They are called The Gaslight Anthem, they’re from New Jersey (natch) and they have struck chords of urgency and passion inside of me something fierce. Lead singer Brian Fallon grew up in a home four blocks from E Street (yes, that one) and their music pays a nod to urgent elements of Springsteen, the Hold Steady and Lucero. Bringing a punk aesthetic to the music of their idols, they embody an audacious belief that music can still be heard “like a shot through my skull to my brain.”
I’ve been listening to this acoustic set all afternoon, and identifying so strongly with the high-resolution magnification of emotions laid bare in these lines. There is a resignation that becomes razor-sharp when all the punk defiance in the ragged yell of the album version is stripped away. The way Fallon sings in “Great Expectations” about seeing tail lights last night in dreams about his old life, and the baldfaced line “everybody left me, Mary, why wouldn’t you?” just absolutely kills me.
Not that it needed it (their album The ’59 Sound is easily one of my tops this year), but these acoustic versions completely reinvent their music in sepia shades of Nebraska.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM: ACOUSTIC
Great Expectations (live at Alternative Press) **highest rec**
The ’59 Sound (live at Alternative Press)
The Backseat (live at Alternative Press)
Here’s Lookin At You Kid (live on FNX Radio)
High Lonesome (live on FNX Radio)
The ’59 Sound (live on FNX Radio)
And two bonus tracks from Berlin this summer –