The first time I heard Backstreets, I was thoroughly convinced it was the greatest thing I have ever heard. What starts as a doo-op veined pop tune turns into something else altogether. From the moment everything drops out but the piano to Bruce’s screaming crescendo at the end this one is something special. A high point off of an incredible album, this is one hell of a way to close out side one.
From the looks of things, the Gaslight Anthem is picking up right where their 2010 breakthrough American Slang left off. The band’s latest “45″ could easily be mistaken as any one of the ten tracks from the aforementioned LP – hey if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right.
The new tune does come with a pretty cool hometown video shot on some pretty hallowed NJ ground – The Stone Pony. Singer Brian Fallon has done a fair share of galavanting around with the Prince of New Jersey Bruce Springsteen, so it only seems fitting for the band to shoot their latest video at the Boss’s old stomping grounds – The Stone Pony.
Check out the new video below, and get stoked on the band’s upcoming full length, if you are into that sort of thing.
Let’s be honest, some playlists are better than others. While we do our best to always choose the best new music around, we don’t always have the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Jack White to choose from. This latest new tunes playlist features the aforementioned Rock Gods and several others who fall firmly into the not-too-shabby category.
Great music all around with some of our favorite songs of the year to date. Choosing tracks from the wonderful Springsteen and Jack White albums was no easy task, but we have had some time to let the dust settle and choose some winners. Rounding out this, our sixth New Tunes Spotify Playlist are Damien Jurado, Michael Kiwanuka, Delta Spirit, Lee Fields, Justin Townes Earle, Zeus, Dr. John, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, M. Ward, Father John Misty, Turnpike Troubadours, and John Fullbright.
Take some time with these jams and let them settle in, there are some good ones for sure!
Don’t have Spotify? Do yourself a favor and download it, it’s free and quite wonderful. Why don’t you follow us while you’re at it?
The Boss is not known for half-ass live shows and the proof is in the performance as he kicks off Springsteen week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Bruce and his E Street band pretty much brought the house down with two tracks from his new album, but it was the performance of the title track that served as the impetus for this post.
“Wrecking Ball” is for lack of a better word, awesome. I’ve heard the track now in a few variations – when it was originally performed at the about to be demolished Meadowlands, and as a studio cut from the new album but this live take brought it home. Watch the video below for an incredibly inspired performance of a good old fashioned rock and roll tune.
And for those of you thinking about catching him on the road, yeah they pretty much bring it like this for three hours a night.
The last Bruce Springsteen album I can say that I actually liked was 1995′s Ghost of Tom Joad, and my hardcore “Bruuuuuceee” fanhood admittedly lives largely in far removed albums and live material. That said, the Boss still makes up a huge amount of my everyday listening, and despite somewhat tempered expectations I can’t help but get hyped on news about a new album outta E Street.
After a few weeks of rumors swirling about an “angry album”, the new disc Wrecking Ball has been announced for March 6th, and the latest single “We Take Care of Our Own” dropped this morning. For those who don’t get Bruce, the new tune might play out like patriotism soaked propaganda straight from the Toby Keith playbook. Rest assured Bruce has not softened to this point quite yet, and instead turns in a writhing criticism of things here at home in an ever sarcastic tone.
Whether or not I love this tune from the get, it’s big and it is quite lively. Great to see Bruce and the boys back on the scene.
We’ve got the new single, now bring on the U.S. Tour Dates!
“Where are you going to stand? This is the question the album asked over and over again. With who and where are you going to stand?” -Bruce Springsteen
As a huge fan of Darkness on the Edge of Town I was extremely excited to delve deeper into how the album was made and get a peek into Springsteen’s creative process. This is my favorite Springsteen album hands down – every one of the 8 tracks tells a story and has it’s own unique point of view. This was Springsteen at his best and when you watch the documentary, his intensity during the making of this album is front and center. Armed with more songs, lyrics and ideas than ever before Springsteen almost went insane crafting every note on the album until as a whole it became something bigger than itself.
The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town was directed by Thom Zimny and shot in grainy intimate style footage that allows the audience to peek into Springsteen’s process during the recording of this landmark album in the late 1970s. Springsteen’s album Born to Run was a massive hit and like so many artists he began to struggle with who he was going to become and where he was going to take his music. It would have been easy to build on his commercial success with an album full of pop songs but Springsteen has always been a man who wanted to stay true to who he was. Whether it be his music, working class background or humble New Jersey upbringing it was important to him to stay grounded.
At the start of the film we find Springsteen battling for creative control with Mike Appel, his manager at the time. A lawsuit between the two would drag on for over a year in court and in the end greatly influence the writing on Darkness. The entire album focuses on a man standing alone in search of self discovery and purpose, so if you’re looking for love songs you came to the wrong place(there’s not a single one on the whole album). Eventually Springsteen gained control over his music but as the E street band quickly found out that didn’t mean recording their next album would be easy.
In the film Springsteen appears crazed at times, almost like he was possessed by the music he was trying to create. At one point he spends days yelling “STICK” over and over at Max Weinberg because when he hits his drum it sounds too much like a stick hitting a drum(I thought that was the point?) Springsteen wrote about 10 songs for Born to Run but brought 70 to the table for Darkness, which meant everyday great songs would be thrown out never to be heard again. The band would bet on how many songs would be left on the cutting room floor at the end of the day, songs like “Because the Night,” which became a huge hit for Patti Smith and ended up being more successful than any song on Darkness. There was a sound Springsteen could hear in his head and he nearly drove his band insane trying to find it. In fact Jimmy Iovine burned out halfway through mixing the recordings because the experience was so intense. When they brought in Charles Plotkin to finish the sessions, Springsteen sat down with him and described the songs as a feeling not as how they should sound. For one song Bruce described a couple sitting in a dark movie theater, they are comfortable and quiet, then BAM a dead body shows up on screen and wakes the entire room up – “Adam Raised a Cane” is that dead body.
The best parts of the documentary come when you feel like you are peeking into the band’s most intimate moments. Whether it’s an early version of “Sherry Darling” played by Bruce on the piano while Stevie Van Zandt bangs out a beat on a blanket, or a shirtless and wild haired Bruce working through “Something in the Night” in his Holmdel NJ home, or just peering over Bruce’s shoulder as he flips through a notebook of scribbled lyrics. Like all good documentaries The Promise makes you feel like you were right there in the room with the band watching all the drama unfold.
Although the film does a great job of transporting you back to when Darkness was recorded and providing you with a gritty account of the making of the album, I would give it 4 out of 5 stars because there were still questions left unanswered. One of my favorite songs of all time “Streets of Fire” didn’t get mentioned, the specifics of the lawsuit with his manager are fuzzy and why exactly “The Promise” never made it to the album doesn’t get addressed. Despite my nitpicking this really was a film well worth watching, you get the sense of where Bruce was coming from when he wrote the music and the specific vision he had in mind when crafting the album during this tumultuous time in his life. When watching the present day footage The Boss seems confident and unapologetic in his choices and why not? He was a man who knew exactly what he wanted at the time and was fighting to make sure he could attain it then and in years to come. He felt Darkness would define him as a musician and thankfully he didn’t compromise because the final result is an album that is still as relevant, ground breaking and brilliant today as it ever was.
Bruce and the E street band played songs off their new album The Promise in, where else, but Asbury Park NJ at The Carousel in a rare concert event last week. Although there were only 60 fans in attendance the folks at Thrill Hill Productions were kind enough to film the performance of the never before performed live songs so the rest of us could check it out. The video is 30 minutes of Bruce and his boys playing their hearts out in classic E street band form proving they haven’t lost any of their fire and that these new songs make for a great live show. The setlist includes: “Racing in the Street,” “Gotta Get That Feeling,” “Ain’t Good Enough For You,” “The Promise,” and “Blue Christmas.”
Springsteen’s band must have wondered what he was thinking as he left single ready songs like this one off the final version of Darkness on the Edge of Town. In fact in a recent interview Stevie Van Zandt said he had to seriously bite his tongue as Bruce stuck songs like this on the shelf never to be seen again…until now of course. Although this tune sounds like it could make a heck of a christmas song it’s just a straight forward Motown-esque catchy tune full of infectious fun. Check out the mid-70′s video of The Boss and his band having a heck of a time recording the song “Ain’t Good Enough For You” in the studio.
When Bruce Springsteen began recording Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978 there were 70 songs to begin with – obviously all these songs didn’t make the final cut and fans are finally getting a chance to hear the ones that got away. The Promise has 21 never before released songs from Springsteen’s golden age and from the looks of things there are some definite winners here.
Below you can check out Springsteen, guitarist Steven van Zandt, keyboardist Roy Bittan and The Roots jamming out two songs off the new album “Because the Night” and “Save My Love.”
Check out this teaser for the 85 minute documentary “The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town”
Somewhere between the Newark punk scene and Asbury Park’s heartland rock falls the Gaslight Anthem’s latest release American Slang. Brian Fallon and Co. turn in a disc of melodic (and rather catchy) tunes, all without compromising their punk rock roots. Despite the ease at which these songs lend themselves to singing(or chanting) along, they avoid the predictable and formulatic pop punk pitfalls that so many other bands looking to “break out” have fallen into.
American Slang avoids cliche like the plague, refusing to be pigeon holed into a neat little genre marked box. From Fallon’s weathered voice right down to the band’s gritty bar room sound this disc has authenticity written all over it. While the Springsteen comparison’s the band has been receiving may be a bit premature, his influence is certainly apparent, and the songs are better for it.
The album is without a full fledged standout, but that is more of a testament to the consistency of the album’s material than anything else. All ten tracks on the album are rock solid, contributing to the “greater than the sum of it’s parts” quality of the album. The band’s top notch songwriting and passionate performances combine for a great listen, and an easy addition to Ipods everywhere.
Josh Ritter announced on his website a week ago that his “Secret Rehearsal Show” at The Saint in Asbury Park was no longer a secret and the crew here at MOR jumped at the chance to see Josh in such an intimate setting. The Saint is an Asbury Park staple that hits capacity at 170 people and has hosted countless high (and even more low) profile acts over the years.
Josh Ritter bounded onto the stage with a grin from ear to ear and began jumping up and down like a little boy who just found out his parents got him that shiny red bicycle he had been wishing for. The crowd took to him, and his newly coined Royal City Band, right away as they opened the show with upbeat crowd pleasers like “Rumors” and “Right Moves” that had Josh pouring with sweat right off the bat. Then he slowed it down, literally turned the lights off and sang to the crowd like we were all crowded into his kitchen on some lazy Thursday night and he just so happened to pick up a guitar to play an impromptu singalong. The way he brought the energy up and down with ease was impressive and showed that he knew how to please the people in the crowd who wanted to rock out, lay back and relax, or maybe have a little bit of both.
He understood the charm and intimacy that a small venue brings and played to it like a pro. He inserted stories about why, how or when he wrote certain songs providing that storytellers aspect to the show without the nuisance of tuning into VH1. During “Girl in the War” he stepped away from the microphone and lead the crowd in a full on singalong which gave the performance that X factor that you can’t experience in most venues. In fact the venue was so small that most people there (including me) were so captivated by Josh that they didn’t even notice Bruce Springsteen was one of the hundred lucky fans in attendance. Josh told a story about how Springsteen’s music influenced his songwriting early on and played “Tomorrow Never Knows” off the Bruce’s new album Working on a Dream as a tribute. He joked that all his stories about Bruce Springsteen involve driving around in a Toyota Tercel listening to his music alone, but after they drove off together in Bruce’s car following the show I’m willing to bet he’s got some better ones.
Although the slow songs provided the sweet and intimate moments, the high energy tunes with the full band were where the evening really shined. The Royal City Band is more than solid and Josh does a great job of featuring them and highlighting their talent. The lead guitarist Austin Nevins was tearing it up and the bass player Zack Hickman looked like he was about to rock his amazingly awesome handlebar mustache right off his face. It was obvious the band was having a great time, especially Josh who played the entire show with a ridiculous amount of energy, exuberance and childlike joy that just made you want to smile right along with him.
Although it was a so called “Rehearsal Show” the new songs off the upcoming album were blending well into the set and although some of them felt a little slow they never seemed out of place. Josh played 5 songs off of his new album So Runs the World Away: “Rattling Locks,” “Southern Pacifica,” Folk Bloodbath,” “The Curse,” “Another New World,” and the first single “Change of Time.” “Rattling Locks” was the show’s opening tune and it had an infectious rhythm that the bass player, drummer, and keyboardist banged out on drum sticks while Josh crooned his tortured lyrics. The other new songs were all quiet melodic tunes that in the context of a high energy fun show seemed a bit forgettable, but I reserve final opinion until hearing the entire album.
So now that I’ve gushed all over Josh and his Royal City Band, I have to come clean and admit that I am a huge Josh Ritter fan and this show was something special that I will remember for many years to come. I’m now convinced that Josh’s voice is one of the best out there right now, it’s gritty and harsh, soft and melodic or quick and sharp depending on the song and his songwriting is hard to match if you’re looking for catchy folk songs. Such a great night and a nice way to show appreciation to his fans by playing in a tiny venue and selling tickets for only $15 a piece. Josh is definitely one to watch for the future and enjoy here in the present.
In the Dark
Girl in the War
Change of Time
To the Dogs or Whoever
Another New World
Tomorrow Never Knows
Come and Find Me
Snow is Gone
For more Josh Ritter goodness check out our “You Still Haven’t Heard of Josh Ritter” Playlist inspired by the standouts in this show’s set list.