So we’ve already established that on Wednesday you’re gonna run off to the comic shop and pick up Magdalena #2 and Witchblade TPB Vol. 7, right? But there’s something else you need to go pick up today: “American Slang,” the new album by The Gaslight Anthem, which is my favorite band in a long time. Should be your favorite band too.
I write with music on. Always. I’m actually writing this with music on. I need the background noise. For whatever reason, my concentration goes to hell when there’s silence; my mind fixates on the quiet, instead of drifting off to some creative place. So there’s always music, and I’m always searching for more music that will inspire.
Troy Peteri, who was a letterer at CrossGen and now letters everything from Top Cow, shares much the same musical taste that I have. We both worship at the shrine of Springsteen and the temple of U2, as well as the church of the Clash. I think we both ended up discovering The Gaslight Anthem at about the same time, and trading notes with each other. I think my first exposure was a short video of Gaslight’s Brian Fallon covering Springtseen’s “Backstreets.” Loved it. Had to find out more about this guy and his band, which led to picking up “The ’59 Sound,” the then-current album. It was like a record cut by the bastard sons of Springsteen and Petty and Joe Strummer, playing songs about real people living real lives. Songs about broken dreams and bittersweet memories and a glimmer of hope on a dark highway.
The songs tell stories, which has always been my favorite kind of music. The songs breathe life into characters who feel real, which is what any storyteller (me included) wants to do. I’m more interested in the lives of ordinary people, rather than extraordinary ones. That’s probably why Kyle Rayner held more interest for me than Hal Jordan. Not that I didn’t like Hal’s character; I did and I do. But I’m more drawn to the “regular guy,” not the fearless test pilot. There are a lot of regular guys populating The Gaslight Anthem’s songs.
“The ’59 Sound” has taken its place among my favorite albums. “American Slang” will most likely do the same. But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can listen to “American Slang” in its entirety on NPR here.
Check ’em out. If you like what I do, I think you’ll like what they do.