The Gaslight Anthem Can’t Dodge Predictability On ‘Get Hurt’

The Gaslight Anthem

Change has always been hit and miss for big name bands. Radiohead reinvented themselves by recording the sounds of a hard drive crashing.  The Clash made a rambling snoozer of a triple album plagued by wild world music ambitions.  No band aims to remake specific records in their catalog, so The Gaslight Anthem had serious decisions to make while crafting their fifth full-length. Unfortunately, they chose to polish up their Jersey punk and came up triumphantly short on Get Hurt.

Get Hurt isn’t necessarily a bad effort, it’s just painfully formulaic rock and roll best suited for the 30 second lead ups to commercials during March Madness.  The hooks swell where they’re supposed to, and the glistening guitars are hushed and muted where the heartfelt laments should be heard. It seems singer Brian Fallon desperately wants to pull away from the Springsteen comparisons, and by doing so he may have forgotten why a new generation of rock fans fell in love with his band.

The record opens with a Soundgarden/STP hybird “Stay Vicious”, which sounds tailor made for a Guitar Hero challenge.  It rambles from there, tossing out occasional gems like “1,000 Years’, and “Rollin’ and Tumblin'”; blatant testaments to what this band does best. They shine when keeping the tempo and pulse soaring, and crash and burn when mucking it up with the ultra sappy “Red Violins” and the completely forgettable album closing “Have Mercy”.

Take it or leave it, Get Hurt is supposed to be the sound of a band stretching its legs.  Too bad it plays more like a band running in place.

Stalley Goes Back To His Roots On “Ball”

BallStalley can rap, and ball. I don’t mean throwing stacks of singles in the air…I mean hoop.  He played big conference ball before taking it to the booth to follow his dream.  This new single puts him back in business with Rashad, the man behind the magnificent sounds of his most in-depth project, Lincoln Way Nights.

I don’t know when the album is dropping.  I don’t know if he’ll change your life.  I don’t know if you’ll respect the wordplay.  All I know is this one is fun to spin.  So play it twice, and happy Monday night.

AWKWORD feat. Akir and Y-Love- The People’s Champions Part II


NYC MC/poet/activist AWKWORD is back with “The People’s Champions Part II”, produced by Trilian and featuring Akir and Y-Love. This one is a call to arms, reminding listeners that hip-hop is a vehicle for commentary rather than a chance to flash a chain and a rental car.  Substance over style…I can dig it.

AWKWORD, Akir, and Y-Love take turns throwing darts at the corrupt machines threatening to ruin our cities across the country. Crooked cops, politicians, and corporations…nobody is safe. Support AWKWORD on twitter @AWKWORDrap.
Stream the track at the link below:

Wu-Tang Reunites on “Ron O’Neal”

As the legendary Wu-Tang Clan readies their new record, A Better Tomorrow, they let go with “Ron O’neal” as the first single.  The pedigree is still here, with each member getting loose on a RZA track that sounds like a live in-studio recording.

Age is dogging these guys, but it’s adding a weathered growl to the mix.  It remains to be seen if the record will be released to the masses or if one copy sold to the highest bidder.  Doesn’t matter to me…new Wu makes my fucking day.  Enjoy.

Vic Mensa Drops “Wimme Nah”

Vic Mensa is winning.  With the success of Innanetape and his spot on the freshman XXL cover, it’s only right he drop something triumphant like “Wimme Nah”.  He’s feeling like the Jordan statue, repping Chicago through and through. I’m on board with this kid either way, so here’s to the high hopes of a strong debut record somewhere in the future.  This one bangs.

Album Review: Spoon- They Want My Soul

Spoon has been cranking out brainy noise just left of the dial since the early 90’s.  Their steady diet of art delivered with one foot out of the batters box is why I love them.  You rarely get the “same” sound on any two Spoon records, yet they’re immediately recognizable like Built To Spill or fellow Austin Texas weirdos And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

They Want My Soul is the bands 8th studio record.  It’s a polished affair ranging from the raging “Rainy Taxi”, to the jitters of “Rent I Pay”, the first single released in June.  Singer Britt Daniel is a triumphant lead man standing in the shadows.  His voice scratches and claws its way in, allowing the band to come to life around him. Unlike many “indie” bands of the 90’s, Spoon hasn’t played catch up, or waited on their fifteen minute spotlight. They’ve planted roots in the Texas rock scene and grown with it, maturing and evolving with each record.

Spoon may never haul in megabucks or golden statues for the mantle, but they’re quietly writing the book on surviving the rat race music business by letting their work speak volumes. Headphones, a bottle, and a little time to kill…disappointment will not follow.

Action Bronson’s Easy Ride

Action Bronson wants you to believe he’s riding his Harley into the sunset.  That is not entirely the truth.  Too many dabs and a Harley Davidson means a trip to the ICU.  But it’s fun to make believe.

Action is back to basics on “Easy Rider” the first single from his upcoming Mr. Wonderful project, produced by Party Supplies. There’s no chorus or fancy hook, just a string of nouns and verbs that remind me why his stock is on the perpetual rise.  Happy Tuesday night boys and girls.