The Gaslight Anthem - iTunes Session (Cover Artwork)

The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem: iTunes SessioniTunes Session (2011)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Somehow, within the whirlwind of signing to major label Mercury Records, and half of their lineup performing with side project the Horrible Crowes, the Gaslight Anthem managed to record a live session for iTunes. Like everything the band has laid to tape in their career thus far, it features plenty.

Somehow, within the whirlwind of signing to major label Mercury Records, and half of their lineup performing with side project the Horrible Crowes, the Gaslight Anthem managed to record a live session for iTunes. Like everything the band has laid to tape in their career thus far, it features plenty of nods to the past, while seeming unmistakably modern at same time.

The session kicks off with a cover of the Who's classic "Baba O'Riley." This isn't the first time the group has played the song, first performing it at a Who tribute concert at Carnegie Hall in early 2010, and continuing to break it out occasionally at live shows since then, but it's nice to have a high-quality copy. It's impressive that the group has managed to recreate the tune's intricate keyboard parts with their simple two-guitar setup. While it might have been interesting to see the group dig a little deeper into the Who's catalog, the song has an anthemic quality that fits the Gaslight Anthem like a glove, and is a fine way to kick off the proceedings.

Also included is a fairly straightforward take on Tom Petty's "Refugee." The group has covered Petty's "American Girl" in the past, and I would have liked to see that make the cut, but "Refugee" is a solid cut nonetheless, and features some of the strongest backing vocals we've heard from the two Alexs thus far. A cover of Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust" also makes an appearance. While it might seem a bit out of left field, grunge influences have reared their head in Gaslight's music before, most notably on American Slang's "Old Haunts." The band also offers their take on the Animals' version of the classic folk song "House of the Rising Sun." The Tom Waits influence apparent in Fallon's side project the Horrible Crowes seeps through here; his vocals have never sounded so gravelly.

It's not all covers, however. The group offer new takes on their own material, with mixed results. The new version of "Boxer" is interesting, but the U2-esque echo effects on the guitars don't always match up with the vocal melody, and it lacks the punch (no pun intended) of the original. "The Navesink Banks" fairs much better. It isn't altered as heavily as "Boxer," but the changes they did make are much more effective. The full band coming in towards the tail-end of the song is a revelation, and is almost enough to make one wish they had recorded it that way originally. How epic of a close to side one of Sink Or Swim would that have been?

The one new (kind of) song present on the iTunes Session EP, "Our Father's Sons" was originally demoed in the '59 Sound era. While I can't imagine it would have fit in on that album (I honestly wouldn't want a single thing about that record to change), it is a fine song in its own right. With an eerie guitar line, and some lyrics lifted straight from the Jeffersons theme song, it sounds like nothing else in the band's catalog.

It's worth mentioning how great the iTunes Session EP actually sounds. It's a testament to how tight the band really is as a unit that they sound every bit as together as they do on any of their studio albums. If I didn't know any better. I could totally buy this being a studio recording.

With a diverse cross-section of cover songs, a mostly unknown gem from a few years back, and some interesting new takes on some old favorites, there is enough great material on the iTunes Session EP to justify a listen from even casual fans of the band. It would have been easy to go in and just record a few live versions of the "hits" and call it good, but it really seems that the Gaslight Anthem put a great deal of thought and care into this session. If you're a fan of the band at all, the iTunes Session EP will warrant repeated listens.


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Horrible Crowes - ElsieThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimPolar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt PrideDead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenHot Water Music - The Fire, The Steel, The Tread / Adds Up to NothingNothington - Borrowed TimeBanner Pilot - Heart Beats Pacific

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
zatransis (November 7, 2011)

I don't think anybody expected anything more or less than a great little EP with some good covers. That's what we got. It's very solid.

vischypunt (November 7, 2011)

It's a solid release. I don't think they meant to blow anybody's mind with it. OFS is an amazing song though.

peheme (November 4, 2011)

Our father's son gives me the best feeling ever. that song is amazing!

tsiege (October 19, 2011)

Man they gotta stop using awkward photos of them standing together for album covers.

SloaneDaley (October 19, 2011)

@Strummer Boy, none of these songs are new so I don't think this is any indication of where the songwriting is headed and they've been covering music by these artists for some time now.

Strummerboy (October 19, 2011)

I really hope this isn't the direction they've decided to take for the new album. It's not bad so much as boring.

publichousing (October 19, 2011)

Our Fatherā??s Sons is their best song yet. I absolutely adore it.

Misanthropee (October 18, 2011)

And this isn't available for free because...?

Insert obligatory comment about Steve Jobs' death being a victory for information freedom.

conebone69 (October 18, 2011)

Their previous recorded version of "state of love and trust" sounds better. The rest of the covers and Boxer are fine but nothing to brag about.

Unless you're a huge mark and need to own every single album, I would pass and just grab "Our Father's Sons"

JimmyNorville (October 18, 2011)

No, I've never needed an iTunes account - and still don't.

danperrone (October 18, 2011)

meh...the covers sound a bit uninspired.

flowerfeeder (October 18, 2011)

You don't already have an iTunes account? It's 2011, bro.

JimmyNorville (October 18, 2011)

I guess I should download this...

It's up to if I'm talking about signing-up for iTunes and giving them my credit card number of going to mediafire

BobbyRad (October 18, 2011)

So no mention of the second chorus of our fathers sons being surrender by cheap trick huh

BarleyPat (October 18, 2011)

Why doesn't Best Buy or Target carry this? I like to go to an indie store, but it's tough for me to get there and happens AT BEST once a month.

SloaneDaley (October 18, 2011)

Considering how much I enjoy the band's live bootlegs and radio sessions I was really suprised at how bad this is. This is the first Gaslight release I wouldn't recommend to someone.

MN_DrNick (October 18, 2011)

What the guy below me said.

discofucker (October 18, 2011)

The Animals copied that version of "House of the Rising Sun" from Bob Dylan, who stole it right from underneath Dave van Ronk, who originally arranged it as such. So there ya go.

uncle_leo (October 18, 2011)

When I first read this, I thought it said that "Our Father's Sons" had lyrics lifted from "The Jetsons" theme song.

oldpunkerforever (October 18, 2011)

5 stars is for the 59 Sound, still gives me chills when I listen to it, the newer stuff, um how shall I say it, puts me to sleep-oldpunker-

nocigar (October 18, 2011)

this is awesome. i'm streaming it off yahoo though, and they left out ā??The Navesink Banksā?.

maxwellmurder (October 18, 2011)

yes mattramone, I was. Send my regards to your mom. I'm off living my new life dancing with Maria on the hood of my Lincoln.

mattramone (October 18, 2011)

My dad was pretty excited about this.

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