The business of punk rock is risky to say the least. While most bands play for a love of music, it is hard to make a living off of punk. A few huge names come to mind (Blink-182, The Offspring, etc), but most punk bands are too focused on playing and touring and listening to other bands to bother sending demos to labels.
For Gaslight Anthem, however, the sailing has been fairly smooth. In fact, I think it is safe to say that the Gaslight Anthem is the envy of the punk rock world. The young band never had an unwarranted burst of mainstream success (Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, etc). Nor has it gotten lost in the punk rock shuffle of under-appreciated bands (Fifteen, The Ergs, etc). Every step of the band’s career has taken them further and further down the road to a well-earned stardom.
- ...on the lips and in the ears of every internet-savvy punk in America
The band’s first album, Sink or Swim was released on fly-speck New Jersey label XOXO Records to minimal fanfare in 2007. By the end of that year, however, Gaslight Anthem was on the lips and in the ears of every internet-savvy punk in America. Outlets like punknews.org championed the album for its gritty, Springsteen-ish sound.
After the success of Sink or Swim and it’s excellent follow-up, The Señor and the Queen EP, TGA was swooped up by indie-punk powerhouse/retirement home SIDEONEDUMMY. The label had made it’s name as a final resting place for punk acts that has been dumped from major-label contracts (MXPX, Suicide Machines, etc), but was trying to switch from falling stars to shooting stars when it signed TGA. Smart move.
- ...into major rock magazines and onto critics’ “best of” lists...
The band’s second album, The ’59 Sound was a massive record. Lead singer Brian Fallon took his dreamy outlaw imagery to new heights with great success. Not only were internet punks gabbing about the record, but it slipped into major rock magazines and onto critics’ “best of” lists for 2008.
By the time American Slang came out earlier this year, the band had penetrated beyond the world of music critics and punk snobs. Media outlets like NPR and ESPN (the show is even being sponsored by clueless butt-rock station X-103) were singing praises of the band’s soulful sound, a feat that even bigger punk acts can only hope for.
The band is preparing to make its first stop in Indianapolis on Tuesday night and we can finally experience their now-legendary live show. Sadly, our fair city has missed out on the fabled basement and bar shows of the band’s early career, but the show at the Vogue (with phenomenal folk-rockers Fake Problems) should not be missed.
- ...penetrated beyond the world of music critics and punk snobs...