Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Arliss Nancy – Wild American Runners

arlissTaking cues from Springsteen, The Hold Steady and a little Gaslight Anthem, Arliss Nancy put the American in American Rock Music. Poetic, blue-collared and soaked with the bourbon-tongued acidity of heartfelt songs written by the downtrodden, Wild American Runners is a terrific and absorbing journey through the mind of songwriter Cory Call.

6 years into their Arliss Nancy careers, Wild American Runners features songs that bounce and soar to an amalgamation to Southern flavored guitar riffs, piano accompaniments, sturdy percussion work and Call’s gruff vocals. “Nathaniel” is a terrific keys-strewn number; mid tempo, aching and beautifully, while “Hold It Together” is a good sampling of the band’s Gaslight Anthem-lean. In “Bloodletter”, the band carve an anthemic dusty highway number that goes in unison to proceeding melancholy grace of the title track. The latter being Call at his most Springsteen.

Much of the album is perfect for long night drives or times where one needs to be in their own mind. There is as much heartfelt in here as there is poise and honesty. While the style isn’t too distinguishable from their influences, the substance here is as profound as the bands and musicians they draw lineage from.

You may wait for the entire album to find that song that defines the ethos and sound of the band in a perfect way, but in the album closer “Vonnegut”, you find just that. It’s a beautiful song, and ends Wild American Runners on a great note. You may not have heard of Arliss Nancy yet but don’t wait too long before you do. This is American rock music at its best.



Listen to “Vonnegut”:


Arliss Nancy’s Wild American Runners is out now on Black Numbers.


Social Distortion album delayed until January 2011

In unfortunate news, Mike Ness has stated that the much anticipated Social Distortion album, Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes, has indeed been delayed until January 2011; two months after the original November 2010 date.

Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, Ness had this to say about the new album’s content and the meaning behind the title;

Music does the same thing for adults that nursery rhymes do for kids: It gives them an escape, and [it’s about] not growing up.”

Ness also said that he is, “not afraid of taking risks” on the new album.

Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes is the first Social Distortion album since 2004’s Sex, Love and Rock ‘N’ Roll and is now expected January 2011 via Epitaph Records. The band will make their way down to Australia for the very first time next March as part of the Soundwave Festival and will play an exclusive Melbourne-only sideshow March 2nd with the Gaslight Anthem.

We have tickets. It’s going to be awesome.


Rival Schools debut “Shot After Shot” video

With news that their long awaited new album is now due in 2011, Rival Schools have begun previewing material from the release. The first, the brand new video for the single “Shot After Shot”, can be viewed below.

The band’s new album, titled Pedals, is slated for official release March 8th, 2011 via Photo Finish / Atlantic Records. Rival Schools are currently on tour playing select shows with The Gaslight Anthem.

The post-hardcore supergroup features ex members of noted hardcore acts Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, CIV and Quicksand.



Social Distortion / Gaslight Anthem announce Soundwave sideshow

Rejoice! Hallelujah! We don’t have to go to Soundwave! The two best bands of the festival have just announced a sidewave scheduled to take place March 2nd, 2011 at The Palace (in Melbourne).

Both acts were part of the first announcement of next year’s Soundwave Festival touring across Australia alongside Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, 30 Seconds to Mars, New Found Glory and much, much more.

Social Distortion were slated to appear at previous Soundwave events but cancelled due to them being Social Distortion (they like cancelling things). However, they have confirmed their appearance and announced on their Facebook that the side show will indeed go ahead. The band are scheduled to release their much anticipated new album, Hard Times And Nursery Rhymesin November.

Tickets for the Social Distortion / Gaslight Anthem sideshow go on sale in Friday, October 1st.

Show info:
March 2, 2011 @ The Palace

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Banquets – This is Our Concern, Dude

There is something in the Jersey water, or the air, or the food they eat because the products of their craft have been of the highest quality. This quartet is every bit the punchy blue-collar sounding rock n’ roll band you’d expect from the state that made this sound famous. Like the Gaslight Anthem before them, This is Our Concern, Dude is a brief blast meant as an introduction of sorts (think Senor And the Queen). 4-tracks of bluesy, rock n’ roll powered punk themes that are every bit as glorious as they are introspective.

“Lyndon B. Magic Johnson” and “Eleanor I Need A Garden” are the folkish opening numbers and serve as the perfect one-two opening punch. In “What a Bunch of Aaron Burrs”, melody and poetry intersect at perfect speeds, resulting in a near perfect piece of bluesy melancholia. Closing off the foursome is “I Wish I Was A Little More Lou Diamond Phillips”, a more hallowed, almost-orchestral tune.

Banquets are no stranger to the worlds of popular film culture and American Presidential history. They are intelligent songwriters, heartfelt lyricists and ample tradesmen in the genre of bluesy folk punk. Only anticipation and hope awaits their next venture. And whatever it is that’s coursing through the veins of Jersey musicians, it’s connected to the lifeblood of some seriously good rock n’ roll. (Black Numbers)

[xrr rating=4/5]

Banquets – What a Bunch of Aaron Burrs (from the 7″ This is Our Concern, Dude)


Something Quiet and Minor and Peaceful and Slow: The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang

The affinity I hold for the Gaslight Anthem has become difficult to explain. The success in which American Slang has propelled them to is as deserving as I’ve ever seen- an honest to goodness reception fitting for a band so entrenched in the working class ethos they have extolled since 2007’s Sink Or Swim. They spoke like Springsteen, sang songs the way Kerouac wrote, and held strong the values of American rock n’ roll. They were in every respect, the great American band for the current generation. American Slang is an album endlessly rich, the albatross on which they will undoubtedly fly to immeasurable heights with.

Yet, in a strange sense, the success and global reception almost works against the fables they preach. How does one relate to living the hard life when you’re at Glastonbury amongst a hundred thousand strong? Does singing about just getting by lose some of its romanticism when you’re on the cover of a glossy magazine? I never really understood why so many people were in uproar when Dylan first plugged in- maybe I still don’t, but I guess a small part of me compels the question of how an unruffled soul connects to something almost solely written for someone below the line. Is there a greater understanding of certain artists and genres when all of which it celebrates is very much part of who you are?

An educated and well-versed music enthusiast can certainly understand and appreciate various styles, genres, and histories and still remain distant, but will they ever connect to the music the same way as someone who lives a life parallel to the artist does? I’m not sure, but I know that when I listen to Born to Run, I have a far greater connection to it than when I listen to The Rising. So when The Gaslight Anthem start playing stadiums (a very good possibility than I’m actually not against at all), will the music mean the same as when I saw them play in front of 100 people in a small, broken down backpacker hotel on a sweaty August night? People who saw Springsteen in 1972 and then saw him again post-1984 may have that answer.

In the June 2010 issue of Big Cheese Magazine, they describe American Slang as “the pain of a broken heart, salvation from the radio and love by the lights of the bar. The record is a perfect marriage of expert storytelling, superb musicianship and classic melodies.” It is an apt assessment and among the many reasons why it is such a good album. Brian Fallon has traded in his crunchy riffs of The ’59 Sound for more bluesy guitar licks, dropping references to Maria while expanding his already excellent grasp of creating perfect blue collar rock songs. You will be hard pressed to find a writer who is able to inject his music with actual, down to earth substance better than Fallon. It’s genuine, all of it. And my favorite part about it all is that no matter where I’ve traveled and what I’ve seen, there is some intangible connection to the music that will resonate differently for each and every listener. It’s a murky theory I know, and I don’t have the vocabulary to explain it, but with every listen of the closing “We Did It When We Were Young”, I am reminded of life up to this point and I am hit with endless contemplation and reflection. It’s not about whether or not they wrote this song with any such intention, it’s just that it is powerful enough to do so.

Strangely, I feel less compelled to talk about the actual songs themselves; there are many rock critics and writers who will do a far greater job at explaining or justifying the praise with connections to Dylan, Strummer, Miles Davis, and of course, Springsteen. They’ll tell you about the great literary references, the homage to the great cities and trails, and the many emotional highs and lows as painted by the chord progressions and melodies. But for me, it is the lasting impression and continued connection they’ve painted since I first heard them in 2007; that life’s greatest reward comes from an unforgettable journey regardless of the final chapter. It reminds me of the many great pages left to write, and that filling them through your time here is the only reason why we should wake up every day. It does not resonate emotionally (save the closing track) as much as The ’59 Sound does, but it continues to do the greatest thing a band/an album/a song can do for me. The past is part of who you are, the present reminds us of this, and the future will always be unwritten. It is the only part of their music I hope they keep intact no matter where they go and what they do. (SideOneDummy)

[xrr rating=4/5]

The Gaslight Anthem – We Did It When We Were Young (from the album American Slang)