Favorite Album of 2008: The Gaslight Anthem’s The ’59 Sound

The '59 SoundFirst, let me reiterate, it’s my favorite album of 2008, not a declaration that’s the best album of the year. From the opening crackles of the old skool sound of a needle on vinyl on Great Expectations to the melancholy anthem-esque The Backseat, The ‘59 Sound is just a great listen all the way through.

The album is ripe with all the things I turn to in the music I listen to regularly—whiskey and cigarette tinged vocals, driving bass lines, and jangly guitar riffs. The subject of the lyrics tend to revolve around mortality, regret, and lost loves, without ever sounding like there’s no chance for redemption.

But every slow mans song
Is a night I’d like to spend with you
Just twisting the night away

From Cassanova, Baby!

Critics of the Jersey based band have sighted the obvious Springsteen influences (think Nebraska era Springsteen, not Born in the U.S.A), which to me isn’t a bad thing. However, they also have a punk tinged sensibility ala another band that’s still in heavy rotation in my music players, Lucero. I lament having missed The Gaslight Anthem this fall when they passed through town, however, they are playing the Langerado Festival this year, which has a line up that reads like my 5 star ratings in iTunes. Ryan Adams, Lucero, The Gaslight Anthem, The Pogues, Bad Brains, the list goes on. I certainly hope to catch them in a club on their way to or from the festival, as that’s really the environment I think they’d be best. Packed, sweaty, and bourbon fueled.

Several other albums were on my list of faves for ‘08. Second place most certainly would go to The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive if for nothing other than the last track, Slapped Actress. However, the whole album simply rocks. Also on the short list would be the Brian Eno/David Byrne collaboration Listen Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.

Other highlights for 2008 were Cat Power’s Jukebox, Drive by Trucker’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, Okkervil River’s Stand In, Vampire Weekend’s Vampire Weekend, and Deerhunter’s Microcastle, though that last one was only recently released, and I’ve not listened to it a lot yet, but my initial thoughts are it’s a nice change of pace from my regular listening styles.

Any indie albums at the top of your list for 2008 I should check out? I’m always looking to discover new music (especially indie bands I can get from emusic).