The Gaslight Anthem: ‘Handwritten’

“Would you miss me if I was gone and the simple things we lost?
Would you ever wait on me to say
Oh that I’d just die if you ever took your love away…”

Mullholland Drive, Gaslight Anthem

New Jersey punk rockers Gaslight Anthem have released one hell of an album in Handwritten. Read a great review of the album by Rolling Stone’s Jody Rosen here.

Lead singer Brian Fallon performed an acoustic set and answered fan questions via Livestream on album release day.

When asked if there will ever be an album like the Bruce Springsteen-like The 59 Sound, he said:

“We kind of just wrote the next record that sounded good to us. When you achieve success on one record, you just have to ignore the previous record. You have to make each record its own thing. There will not be another 59 Sound-ish album. Repeating albums, I think, is cheating your audience.”

Someone asked about New Jersey pride, which as a child of the Garden State, probably has to do with the fact that we’d like to be more affiliated with Gaslight Anthem and less with Jersey Shore. Fallon had a great response for that, too:

“I’m not proud of being from New Jersey just because I’m from New Jersey; that’s just my home and I love it because it’s my home and my friends live there. It’s got great things, like the beaches and great community vibe, but it’s not what defines you. Most people who have become successful or famous have left where they’re from in order to find themselves. You need to leave the things that influenced you the most or else they’ll become fake, which is the worth thing that could happen.”

True story. I’ll let you know if I find myself in New York City in a future post.

This great SPIN article by David Marchese addresses why Handwritten is considered to be “big” for a band that sells out concerts in the Big Apple within 60 seconds. The best quote from Fallon, in my opinion (he mentions Goyte!):

“We talked to so many producers. And they were all like, ‘You guys have released great records and big bands like you — now you need a big hit single.’ And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I love that Gotye song, but I can’t sit down and write that. I don’t even think he can. A hit single for a rock band is a fluke. It’s an accident. But Brendan called me up and he goes, ‘Listen, I really like your records. I wanna do your next record. This is what I need you to do: Don’t talk to me about singles or radio-play. You need to write songs that mean more to you than anything.’ I was like, ‘Okay, man! Not only do I want to do a record with you, can you adopt me for a little while?’

By the way, the band ended album release day on a perfect note: They played 26 songs for fans at Webster Hall. (I know super fan, my friend Kasey, was happy!) Read a review on their D.C. show (July 23) here.


Photo via Soundway Records

Words cannot explain how EXCITED I am for this Friday, July 27, in New York City!

Ondatrópica will be making their US debut at the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival at the Damrosch Park Bandshell. The band will feature many greats of the golden age of Colombian music including Michi Sarmiento, Alfredito Linares, Pedro Ramayá Beltran, Markitos Micolta and Wilson Vivero, alongside the two musicians who started this wonderful project, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland (whom my dad has become a HUGE fan ever since I started buying his CDs) and Mario Galeano with their bands, Combo Barbaro and Frente Cumbiero.

The group fuse old with new to create a progressive sound which mixes traditional Colombian styles such as cumbia, gaita and champeta with boogaloo, ska, beat-box, MCs, dub and funk. There’s no way I’d miss this. And did I mention it’s FREE?

For a taste of what to expect, check out this live performance of Linda Mañanita, recorded this past June in Bogota.


The ‘CounterCulture’ of the Latin Alternative Music Conference

Image via Latin Recap.

My first time at the Latin Alternative Music Conference was enlightening.

I’ve always liked music that falls into this category, and it’s interesting to see it evolve. Where years ago this conference would have filled with Rock en español, this year’s artists encompass a variety of genres: electronic, indie pop and so on. NYC-based writer Marlon Bishop explains more about that here.

And, as the Associated Press’ Laura Wides Munoz explains in this piece, “alternative Latin musicians, some of whom have fan bases back home, are finding new audiences in the United States thanks in part to that online scene and the growth of second generation Latino audiences.” This only points to more growth in this area.

The panel discussions were enlightening. Calle 13’s Residente and Visitante discussed politics, religion and how Latin America on a whole inspires their music. They weren’t shy about throwing digs at tropical, urban radio stations, who play “music with botox” and the same artists, over and over again.

The LAMC press room was a flurry of activity on day one, with artists from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama via Oakland and more chatted with journalists from all over. It was nice to see so many Latin American focused outlets in one place, especially since many of them no longer limit their interviews to Spanish-language only, something I find to be challenging when pitching Outernational.

The radio panel, featuring my Fordham colleague Rita Houston from WFUV, was informative and I loved that during the audience Q & A, artists from the States, Costa Rica, and Colombia asked how to overcome the radio hurdle. Most of the experts agreed: find your niche, send your music to college radio and just get your music out there to the people any which way you can.

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(Above: Residente & Visitante of Calle 13, Tego Calderon, Raka Dun and Raka Rich of Los Rakas and Miles Solay & Leo Mintek of Outernational. All pics by me.)

The four-day conference continued today with panel discussions on how to make that number one hit and a free concert by Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux for Celebrate Brooklyn! this evening at the Prospect Park bandshell.

I’ll have a couple of posts about LAMC coming out soon in Sounds and Colours so stay tuned.