Everything’s happened so fast with The Gaslight Anthem‘s iTunes Session EP that it’s no wonder if you’re a little lost. We’d barely heard that the Jersey rockers had recorded it when they announced a release date of December 13 two weeks ago; within a few days, the EP had leaked online and the band had expressed disappointment that “someone could not respect the fact that we didn’t want our iTunes Session to be put on the internet before it’s intended release date.” They immediately moved up the release date to October 18. So if you’ve been MIA on the internet for the past few weeks, you may return to a new eight-track release from one of your (and my) favorite bands.
The EP is based around four cover songs from four different decades (the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s), all of which the band transform into their blue-collar Springsteen-at-11 style, and all of which succeed magnificently. The distortion-graced whomp of “House of the Rising Sun” is possibly the best recording of the traditional song since The Animals‘ 1964 single, and “Baba O’Riley” impresses — not many singers can make the song their own after Roger Daltrey sang the hell out of the 1971 original. Rounding out the tracklist are a 12-minute interview, a performance of Sink or Swim‘s “The Navesink Bank,” a minimalist reverb-heavy reinterpretation of American Slang‘s “Boxer,” and a new mid-tempo rocker called “Our Fathers’ Sons.” It sings of a “chaingang chorus” and “the blue and red white collars” being “all the same” between a guitar solo and a Cheap Trick-parodying bridge (“Your mama’s all right/ Your daddy’s all right/ They just seem a little bit weird”), and it shows the band returning somewhat to their ’59 sound — a promising forecast on an EP that is a wonderful holdover between storms.
Stream: The Gaslight Anthem – iTunes Session EP (full album minus the interview)