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Savin' Hill

Street Dogs

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Album Review

Street Dogs don't put on airs. They barely put on their shirts. Savin Hill is a Boston punk record through and through, its blue-collar heart soaked in beer and blood of foe. There's a community feel here, from its titular name-check of an area in Dorchester to the makeup of the band and their special guests. Ex-Dropkick Murphys Mike McColgan and Jeff Erna (vocals and drums, respectively) join former Bruisers Rob Guidotti and bassist Johnny Rioux in Street Dogs, and Savin Hill features guest shots from Boston regulars like Bosstones Dicky Barrett and Joe Sirois and Ken Casey and Al Barr of Dropkicks. There are similarities to Do or Die, that band's raucous debut — McColgan's heartfelt bellow is instantly recognizable, and the music often sticks similarly to tried and true street punk provocation. But the opening title track makes it quite clear that Savin is a record about the Street Dogs' own experiences, hopes, and anger — not some sort of sequel to DKM. "Cut Down on the 12th" and "Justifiable Fisticuffs" encourage singing and slinging of pints over ringing riffs and choppy percussion, and "Don't Preach to Me" reaches way back to 1977 for a rant against hoity-toity celebrity liberalism. (Speaking of 1977, Street Dogs rip into Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout" with a "Boston Version" subtitle) But while fists and drinks are crucial to this crew, brotherhood and neighborhood ties run as deep as Savin Hill's unstoppable melodies. "Jakes" reflects on McColgan's pride over his Boston Fire Department day job, and "Stand Up" is a bootstraps-pulling rocker complete with a round of "Hey! Hey! Hey!"s. But it's "Fighter" that best represents Street Dogs. As a bittersweet tribute to a fallen comrade, it manages to tie together faith, devotion, drinking, fighting, and working-class ideals in just over three minutes of stinging, hooky punk revivalism.


Formed: 2002 in Boston, MA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Boston, Massachusetts is a uniquely divided city, consisting not of amorphously defined neighborhoods like the ones that make up Manhattan, but small, semi-autonomous villages with names like Allston, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. Similarly, Boston's music scene has traditionally been equally insular, with little communication between the punk, indie rock, hip-hop, metal, folk, and Celtic scenes. One of the first bands to overlap some of these fiefdoms was the ska-punk-metal hybrid the...
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Savin' Hill, Street Dogs
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