Neophile: The Gaslight AnthemDecember 16, 2008
I am not working-class. I’ve been tenure-track practically since I learned to read, and instead of wisely spending my youth drinking in the woods, hanging out with the ‘bad boys,’ and learning to play pool, I wasted it in libraries, doing calculus problems, and starting college early. I suspect that my fondness for bands with lyrics like “this whole town is like this/been that way our whole lives/just work at the mill until you die” stems from the same root that leads suburbanites, who’ve never been closer to a cow than the plastic-wrapped-packages in the meat case, to go to dude ranches. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a similar urge – for an idealized, all-American, authentic experience – contributed to UK music mag’s Kerrang!‘s decision to put New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem on the cover a few months ago, with the headline, “The Best New Band You’ll Hear in 2008.”
The Gaslight Anthem’s second album, The ’59 Sound, is filled with teenagers, cars, and teenagers in car crashes. Their musical aesthetic is post-punk melded with classic rock – fellow Jersey boy Bruce Springsteen meets Alkaline Trio. It sounds instantly familiar, in the best possible way, and certainly will make you nostalgic for a life you probably haven’t led.
More The Gaslight Anthem: myspace