November 9, 2008

as heard by my wild young heart, like directions on a cold dark night

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 lineeverybody 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.

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 –

Stand By Me –> I’da Called You Woody, Joe
I’m On Fire (Springsteen cover)

[header photo credit]


  • They’re definitely great !! Any chance to have a hint where to find the whole Berlin gig ? Cheers,

    Jacopo — November 10, 2008 @ 3:34 am

  • hey Jacopo – why yes, I do.

    heather — November 10, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  • Ah Madison, it was home for a while. The folks in Madison really do love their music, if you do go you must hit Himal Chuli on state street. Get a bowl of dal to warm your soul.


    Anonymous — November 10, 2008 @ 8:34 am

  • Heather,

    While I totally understand and admire the idea of the road trip, I'm just wondering…you do realize that The Gaslight Anthem are playing at the Fillmore (in Denver) this week (12th & 13th). Certainly a lot easier for you, I would think.

    Ray — November 10, 2008 @ 10:06 am

  • Ray – I do realize and I might go Thursday night just to see them open. But I really want to see them headline a smaller venue, as the Fillmo’ is not my favorite.

    heather — November 10, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  • H…I realized after the fact that it was probably an opener vs headliner thing. Too bad they’re not doing more shows as the headliner.

    Keep up the good work.

    Ray — November 10, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  • Madison is my hometown! if you need people to meet up with to see the show, let me know :) although I”m sure Ryan of Muzzle of Bees would oblige as well.

    kting8 — November 10, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  • Hey! I took that picture. Thanks for the love!

    Matt — November 10, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  • Read your post, then went over to emusic and DLed it. Just kinda felt right. Like it a lot. Well played, H!

    Brian — November 10, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  • I’m making the 6 hour drive to see them in Cincinnati in 2 weeks. Headlining, also. w00t!

    Jason Bugg — November 10, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  • Grazie 1000, Heather !

    J — November 11, 2008 @ 9:41 am

  • Heather -
    These guys are an amazing musical find. Thanks for passing along the music.
    - Neil

    Anonymous — November 11, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

  • Thanks for this! I’m loving their sound and would also throw in a comparison to Against Me! but with a more accessible, heart-felt sound. Love it.
    Great sound, great lyrics…hope to hear more of them.

    Scott — November 11, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  • Oh my gawd – they’re awesome. Grimy and heartfelt and perfect for walking through the irresistible Mancunian rain and dreaming of broken dreams and distant barroom girls 4000 miles away…

    Liam — November 12, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  • Heather,

    Did you notice the counting crows reference (I think) in the song high lonesome?

    “And Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand. I always kinda sorta wished I looked like Elvis”

    Its pretty close to the lyrics in Round Here:

    “Maria came from nashville with a suitcase in her hand
    She said shed like to meet a boy who looks like elvis”

    Interesting. And the songs are super cool. They really put me in a mood.


    Kev in STL

    Anonymous — November 13, 2008 @ 7:47 am


    A good article about the band and the reference to counting crows.

    Kev in STL

    Anonymous — November 13, 2008 @ 7:50 am

  • Oh Heather, you have no idea how much these acoustic tunes made my week! TGA have been one of my favoritest musical discoveries of the year.
    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Jay — November 14, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  • good to see them getting some blog love! hopefully there’s more where this came from :D

    saw them tonight in Minneapolis and they’re the real deal live, no doubt.

    apparently they’re singing to a major label very soon

    solace — November 19, 2008 @ 12:39 am

  • Thanks for this post! I just discovered this band via a performance by the frontman on NPR, and have been eager to get a sense of what they sound like live.

    Myriem — December 6, 2008 @ 5:05 am

  • While I recognize I’m really late to the party here, I only recently discovered The Gaslight Anthem and I’d love to listen to those tracks in Berling, but the links are 404ing. Any chance you could repost them?

    Michael — January 13, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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