The Gaslight Anthem

I got a note in late September alerting me to a band from New Jersey called The Gaslight Anthem. In the note was mention of Springsteen and the Clash. So naturally, I went to eMusic and downloaded ‘The ’59 Sound’ right away. I have to be honest, I struggled with it for a while. The music was passionate and filled with great riffs and catchy hooks. But lyrics-wise, I thought they were trying a little too hard to pay obvious homage to Mr. Springsteen. Case in point: “Meet Me By the River’s Edge”…

See I’ve been here for 28 years.
Pounding sweat beneath these wheels.
We tattooed lines beneath our skin.
No surrender, my Bobby Jean.

We’ve been burned by all our fears.
Just from growing up around here.
Our father’s factories marked our cars.
While Eden burned against the stars.

And with song characters like “Sally”, “Janie” and “Mary” throughout the album, well, though I could appreciate the idea that they were hugely influenced by the Boss, it initially grated on me a bit.

But over the last few weeks, I’ve been softening, and opening up more to them. Drawing me in especially with the very affecting song “Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid”.

The Gaslight AnthemHere’s Lookin’ At You Kid (mp3)

And then, they showed up on Letterman last night. And they played “The ’59 Sound”.  And they played it with such passion and intensity… The bass player striking Paul Simonon poses. The drummer pounding hard with some amazing fills. And lead singer / guitarist Brian Fallon as the ultimate front man.

Last night on Letterman, I “got it”. What a performance (and Dave was obviously impressed too)… I am fully converted now. Locked in.

Buy The ’59 Sound.

Visit Gaslight Anthem’s Official Site.

ACL Highlight: Gogol Bordello

What a fun &%#$ band! High energy bohemian gypsy maniacs.

Gogol Bordello was high on my list of must-see acts at the ACL festival a couple weeks ago. Like a lot of people, I first came to know of them during Madonna’s performance at Live Earth last summer (7/7/07). She brought guitarist and lead singer Eugene Hütz and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev out to join her for “La Isla Bonita”. If you were able to ignore Madge’s annoying backup dancers, you got a glimpse of these two eccentrics, and they spurred you into finding out more about them.

The original members of Gogol Bordello met at a Russian wedding in Vermont in 1997. From there, they played up and down the isle of Manhattan and, in the process,  got banned from the Mercury Lounge, CB/GB, Fez and the Bowery Ballroom for “being too over the mothefucking top”.

They set up residence at a performance art space called PIZDETZ, on the lower east side. Eventually, they ended up at Menahata, a Bulgarian bar, also on the lower east side, where their weekly gig. ‘DRINK LOCALLY! FUCK GLOBALLY!’, put them through the roof, and turned Menahata into the CBGB of the Gypsy Punk scene.

A couple months before ACL, I picked up Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike, their second album. The album, coupled with some good YouTube festival footage, got me primed for the show. On Friday afternoon at 4:30, the opening day of ACL, Gogol Bordello took the AT&T stage, and Entertainment ensued.

I could watch frontman Eugene Hütz all damn day – such manic energy, and that great Eastern European accent flavoring his lyrics. But then there’s the seven others, including Sergey on violin, an accordion player, and Elizabeth and Pamela, the two crazy-sexy dancers who leaped and bounded to all ends of the stage.

The ACL program put it best: if you like the Clash, the Pogues, and the Gypsy Kings, then you’re in for a treat. They tour all over the world now, so get out and see ’em!

Here are a couple of my (and my two daughters’) favorites:

Gogol BordelloI Would Never Wanna Be Young Again (mp3)

Gogol Bordello60 Revolutions

ACL Set List – 9/26/08

Not A Crime
Supertheory Of Supereverything
Wonderlust King
Tribal Connection
60 Revolutions
American Wedding
Start Wearing Purple
Think Locally, F’ck Globally

Visit: Gogol Bordello’s Official Site | MySpace

Check out a couple Gogol Bordello albums…

My, What Cute Lepers

Okay, well, this band hasn’t grabbed hold of my love handles like the Hawaii Mud Bombers, but the Cute Lepers (besides the catchy moniker) lay down a nice brand of retro pop-punk. Their debut album for their new label, Blackheart Records, just came out, and they’re in the midst of a tour across this great land of ours.

“Terminal Boredom” is their first single from the album. The affectations of lead singer Steve E. Nix – yeah, I said it – may remind you of Green Day’s Billie Joe. And if you’re like me, the verses will most certainly remind you of the Clash’s “Safe European Home” (which I listened to very loudly in the shower this morning – TMI? Perhaps).

Do you like? Do you hate? Is it crappy, is it great? You tell me. The comments have been a tad dead lately. Liven up the joint.

By the way, the band photo up there? The one on the left? Hands off. She’s mine.

Cute LepersTerminal Boredom (mp3) [thanks to Shorefire for clearing the mp3 with the label. I’m too legit to quit!]

Links: Official Site | MySpace | Buy Can’t Stand Modern Music

The Ramones in London: the spark that lit the fire

The British punk explosion of 1976-77 can pretty easily be traced to one night in London: July 4th, 1976. That was the night the Ramones came to town. It was their UK debut, opening for the Flamin’ Groovies at the Roundhouse in Camden.

In attendance were current and future members of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Buzzcocks, and the Damned, among countless others I’m sure. The quality is pretty bad, but it’s still amazing to listen in on such an important night in music history. A 35 minute set that shaped the future of music. Pretty sweet.

The Ramones
Live at the Roundhouse, London
July 4th, 1976

Intro / Sound Issues
Beat On The Brat
Blitzkrieg Bop
I Remember You
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
Glad To See You Go
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
53rd & 3rd
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
Havana Affair
Listen To My Heart
California Sun
Judy Is A Punk
I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You
Today Your Love Tomorrow The World

The Sex Pistols’ Last Show

Thirty years ago yesterday, the Sex Pistols ended their ill-fated U.S. tour with this show at San Francisco’s Winterland – a venue which would close later that year (marked by a New Year’s Eve finale show by the Grateful Dead – available on CD as The Closing of Winterland).

In early January, the Pistols embarked on their first U.S. tour with a string of dates through the Deep South – purposely booked by their manager Malcolm McLaren to create an atmosphere of tension and hostility. Mission accomplished! Sid Vicious was deep into his heroin habit by then, and increasingly hostile to the audience. Fights would break out, people would attack him on stage. It was ugly. Johnny Rotten was increasingly disillusioned during the tour. He was disgusted by Sid’s behavior, and found himself more and more isolated from Steve Jones and Paul Cook (the other members of the band).

By the time they made it to San Francisco for their January 14th show, enough was enough. After the final song, a cover of the Stooges tune “No Fun” (not coincidental, it would seem), Rotten famously exclaimed: “Ever get the feeling you’re being cheated? Good night.”  And walked off the stage. That was it for the band – at least in that incarnation.

The Sex Pistols
Live at Winterland, San Francisco
January 14th, 1978

God Save The Queen
I Wanna Be Me
New York
Belsen Was A Gas
Holidays In The Sun
No Feelings
Pretty Vacant
Anarchy In The U.K.
No Fun

A Local Joe Strummer Tribute with Glass Heroes

joe strummer and keith jackson of glass heroes

I had December 27th marked on my calendar since early November. A Joe Strummer Tribute & Benefit in my own hometown? Yes please! I headed down to my favorite small club in Phoenix, the Rhythm Room, and caught the last two bands, the Jeff Dahl Band and headliner Glass Heroes. Keith Jackson is the lead singer and guitarist in Glass Heroes (that’s him with Joe Strummer above), and this is the fourth year in a row he has organized a local Strummer tribute to benefit Strummerville.

strummer benefit at the rhythm room

I was impressed by both bands. They’re both veterans of the Arizona punk scene, which is alive and well. Dahl’s four piece power combo tore through their set, the rhythm section of Jason Smith (bass) and particularly Russ Covner on drums laying down some ferocious punk beats. Really impressive. They kicked off the set with “Janie Jones”, then concentrated on their own material for the next 35 minutes or so.

Keith Jackson and his Glass Heroes were next. They offered up great versions of “What’s My Name”, “Tommy Gun”, another “Janie Jones”, and “Police on my Back”. Their originals definitely showed the Clash influence. One of my faves was “Kick Down the Doors”, which I grabbed off their MySpace page. Check it out below.

Kudos to Keith for keeping Joe’s spirit alive, and gathering the local Strummer faithful for a great evening.

Glass Heroes – Kick Down the Doors (mp3)

Links: Glass Heroes Official Site | MySpace | Jeff Dahl Band’s MySpace

Have you guys and gals checked out imeem yet? It’s a social music site where you can stream music & videos. The extra bonus is that they have licensing agreements with 2 out of the 3 major labels, so you can find and listen to full songs, make your own playlists, and basically waste several additional hours of your life on another music site. Here’s a lil’ Strummer / Clash mix I put together.

Love Trilogy: to my CDs, it’s “see you later”, not “good-bye”

Well it was inevitable I guess. My 20-month old daughter, you see, had shunned modern technology, and had embraced the Compact Disc ®. So much so that every time she set foot in our loft where the racks of my CD’s were so meticulously displayed, she would stoop to her knees, and begin to explore the inner workings of these amazing jewel cases. Nashville Skyline, Exile on Main Street, London Calling, it mattered not to this inquisitive little person. She tore into them with unbiased fervor – removing the discs, removing the inserts, switching them around with each other.

Yes, for me – as proud I am of her for exploring this fading medium – it was time to pack them up in plastic storage bins. It is there they will remain for another 20 months, probably. Now, most of my CD’s (and a few cassettes and VHS tapes, as you can see) lie encased, merely a staging area for my little one’s adventures in Upstairs Land. Plastic drinking cups, snacks, sandals, a note pad… all play an important role.

Nostalgia paid a visit as I packed up the CD’s. Here’s one that brings back the memories… this album experienced heavy rotation in my first couple years of college (88-89). The Uplift Mofo Party Plan was the Chili Peppers’ third studio album, and the last Chilis’ album that included their original lineup: Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons. It was released in 1987. In June of ’88, Slovak died of a heroin OD, and Irons left soon after.

This song was a staple in my dorm room “pre-parties”. I can’t remember if it was this song that shook one of my three-foot speakers off of the ledge above and on to my head. May have been.

Red Hot Chili PeppersLove Trilogy (mp3)


Buy Uplift Mofo Party Plan (also on Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Uplift Mofo Party Plan)

American Idiots?

Saturday evening this little site popped up touting the new release from a group calling themselves The Foxboro Hot Tubs. By Sunday morning buzz was setting the internet ablaze that this was another one off side-project from Green Day (some of you may well recall the 2003 release by The Network). Brimming with 60’s inspired goodness this is either Billy Joe and the boys or the greatest hoax played on the internet this week. My personal favorite track is just below and you can get the entire EP entirely free at the official site.

The Foxboro Hot TubsMother Mary (MP3)

Links: Official Site | MySpace

Blech! (with accompaniment courtesy of the Pogues)

This Thanksgiving, my family and I received an unwanted guest, in the form of a stomach virus. Evil shit, I tell you. If someone can tell me how it’s anatomically possible to puke motor oil, I’d like to know!

But worry not: inspired, witty, highly entertaining posts will return from my neck of the woods soon. But for now, Blech!

The PoguesThe Sick Bed of Cúchulaínn (mp3)


Pistols do Leno, Lose Cred?

This is a couple of weeks old, but worth a look for those who haven’t seen it. This is the Sex Pistols on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno singing “Anarchy in the UK” (Ron Paul was the guest that night).  It’s a good version, mind you, but isn’t this not supposed to happen?

Could appearing on the most homogenized, lowest common denominator late night show be considered any less punk? Yeah yeah, the Pistols are reunited, they need to sell some tickets – but still – at the very least, shun Leno for Letterman!

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