In case you missed it: My review of the Gaslight Anthem’s new album Handwritten is up over at Punknews.org. Click the cover art to read it.
I’m vehemently against writing anecdotal record reviews, so I’ll place some more personal thoughts about the album and the surrounding zeitgeist here.
—Typing out an extended review that says little more than “LOL SEGER” isn’t doing the record (or any record) justice. If you dislike an album, fine, but bring up valid points on where you think its failings lie.
—I’ve also read vague comparisons of this record to Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls and other awful ’90s rock bands. I don’t hear it at all. Give me some specific examples or I’ll just assume you’re all trolls.
—I truly believe this record will be huge. As nice and as hardworking as the Gaslight guys are, I hope I’m right.
—This was the first Gaslight Anthem album I immediately loved. Everything else they’ve released, from Sink or Swim all the way to American Slang, took weeks—if not months—for me to get into and truly appreciate. I have no idea why it’s happened that way.
—Never let a band’s rising popularity taint your feelings on the band itself. It’s OK to be upset when a band you once loved “sells out” or shifts its sound in what you think is an attempt at hitting it big. It’s not OK to judge a band’s music and work ethic on the expanding Venn diagram of their fanbase. Let people enjoy what they want to enjoy, and be happy a good band is being recognized.
Keep it in your heart that you were one of the first people to discover this band or any band, because I can assure you no one else gives a shit.
Iniesta is my favourite player. I’ve wanted to go back to doing comics for a long time and this just seemed to fit. Would love feedback on it! Spread it around! :D
Better Ghosts : Howling at the Moon
The gloriousness of Ross’s drum kit. Taken a little while ago. Looks fantastic, doesn’t it?
Oh yeah, I also forgot to say that we got turned down by a drummer from a (now defunct?) local band because, as he put it “he’s never been a Social Distortion fan, and never will be.” Whilst we were disappointed about the knock back, it’s quite cool that he referenced Social D in connection with us. We weren’t aware that our demos sounded like them at all, but it’s nice when people can hear these things coming out in your music. I took it as a compliment anyway.
We’ve got a practice session booked for this Sunday. 6PM. The first step. We have a friend of ours, Tom, filling in on drums for the evning but he’s a guitarist (and a much better one than either Ross or myself) so whether it’s a permanent thing, I’m not sure. Still, it’s very good of him to help us out and if he enjoys it, then who knows? I’m open to all things! I’ve also worked out how to use FL Studio 10 properly and used it to create a drum track and add a little bass to a demo I recorded the other day. I was pleased with how the drums turned out, if not the actual song itself. The interface is slightly tricky with FL though, so if anyone can recommend something that might be a little easier to use (particularly for creating beats) then I’d appreciate it. The other boys in the band seemed to like it but I’m a hard man to please and I’m particularly critical of my own music. Working on progressing a couple more half baked ideas tonight. I’ve got two nascent tunes that I particularly like, but I’m having a little trouble writing a good middle 8 for both of them, so hopefully I’ll be able to nail at least one down tonight so I can start writing a drum track. Wish me luck.
We’re 3/4 or 3/5 of the way toward having all the personnel on board. There’s me hacking away at a guitar, Dan on bass and Ross also hacking and growling. We need a drummer, and want a vocalist although we can get by without one. We were in a band that broke up because our drummer moved away (Hi Chris!). But we looked upon that as a new beginning and have decided to push our music in a little bit of a different direction. We’ve got a 5 or 6 new songs written already between the three of us, drum parts as well, since Ross can play the drums pretty well too. But in recent months, things have kind of stagnated. You can only maintain a creative burst for so long if you have nothing to shoot for. We could record the songs properly ourselves with Ross tracking the drums, but what would be the point? We wouldn’t be able to play gigs, and I think the three of us are into the idea of the band as a gang as much as it is a creative outlet. So to push things on we really need a drummer. We’ve been down the usual routes of adverts in music shops, practice spaces etc etc and got a couple of responses, one from a guy 25 years our senior who played in Ramones tribute band. Nice credentials but I think the age difference would have been a killer, and much as I love the Ramones would the experience of playing that same drum part be useful in writing? I’m not sure. Anyway, it was a no for the Ramone. The other reply came from a kid who was in college and seemed keen but we haven’t heard from him lately so maybe we frightened him with the stench of our desperation.
Anyway, that’s where we stand right now. We haven’t got together to do anything musically in a little while because Dan broke his collar bone playing football. That makes it a little difficult for him to play bass right now, and as I said, you can only maintain your enthusiasm for something that doesn’t seem to have legs for so long. I’m hoping that this little journal will help to keep me motivated. My XBox broke the other night and I’m using that as a push to make me use spend my time on more productive pursuits, so as well as writing this I’m trying to kick start my song writing. To that end, I’m in the middle of setting up a very rough demo recording facility. I’m using Audacity to track my guitar and any vocals and Fruity Loops and Guitar Pro demo versions for basic click and drum tracks. It sounds like crap but it’s just for illustrative purposes. I’ve also been recording my initial ideas on my phones dictaphone feature but that’s only to help me remember any parts I come up with. The audio quality (and quite often the playing) is far too shitty for them to be heard by anyone but the three of us.
I’ll upload some pics of the setup tomorrow, because the rest of the night is going to be spent trying to work out Fruity Loops.
Oh, and if you are from Hull and you play the drums, and having somehow stumbled across this page, you want to join our embryonic punk band, comment me or something. We’re willing to listen to all comers.
From this page I’ll be rambling on about a quest between three friends to form a band, write and record music and play some shows. I’ve got to start getting ready for work now so this will have to suffice by way of an introduction. There will be more content to come in the coming days and weeks, but just don’t expect my updates to be regular.