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The Scandals To Release ‘Lucky Seven’ EP

Scandals Lucky 7New Jersey punks The Scandals will be releasing their new EP, Lucky Seven, on April 28 via Panic State and Say-10 Records and the band have also released a stream of the track, Hostage. The Lucky Seven EP was produced by Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, The Scandals frontman Jared Hart also plays in Brian Fallon‘s other project The Crowes.

You can stream the track Hostage via Brooklyn Vegan here

Lucky 7 can be preordered via Say 10 Records here and Panic State Records here

Brian Fallon PK

Brian Fallon

Painkillers

Island Records
By

Rating: 2.5/5

 
 

 

 

This is Brian Fallon‘s debut solo album, for those of you who’ve not been paying attention for the last decade he is better known for his role as the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem. As with many release’s made by members of established bands, this is an outlet for songs that didn’t fit with the direction their band was going in, but which they felt to be too good to discard.

It should come as no surprise that there is a passing resemblance to The Gaslight Anthem in some of the compositions. Although I feel it is my duty to warn you that this is no longer the alternative and indie rock he has previously been known for, these elements are now a minor ingredient in his songwriting. The majority of the songs contained on Painkillers are played with a distinct country twang and in places it descends into acoustic balladry. This album indicates that Brian Fallon is moving away from his rock roots and into the kind of impassioned Americana that Bruce Springsteen has made his name from.

The track Rosemary is a brief highlight but overall this collection just doesn’t move me. The songs are all solid and well written, but this heartfelt collection of earnest country tinged rock just doesn’t hit the spot for me, it’s sadly a further move away from the heights that the early recordings by The Gaslight Anthem achieved. This will doubtless be a successful album, but for me this represents a departure from what made us love Brian Fallon in the first place. I can’t help feeling that we’ve lost a band rather than gained a singer.

Live Concert Review

The Gaslight Anthem

Live In Vancouver (03/19/15)

The Commodore Ballroom
By

 
 

 

 

The Gaslight Anthem will forever be an enigma for me.

As one of my all time favourite bands, the New Jersey quartet shall always have a special place in my heart. When Sink or Swim came out, it rocked my soul in the same way Brian Fallon sings about The Clash in Ida Call You Woody, Joe. By the time The ’59 Sound was released, the band was on their way to stardom and they finally, for the first time, made a trek into Western Canada. With an injured ankle that was unable to support any semblance of body weight, I crawled my way to the venue to hear my own ramshackle voice bleed through the speakers of The Starlite Room.

Over the years, the band grew and expanded. Each passing release saw them experiment with their sound, broaden their horizons and introduce more influences than just The Boss into their unique blend of punk rock and roll. Their sonic growth also saw a diversity in their crowd – something seen as both a blessing and curse depending on who you asked.

The band kept touring but stopped hitting Canada as much – their entire touring cycle in support of Handwritten failed to see a single Western Canadian tour date. And so, their stop at the Commodore Ballroom Thursday night became the first time in around four years  that The Gaslight Anthem graced a stage in front of my eyes.

Now I still love The Gaslight Anthem but a lot happens in four years – will they still blow me away the same way as before? What will the crowd be like? And, most importantly, how will the songs from Get Hurt translate live? The album was, after all, rather disappointing and had yet to really grow on me.

At the end of the day though, the best way to summarize the night was to say it was incredibly fun.

The crowd was diverse – the punks mixed with frat boys, the college couples with the mid-fifties couples, the stand-in-the-back and drink with the pogo-sticking hop-along singers .  The large scope in fan base made for an interesting night in itself, but once The Gaslight Anthem hit the stage, everyone fell into their own groove.

 With five albums, an EP, tons of bonus songs and a slew of seven and ten inches to their name, The Gaslight Anthem have a large catalogue to choose from and while they played 23 tracks during their hour and a half long set, there were definitely a few glaring omissions. Nevertheless – as Fallon once famously said – you’re paying to see the band at that moment, to see them play what they want and let them be the artists that you’ve come to see. They’re not there to play some fantasy wishlist of songs. So while it would’ve been nice to hear a few more of my favourites – honestly, Here’s Looking At You Kid should be a career staple for every one of their shows – the band still kept it pretty even. Five from Get Hurt and American Slang, six from Handwritten, and  four from ’59 Sound made for the crux of the night;  Say I Won’t (Recognize) from Senor and the Queen was a nice surprise and when they pulled out Wooderson, man on man did it feel good.

It seemed to be the songs from their middle period – The ’59 Sound and American Slang, that received the biggest reactions. Their choice to do Pink Floyd‘s Wish You Were Here in the middle of the set received mix reactions and Fallon’s signature awkward banter was comical and refreshing – seriously, I’ve never heard a man talk for five minutes about collecting Starbucks Coffee Cups before. They sounded spot on, the guitars were crisp, Benny Hororwitz killed the drums and the show was, as stated before, simply fun.

Was it the show I’ve been waiting to see for four years? Did I leave with goosebumps from  hearing my favourite band play my favourite songs?  Will it be one of those shows that I relive in my head over and over again? Did it live up to everything I wanted or put all my worries to rest?

Not really.

But it was bloody fun, and I left sweaty and smiling – and at the end of the day, that’s what a good concert is all about.

SideOneDummy Records Announces 20 Year Anniversary Vinyl Reissue Series

SideOneDummy RecordsSideOneDummy Records is celebrating their 20 Year Anniversary Vinyl Reissue Series.  The first reissue will be The Gaslight Anthem’s Live At Park Ave 10” released as a limited coke bottle variant exclusively for sale via the SideOneDummy web store and a limited translucent blue variant is available at Park Ave CDs in Orlando, FL.

Purchase Live At Park Ave here.

Eight more records released throughout the year in SideOneDummy’s 20 Year Anniversary Reissue Series. The full list can be found below.

Tours: Gaslight Anthem / Northcote / The Scandals / Samy Kay

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey alt-punks The Gaslight Anthem have made known their first 2015 touring plans. posted a new video featuring their track “1,000 Years.”  The song appears on their latest full length, Get Hurt, which dropped earlier this year via Island Records.

Tour dates can be found below.

Read More…

Video: The Gaslight Anthem – 1,000 Years

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey alt-punks Gaslight Anthem have posted a new video featuring their track “1,000 Years.”  The song appears on their latest full length, Get Hurt, which dropped earlier this year via Island Records.

Watch the video here.

The Gaslight Anthem - Get Hurt

The Gaslight Anthem

Get Hurt

Island Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

It was kind of The Gaslight Anthem to give listeners a visual warning on the cover of their latest release. Not only is this being promoted as Brian Fallon’s divorce record, but the unbearably mediocre cover art mirrors the music contained within. The lead up to this release had Fallon denouncing Springsteen comparisons as fervently as he once made them (yes, it was Fallon himself who went relentlessly on about being the second coming of the Boss… the media just eventually fell in line with his offensive posturing). Back in 2008, the band burst onto the scene (for those who had yet to discover their wonderful debut and great EP) with their blend of heartland rock, punk rock attitude and soulful vocals. Their career took off with a flash, gaining tons of mainstream fans and alienating fans of their earliest releases, which they themselves dismissed (see Taking Back Sunday, Weezer, et al.). Fallon went on to release a fabulous record as The Horrible Crowes, while courting the charts with his full time band. While his distinctive voice lends a semblance of continuity to their career, a new Gaslight Anthem release is always a surprise for listeners. The press push leading up to the release had Fallon (is he the only member of this band?) boldly stating that the band had completely reinvented themselves. If recording an album full of overproduced pop rock and throwback alternative is a reinvention, then the band have at least attempted to live up to his claims.  

This album is a test of patience. Not only is it not a dramatic reinvention, it is simply not a good album. It is frustrating to wonder how a band can fall so far. They experiment with grunge on Stay Vicious, with disastrous results. Even Nickelback would have enough self awareness to not release that mess. The sixteen tracks drag on, flirting with outdated mediocre alternative rock on 1000 Years (is this a lost Fuel track?) and Helter Skeleton. By now, lyrical cliches are synonymous with the band. There are few exceptions to be found here. If you’re familiar with the band, you know whether that will be an issue or not. They are more Bon Jovi than Bob Dylan and they appear to be content with that. The guy who once claimed to get inspiration from the likes of musical geniuses like Miles Davis sure has gotten lost. Maybe it’s the influence of a major label attempting to reduce a band to their most mediocre, so that they can play over the speakers at grocery stores. Maybe Fallon’s broken heart stole all musical inspiration (inexplicably unlike 99% of the greatest music ever written). There is a noticeable lack of emotional connection to the lyrical content here. For a man who has such a soulful voice and a recent heartbreak to draw from, Fallon falls flat drawing empathy from his listeners. 

To be fair, there are bright moments hidden within. Underneath the Ground is an interesting exploration of modern radio rock, with indie undertones. Halloween is reminiscent of Horrible Crowes, a wonderfully moody track. They’ve always excelled at ballads and Break Your Heart is no exception, clearly standing out as the album’s strongest track (similar to American Slang’s She Loves You). Sweet Morphine strives for the same reach, but falls flat with it’s boring bar band music. Mama’s Boys has a fun roots rock swagger. It is strange that the majority of the best tracks are only available on the deluxe edition. 

After all of these years of comparing himself to Springsteen, Fallon has finally managed to come close to recording an album worthy of his idol. Even Springsteen, one of the greatest songwriters of all time occasionally released shitty music. Get Hurt is The Gaslight Anthem’s Human Touch, an embarrassment to the legacy of a once great band. To be fair, Tom Petty recently received his first #1 album in his long and celebrated career, so maybe the world actually wants another boring pop rock album (although Petty’s release is significantly better quality than this). As for the supposed break up album… maybe Fallon’s wife left him because he played demos of these songs for her? 

gaslight

The Gaslight Anthem

The B-Sides

SideOneDummy Records
By

Rating: 3/5

 
 

 

 

If you’ve been following the growing discography of New Jersey mainstays The Gaslight Anthem then you already know that the band has left quite a trail of breadcrumbs when it comes to rare and hard to find tracks. When it comes to the band’s middle years on SideOneDummy Records (wedged between their humble beginnings on XOXO Recordings and current rise to Mercury Records), the number of iTunes exclusive bonus tracks, covers, and obscure radio sessions meant that a number of songs slipped through the cracks and likely went unnoticed from all but the band’s most attentive fans. 

Being the curator of such releases, SideOneDummy released a good chunk of them as b-sides for a limited edition vinyl box set, the Singles Collection: 2008-2011.  Aside from costing an arm and a leg, being limited to 2500 copies, and the minor detail that 7” records aren’t exactly the most convenient medium for songs in the digital age, the fancy wooden box set served as a solid collectable.  Granted, the absence of a digital released meant that the rest of us got snubbed.  Thankfully SideOneDummy is giving those that passed up the box set another opportunity to get those hidden gems with The Gaslight Anthem’s latest odds and end compilation, The B-Sides.

First up, the inclusion of the version-specific bonus tracks.  By and large these are some of the strongest studio tracks making up the disc.  “She Loves You” leads the compilation as the disc’s sole Gaslight Anthem original studio track.  Not surprisingly, the tender delivery serves as a great example of how even the band’s leftovers are strong enough to open an album.  The other studio tracks include a trio of covers, including “Once Upon A Tim” (Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise), “Songs For Teenagers” (Fake Problems) and “Tumbling Dice” (The Rolling Stones).  A hint of the original versions’ fire burning with a new flame in each new take.  “Tumbling Dice” stands out not simply because of it’s iconic status, but by how much Fallon’s vocals channel a young Rod Stewart – an unorthodox comparison, but he really nails it in the process.

Where things get surprising though is how strong the songs from Seattle’s KEXP live session from hold up.  “Antonia Jane” and “Great Expectations” are arguably some of the crispest acoustic songs in the compilation and are different enough from their original counterparts to carve a special place in the band’s discography.  “The 59 Sound” in particular benefits from Fallon’s inherent acoustic vulnerability in the form of altered time signatures and heightened emotion – the song trading the original’s upbeat swagger in favour of a melancholy tone echoing the track’s tragic content.  With the absence of the full band, most of these tracks could easily be filed under “Brian Fallon live songs,” but I doubt anyone will complain.

Oddly enough, the KEXP session tracks actually upstage the studio acoustic offerings.  Both “Boxer” and “American Slang” are recorded with all sorts of fancy effects intended to make them sound as if they are relics from a distant age.  But when placed alongside cleaner tracks, the muffled vocals and fuzzy production make them sound more like they were recorded in a dank sewer.  Though with only two instances to speak of, they make but a minor smudge on an otherwise well painted picture.

Sadly, one key omission prevents the compilation from becoming a truly definitive odds and ends collection.  The KEXP acoustic version of “The Diamond Church Street Choir” remains exclusive to the aforementioned vinyl Singles Collection: 2008-2011, and is entirely absent from the CD release.  Granted, the inclusion of “Songs For Teenagers (Acoustic)” tends to balance out the scale, but it will likely irk fans looking for one stop shopping.

As far as convenience goes, The B-Sides sure beats flipping a bunch of 7” vinyl records – even if that does make for a nifty collectors item.  But being a b-sides compilation makes it mostly recommendable to Gaslight Anthem enthusiasts rather than newcomers (if anyone is still living under a rock).  So while The B-Sides is far from essential, it’s certainly makes for a welcome addition to any Gaslight Anthem fan’s library.

Gaslight Anthem To Release B-Sides Collection

gaslight anthemThe Gaslight Anthem has announced that they will be releasing a brand new B-Sides collection of material released between 2008 and 2011.  The disc will be titled B-Sides and is set to drop on January 28, 2013 via SideOneDummy.

Pre-orders can be found here.

The Gaslight Anthem Announce Live DVD

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem has announced details to release a live DVD.  The DVD will hold the name “Live In London” and is due out on December 17, 2013.  The band last release Handwritten on Mercury Records back in 2012.

Pre-order details along with various packaging options can be found here.

Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) – Capo 4th Fret (Tony Sly)

TonySlyFat Wreck Chords have released another new song from the upcoming Tony Sly tribute album. Following the release of songs from Frank Turner, Alkaline TrioRise Against, and others, they have no revealed The Gaslight Anthem‘s Brian Fallon‘s addition to the compilation.

For his track, Fallon covered Capo 4th Fret from his 2010 solo album,  12 Song Program. 

The 26 song compilation, The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute, will be released next week on Oct. 29.

Profits from the album’s sale will go to the Tony Sly Memorial Fund, established to assist Sly’s wife, Brigitte, and their daughters, Fiona and Keira.

Listen to the song here.

The Gaslight Anthem Singles Collection: 2008-2011

Gaslight AnthemSideOneDummy Records has announced that they will be releasing special collectors item for fans of Gaslight Anthem.  The collection is titled The Gaslight Anthem Singles Collection: 2008-2011, and is set for a June 18, 2013 release.  The limited edition wooden collector’s chest will come loaded with nine 7’’ 45’s featuring the band’s singles and rare acoustic & live tracks, a download card and a 45 RPM adapter.  Pre-orders can be made here.

The band recently released their major label debut, Handwritten, out now on Mercury Records.

Gaslight Anthem Mini Documentary

Gaslight AnthemRollingStone.com has premiered a brand new mini documentary featuring the The Gaslight Anthem titled Every Word Handwritten.  The feature explores the effect of vinyl as a medium over various generations.  Check out the full film here.

The band last released Handwritten in 2012 via Mercury Records.

 

The Horrible Crowes - Elsie

The Horrible Crowes

Elsie

SideOneDummy Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

The Gaslight Anthem came out of nowhere with their debut Sink or Swim that provided the perfect blend of Bruce Springsteen’s hard luck tales and The Clash’s punk rock energy. They followed that up with a great EP and the soulful classic The 59 Sound. They exceeded all expectations and quickly rose to the forefront of the modern underground music movement. They made songs that soccer moms, blue collar dads and leather jacket wearing teenagers could all get into. Few bands can make such a bold claim. Then they released American Slang and the whole illusion fell apart. Fans became divided over the album, claiming it was either their masterpiece or a mainstream piece of mediocrity. When frontman Brian Fallon announced his soul influenced side project anticipation over the release grew at exponential rates. What would it sound like? Would it be a return to The 59 Sound? Would it sound like James Brown? Would Fallon quit self proclaiming himself as the next Springsteen?

When they released a stream of Behold the Hurricane a while back, it gave listeners the first glimpse into the world of the Horrible Crowes. It sounded a lot like classic Gaslight, with a heavy poppy sing along tying it together. But from the first track of ElsieLast Rites, one can see that it was a conscious decision to release Behold before the album. For the most part, the album is a more muted affair than Fallon’s full time band. If American Slang was his Born in the USA, then Elsie would be his Nebraska.

What that means for this album is that while it will likely be received less warmly by the mainstream, it is Fallon’s most legitimate artistic statement to date. I Witnessed A Crime has a confident swagger unmatched by anything he has released previously. The organ provides a catchy backbone to the walking beat of the drums. Ladykiller may the most reminiscent of a Gaslight ballad. Mary Ann is a fuzzy blues surprise that showcases Fallon’s James Brown wail.

As the last chord of the album plays, the listener realizes that Fallon has successfully achieved what he set out to do. This album outshines American Slang at every turn. Oddly enough, the best song from that album, She Loves You, would fit comfortably here. Even with his distinctive voice, he has managed to create an album that is worthy of being called Horrible Crowes, not merely a Gaslight side project.

Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound

The Gaslight Anthem

The '59 Sound

SideOneDummy Records
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

If you have access to the internet, chances are you’ve heard of The Gaslight Anthem. After bursting onto the scene last year with Sink or Swim and a phenomenal EP that followed it released earlier this year, everyone has fallen in love with the New Jersey quartet and thus everyone was impatiently awaiting the release of The ’59 Sound. Everyone had expectations for it and when it leaked people didn’t know how to react. The songs were great, there was no doubt about it, but the sound wasn’t the same sound we had come to expect from the band as the production quality was vastly different than anything in the band’s prior repertoire.

For you see, The ’59 Sound doesn’t have the raw sensation of Sink or Swim nor the heavy beat of Senor and The Queen. Instead, The ’59 Sound sounds like an old fashioned record thanks to the echo effect that is featured on every single song on the record. Brian Fallon’s vocals aren’t nearly as rough as before and the entire record sounds like it was recorded way back in the day. Those who were previously unfamiliar with the band often asked “hey, is this the new Killers CD?” Yeah, a dreadful thought and one that doesn’t really strike the best impression. However, this echoey production style on The ’59 Soundsoon becomes comfortable in the listener’s ears and it becomes evident that the record could never sound any other way than it does.

Because unlike its predecessor’s, The ’59 Sound is a much more emotional album – which is saying something if you’ve ever heard White Jeans & Blue T-shirts or 1930 – but it is. The album is bathing in sincerity, emotion, honesty and passion. Each song packs a punch that takes you away from your current position as Fallon passionately weaves tales of disappointment, love, and adventures. The stories are laced with a sense of americana and simplicity but are in no way “simple” and the echoey production values help cement that emotional layer that would be vacant with the harder edge of Sink or Swim. It also enables them to add a few extra elements to the sound that almost go unnoticed but is just loud enough to stop you in your tracks. Be it the chains on the title track or the computerized vocals hidden in the background of Here’s Looking At You KidThe 59 Sound is spotted with little added features that make it such a great record.

And it is a great record. There’s no way anyone can deny it or underplay that as the ’59 Sound will surely become a classic for this generation. I say that because I have never before seen a CD with such a massive appeal – everyone who has heard it has liked it. While it is a punk rock record infused with soul and blues elements, The Gaslight Anthem are not only for punk rock fans. There is something within the song writing that surpasses genre barriers and unites everyone together no matter their musical preferences. It does this by being playable in so many situations. It can be played in a sweaty, underground basement show or at a massive stadium. It can be played around a campfire, or during a road trip. It would fit inside the top 40 countdown or in the stingiest punk fan’s collection. It could be simple background music to something bigger happening or it can absorb you completely. Whether you’re sitting alone with headphones, reading the lyrics booklet or sharing a beer with friends, The ’59 Sound is the soundtrack for that moment; it can be the soundtrack for any moment and it would fit.

To put it simply, The’59 Sound is incredible. It is a record that deserves to be heard and will be played over and over again. For those who are expecting to hear Sink or Swim volume two, it may come as a bit of a shock; but the sound grows on you and the record soon feels perfectly comfortable- like you’re hanging out with an old friend you haven’t seen for years, telling stories and remiscining over the good old times.

Gaslight Anthem - Sink or Swim

The Gaslight Anthem

Sink or Swim

XOXO Records
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

If you were to pick up this CD at one of The Gaslight Anthem‘s live shows, you may notice a little sticker on the front of the record. The sticker has me calling the album my most anticipated release of 2007 – which it was. I mean, I couldn’t wait to hear this CD in it’s entirety ever since I heard Drive on Go-Kart vs The Corporate Giants 4 early in 2006. I quickly found some demos of the band’s material online and the anticipation grew even more. It was rumored to come out in the fall, then in the winter and finally a date was set for late May of 2007 and finally the moment came when I was able to hear the album from one of my new favorite bands. With this much anticipation riding on it, there was a high chance of failure – because almost nothing could have lived up to the hype I had created inside my head. But guess what – it did. It lived up to everything I expected and more so. The album is nearly perfect and will definitely be the best release of 2007 on top of being the most anticipated.

For you see, Sink or Swim, the debut album from this New Jersey foursome just bleeds passion, it bleeds sincerity and it bleeds inventiveness. It doesn’t follow any trend but is a sound of their own; yet all the while strangely familiar and comforting. It is a more punk rock version of Lucero with some Against Me! and older Samiam thrown in for good measure; and yet, still decidedly unique. Brian Fallon’s vocals are perfect, rough and worn with a melodic edge (think of a much smoother Brendan Kelly) and the music behind him helps maintain a rolling, upbeat tempo.

Kicking off with a dancy Boomboxes and DictionariesSink Or Swim instantly heads off in the right direction. With a rocking guitar riff threaded throughout and drumming that Warren Oakes would be proud to play and the right amount of “woahs” in the background, your attention is immediately drawn. But instead of simply spitting out a duplicate of that track, I Coulda Been A Contender opens up with a soft chord and Fallon singing quietly overtop before they break into the real meat and bones of the song. It is within that juxtaposition that the band is really able to blow the listener away and keep them listening the entire way through – because each song is unique and has its own element to really captivate the listener.

However, the major selling point of this record is, as I said before, the pure passion behind the songs. Fallon’s vocals deliver the lyrics with a type of sincerity that can’t be copied and is instantly contagious; plus the fact that the lyrics are mind blowing doesn’t hurt either. You see, instead of the generic “wah, my girlfriend left me” or “fuck the government” or “i’ll kill you and live in your skin” tone, The Gaslight Anthem takes a cue from The Boss and sings about living life. These are songs by a grown man who has lived a life and is still living it to the fullest, he sings about love, brotherhood, the power of music and living freely in the moment without any restraints and are written in such a talented way that you can’t help but be awe-struck.

To pick a favorite song was nearly impossible, since every song is so inexplicably awesome. In fact, the only real downside of the album – oddly enough – comes on one of the highlights of the album – 1930. That sole downside is the difference between this version, and the band’s 2004 demo of it under the name Titanic. While they are quite similar to one another, they basically eliminated the bridge before the final verse on the song and it was that bridge that originally pulled me into that song as it really built up the anticipation before the explosive ending; now the ending comes more directly without as much anticipation and I think it loses some of it’s power there. However, that blemish is only noticeable if you’ve heard the demo and even with it, the song still rules.

In case you can’t tell, I love this album. It is a record for music fans and enthusiasts because one listen and you can hear the skill within it. Sink or Swim is a record most bands would love to put out with their fourth or fifth record, but for The Gaslight Anthem, this is their debut. It will become a classic and the band will only grow and progress and as of right now, it is by far the best release of 2007.

Gaslight Anthem - Senor and The Queen

The Gaslight Anthem

Senor and the Queen

Sabot Productions
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem started to make quite the name for themselves last year with their debut record, Sink Or Swim. The record captivated listeners everywhere it was played and made it’s way onto many, many year-end lists (mine included). It had been quite some time since a record was so universally devoured, as fans of all genres started to take notice of it. There was a certain authenticity within the songs that was undeniable and it pushed them forward with each spin. Less than a year later it was announced that the band was ready to return with yet another release, albeit just a four song EP, but new material nonetheless. After a few delays the EP, titled Senor and The Queen, was finally released and sees the band expand on their sound.

The EP starts with the title track, Senor and The Queen, a sparser sounding track then some may be used to hearing from the band. Opening with a disjointed drum beat and guitar squeal, the opening shout of “Show me your hands!” sounds like Russ Rankin of Good Riddance/Only Crime. From then on, it builds up a bit, creating a fuller sound that has the distinct punk rock and roll vibe that only The Gaslight Anthem can perform. By the time it gets to the first break, the song is in full swing and excitement starts to build up.

It then progresses into Wherefore Are Thou, Elvis?, a song that would have fit perfectly into Sink or Swim but instead helps carry this EP. Not only it is the catchiest song on the release, thanks in part to the “bah bah, bah bah, badadad” background chant and the phenomenal chorus, but it is only the song on which vocalist Brian Fallon really shines. His vocals are worn and passionate with a wide range of speed and volumes to help create a well rounded and diverse sound.

Say I Won’t (Recognize) continues that trend and its shaping up to be a great EP; but it is the closing track that really makes this EP so spectacular. Unlike anything the band has done before, Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts is a soft, slow country influence track; somewhat similar to The Navasink Banks but so much stronger than that. Fallon’s vocals are much softer than they are on the other tracks and the addition of the perfectly placed female vocals by Emily Sparks‘ Jet Mullen adds a certain depth to the song.

It is the mixture of the simplistic delivery and phenomenal lyrics that creates the power within the song; because without the intensity and speed that are present in the rest of the songs, Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts enables Fallon’s lyrics toreally shine through. Just like on Sink Or Swim, Fallon’s lyrics are inspiring and authentic. They are sincere and passionate and every song on this album follows a certain trend. They are beautiful love songs that can be related to anyone without being nauseatingly fake. Lyrics like “We sing with our heroes, 33 rounds per minute / We’ve never going home until the sun says were finished / I’ll love you forever if I ever love at all / with wild hearts, blue jeans and white t-shirts” paints of a picture of perfect Americana love. The whole record paints that picture; a picture of love, friendship and hometown adventures.

The sole downside of the EP is the fact that it’s just an EP. Lasting just over eleven minutes, The Senor and The Queen leaves you wanting more and proves that Sink or Swim wasn’t just a fluke. Don’t be surprised if this finds its way into a few year end lists too.

Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten

The Gaslight Anthem

Handwritten

Mercury Records
By

Rating: 5/5

 
 

 

 

At this point, there’s not much else to say about The Gaslight Anthem. Breaking out with their debut Sink or Swim on the small independent label XOXO Records in 2007, the band has steadily grown in popularity and craftsmanship over the years. Choosing to build their fan base through hard work and dedication, they released three full lengths and an EP independently before joining Mercury Records for their major label debut: Handwritten.

Over the years they’ve become one of the scene’s biggest and brightest stars and many people have different view points as to why, but it’s Nick Hornby’s description in the liner notes that truly hit the nail on the head.

For it’s not that The Gaslight Anthem are doing anything exceptionally new, but rather they are doing it in such a way that builds on the work of the forefathers. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, the New Jersey quartet stand on the shoulders of giants and lift musical history to new heights.

Handwritten is a rock album first and foremost. But it’s also a punk album and a blues album and a pop album. They take the best elements of everything and merge it into a cohesive unit – creating an indescribable sensation when it plays through.

In the same way that The Menzingers’ On The Impossible Past seep into the listener’s consciousness through nostalgia and emotion, The Gaslight Anthem push it a step further. The songs are relatable, wordy yet simplistic and Brian Fallon’s vocals are perfect as he delivers his poetic lyrics that both consume and invigorate.

Keepsake is a grimey, dirty, blues-soaked tune that showcases Alex Rosamilia’s guitar work. 45 could be a ’59 Sound bside and Handwritten harkens back to Sink or Swim era, with a Clash-like sing-along introduction. Howl serves as a highlight of the album with a high-energy punk rock anthem, yet it goes along with the soulful Mae without a moment’s hesitation.

Then, of course, there’s the emotional closer of National Anthem that will mean something different to everyone and will forever have a special part in my heart due to the moment in my life that I first heard it. But even without that personal connection, the soothing violin and Bob Dylan-inspired melodies more than do it justice to make it a song worthy to close the album on.

The Gaslight Anthem are quite possibly one of the most important bands of our generation – continuing on a tradition of rock and roll music set forth by the likes of The Beatles, Tom Waits, The Clash andBruce SpringsteenHandwritten is a great addition to the band’s already glowing catalogue, it’s not re-inventing the wheel – it’s just adding another axel.

Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

The Gaslight Anthem

American Slang

SideOneDummy Records
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Unlike Brian Fallon, I’m at a loss for words. I’ve listened to The Gaslight Anthem’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2008’s The ’59 Sound constantly for months and I remain unsure as to how I should describe the album. In fact, all I can honestly think off to say is “buy this record, it needs to be heard.”

But why exactly? There’s a few reasons really.

First off, this is The Gaslight Anthem and the band can do no wrong. Everything they touch turns to gold. In one song, they’re able to pack more hooks, more passion and more sincerity than most bands can create their entire career.  American Slang sees the band doing just that and going one step further.

This isn’t The ’59 Sound 2.0. While there are similarities, The Gaslight Anthem aren’t here to reproduce the same record again and again; they’re making changes to their sound but keeping it close enough to stay consistent, familiar and comfortable. They’re able to create the same thrills and hit the same emotional highs as The ’59 Sound but from a distinctly different point – and for that, they deserve to be credited.

On American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem are finally displaying their true selves to the world – paying homage to their influences but not hiding behind them.  American Slang sees them creating an identity of their own. There’s stronger musicianship, more memorable rhythms (The Queen of Lower Chelsea) and varied tempos (in fact, only once do they hit that slow tempo mark and they do it with class on the nostalgia-soaked closer We Did It When We Were Young).

Fallon’s voice has grown too. He still has that blue-collar gruffness to it that helped characterized the band, but there’s a quivering vulnerability in it that makes his words ring true. See the powerful toe-tapperThe Diamond Church Street Choir or the aforementioned We Did It When We Were Young for the perfect example. Hell, the Muhammad Ali-inspired intro to Boxer also shows a new side of Fallon.

Lyrically, he’s evolved as well. Still writing better lyrics than 99% of today’s music, American Slang loses its imagery, candid characters, musical references and New Jersey based anecdotes. Instead, Fallon moves north and paints an image of his new hometown: New York.  He still uses a sense of mystery and vagueness in his song to enable multiple interpretations, but he tends to be more direct here, more focused and concise. He looks at the here and now, often times avoiding the nostalgic element that characterized the band in the past – and going so far as condemning it in Old Haunts. There’s a joyous jubilation in the lyrics, a seize the day attitude that is contagious.

Will it stand the test of time or have such a lasting impact like The ’59 Sound?  It’s hard to tell right now, but chances are it will. So like I said, buy this record, it needs to be heard.

Video: The Gaslight Anthem – National Anthem / Hurricane Sandy Relief

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem have released a video for their song National Anthem in order to raise awareness for relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy.

To that end, the band has set up PunkCares.org where you can purchase t-shirts and posters where all proceeds go to rebuilding initiatives. 

National Anthem comes from their major label debut Handwritten which was released earlier this year.

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Tours: Gaslight Anthem (Europe)

Gaslight AnthemThe Gaslight Anthem has announced a handful of European tour dates for 2013.  The band is currently supporting their brand new full length and Mercury Records label debut, Handwritten.

Dates can be found below.

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Stream: The Gaslight Anthem – Hold Me Up EP

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem are set to release a new 10inch record called Hold Me Up on Black Friday (November 23rd) as part of Record Store Day.

The piece of wax features three songs – Hold Me Up, Misery and an acoustic cover of Bon Iver‘s Skinny Love. While the EP isn’t set to be released until the 23rd, the songs have surfaced online as they were originally released last month in the UK as part of the Here Comes My Man EP.

You can listen to all three songs below.

The band released their major label debut, Handwritten, in July.

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Video: The Gaslight Anthem – Here Comes My Man

Gaslight AnthemThe Gaslight Anthem has released a brand new music video for the song “Here Comes My Man.”   The track features an appearance from actress Elisha Cuthbert and comes from the band’s recent Mercury Records debut, Handwritten.

Check out the video below.

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Gaslight Anthem – 45, Desire, Handwritten (Acoustic)

Gaslight AnthemGaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon recently stopped by Las Vegas alternative station X1075’s Studio X to perform three songs – “45,” “Desire” and “Handwritten.” All three songs appear on the band’s major label debut, Handwritten, that was released this summer.

The performance was captured by PunksinVegas and can be seen below.

And, just for the hell of it, I’ve also included his performance of National Anthem for BBC Tree live at the Reading Festival back in August simply because it’s an amazing song.

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Tours: The Gaslight Anthem

Gaslight AnthemThe Gaslight Anthem has announced a handful of East Coast tour dates for the end of the year.  The band is currently supporting their brand new full length and Mercury Records label debut, Handwritten.

Dates can be found below.

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Video: The Gaslight Anthem – ’45’

Gaslight AnthemDiffuser.fm is streaming a brand new lyric video for The Gaslight Anthem‘s ’45’, taken from their new album Handwritten which was released July 24th on Mercury Records.

You can check out the video by clicking here (region restricted).

The Gaslight Anthem – Teenage Rebellion

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem is giving fans a chance to hear a brand new b-side iTunes exclusive song titled “Teenage Rebellion.”  The track originates from their brand new album, Handwritten, which serves as the band’s first album on Mercury Records which dropped today. The entire record can currently be heard on NPR Music.

Give the song a listen here.

Video: Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

Gaslight AnthemNew Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem have posted their new video for Handwritten, the title track from their highly anticipated new album.

The video can be seen below.

Handwritten is the band’s first album on Mercury Records and will be available on July 24th, 2012. The entire record can currently be heard on NPR Music.

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Gaslight Anthem Stream Handwritten In Full

Gaslight AnthemThe Gaslight Anthem has launched a full album stream of their brand new album, Handwritten, due out July 24, 2012 on Mercury Records

Check out the stream over on NPR.

Tours: The Gaslight Anthem (Europe)

Gaslight AnthemThe Gaslight Anthem has announced that they will be hopping the pond for a European tour.  The tour will kick off in October and run through November. The band is set to release their brand new album, Handwritten, due out July 24, 2012 on Mercury Records

Tour dates can be found below.

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Gaslight Anthem Video Interview

Gaslight AnthemFuse recently caught up with The Gaslight Anthem for a quick video interview.  

Watch the full clip below.

The band continues to promote their upcoming full length, Handwritten, due out July 24th, 2012 via Mercury Records.

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