THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM /
ers a look at the insight of the group with versions of tracks by the likes of X (Australia), the Easy Beats, Rolling Stones, the Stooges and an almost unrecognizable version of the Beach Boys’ Fun Fun Fun.
The set documents the band’s evolution as songwriters who improved with each album along with the production, leading to their most well-rounded and dynamic album, the Butch Vig-mastered Suction. An included book provides an overview of the group’s career along with the original album art and photos.
The Aberrant Years is a noisy good time. ½ 49th parallel he’s worshipped by a dedicated throng of fans. For his 15th album (if you count a couple of compilations) James does what he does best, and then some. There’s a smooth mix of songs, some originals and some well-chosen covers, all that fit easily into the guitarist’s wheelhouse.
His harder blues numbers ( No Time To Get There, especially) are tight and tough, and producer Joe Hardy (along with James himself) keeps the guitar right up front and solid. Classic rock radio programmers could easily replace the currently over-played James’ standards from the past with sing-along winners like Stone Faith and Sweets Gone Sour. But they won’t. Covers include Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley, John Lennon’s Jealous Guy and a rather incendiary version of Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac treasure Oh Well.
Here’s to 15 more, Colin. THE Gaslight Anthem is more than just vocalist-guitarist-main songwriter Brian Fallon, and to prove it, the cover of the band’s first major label offering features the names of all the band members.
According to Fallon, each member of the New Jersey quartet was involved in the writing process for the new album, but the addition of more cooks in the kitchen doesn’t take away from the earnest heartland-punk on Handwritten, which continues the band’s winning streak.
The group sticks to what it does best: write anthemic heartfelt odes to love, life and listening to music. Anthem is in the name, so that’s what you get. “Pull it out, turn it up, what’s your favourite song?/That’s mine/I’ve been crying to it since I was young,” Fallon states on the jubilant-sounding title track filled with “whoa-ohs.” Upbeat opening number, 45, approaches life and the end of a relationship like a record, complete with a sing-along chorus and slashing guitar riff that will sound even better live.
Other highlights include the punchy Howl, pop-flavoured Mulholland Drive and ballad National Anthem.
Comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Jawbreaker will no doubt continue, especially with the Boss’s producer Brendan O’Brien working with the Gaslight Anthem and making everything sound bigger and brighter, but there are far worse songwriters to emulate and Fallon has no doubt heard those comparisons enough to not concern him. Good for him and good for us. overshadow them. She forcefully soars over the chorus of the album’s most direct and striking song Fineshrine, while on slower, more spacious songs like Grandloves, her manipulated vocals willingly recede into the murky mist.
Shrines strives for the simplicity of timeless pop, but it’s the combination of plentiful, intricately stacked textures that give the album its soul. SOMEWHERE between their debut and their self-titled sophomore release, Love and Theft slimmed down to a duo from a trio after losing band member Brian Bandas and their original record label. Since then, singers, writers and guitarists Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson have scored a new deal and their highest charting single yet in Angel Eyes.
Love and Theft really focuses on the “love” part. You’ll only feel the “theft” part if you’re not a fan of sweet and sticky. The majority of these tracks may be substance-challenged (with the exception of Town Drunk with it’s somewhat hazy glimpse of reality), but with the strong production skills of veteran songwriter and producer Josh Leo (Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Love and Theft manufactures wellcrafted cavity-inducing country pop with strong and pleasing vocals.
Rascal Flatts should keep an eye on this duo in the rear view mirror. Head, One In The Chest you will probably like the balance of the album.
It’s as if the band, with all of its creative discovery here, doesn’t know if it wants to be your next favourite indie hipsters from the coast, or a contemporary Magic Band. Their new-wave pretensions are well aligned with their throweverything-in-the-mix abandon. There’s cranky guitar, bip-bop pseudo-jazz bass lines, naive drums and silly vocal chirps and yowls. It may just be too much for the average listener but it sparkles and fades at all the right moments. They sound serious. Check it out if you dare. AT its core, the debut album from Canadian telecommuting duo Corin Roddick and Megan James is a glitchy battle between light and dark. Throughout Shrines’ 11 tracks, a ghostly haze of cut-up vocal samples — some angelic and some demonic — hover uncomfortably over snappy 808 hip-hop percussion and conventional synth melodies, giving a supernatural warmth to Roddick’s otherwise steely electronic productions.
James’ cherubic vocals and abstruse lyrics complement the beats well and often HOW about a B-12 shot of disco-happy? Boston group/ one-man thing Passion Pit is goosefleshily freed of any hipster electro-clash notions of this genre, aiming for arenas in the nice un-hate-able way.
You can tell from the skippy synth beat-pushing arrangements — and if you’re going to be all ’80s, you should probably have this much warm silky soul in your program, courtesy of gushy falsetto man Michael Angelakos, whose energy could reboot the Greek economy.
Check the giddy Take A Walk, the hyper Carried Away and all the layered twinkly arrangements before it becomes too helium, and recognize that they are occupying a sliver of the vast vacuum left by New Order.