CD Review: Dropkick Murphys “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”
Dropkick Murphys
Born & Bred
Producer: Ted Hutt
Tracks: 11

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Everyone’s favorite Bostonian punk band Dropkick Murphys are back with a brand new studio album titled “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory”. The album (the bands ninth) is being released via the groups own Born & Bred label and features 11 tracks which were produced by Grammy Award winning producer Ted Hutt.

With a four year lapse since the release of 2013’s “Signed and Sealed in Blood” fans of Dropkick Murphys have had a bit of a wait for new material however with the release of “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” DKM has made up for that lost time. The album opens up with a mostly instrumental track titled “The Lonesome Boatman”. The track which features gang like chanting serves as sort of a rallying call announcing the bands return. I found this to be a fitting way to open the album given the gap between this album and the last. As you make your way through the albums 11 tracks you get a spattering blend of traditional and non-traditional instrumentation mixed with vocalists Ken Casey and Al Barr’s signature Boston snarl. Tracks like the upbeat “Rebels with a Cause” and the rawkus “I Had a Hat” are classic DKM in their subject matter and approach while the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein show tune “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is given a folk/punk makeover that is new and fresh while still paying homage to the original. Another track worth mentioning is the somber “4-15-13” which is the bands heart-felt tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

“11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” is everything fans of Dropkick Murphy’s have come to love about the band and their music. The only negative I really found was as the title suggests the album is a bit short. Clocking in at less than 40 minutes I seemed to be through all 11 tracks before I knew it, the upside is the albums diversity makes it easy to listen to multiple times through without it getting stale or redundant negating its short run time. No matter if you are a long time fan of the boys from Boston or a more casual listener the latest release from Dropkick Murphy’s surely has something you will enjoy.

Track Listing:
1.) The Lonesome Boatman
2.) Rebels with a Cause
3.) Blood
4.) Sandlot
5.) First Class Loser
6.) Paying My Way
7.) I Had a Hat
8.) Kicked to the Curb
9.) You’ll Never Walk Alone
10.) 4-15-13
11.) Until the Next Time

CD Review: Dropkick Murphys "Signed and Sealed in Blood"

Dropkick Murphys
“Signed and Sealed in Blood”
Born & Bred Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The boy’s from Boston are back with their 8th studio album titled “Signed and Sealed in Blood”. The album is the follow up release to the bands 2011 release titled “Going Out In Style”. “Signed and Sealed in Blood” is the second release to carry the name of the bands own label Born & Bread Records which features 12 new tracks produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Flogging Molly).

Right off the bat you are catapulted in to the album with a rousing call to arms type of song titled “The Boys Are Back”.  The song seems quite fitting as the album is the bands first studio release in 2 years. From there the sound changes to the more traditional Irish sound the band has been known for as of late. Songs such as “Rose Tattoo” and “Jimmy Collins’ Wake” feature more traditional instrumentation while songs such as “Burn” and “My Hero” are more reminiscent of the bands earlier punk recordings. Probably my favorite track off the album is “The Season’s Upon Us”. Vocalist/bassist Ken Kelly does a wonderful job telling a very tongue and cheek tale of holiday get together’s gone wrong and not so pleasant encounters with family members. It was nice to finally here someone hit the nail on the head by describing the un-pleasantries of the holidays while the rest of the band perform upbeat instrumentation that still makes you feel good about the season no matter how bad it can be.

“Signed and Sealed in Blood” may be a bit too much of a departure from the bands punk rock roots for some listeners however; it’s great to watch a band like Dropkick Murphys progress with the ever changing musical climate. Remembering back to the mid 90’s when I first discovered the band I don’t think they would still be as relevant as they are now if they didn’t break out of the mold that a lot of bands were following in those days. Progression is crucial in the music business as fans don’t want to keep buying the same album year after year. “Signed and Sealed in Blood” does not feature the Dropkick Murphys of 1998 but it does showcase the supped up 2013 edition.

Track Listing:
1.) The Boys Are Back
2.) Prisoner’s Song
3.) Rose Tattoo
4.) Burn
5.) Jimmy Collins’ Wake
6.) The Season’s Upon Us
7.) The Battle Rages On
8.) Don’t Tear Us Apart
9.) My Hero
10.) Out On The Town
11.) Out Of Our Heads

CD Review: Dropkick Murphys “Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition”

Dropkick Murphys
“Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition”
Born and Bred Records
Producer: Ted Hutt
Live Recording: Michael Lapierre
Disc 1 / Tracks: 13
Disc 2 / Tracks: 18

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition” is the latest release from the Irish tinged punk rock band Dropkick Murphys. The album is being released via the groups own Born and Bred Records and is a special repackaging of the groups 2011 studio release “Going Out in Style”. The 2 disc album features new cover art, the 2011 studio album and a complete live show which was recorded over two nights at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass.

Fans that may have picked up “Going Out In Style” when the album first was released last year may not find this album as appealing as I did. Disc 1 features the standard release of “Going Out in Style” which features 13 studio tracks and no additional content. Disc 2 is the live Fenway Park recording which features a variety of classic DKM tracks that were compiled from the bands 2 night performance at the historic baseball park. Songs such as “Tessie” and “The State of Massachusetts” were instant favorites as the live version of these songs seemed to have a bit more life than the studio takes. Midway through the show the band performs 3 acoustic tracks which I felt took away some of the overall energy. Personally I think it would have been nice to hear the electric version of “Boys on the Docks”. Though not a personal favorite of mine these acoustic performances were still stellar and packed full of traditional Celtic folk sounds.

Though both albums don’t feature any new material by the band “Going Out In Style: Fenway Park Bonus Edition” will be a great pick up for someone who attended the shows and or is a diehard Dropkick Murphy’s fan. The songs contained on these two discs should be more than enough to hold everyone over until the release of the bands new studio album.

Track Listing: Disc 1
1.) Hang ‘Em High
2.) Going Out In Style
3.) The Hardest Mile
4.) Cruel
5.) Memorial Day
6.) Climbing a Chair to Bed
7.) Broken Hymns
8.) Deeds Not Words
9.) Take ‘Em Down
10.) Sunday Hardcore Matinee
11.) 1953
12.) Peg O’ My Heart
13.) The Irish Rover

Track Listing: Disc 2
1.) Hang ‘Em High
2.) Sunday Hardcore Matinee
3.) Deeds Not Words
4.) Going Out in Style
5.) The Irish Rover
6.) Peg O’ My Heart
7.) Tessie
8.) Cruel
9.) Climbing a Chair to bed
10.) Take ‘Em Down
11.) Devil’s Brigade
12.) Boys on the Docks
13.) The Dirty Glass
14.) The State of Massachusetts
15.) Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced
16.) Time to Go
17.) I’m Shipping Up to Boston
18.) TNT

Interview with Dropkick Murphys’ Matt Kelly

Matt Kelly is the drummer for the Irish tinged punk rock band Dropkick Murphys. On March 13th the band will release a new live album that was recorded at historic Fenway Park located in Boston, Mass. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with Matt about the new album and the bands current tour.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the new “Live at Fenway Park” album?
Matt Kelly: We did a couple shows at the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park in September of 2011 and we figured what better way to commemorate the even than to record/release the shows to the fans. We used choice cuts taken from the two nights as well as throwing in a few other things here and there. The release will also be available on vinyl which I highly recommend picking up. I have yet to see the video footage of the show but I had been told it’s amazing. The guys who worked on one of the live Foo Fighters DVDs worked on this one as well. Those two nights were amazing! When you are twelve years old playing in punk bands you never dream of playing to 10,000 people at Fenway Park. We were all really psyched and honored.

AL: Were the shows something of your own doing or were you guys asked to perform at the park?
MK: We have a lot of connection within the organization. Since day one of 2004 the Red Sox organization has just rolled out the red carpet for us. The band had been kicking around the idea of playing the park for awhile but I am not sure how it all actually worked out. There was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes as we had never done something like this before. Our crew along with the grounds crew at the park really made everything work and it was awesome! I think everything was a collaborative effort.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands current tour?
MK: We are currently out on tour with The Mahones and, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. The shows have been great and everyone has been getting great crowd responses. Our crowd can be kind of tough as our fans are just rabid. They are very supportive but not always of the other bands we are playing with. Everything on this tour has gone great! We have been having a blast. We will wrap the tour up with our annual St. Patrick’s Day shows in Mass. We will be playing 3 nights at the House of Blues in Boston, 2 gigs on Saturday in Lowell, Mass. and on Sunday of that weekend we are playing the Brighton Music Hall which used to be called Harper’s Ferry. The Sunday night show you will only be able to get tickets the day of the show at the door. It’s going to be really cool because the venue only holds around 400 people or so.

AL: Have there been any talks about a new studio album?
MK: Around April 1st of this year we will be going into the studio to record the new album. We have a bunch of stuff already written. We have been playing one new song live and it has gotten some good responses. I am not sure if we are going to put it on the record or just release it as a single. We will record April into May and depending on how things go it should be out towards the end of 2012 or early 2013.

AL: What else does the band have planned for 2012?
MK: We will be playing the Shamrock Festival in Washington D.C. March 24th. We also will be heading over to Europe in June for a bunch of festival shows. We will also be doing some smaller shows while we are there as well. All the guys in the band are really excited about playing Rome for the first time. A lot of us want to try and see Vatican City while we are there. When we are in Europe we usually play Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. It will be nice to see some new places and meet some new people. There might also be some stuff in the works for September and October however, nothing has been confirmed yet.