The Gaslight Anthem: The B-Sides

Once again we are treated to the velvety-toned soothing vocals of Brian Fallon and the band on this compilation album; that offers fans: extra songs which did not make it on to the studio albums, acoustic renditions of various tracks from the band’s records and a handful of covers.

The-Gaslight-Anthem-The-B-Sides-coverThe Gaslight Anthem emerged in 2006 and kicked off their career with their hard-pounding album ‘Sink or Swim’ in 2007, it mixed hard-rock together with an essence of blues. In 2008 they released their second album ‘The 59 Sound’, the album which launched them into the spotlight. They were featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine when they released The 59 Sound, making history as the first band to ever do that without being previously featured in the magazine. With this album the band nudged more over to the blues side of things, with the album offering heart-felled calming love songs along with hard-hitting rock tracks. 2010 saw the band release their third album, ‘American Slang’. Although it is their weakest album to date, it was not a bad record. It just focused more on melodic guitar riffs, rather than heavy rock anthems like the previous two. In 2012, their fourth studio album ‘Handwritten’ was released, and it offered all of their best elements; heavy rock, soul-sounding vocals, enchanting lyrics and melodic guitars. Although some fans will always say that The 59 Sound is their best album; Handwritten is not far off.

The acoustic tracks originate from their albums, The 59 Sound and American Slang; except for Antonia Jane which is a cover originally by Lightening Dust. These songs are not just your typical, quick acoustic versions which you might find on a magazine’s podcast; no these are properly studio produced and are quite alternate versions to the original songs. Fallon is not just singing their songs quieter with an acoustic guitar, there are different aspects added, such as backing vocals and other instruments in the background. In a way these tracks seem slightly more intimate, partly because they are more relaxing than the originals, but also because Fallon recording some of them in his own home, and not a studio.

What I have to say did disappoint me quite a bit was the fact that when I read ‘The Gaslight Anthem; The B-Sides’ I assumed that I was getting a few of Gaslight’s own songs which I had not previously heard. Unfortunately there is only one, ‘She Loves You’, which does not feature on any of their albums; the rest are either covers or acoustic songs. The covers were a nice touch, but I’d rather hear their covers live than have them on a CD. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I purchased it, and I understand that these are the B-Sides from their released singles but more of their own tracks would have made this compilation that little bit extra special.

gaslight-anthemThis album is a must for any avid Gaslight Anthem fans, but I would not recommend it for every-now-and-then listeners.

The Gaslight Anthem are currently writing for their next album, and I am always anxious to hear what they are working on next…here’s looking at you kids.

The full track-listing is as follows:

She Loves You – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The 59′ Sound (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

State Of Love And Trust (Live) – Pearl Jam Cover, Recorded Live at Webster Hall. New York.

Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones Cover, Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The Queen Of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Songs For Teenagers – Fake Problems Cover, Recorded by Brian Fallon.

Great Expectations (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

Antonia Jane (Acoustic) – Lightning Dust Cover, Recorded at Cutting Rooms Studios, NYC.

American Slang (Acoustic) – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

Boxer (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Once Upon A Time – Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise Cover, Recorded Sage and Sound Studios and Mad Dog Studios.

Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem deliver another blues rock masterpiece.

This album’s release date has definitely been one of the most anticipated days on my calendar this year, and now that it has come I can safely say it was worth the wait.

Handwritten kicks in with recently released single ’45’, which is definitely one of the most powerful songs on the album, it combines everything that is ‘The Gaslight Anthem’; the energy of ‘Sink or Swim’ (2007), the mournful lyrics of ‘The 59 Sound’ (2008) and the melodic blues guitar of ‘American Slang’ (2009). From the opening guitar riff and front man Brian Fallon screaming whoa, through the meaningful hooking choruses, to the energetic ending, this track, about not being with the one you love, will leave you wanting more.

Gaslight-Anthem-HandwrittenThey have created a song which contains all their great aspects, and it is only the first track on the album, therefore if your ears aren’t enjoying themselves yet, they soon will be with the rest of the record.

Chants of “whoa, whoa” start off second track ‘Handwritten’, the song is a tribute to the process by which a song is written “out here in the dark, I cherish the moonlight, I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the night, and it travels from heart to limb to pen”, to when it is heard by the listener “let it out, let me in take a hold of my hand, there’s nothing like another soul who’s been cut up the same” and then is passed down to another listener “pull it out, turn it up what’s your favourite song? That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young”. The song is also related to the fact that the whole of the album ‘Handwritten’, was in fact handwritten, and no computers were used.

Too Much Blood is an amazing track, it captures something which isn’t seen a lot in The Gaslight Anthem songs, the song sounds like a homage to classic 50s rock and roll with a smooth riff and an unusual solo, something which I have not heard in a ‘Gaslight’ song before. You would think that through the last three albums we have heard everything Brian Fallon’s voice could do, soothing on ‘The 59 Sound’ and incredibly high on ‘American Slang’, now he’s trying to go to the deeper end of the scale in this song, and although new, it works really well. Fallon may be one of the greatest voices of this generation.

Since the release of The 59 Sound in 2008, The Gaslight Anthem fans have been waiting for another record with an impact of the same magnitude, unfortunately American Slang was not the album they were waiting for; although an amazing record all round, it just didn’t give you the same feeling as the first time The 59 sound rushed through your ears. Handwritten also doesn’t hit this mark, but it is not far from it, the album feels like a slower version of The 59 Sound, it also has an essence of ‘The Horrible Crowes’; the duet which Brian Fallon played in with Ian Perkins, with the dark lyrics and vocals on some tracks.

As soon as the guitar and gang vocals come in to ‘Howl’, it is obvious that this is going to be a fun and exciting song, and it does not disappoint, although short, it is two minutes and six seconds of pure energy, a track that will get you out of your seat and moving.

The song ‘Desire’ gives you the feel of a punk rock bands song with the background rhythm guitar, the opening sounds as though you are listening to Rise Against – if they started playing blues as well.

‘Mae’ the tenth track on the album is a song about trying to be with the girl you love, and once again Brian Fallon takes us on a journey using his soothing country voice; as tracks such as ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ from The 59 Sound and ‘We Did It When We Were Young’ from American Slang did.

‘National Anthem’, a song which Fallon claims was written in 20 minutes on a night in Nashville, takes us through Fallon’s memories and mind when looking at the world today,“what’s left for god to teach from his throne? And who will forgive us when he is gone?” It is an acoustic thought-provoking anthem and is a great way to close an amazing fourth album.

gaslightThe Gaslight Anthem is made up of Brian Fallon (vocals and guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar and backing vocals), Alex Levine (bass and backing vocals) and Benny Horowitz (drums). They formed in 2006 and originate from New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Maybe handwritten is not a better album than ‘The 59 Sound’, the record which thrust them into the public’s eye, but the band have taken risks by combining genres. This album has it all, including aspects from their previous albums, and it shows their progression from 2007.

If you bought the deluxe edition of the album, you will have gotten three bonus songs which aren’t on the normal album, two of which, ‘Sliver’ and ‘You Got Lucky’, are Nirvana and Tom Petty covers. The other is ‘Blue Dahlia’, a song which I believe is powerful enough to be on the album.

So there you have it, an album with some rock and roll, some punk and a hell of a lot of blues rock. If you see this album, I advise you to buy it along with the band’s back catalogue. If The Gaslight Anthem are not in your life…you need them.

Listen to: 45, Mulholland Drive and Howl.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

“45”

Handwritten

Here Comes My Man

Mulholland Drive

Keepsake

Too Much Blood

Howl

Biloxi Parish

Desire

Mae

National Anthem

– Deluxe Edition –

Blue Dhalia

Sliver (Nirvana Cover)

You Got Lucky (Tom Petty Cover)

The Gaslight Anthem Album Update

New Jersey band prepare to release new album.

As the quartet get ready to release their fourth album, Handwritten, the thought on every fans mind will be whether or not it will be an even bigger album than their 2008 début, ‘The 59 Sound’.

“I want every record we do to be better than the last in my ears”says front man Brian Fallon when talking to music magazine Rock Sound “otherwise what’s the fucking point of doing this?”

‘The 59 Sound’ showed what these guys were really made of, it had everything; hooking choruses, an excellence in guitar playing, emotionally provoked lyrics and mixed together with blues rock and Brian Fallon’s soothing country style voice, it made one heck of a record.

However with ‘Handwritten’ they have put their heart and soul into the record “we just made something that feels like the record I was trying to make” explains Fallon “and the songs I was always trying to play live.” He goes on to talk about how the album relates to him “that’s where I saw myself when we made ‘Handwritten’: on a stage, there are up-tempo songs and there are down-tempo songs, and this fits my vision of who I am in my own head.”

The band, completed by Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Alex Levine (bass) and Benny Horowitz (drums), have already released two music videos for songs from the album, .45 and Handwritten. The latter being made into a short film about music being passed down from one person to another. ‘.45’, a song about not being with the person you love, is by far one of the most powerful songs by the band, and definitely their most powerful video, as it shows the energy which these guys put into their music.

“These songs were always meant to be found by us and I don’t know if it’s the greatest record ever, but it fits well with us, and I like it.” explains Fallon “life is pretty good right now.”

The album ‘Handwritten is out on July 23 through mercury.