ALBUM REVIEW: Brian Fallon, frontman for the Gaslight Anthem (GLA), always spoke in interviews of what to musically expect with each new upcoming GLA album. Ironically, every time he declared the band was taking their sound in a bold, new direction, they delivered yet another kick ass collection of familiar “punk-n-roll soul” with gritty, Ness meets Petty vocals.
This time around discussing Get Hurt, their fifth full length release, Fallon spoke about the wonder of some bands that drastically changed their sound and live to talk about it, a very risky move that often doesn’t end pretty for rock bands. Get Hurt is by no means Achtung Baby or Kid A but for GLA it is. Unlike their peers in the National and the Hold Steady, both recently releasing great but “safe” albums, in efforts to reach the next level of rockdom, it seems GLA courageously said “fuck that” and decided to shake things up a bit. The Garden State darlings finally kept their word, grew a pair and took the plunge, interestingly at a time when they too are eyeing that same rockdom and should play it safe. Audacious? Ballsy? Yup…I agree.
Quite simply, Get Hurt is far more rock and far less punk, more Petty and less Ness, full of ambitious, stadium size anthems with the band trying to live up to their very name. Sure you have the traditional punkish ferocity of “Rollin’ And Tumblin” that still packs a similar punch like “1930” does on their 2007 debut album Sink or Swim or “Orphans” on 2012’s American Slang, but is also the closest “typical” GLA song on the entire album and smack right in the middle of the playlist, reminding their fans that they didn’t forget where they come from and still punk as fuck. The intriguing title track sounds like a scrubbed up, leftover Horrible Crowes (Fallon’s side project, check out their excellent debut record, Elsie) number that is just begging for radio play. Other standout tracks include “1,000 Years,” “Helter Skeleton,” “Selected Poems” “Stay Vicious” and “Dark Places” (my favorite track thus far).
But yet again, perhaps both GLA and their fans should have seen it coming since it isn’t like the band didn’t flirt with different ground before . Mixing punk driven rock with 50’s sha la la’s and 60’s R&B groove has been constant in their music since 2008’s The 59 Sound (their second full length release). Or check out the Cure-ish “Old White Lincoln “on the same album. Then try listening to “Get Hurt” and “Here Comes My Man” from 2012’s Handwritten back to back. Pretty complimentary if you ask me. One could even argue that the band has already been mildly indulging in experimentation with 2008’s Senor and the Queen EP since the recording has a much different, almost disjointed feel to it despite decent songs (especially “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.”).
Overall Get Hurt is a solid effort and, I will say it again, a ballsy move by a band whose engines have been noticeably sputtering a tad bit on their last 2 releases. If you are looking for the blue collar punk of the past you may be let down but I am kind of relieved GLA sound has pleasantly aged and matured from the first time I saw them at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony on their 59 Sound tour and from the New Brunswick basement scene where they hatched. Will GLA fans get hurt with this new release? If you grow a pair, dive in like the band did maybe you will suffer some scrapes or a bruise at most…and pleasantly so.
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ALBUM REVIEW: What has gotten into Tom Petty that he feels a need to rock so fucking hard at this point?
Every now and again a very great and classic singer/songwriter/rock and roll type artist, who are believed to have more than earned the right to be “past their prime” and rest on their laurels, just for no apparent reason, up and make one of their greatest albums ever. My favorite examples of this are Dylan’s “Time Out Of Mind”, Bowie’s “Heathen” (well, maybe not one of his BEST but that’s a high fuckin’ bar) and of course the one that started it all; Neil Young’s “Ragged Glory”. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Hypnotic Eye” is one of THOSE albums.
I suspect that the Petty camp has been appreciating the strengths of the post-modern, lo-fi, soulful, semi-ironic primitive blues-ness of the Black Keys. At least that’s the first thought I had listening to the first tune, “American Dream Plan B”.
The sound is uncluttered and in your face with a “singing soulfully into a tin can” style vocal and a fat and rude low frequency distorted riff over a straight backbeat. It sounds like you’re actually listening to a guy in a room playing a drum set. Then, all of a sudden, the chorus comes and it is EXTREMELY Tom Petty-like:. “I’ve got a dream I’m gonna fight ’til I get it, I’ve got a dream I’m gonna fight ’til I get it RIGHT”. Somehow what he’s singing sounds both youthfully optimistic and worldweary-wise. It’s partly because of the music and partly because of the words, just like all great songwriting. And then Mike Campbell throws a crude, yet impeccably melodic distorted guitar riff in there, evoking (to this listener, at least) “Satisfaction” and Them’s “I Can Only Give You Everything”
Them – I can only give you everything
But the most remarkable event happens after the second chorus: the band launches into a beautiful “acoustic-strumming-with-slide” George Harrison tribute lasting less then half a minute and then Mike Campbell rips into a manic guitar solo that sounds more or less exactly like Dave Davie’s on the Kinks “You Really Got Me”
the kinks- you really got me
Post-modern cut and paste playful cultural appropriationism reaches its zenith in the second song “Fault Lines”, which is a fucking rhumba! But when the first crashing chord introduces the verse vocal, you instantly remember you’re listening to the new Tom Petty album. And the hook, line and SINKER: “I’ve got a few of my own fault lines running under my life” is just so classic it’s surprising no one ever came up with it already. “Red River” in the beginning reminds me of Aerosmith and the Stooges (in it’s use of the awesome one-note piano over heavy driving rock)
So let’s talk about the players: I’d like to start by first recognizing Benmont Tench as team player supreme. This album is more guitar driven than any Tom Petty album (at least any I can think of right now) and the keyboards are used here in a way similar to bands that don’t have a specifically designated keyboard player in them. Like the early Beatles or Kiss on Destroyer or early Aerosmith or Ozzy, etc. On one song ( “Red River”) they go so far as to utilize piano like the Stooges used to (wait a second; is SCOTT THURSTON on this album? You bet your ass he is! So that’s the guy doubling Mike Campbell’s badass riffs in “Fault Lines”) My point is you only hear keyboard at certain times and even then it tends to be near subliminal. As for Ron Blair, everyone always wished he could come back to the band and he sounds beautiful on this album. His tone is McCartneyesque. I think his playing is too, except he never plays in a way that draws attention to itself, which McCartney had no way of NOT doing. But like in 60s music, this is an album where the bass lives in it’s own sonic space and is separate from the guitars. It is FAT and fun and sexy like bass is supposed to be.
“Forgotten Man” appropriates the Bo Diddley beat to perfect effect. The song is just classic Tom Petty. Mike Campbell’s solo sounds like Clapton on the Bluesbreakers (best possible way to sound).
“Sins Of My Youth” is a nice bossanova, sort of a callback to the earlier rhumba and just a little hipsterish. Beautiful tremolo guitars on this one. Most Steely Dan sounding of the Tom Petty catalogue thus far. Not that it sounds very much like Steely Dan…
Now here’s another thing to always remember: Tom Petty is a cool stoner dude and that’s why he has a laid back funky song called “U Get Me High” which swaggers in with stabbing guitars and some big round fuzzy swinging bass. Totally lives up to the title. Do you think it’s got a good guitar solo? Mike Campbell, one of the greatest ever, on this solo, sounds like he may have heard Jack White at some point, and in a GOOD way. Show ‘em how it’s done, Daddy! And then there’s some some golden-era of Clapton jewelry in the outro. Have I mentioned yet that this is really MIKE CAMPBELL’S album? The man is a national treasure.
There’s a tradition of the second to last song on a good album being the weak spot and they do a perfect job of it here. A blues called “Burnt Out Town” which is a fairly listenable showcase for the piano playing of Benmont Tench and the harmonica of Scott Thurston. I’m fine with it.
The last song is called “Shadow People” and it’s sort of a Lennon “Cold Turkey” format song with bluesy double stops on the guitar punctuating every line of the verse. Then in the chorus the guitar plays a riff that’s really sweet and sad and reminds me of Blue Oyster Cult’s “I’m Burning For You”, which is a compliment. And the guitar solo is just unbelievably great. Mike Campbell has never sounded so aggressive and balls-out rock.
So in closing, Mike Campbell is God, but so is Scott Thurston and here’s your proof:
IGGY POP – NEW VALUES
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ALBUM REVIEW: 11 songs of noise rock on Slow Release by the Australian power crud rock trio Yes I Am Leaving have a few sharp and dull knifes up their sleeves. The opening track “One” below is a jesus lizardesque pounder and a great introduction to the swinging future punk swagger on the rest of the record. You really need to be a fan of AM/REP bands to appreciate the first three tracks or generally scorching your inner ear drums with cork screw. As the record gets deeper it’s get a little more melodic and husker du sing/song which makes them omni directional. The tracks “Alchemy” and “Timer” picks-up with just a little more of a show-gazer song-scape mentality nod (see what I did there) that I am talking about. So something for everybody here to make you look up the playlist a few times. This record is a follow-up to their 2013 record Mission Bulb. I couldn’t tell you the difference just yet but I can tell you they will be touring the states in Oct/Nov 2014; at least that is the plan anyway and if you were worth the prize tag of your hoodie you would just pick this shit up and check them out. This is minimalistically melodic when needed and has mucho bass thuds to rock the crud out of your head with a swift kick of their boot. You can listen to this record backwards and forwards and it will still be just as good. Facehook| Homeless Vinyl | Soundcloud
RIYL: Janitor Joe, METZ, Today is the Day, Laughing Hyenas
VIDEO: YES I’M LEAVING – FOUR CHORDER from MISSION BULB (2013)
Get some: July Crop of rock-n-roll singles (2012) w/ METZ, Fang Island, The Afghan Whigs
Day of the dead Kristen Pfaff RIP Janitor Joe download mp3 here.
Early Retirement MP3 by Janitor Joe from Big Metal Birds (1993)
My First Knife MP3 by Today is the Day from Willpower(1995)
Slump MP3 by Laughing Hyenas from Hard Times (1995)
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Lines West – Never judge a band with their obessions with trains. I know there are train people as I tend to be one every once in awhile but prefer the bus. Don’t ask. The answer is boring. However, this album by Lines West has all of the elements we love about Fountains of Wayne, Nada Surf all mixed in this alt-country kind of tinge with perfectly crafted pop songs that should be all over terrestrial radio at the very least. Founded by John Radzin and Brian Larney via Bridgeport, Connecticut. This is the good shit with a nice balance of keyboards, piano and well placed harmonies and smart song writing. Great for Sunday mornings driving over bridges vacation bound somewhere. Buy Itunes | Amazon | Visit: www.brianlarney.com
DOWNLOAD: Down To Me MP3 by Lines West from Stop Look and Listen
The Silence Kit has been making original alternative indie rock for awhile now and every track is crafted with care. We respect this and it comes through very clearly these guys know what they are doing. Here’s a cool song equaly parts baritone new wave vocals with some Haircut 100 thrown in this song called “Looking through” Swizzlings keyboards and a mix of Cure-esque simplicity from their new album Watershed. Check out their deep catalog on their bandcamp. If you love all the amazing sounds of real 80’s alternative then dig this man.
Buffalo Sex Change – Here’s something for all you slow psych fans from upstate NY via Dadstache Records. Think Velvet Underground doing whip-its with the Black Angels and you shall have a Buffalo Sex Change experience. Order this debut on cassette you freaks from their bandcamp store. For fans of early Jesus and Mary Chain.
All three of these bands are awesome and you are welcome.
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Music sharing has never been bigger
The need for streaming and music sharing websites to broaden their scopes when it comes to pushing their product has heightened over the last five years. With the advances in technology, there has been a surge of apps hitting the market, so for premium brands such as Soundcloud, the need to launch new pristine apps regularly, is something that will always be in need for the company to appease the ever-changing needs of the consumer market.
Soundcloud revolutionized the format in which we stream music, and ultimately share it. It’s used by many different websites to showcase a diverse selection of songs to music fans. And now with the launch of their new app, the ability to port the app to iPhones, iPads and smartphones will give Soundcloud a spike in the reach that the Berlin-based online audio distribution company currently has. Its all-new iPhone app tracks the songs that you like, keeps you in touch with the trending artists and helps you organize your playlists.
But why is there a need for platforms like Soundcloud to continue to improve the apps they launch?
Back in 2013 Apple announced that there were over 1 million apps now available in the App Store. Although, there isn’t any concrete data, for the music industry, it means that there is now a significant amount of apps accessible to the socially active music fan. Online gaming developer Gaming Realms, which produced the online portal Pocket Fruity recently documented that the ‘growth in mobile Internet is one of the most powerful trends in the Internet landscape.” They went on to say that “the global smartphone and tablet installed base is expected to exceed the PC installed base.” And with there now being an estimated 1 billion smartphone users, the need for the most up to date innovative app on the market is of paramount importance in order to be recognized amid the deluge of music apps on the market currently. The need for slick aesthetics and easy navigation is what helps apps succeed in an oversaturated market. Fortunately for new freemium Soundcloud app, it ticks all the right boxes and has been deemed a success by many music and tech hacks.
What do you think of the new Soundcloud app? Let us know your thoughts below.
Here’s a debut single from Dundas, Ontario, Canada by a band called The Tallest Tree. Super cute power-pop all packed in nice little romp down inde rock lane called “Boat”. Two of the three are married in the trio. I swear I listened to this tunee 4x times in row. Definitely should be single for your summer twitter crush playlsit so go download it from their soundcloud space and give them a good stalking on their website.
THE TALLEST TREE – BOAT
Check out this video of a song called “I Can’t Return” by Immigrant Union, which features Brent DeBoer of The Dandy Warhols. This is the first single from their fourth coming album calledAnyway to be released Sept 23rd, 2014. It’s pysch-pop. There is dude making out with a very hot chick then he has regrets and jumps out of plane because of another girl stuck in his phone. I don’t know maybe another Twitter tryst romance gone wrong? Call me crazy. This terantino-esque video was shot in the desert somewhere and was Directed by Mike Bruce (Noel Gallagher, Black Mountain, Paul McCartney) and stars Omar Doom (Inglorious Bastards) and Carolyn Stotesbery (Love and Mercy). Yes, this is hollywood baby. The tune is super hooky and twisty so makes it good also for a classy single and another tune for your mix-tape. Check out their site for the latest.
IMMIGRANT UNION – I CAN’T RETURN
From sunset alliance here’s Captain Baby and a track called “Olive In the Ocean”. I think I like this mostly because the face painting has been taken to the next level. I could do without the 16th notes never changing but the singing is pretty cool. Just watch you’ll see what I mean. Their front-man guy and artist Asher Rogers has fun in his role being unserious. This track is the single from their debut called Sugar Ox. Very creative. A music is a little 00’s derivative but still twists and turns in the right places. Thankfully it’s not all EDM at which point we would just burn this part of the internet if bands like this didn’t try to be arty. Which is rare so we like this a fuggin lot. Ok? Check out the rest of their album on bandcamp.
CAPTAIN BABY – OLIVE IN THE OCEAN
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New from Pissed Jeans‘ from their coming record called ‘Shallow‘ out October 7th on Sub Pop. Here is a single called “Boring Girls”. Sorta grinding drunk noise with some yelping and banter. If the guy from The Falls got really, really wasted. We dig it.
Switching up gears somewhat here’s Chris Staples “Hold Onto Something” on Barzuk. With 60’s sounding vibe future soudns and acoustic sparsly record from a release called American Soft. If you like Spoon, Wilco and Grandaddy this is a nice mix of those three.
New Jeff Tweedy and son and a song a called “Wait for Love” via dBpm Records. It’s simple with a couple acoustic layers.
Speedy Ortiz - “Bigger Party” – you can download this track for FREE at adultswim.com/singles beginning July 14. Sadie is the queen of the underground. Big fans around here of her band.Guitar jams like pavement meets the sonic youths. You decide.
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Hard to believe that the Rolling Stones have outlived fucking The Ramones. A punk band from queens who essentiallt defined NY Punk with their image and fast rock songs. Borrowing their sound from the blues and turning it on it’s head annoying america and then conquering the world. Never will be another like them. We were lucky to have them. It’s going to be such a great show.
Here’s the whole first album
1.Blitzkrieg Bop (0:00-2:14)
2.Beat On the Brat (2:14-4:46)
3.Judy Is A Punk (4:46-6:18)
4.I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (6:18-8:42)
5.Chain Saw (8:42-10:38)
6.Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue (10:38-12:14)
7.I Don’t Want To Go Down To The Basement (12:14-14:53)
9.Havana Affair (17:08-19:05)
10.Listen To My Heart (19:05-21:04)
11.53rd and 3rd (21:04-23:25)
12.Let’s Dance (23:25-25:17)
13.I Don’t Want To Walk Around With You (25:17-27:00)
14.Today Your Love,Tomorrow The World (27:00-29:13)
Here’s some Road to Ruin demos and half a live set.
Come Back, She Cried A.K.A. I Walk Out [Demo] MP3
Yea, Yea [Demo]
Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (Ed Stasium Version)
Blitzkrieg Bop/Teenage Lobotomy/California Sun/Pinhead/She’s The One [Live]
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Good mix of punk and dash-pop reggea-ish james like Sublime from this band called nosnow/noalps. A keyboard used in a way that I cant it because the vocals are distorted and this band from Malta just plain rocks my ass. Here’s a two part rock video single. Side A is ” Go Go Go Go” and the flip which is eqaully as baddass is a song called “Black Panther” whichis about partying until you drop. My geoagraphy is bad but the scenery is beuatiful in these cobble stone streets. The video chrome-look treatment is nice as well. Very well done.
nosnow/noalps – Go Go Go Go
nosnow/noalps – Black Panther
I dont’t know much about the indie rock scene in Lima, Peru but this group Neuman two songs “Battle Starship” and “Turn it” are pretty great. We think you should give them a chance from an album called ‘If‘. A pop mix of Interpol and Mercromina from Spain.
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New Jersey is somewhat a musical paradox. Outsiders predictably only know about “The Boss” or Bon Jovi being from the Garden State, unless you grew up on Hardcore, then it the same two plus Turning Point, Vision, Bouncing Souls and Lifetime. Then the Gaslight Anthem eventually exploded onto the scene that even made this transplant proud of his new home state, where insiders never seem to talk about Real Estate, another NJ band that are both hugely popular and play everywhere else.
But after sniffing over the years, I have pleasantly discovered that New Jersey is chuck full of great bands with many indie labels supporting them. Pyrrhic Victory Recordings is one of those labels and the wonderful 65’s, GALANOS and Miss Ohio are some of those bands.
The 65’s I’ve Got You EP (2013) picks up right up where 2011’s kick ass Strike Hard! left off. A solid 4 song onslaught that starts with the punk ‘n’ roll steam roller “Have you Been Saved?”, continues with the darkly beautiful album title track and ending with is pretty acoustic twang of “Safety Net,” each song heavily complimented by the unique, husky Lucero-ish growl of front man/guitarist Joseph O. Pugsley. I Got You is never too far from my weekly listening pleasure, with the 3rd track,”Holes Dug Deep” being one of my personal favorites (“breathe in…breathe out…keep breathing she said“).
THE 65’s “I’ve Got You”
Next up is GALANOS‘ 2 song offering, La Loca, a dark and dreamy, surfy and heavy, beautifully droning offering of slowed down and fuzzed up songs of Velvet Underground-ish proportions. I could see either song (the title track or “Go Home Rose”) being on the soundtrack to the next Quentin Tarantino flick with a return of Uma Thurman dancing to either. Indeed a welcoming sight in my humble opinion! If this is just a the hors d’ourves of what GALANOS is offering, I am looking forward to a full meal and hopefully soon.
Miss Ohio’s latest EP, Whippoorwill Road, was officially released last week, delivering a perfect blend of power pop melody and guitar rock grit, with 5 songs that will no doubt make my personal best of 2014 release list. Oddly, the opening killer track of the same name always brings “Boys of Summer” (either Henley or the Atari’s cover will do) to mind, but in a good way. Tracks “Bobby Fischer” and “Lights” keep the momentum going (with the latter boasting interesting sounds from a vintage phaser pedal) while I find myself mentally humming the coquettish“Day Job” at least once a day while reconciling my own rock ambitions while working for the man. Finally I was one happy camper that they (re)recorded “KGB” one of my favorite tracks off of 2005’s underrated Another Wasted Summer. Homerun, boys.
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