, with a new big-by-punk-standards label (run by Tim Armstrong of Rancid) and another batch of fist-pumping anthems, the Street Dogs are ready for the spotlight.

State of Grace stays true to all that the Street Dogs hold dear-mainly working class roots and love for their hometown of Boston. The feeling and emotion that the band pours into each song is genuine and makes for their strongest release yet.

The album is full of catchy riffs and choruses that beg to be shouted along with. This is the album for anyone and everyone who has a pair of suspenders, Doc Martins and a scally cap stashed in the back of a closet. Time to break everything out and start the circle pit with the Street Dogs leading the way.

-TH

N.E.R.D. Seeing SoundsStar Trak RecordsAvailable Now

I think at this point, six years after Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo made the jump from production to making tracks all the way from scratch with a live band, we can finally conclude that this experiment has been a failure.

2002’s In Search Of was novel and energetic and generally lots of fun, in Fly Or Die we saw some cracks develop in the musical edifice and in Seeing Sounds the whole thing collapses into a cloud of dust with a tired whimper.

This is a messy, boring record with few redeeming moments and lots of weak rhymes and bland instrumentation.

The frustrating thing isn’t so much the poor quality but the fact that we know it could be a lot better. I know Williams and Hugo can make amazing beats-everyone who has listened to rap knows. However, none of that talent seems to have been spent on this record. Because we know Williams can’t carry a record on the strength of his lyricism or vocals, there’s really nothing left to go on.

Take a couple of weird fusion numbers, a half-hearted club banger or two, some confused jams that never seem to figure out where they’re going and a lot of by-the-numbers funk and you have this schizophrenic and profoundly disappointing record.

-KS