This post originally appeared on the blog for my pop culture podcast Dudes Brunch.
If you haven’t heard, I’m really sorry to inform you that The Gaslight Anthem are going on indefinite hiatus. Don’t buzz your pompadour and cover up your anchor tats just yet. In their announcement the band said this is not a permanent break. They plan to come back to TGA after spending some time on other projects.
I believe we can get through this. We will survive this hiatus. And we’re going to do it together. So, here are a few ideas of things to fill that old white Lincoln shaped hole in your heart for a few months:
1) Listen to the back catalog
When was the last time you honestly listened to “The ’59 Sound” from front-to-back? Do you even have “Sink or Swim” in your library? Can you harmonize with the chorus on “The Andy Diamond Church Street Choir”? If you answered “No” to any of those questions, I’d say it’s about time you boned up on the back catalog of our favorite retro Jersey punks. Five albums of material takes a lot longer to appreciate than you think. I find new things to love on every listen.
Recently I’ve been re-visiting “American Slang”. I think I kind of glossed over this record when it came out for various reasons. The songwriting here is some of my favorite work Fallon has done. In particular, “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” tells a succinct and moving story in a classic ballad form. Take this record on the road with you. You won’t regret it.
2) Check out side projects Molly & The Zombies and The Horrible Crowes
A lot of people don’t realize the guys in Gaslight have side projects because they’ve released albums so steadily over the past few years. Brian Fallon has two, each with a slightly different (yet recognizable) sound.
Molly and the Zombies is Fallon’s folky project with guitarist Brian McGee of Plow United, former Ryan Adams and the Cardinals bassist Catherine Popper of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, and Randy Schrager who drums for the Scissor Sisters. The songwriting is characteristic of Fallon, with allusions to hearts, daggers, dangerous women and drunken nights. The tempos are slower and the instrumentation lighter, making it a band you’re parents might actually understand.’
Continuing his love of early American music, Fallon dons a zoot suit in performances with The Horrible Crowes. This blues-inspired act is primarily Fallon and his guitar tech, Ian Perkins with a rotating cast of touring musicians. Their music is markedly slower than either of Fallon’s other projects, and closer to a Tennessee blues than you might expect from a Jersey Boy.
3) See Brian Fallon solo
Brian Fallon does occasionally release solo music and perform on his own. There have been rumors that his first move during the hiatus will be a round of US dates, but I’m not holding my breath. If it happens though, I highly recommend heading out to see him. Fallon’s stage presence is impressive even without a band behind him.
4) Show some love to Sammy Kay and Northcote
Sammy Kay and Northcote both opened for Gaslight Anthem on some dates of their recent US tour supporting “Get Hurt”. They’ve been on a couple of other tours with the group and play a similar gritty Americana style rock’n’roll. Sammy is from TGA’s home state of New Jersey and has a delivery pretty similar to Brian Fallon’s. His latest record “Sammy Kay & the Fourth Street Singers” is a rollicking good time. And he’s super engaged and personable on Twitter.
Northcote are a bit more acoustic than The Gaslight Anthem, but that’s in no way a bad thing. They rely heavily on vocal harmonies, which produces a last call sing-along vibe on many songs. They seem like the sort of band you play on the jukebox at the bar around 1:00 AM.
5) Wear your Tiger Cuts gear
Alex Levine, The Gaslight Anthem’s bassist, has a number of non-musical passions. He’s a barber, a wrestling fan and now a clothing designer. His brand Tiger Cuts recently released their second collection of vintage tattoo and barbering inspired shirts and apparel. He and his business partner tour around to various festivals cutting hair, giving tattoos and selling clothes.
Tiger Cuts recently opened up a US warehouse, meaning you can finally buy their gear without having it shipped from the UK. That means lower prices for you, and faster turnaround times. And I can say, as a Tiger Cuts wearer, that they make awesome clothes that’ll look great around your office on casual friday or out at the bar with your dudes.
6) Familiarize yourself with The Boss
Whether they’ll admit to it or not, our favorite retro Jersey rockets take a lot of cues from their home state hero Bruce Springsteen. Their song structures are similar, they write about a similar sort of Americana and they use a lot of the effects Bruce used to make his music sound timeless. His voice is powerful like Brian Fallon’s and his songwriting ja top notch, even if the production is occasionally a bit dated.
The Boss has a truly daunting back catalog. The album’s you’ve heard of already (“Born in the USA” & “Born to Run”) are a good place to start though. Apple music also has a good Intro to Bruce Springsteen playlist if you’ve jumped ship from Spotify.
We’re all going to miss the Jukebox Romeos while they’re away, but in the meantime there are plenty of related projects and bands to keep you busy. What will you be listening to in place of The Gaslight Anthem?