Gaslight Anthem and the new soul music
Today will probably be remembered as a momentous day. Today the Gaslight Anthem released a record called The '59 Sound, a slab o' wax that will likely be remembered along with Be, All Hail West Texas, Versus God, The Tyranny of Distance, From Here to Infirmary, Separation Sunday, and Searching for a Former Clarity as one of the true classics of the 00's.
It's a heartfelt kick in your spiritual nards and a pat on the back and a drink in the coziest, friendliest dive bar. It's confessing your secrets to a strangers, things you would never tell your wife or mother or brother or best friend. It's every dark corner of your mind and every triumphant celebration of life. It's the ringing in your ears when you're alone with your thoughts. It's holding on to your divorce papers 20 years after the fact and the mournful sigh when you see your dead best friend's favorite movie in the video store.
Gaslight is everything I love about American music. It's soulful and it kicks ass and it's happy and sad all at the same time. You can fuck to it and you can cry to it. It's perfect for drinking and hanging out and having a case race with your friends. It's a perfect front porch album. If you're twenty it'll make you feel like you're fifty, and vice versa.
I know it sounds like I'm knob slobbin' these dudes, but take my word for it. Brian Fallon is a talent as distinct as Johnny Cash, Blake Schwarzenbach, Chuck Berry, Tom Gabel, Howlin' Wolf, Morrissey, and Charles Mingus. His punk rock blue eyed soul Americana can crack even the stoniest of hearts. His toothy grin, sleeve tattoos, and "aw shucks" humility hides the heart of an earnest, wounded poet who sings with an astounding amount of conviction. When he hits those notes on "The Backseat," I get goosebumps every fucking time and the urgent cries of "maybe I should call me an ambulance!" on "The Patient Ferris Wheel" once almost made me crash my car. This isn't the mechanized thwack-thwack-thwack robot parade intent on draining any emotion out of music in order to appear aloof and intellectual, nor is it the "dear diary" whining that passes for rock music these days. This is emotional and real and sounds equally good in bedrooms, convenience store parking lots, boomboxes, iPods, road trips, skating rinks, first dates, diners, school dances, baseball games, and drinking in the woods. It's universal and intimate in one gesture.
Mike Park once wrote that when he released the first Alkaline Trio album, he listened to it at least once a day for a whole year because it reflected his life perfectly at the time. This might be that record for me. I've listened to it several times a day for about two months now and it has not gotten old, even a little bit. It just seems to be all my feelings in a nutshell. This is 2008's must own album. Fuck, maybe even the must own album of the decade.
Tonight, I drink Pabst to salute them and my Org brothers.
Great Expectations - http://www.mediafire.com/?dxc5xl8cho5
High Lonesome - http://www.mediafire.com/?49aouaaeyey
Here's Looking At You, Kid - http://www.mediafire.com/?w5rv0eicaq5