New Brunswick, New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem dropped their sophomore album entitled The ’59 Sound’ on Tuesday. This is also their debut album for SideOneDummy Records.
'The '59 Sound' is definitely a serious step forward for these guys and shows a great maturity in their songwriting as well. This album really helps showcase exactly what you get from the band when you see them live. Flooded with fantastic imagery, the lyrics really stand out more so on this album than their last. Catchy chorus after catchy chorus, The Gaslight Anthem have managed to finally find a perfect meld of punk rock, blues, and soul. (Check out “Miles Davis & The Cool”)
This is the type of music filled with obvious passion and genuine sincerity. In other words, it feels real. Every song screams for attention and is perfect for summer afternoon driving. Top down. Volume all the way up.
Some standout tracks for me are "Film Noir", "The Patient Ferris Wheel", "Casanova, Baby!", "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues", and "The Backseat". It's a tough choice with such a solid set of songs, however singer/guitarist Brian Fallon seems to have finally perfected his brand of blue collar New Jersey-style punk rock, mixed with a folk influenced style of songwriting and soulful vocals. He did have help in achieving so with fellow bandmates, guitarist Alex Rosamilia, bassist Alex Levine, and drummer Benny Horowitz.
Other highlights from the record come by way of guests Dicky Barrett (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and Chris Wollard (Hot Water Music). It's great to see such stand out names appear on this release.
I sincerely hope this album gets the recognition that it deserves and doesn't go unnoticed. It's an amazing album by a great band that will no doubt escape the dreaded "sophomore slump".
Check them out at Loony Tunes in Long Island today, August 20th for an in store signing. You can also catch them on tour this fall with American Steel in September and Rise Against in October. All tour dates can be found at their Myspace.
I was able to catch up with singer/guitarist Brian Fallon from Gaslight the day before the release and asked him a few questions concerning the new album:
Michael: What is "The '59 Sound" in reference to exactly?
Brian Fallon: The '59 Sound is a reference to all the classic rock and roll, all the drive-in movie dates, the good old days so to speak. It's also a reference to the Fender Bassman of 1959. [This] was the amplifier used by most guitarists of that era, which I also used on the record.
M: What were your feelings while writing for the album? I notice some recurring themes and words used, most notably "summer" and also the theme of "death" in the title track.
BF: It was strange during the writing of this album. Everyone around me [and] in my age group is stepping out of their adolescence and into adulthood. Some are getting married, some got divorced, had babies, and some passed away, all while I was on tour in a state of "permanent summer vacation" so to speak. It made me start to face the fact that I too am becoming an adult and I had to define my own life too. Plus I love the summer; I was born on the Jersey Shore, in Red Bank, it's in [my] blood. I'm not sure I'll really know how to define all this until I can look back on it later in life.
M: How was it working with producer Ted Hutt? He's worked with bands such as The Bouncing Souls and Flogging Molly; were you afraid before heading into the studio that his previous work may pose any problems?
BF: Ted Hutt and I had one conversation and I knew he was the one. I always knew he was going to be able to get the "soul" sound we were looking for, and I knew he'd be able to mix it with punk. Ted's the Mixer, like the musical bartender, he can mix anything.
M: Did his musical background playing with Flogging Molly help out in recordings at all?
BF: I think Ted's being in Flogging Molly helped him to see the storytelling aspect of the songs. [But] more importantly, I think he understood traditional music colliding with punk. Where Flogging Molly mixed Irish music and punk, we mixed Motown and punk.
M: How excited are you and the band to be touring in the fall with the likes of American Steel, Rise Against and Alkaline Trio?
BF: It's pretty great. We're very fortunate that these bands would be interested in playing with us. These are the bands we grew up on, especially American Steel and Alkaline Trio, amazing!
M: What is your favorite song from your new album, "The '59 Sound"?
BF: My baby is “Miles Davis and the Cool”. That's the one I worked the hardest on. I wrote and rewrote that song about four times. I knew I had personal stock in that one [song] more so than anything before. It fought me a lot, that song did, but I loved it too much to let it go.
M: Are there any new bands/artists you're listening to right now that we should check out?
BF: There's a lot of bands from other countries I love right now, The Constantines from Canada are the best band out there right now. I also love We're All Broken from Jersey, There's A Death In The Family from Melbourne, Australia, and Grim Fandango from Perth, Australia. There's also an English band call Beat Union on Science Records,they're great. The best thing about all this is I can mention these bands from all over the world who some people might never hear of but with the Internet and MySpace, everybody can hear them right now. I think this is great, now if I can just get the labels to listen to me and put out only vinyl with a free download card inside I think that everything would be all right. I learned that from Jordan Kleeman (Against Me! Manager), amongst other things.
(Note: You can check out all the bands mentioned above on Myspace. It's there, use it!)
Here is the video for their first single off the album ‘The ’59 Sound’:
"The '59 Sound"
If you like what you hear, check out the SideOneDummy webstore and buy the album!
**Michael left The Gaslight Anthem to continue his college education. Ain’t that the way it always goes?