A forum dedicated to The Gaslight Anthem - Brian Fallon says: ''For consistent and up to the minute stuff, Dimestore Saints is a great place to check out and hang with some really nice people.''
 
PortalHomeCalendarFAQSearchMemberlistUsergroupsRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
steady now steady now
The Navesink Banks
The Navesink Banks
avatar

Posts : 3223
Join date : 2009-04-03
Location : England

PostSubject: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:21 pm

from www.adamselzer.com/2010/03/hold-steady-and-gaslight-anthem-two.html

by Adam Selzer



The Hold Steady and Gaslight Anthem: Two Gangs Fighting in the Same Springsteen Song


I sometimes say that every new band I like these days sounds like Springsteen. In no two bands is this more true that The Hold Steady and Gaslight Anthem.

These two bands sound like opposing sides in a gang war in the middle of a Springsteen song. The Hold Steady represent the beatniks - they hang around writing poetry and getting drunk on the moon (in addition to the booze the guzzle in basements). The Gaslight Anthem is the greasers - they work as mechanics, sing doo-woop on street corners, and, well, guzzle booze in basements. In many ways, the two gangs are the same bunch of guys, but, at least superficially, they have (superficially) different goals and ideals. Like the Sharks and the Jets. Their songs are fueled by slightly, but significantly, different romantic ideals.

Let's start with Gaslight Anthem, the NJ-based band of blue-jean-and-white-shirt tough guys with hearts of gold. Lead singer Brian Fallon builds his lyrics almost entirely out of quotes from other songs, as well as a few references to books and movies. When I first heard them, I was charmed by all the quotes - any band that quotes Dickens and Counting Crows, without a trace of irony, in the midst of a whole
sea of Springsteen and Tom Waits quotes, is all right by me. Then I started to feel annoyed (did this guy write ANY original lines?) But I came to realize that these quotes -especially the Waits and Springsteen ones - were central to the tragic romanticism of Fallon's lyrics.

Fallon wants desperately to live out those early Bruce and Tom songs. He wants to dance in seaside bars with girls named Rosie and Maria while the band sings something about goin' home and the last of the Duke Street Kings parks their cars on the beach beneath the giant Exxon sign. He wants to ride the tilt-a-whirl and chase the factory girls beneath the boardwalk, then spend his nights in dingy motel rooms named after presidents with old men (and Tom Waits), watching TV in the lobby.

The tragedy that fuels this romanticism is that world no longer exists. It was already dying out in the 1970s, when Bruce and Tom were signing about it. It's gone now, and Brian Fallon refers to this frequently, lamenting that he's "the last of the juke box romeos," and that
Sandy (from Springsteen's "Fourth of July Asbury Park") is all grown up and married with kids now. When kids go out dancing today, it's not doing the "jump back, jack stop and slide to the right" to a cover of "Dancin' in the Streets" with a lonely angel who dreams of getting out of this factory town with the radio on. It's bopping around in a noisy club to repeating beats with a girl named Amber who is wasted on vodka tonics and shouting "whoooo." In other words, you don't dance with girls with the stars in their eyes - you grind with girls from Hold Steady songs.

The Hold Steady may reference Kerouac and Nelson Algren (with less obtrusive references than you get in Gaslight Anthem songs), but their characters clearly live in the early 21st century. While the Gaslight Anthem's characters drop out of high school and search for beauty in grease stains while working at the docks, The Hold Steady kids get wasted in one massive party after another while casually working their way towards a degree in elementary education. Occasionally they remind themselves that the magic of the scene is fading and getting druggy, or that they can all be something bigger, but it seems like they end up spending every weekend blowing all their money getting wasted again. They have never met a dock worker in their lives. They're not really much different from the partiers in the Gaslight Anthem songs - they're just from a different world.

Frankly, these characters would annoy the crap out of me if Craig Finn didn't write and sing about them so eloquently. While most of his characters are measuring their lives in empty bottles, he manages to make them come to life by understanding the melancholy beneath the party.

Take the opening of "Stuck Between Station," the opening song on their masterful "Boys and Girls in America" album:

There are nights when I think Sal Paradise (kerouac) was right:
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together
Sucking off each other at the demonstrations
making sure their make up's straight
crushing one another with colossal expectations
depending on discipline, sleeping late….
she liked the warm feeling, but she's tired of all the dehydration
most nights it's crystal clear, but tonight it's like we're stuck between stations
on the radio."


Play this song back to back with Gaslight Anthem's "Great Expectations" to compare/contrast, etc. If you're the kind of person who gets off on comparing and contrasting stuff, you can imagine that the singer in Gaslight Anthem's song is just the kid in the Hold Steady song twenty years later pretty easily.

Craig Finn inherited from Springsteen an uncanny ability to make songs SOUND like they have structure and rhythm when they really don't. Take "
Thunder Road." I have no idea how Bruce pulled that one off - the rhyme scheme and meter change practically every couple of lines, and it somehow doesn't end up sounding like a mess. At his best, Finn can take a ramble, non-metric, non-rhyming chunk of beat poetry and make it sound like a proper, regular song.

Anyway, The Hold Steady spent a few albums writing, it seemed, about little besides kids going to parties. By their fourth album, "Stay Positive," they were looking to the future, when "the kids at the shows will have kids of their own / the singalong songs will be our scripture" (in other words, they'll be living like Gaslight Anthem characters).

There's certainly some overlap here - like the Sharks and the Jets, the opposing gangs in Springsteen songs were never as different as they thought they were. Either band could have written "The Backseat," "South Town Girls," "Stuck Between Stations," "High Lonesome Sound…" And, in the Springsteen canon, either band would probably feel equally at home playing "Spirit in the Night," "
Atlantic City," or "Fourth of July, Asbury Park" (which also plays like a template for almost every great Counting Crows song).

There's more I could say here if I wanted to make this a book-length essay. I really wanted to talk about how the brilliant Hold Steady song "Lord I'm Discouraged" sounds like the best song Axl Rose never wrote for Use Your Illusion (right down to the guitar solo), while "The Blues, Mary" (a solo acoustic song Brian Fallon used to have on his myspace that I dearly hope will make it's way to a Gaslight Anthem album) sounds like the best song Axl left off the acoustic side of "GNR LIes." But I digress.

Both bands have a new album out this spring. Neither has ever exactly suffered from the Anxiety of Influence (as Harold Bloom, everyone's favorite stuff-shirt literary critic calls this sort of thing). But artists who are this clearly influenced by another artist invariably go through an interesting process of carving out their own identity over time. I can't wait to see where each band goes next.



10 March 2010

_________________
Alexander
www.gaslightanthem.org    |    www.twitter.com/TGArecord
Back to top Go down
http://www.gaslightanthem.org
Holland
The '59 Sound
The '59 Sound
avatar

Posts : 1167
Join date : 2009-06-08
Age : 29
Location : England ,Wigan

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:20 pm

hmmmmmmmmmm
Back to top Go down
jennylenore
Red In The Morning
Red In The Morning


Posts : 40
Join date : 2010-02-23
Age : 29
Location : Central California

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:40 pm

Interesting. Thanks for sharing! I've never listened to The Hold Steady. I'm curious to see what people who have heard both think about this article.
Back to top Go down
Holland
The '59 Sound
The '59 Sound
avatar

Posts : 1167
Join date : 2009-06-08
Age : 29
Location : England ,Wigan

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:11 pm

Well im a fan of both , i currently have gaslight and hold steady tickets lying in wait. Whilst i find this interesting and there are some fair points it seems presumtious to give each band the categorisation that it gives. And Axl Rose nonononono, any song produced by these two bands would be ruined if he was to sing them, he just has nothing to do with these bands in any way.
Back to top Go down
simo
The Navesink Banks
The Navesink Banks
avatar

Posts : 1983
Join date : 2009-07-03
Age : 25
Location : Columbia, Missouri

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:50 pm

I could never get into The Hold Steady that much but I think it was mostly Craig Finn's voice. And the article didn't even bother to mention that they both wrote songs with Joe Strummer references.
Back to top Go down
DaveSavedTheDay
A Contender
A Contender
avatar

Posts : 170
Join date : 2009-12-19
Age : 29
Location : Pittsburgh, Pa

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:46 pm

I legit can't tell if this guy likes the idea of both bands being so deeply rooted in other music or not, but it's a good read either way. I actually really, really related to his description of Fallon wanting to live out those Petty and Bruce songs because that's how I feel.
Back to top Go down
http://www.scheponik.com
borrowedcar
A Contender
A Contender


Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-02-07

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:23 pm

that was one of the best articles i've read
Back to top Go down
TGAFAN25
The '59 Sound
The '59 Sound
avatar

Posts : 1124
Join date : 2009-05-28
Age : 28
Location : Washington, D.C.

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:16 pm

that was a cool article, except for the fact that I really don't think the Hold Steady is very good....
Back to top Go down
borrowedcar
A Contender
A Contender


Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-02-07

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:00 pm

^ REALLY?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm4hqZuKr_g&feature=related
watch
Back to top Go down
PFREEZY
Wooderson
Wooderson


Posts : 412
Join date : 2009-09-12
Age : 30
Location : Palatine, IL

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:37 am

The Hold Steady are backed by me.
Back to top Go down
http://freezy.tumblr.com
TGAFAN25
The '59 Sound
The '59 Sound
avatar

Posts : 1124
Join date : 2009-05-28
Age : 28
Location : Washington, D.C.

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:16 am

Just don't like his voice or the tempo of the songs or his lyrics, that's all.... they just aren't for me
Back to top Go down
JadedGoober7
A Contender
A Contender
avatar

Posts : 122
Join date : 2008-09-18
Age : 43

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:04 am

Both great , great bands. Saw both last year. The Hold Steady were absolutely amazing live, I don' t know what it was but it was one of those gigs that made you go wow!

I love his lyrics and delivery, though I can totally understand that they are an acquired taste. I loved his previous band Lifter Puller before I'd even heard of THS so it wasn't a difficult thing for me to get into.

Just my two penneth,
Back to top Go down
stephendgaf
Wooderson
Wooderson
avatar

Posts : 526
Join date : 2008-08-12
Age : 30

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:41 am

yes, the hold steady backed hard.
Back to top Go down
borrowedcar
A Contender
A Contender


Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-02-07

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:21 am

THS is def an acquired taste
im actually not a big fan of LFTR PLLR tho
Back to top Go down
MCStevepants
Red In The Morning
Red In The Morning
avatar

Posts : 89
Join date : 2008-09-16
Age : 30
Location : Buffalo, NY

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:58 pm

As both bands are in my top 10 favorite bands, I refuse to read this in fear of it making me really angry haha.

I don't think they are ANYTHING alike aside from being straight up rock bands. Musically, very different.
Back to top Go down
colmillionaire
The Navesink Banks
The Navesink Banks
avatar

Posts : 1580
Join date : 2009-05-31
Age : 27
Location : Philadelphia, PA

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:27 pm

It made me pretty angry as well. Can't wait for music critics/writers to stop using comparisons.
Back to top Go down
http://www.last.fm/user/Colmillionaire
borrowedcar
A Contender
A Contender


Posts : 226
Join date : 2010-02-07

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:38 pm

i do like the character comparison
Back to top Go down
colmillionaire
The Navesink Banks
The Navesink Banks
avatar

Posts : 1580
Join date : 2009-05-31
Age : 27
Location : Philadelphia, PA

PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:55 pm

i've just had enough of the springsteen comparisons with both bands. imagine how tired the band is in hearing about it/reading about it.
Back to top Go down
http://www.last.fm/user/Colmillionaire
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)   

Back to top Go down
 
TGA vs. The Hold Steady (article)
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Unpopular Fame Opinions You Hold
» Family related article re the mccanns
» Gerry McCann, speaking on June 3rd, 2007: "Later this year (...)" LET'S HOLD A MADELEINE DAY FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
» Credibility and journalism
» Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
DimeStoreSaints.com :: The Gaslight Anthem :: Discussion About The Band-
Jump to: