The Gaslight Anthem
New Jersey has had to fight a dubious reputation for years, but thanks to all the hair-gelled douchebaggery on MTV’s Jersey Shore, the Garden State — like Snooki — has really taken a lot of sucker punches lately. So if Jersey’s looking to rehab its image, New Brunswick’s the Gaslight Anthem makes a fine musical poster child. To call lead singer Brian Fallon and crew Springsteen fans would be like calling the Situation a little confident. The band’s M.O. — blue-collar storytelling wrapped around clean, doo-wop-driven hooks — is so unabashedly influenced by the Boss’ early years that you’ll subconsciously picture Courteney Cox dancing in the dark every time you hear it. Yet despite all the similarities, Gaslight’s sound (particularly on tracks like the hard-driving “Stay Lucky,” from the recently released American Slang) still carves out its own very distinct personality. This is music custom-built for cruising with the top down on hot summer nights. Poofs and spray tans need not apply.