New (To Me) Music: The Gaslight Anthem

I’ve discovered a whole bunch of great music in the last six months or so. Some is the result of reading music reviews on Pitchfork; other bands I’ve discovered because of concerts I’ve been to recently; and I’ve found out about several underrated indie bands because I happen to have a coworker who has an encyclopedic knowledge of indie music. So I’m starting a little blog series on all the great new music I’ve discovered this year. Each post will feature a different artist or band. It’s a way of getting the word out about these great bands, some of whom aren’t very well known. It’s also my penance for taking so long to discover all these great tunes!

First up is The Gaslight Anthem, hailing from New Jersey. In Rolling Stone‘s recent “40 reasons to get excited about music” list, these guys were #28. They are an indie band who has garnered a lot of buzz on the strength of their music alone, with no glossy promotion deal from a major label. They have a great blue-collar-punk-meets-classic-rock sound. But maybe the best way to describe this band is how they were first described to me: what Bruce Springsteen would sound like if he grew up on early punk (the Clash, etc). But the Gaslight Anthem has their own sound, and you don’t have to like punk to like them (I’m proof of that). And if you do like punk, you’ll be happy to hear that this band has no hint of whine or emo. Just good working-class songs with soul and down-to-earth lyrics with heart. Their vocalist has this great hoarse voice and they’re lead guitarist is a whiz. It’s summer driving music folks. Crank down the windows in your old white Lincoln and crank up The Gaslight Anthem.

Their third album, American Slang, was released last month, but if you like them then be sure to also check out their previous album, The ’59 Sound. I really like both albums, but I’d have to give a slight edge to the older one. It’s only $5.99 on iTunes right now — a good investment, trust me.

Here’s a live performance at Bonnaroo Festival of my favourite song from The ’59 Sound, called “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.” I love the swagger in this song. Below it is a new song from American Slang with killer lead guitar called “Stay Lucky.” Enjoy!

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