Posts Tagged ‘The Gaslight Anthem’

Brian Fallon’s debut solo album, Painkillers, is exactly what you’d expect if you have been following his career to this point. A perfect blend of The Gaslight Anthem and The Horrible Crowes. Some people are disappointed with Painkillers, but I have no idea what those people were expecting.

Painkillers essentially has two separate pressings. You could call it variants, but I would go as far as saying separate pressings. But technically, they are part of the first pressing. There is an LP pressing and a 7″ box set pressing, both of which are featured here. Both versions were put up for pre-order at the same time, with the box set getting a much later release date than the standard LP version. The 7″ box set was slate for May or June, and for once a record was released in the early portion of an estimate. The LP was released around the album’s release date of March 9, there were not any delays with it. However, with that said, there may have been a problem with the pressing that caused the distributor or label to pull it. It completely disappeared from many stores and couldn’t be ordered online anywhere for about 2 months. Of course if you looked hard enough you could find it online, but places like Amazon, Interpunk, other online distros and my local record store had it out of stock.

I haven’t heard any complaints about the pressing and there aren’t any glaring errors with it like the wrong music being pressed on the LP (yes, that does happen) or horrible typos anywhere. I asked my local store whether they would get in more copies, fearing the record may have actually gone OOP, and was told it was on hold in their system. Hold essentially meaning un-orderable but the title will be made available again at some point in the future.

The LP version is pressed on black vinyl and features the standard album. It comes with a download card (for WAV files, so be prepared for about a 500 MB file) and an insert. The insert has the lyrics printed on it, which go onto both sides and is divided up by side. The liner notes are printed on the side with the Side B’s lyrics. Pressing info was, and likely never will, be released. Expect there to be thousands of these out there and if it ever does go OOP for it only to be briefly as it will probably be re-pressed to stay in print for the foreseeable future. Given this distributor pull, the record did not get a second pressing during this time. Everything matches up between copies from before the pull and after; the barcode, matrix, etc.

The 7″ box set version comes with seven 7″ records, slid into a slip case box. There are two album tracks per record, with the last record in the set containing the two box set exclusive bonus tracks. These bonus tracks are “The Blues, Mary” and “Digging In The Dirt.” The box set version does not come with a download card, and you don’t get the bonus tracks via the download emailed either, so getting MP3s of the exclusive bonus tracks will be tough. It’s a pretty lame move on Island Records’ part, as you’re already spending $65 on the box set the least they could do is include a download card containing the exclusive bonus tracks. If you order the box set directly from Brian Fallon’s web store you will be sent a download code for the studio album only.

Each 7″ in the box set has unique cover art. They don’t come all come in a jacket with the same artwork, plain sleeves or stock label sleeves. It’s a nice touch, a similar one done with The Gaslight Anthem singles collection 7″ box set, The Killers Hot Fuss 7″ box set (although they all had a similar running theme) and the Taking Back Sunday Happiness Is 7″ box set. The center labels are also color coded to match the colors on the respective jacket. I don’t know how many copies 7″ box set were pressed on, but they’re all on black vinyl.

The 7″ box set is available from a multitude of places. You can buy several options from the official Brian Fallon store ; just the box set for $55 plus shipping, the box set with an autographed poster (same artwork as the booklet cover) for $65 or the box set with the autographed poster and t-shirt (same image as poster) for $85. Island Records’ web store is also selling the box set (without any of the extra goodies) for $55 before shipping. Many indie records stores are also carrying the box set, but they all seem to be charging $65 for it. So the whole sale price of the box set is obviously $55 and stores are marking it up $10. I bought the box set from Amoeba during one of their monthly 15% off sales, so I got it for cheaper than I would have had I bought it from either of the official online stores.


After having the worst Record Store Day (RSD) ever last year, where I missed out on getting the most stuff on my list than ever before, I decided to head over to my store earlier than I ever have. Prior to last year the most I’ve ever missed out on getting from my local store was one thing, whereas I usually get everything on my list with ease after lining up 3 hours max before opening. But last year I missed out on 3, and I wasn’t sure if it was just because the line formed earlier at my store (I was out of state in 2014 and couldn’t see how the line formed) for some reason or simply because Deja Entendu was being re-pressed. It turned out to be the later as I could have gotten on line by 3 a.m. (which is still hours earlier than my norm) instead of midnight and been fine. But I wasn’t going to complain about being eighth in line, my best position to date, as I slept for those 3 hours anyway.

With that out of the way here is the Brian Fallon – Georgia 10″. There were 2,000 copies pressed on black vinyl and every copy comes with a white rectangle ‘RSD exclusive’ hype sticker on the cover. Three new songs are on this 10″, some are demos that have made the rounds for a while credited to multiple different artists Brian Fallon has been a part of; either The Gaslight Anthem, Molly And The Zombies or Brian Fallon. The songs are (in order) “Tin Pan Alley,” “Low Love” and “Georgia.” These songs were likely b-sides from Fallon’s debut solo album and recorded during those sessions, but no official word on what these songs were originally meant for. They’re all good songs, but it quite obvious why they were left off Painkillers if in fact they are b-sides form that album.

No download code is included, which sadly is a running trend with majority f RSD releases this year. Nothing I bought this year had a download card/code, no matter the label releasing it. The only thing that did was the Nirvana Tribute comp released by Robotic Empire, and that wasn’t an official RSD release.

I’ll add this note in here from my experiences on RSD regarding this Brian Fallon 10″. I was astonished at how many copies my store had. I was part of the first group let into the store and they easily had at least 50 copies of it, likely far more. They had at least 20 copies out in the display where employees could grab them for you (my store does it menu style) and another 10 or so copies on a rack anyone could grab for themselves. Plus there were at least two, maybe even three boxes full of them on the floor. Granted my store is in The Gaslight Anthem/Brian Fallon’s home state, but that is a completely ridiculous amount of copies for a single RSD release for one store. To the point where I feel bad for other people around the country because by my store getting in that many copies it meant there was far less supply to get divvied up amongst all the other stores . And for better or worse they sold out of every single copy on RSD, I know this because it was not part of the RSD leftovers they put up online the next morning.

Brian Fallon - Georgia - Copy

The Gaslight Anthem’s fan club, the 45 RPM Club, is still going “strong.” I use “strong” in the weakest sense since it had a rocky start that turned into a landslide, with the club currently running like an engine down a cylinder. If you remember from my other post for the first fan club record last year, there were many issues with fan club members actually getting what was entitled to them for signing up, mainly the 7″, which is the sole reason most people signed up. Those same problems persisted with this latest annual 7″ for the fan club, but not at as high a percentage. Instead of 95% of members not getting their 7″, only about 75% of the people who signed up for the fan club for its second year didn’t get the 7″. It’s important to mention that previous fan club members from 2013 were not automatically renewed for the second year, 2014. If anyone, even previous fan club members, wanted to remain part of or join the fan club for the first time, they had to pay for a new year’s membership.

The band/infinite merch/punkrockmusic did things differently with this year’s fan club 7″. First off, they did several variants for it, where the first year’s 7″ only had one color pressed. The 7″ also comes in a traditional jacket rather than a thin glossy paper sleeve/jacket like the first year’s 7″ did. For the second year the “45 RPM Club Annual Record Volume X” was dropped from the record’s title. Instead they opted for a track-by-track title, which led to the title of this year’s fan club record being Anywhere I Lay My Head b/w This Is Where We Part.

Another change with how the fan club was run in 2014 as compared to 2013, was that there was a surcharge for a vinyl package, which was an additional $20 on top of the fee to join the club itself. So there was a regular fan club membership, that did not include the 7″, and another, more expensive vinyl membership where you got everything from the base membership plus the exclusive fan club 7″. The basic membership cost $20, cheaper than in 2013 but it also included the 7″ at no additional cost. The vinyl membership cost $40, which is more than the $25 for the 2013 membership that included not only a 7″, but an exclusive t-shirt, stickers and membership ID card. The price increase is arguably the biggest change. There is still one more catch with the fan club for 2014 that nobody saw coming, the fact that there would be additional variants made of the 7″ that would be made available to every member, even those not part of the vinyl membership and did not pay the additional $20. In early April 2014 the fan club put up three new colors for the fan club 7″, charging $8 (before shipping) for them. The fan club exclusive color given out to vinyl membership holders was also put up for sale for $8 along with the other three colors. This is a gigantic slap in the face to everyone who shelled out an additional $20 to get a somewhat exclusive record. The band/infinite merch/punkrockmusic essentially stole $12 from countless people. To add even further insult to injury, in late October 2014 the price was cut in half to $4 per 7″.

The pressing info for Anywhere I Lay My Head b/w This Is Where We Part is as follows; 400 copies on electric green, 400 copies on blue, 400 copies on clear and an unknown amount of copies on coke bottle green. Odds are the coke bottle green has more than 400 copies, as that color was given out to fan club members who subscribed to the vinyl package. As everyone probably already figured out, the 7″ has two songs on it, one on each side. “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” a Tom Waits cover, is on the A-side, with “This Is Where We Part,” a Twopointeight cover, on the B-side. “This Is Where We Part” is exclusive to this 7″ and previously unreleased. The song is also part of the Get Hurt sessions along with “Anywhere I Lay My Head,” which was released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Edition Get Hurt.

Because there have been so many issues with people actually get the records in, whether it be the initial batch intended for vinyl membership holders or people who placed an order for any of them afterwards, I waited to buy a copy of this 7″ on the secondary market to have a better chance of actually receiving it. Rather than have a fan club member buy one for me, which countless people did, I wanted to make sure the person I was buying the record from actually had it in hand. I didn’t have to pay flipper prices either, or even a huge markup on the “retail” price. I paid $10 shipped for my copy.

A few months after releasing a 7” box set containing most of their b-sides, The Gaslight Anthem released an LP containing all the b-sides featured in said box set. Many people who criticized the box set as unnecessary, was too expensive, or that it could have been released as an LP were thrilled when this b-sides album was announced. The aptly named The B-Sides received a U.S. and Euro pressing, which is typical for most if not all of Gaslight Anthem releases.

While the U.S. pressing was done on two variants, the Euro pressing was only done on one. For the U.S. pressing there were 500 copies on black and white starburst, which sold out in a few days, and either 1000 or 2000 copies on black. There is a bit of discrepancy in my book about the pressing info for this album, particularly the black variant. The order page for the album in Side One’s store says 1000 copies, but on their multiple social media outlets the says it’s limited to 2000 copies. The Euro variant is on white vinyl limited to 1,000 copies, which is evenly split at 500 copies a piece to the UK and Germany. Banquet Records was the exclusive retailer in the UK.

Instead of an insert a full color photo dust sleeve is include. The dust sleeve is somewhat one side however, as the liner notes/credits are printed on one side with a mirror image on the opposite side without any text. A download card is also included. The track listing is:

1. She Loves You

2. The ‘59 Sound (Acoustic)

3. State of Love and Trust (Live)

4. Tumbling Dice

5. The Queen of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic)

6. Songs for Teenagers

7. Great Expectations (Acoustic)

8. Antonia Jane (Acoustic)

9. American Slang (Acoustic)

10. Boxer (Acoustic)

11. Once Upon a Time

This is a charity comp with all profits going to the Tony Sly Memorial Fund. A charity album is one of the few times when it’s acceptable for a label to go the cheap as possible route when pressing a record, but Fat Wreck Chords opted to put out a top notch release that includes a gatefold jacket, fold out poster, sticker and colored vinyl (even though clear is technically not a color). The comp has no variants and will be kept in print to meet demand, which again, is great fior a charity album. There should be no one complaining that the record is not rare.

Bands on the comp include over 30 songs from huge bands like The Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, Pennywise, Yellowcard, Simple Plan, NOFX, Rise Against and Bad Religion. Every band on the album contributes a cover of No Use For A Name  (Tony Sly’s band) song or one of Tony Sly solo songs. One of the bands I was surprised not to see on this comp was the Foo Fighters, since Chris Shiflett played in No Use For A Name before joining Foo Fighters. Chris Shiflett should have contributed something, either with Foo Fighters or with his solo/side project Chris Shiflett And The Dead Peasants.

Even though The Horrible Crowes had only played one show prior to this live album being recorded, it was someone’s brilliant idea for the band to release a live album. Now in no way does that mean this live album is terrible, it’s just not the most logical thing to do. The album was recorded at, as the title suggests, the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Continuing the not enough to make due theme going on here, since The Horrible Crowes have only released one studio album to date, this live album is that sole album played front to back with the exception of two cover songs mixed in.

The record was pressed as a double LP and comes packaged with a DVD of the performance. So not only was the band’s second show recorded for audio but video as well. The show also aired on some TV networks well before this live album was announced. A download card is included as well. The album comes in a gatefold jacket with no inserts. There are three variants for this record, with two being for a U.S. pressing and the third being an European exclusive. There were 500 copies pressed on blue/black swirl that was/is only available in various bundles through Side One Dummy, 1000 copies on black and 1000 copies on orange, which is the Euro exclusive.

The aforementioned bundles started out as expensive ones that included everything (CD, vinyl, shirt, print) but since I already bought a bundle from the band’s last release that included a shirt and print I have no need for more of those. I wasn’t going to spend more money just to get the rarest variant. Apparently I’m not alone as the bundle exclusive color is still available.

One of the biggest debacles I’ve ever been a part of in all my years of buying records was joining The Gaslight Anthem’s fan club, the 45 RPM Club. I say one of because the MTS TOYPAJ disaster will never be topped as worst buying/pre-order experience ever. A yearly 7” exclusive to fan club members was the focal point and why most people, including myself, paid $25 to join the club. Also included with fan club membership was a t-shirt, stickers, membership ID card, and early access to tour tickets and merch like posters. Ultimately the fan club turned out to be a giant rip off and poorly managed. It was started purely as a cash grab, it was never about the fans.

First, the t-shirt members received was a plain white t-shirt with the 45 RPM Club logo printed on it. Members received three stickers, but depending on when you joined you received different stickers. But everyone received the same 45 RPM Club sticker along with Gaslight Anthem stickers. Everyone also received the same membership ID card, which has your member number printed on it. The early access to tour tickets really only benefited the eastern quarter of the country and California. People in the NYC metro area were the biggest beneficiaries of fan club exclusive shows/performances however, as they were able to get tickets to late show performances, not even counting the vastly more amount of shows the band plays in and around NYC. The exclusive merch was all overpriced posters, and there were only two or three of those made available over the course of the year.

The biggest debacle with the fan club regarded the 7”. First off it was delayed by many many months,  and the people who run the fan club kept quiet about it. They pretty much refused to send out an update to members, which is this day and age of email, Facebook, and twitter is inexcusable. They only sent out one update regarding the 7”s not shipping, which was the typical “it’s out of our hands” and “soon” excuses/answers. When they did respond to members via email, there was one standard response, “hurricane sandy.” Infinite Merch/Punk Rock (who ran the fan club or at least handled sending out physical items for it) used the everything got delayed because of Hurricane Sandy line for months, and for a while it might have been true, but at a certain point it became bullshit.

Having personally been affected by Sandy I have a mix of sympathy knowing how long it takes to recover and deal with the storm’s aftermath. But it was also a slap in the face as they were using Sandy as a crutch for their own ineptness. The claims of “Sandy did it! Sandy did it!” were no longer believable when close to 1 year after the storm approached and the record still did not start shipping. Especially knowing all the plants in Brooklyn that suffered storm damage were back up and running months before the fan club people were still using the Sandy excuse. There were plenty of options available to get the record pressed and out the door to fan club members, and it seemed the fan club organizers did not do any of them.

Once the record started shipping to members the problems still did not stop. Infinte Merch/ did not properly ship the records, as they were shipped in boxes way too big for a 7”, which resulted in practically every copy having various degrees of seam splits. Some people had such bad damage that entire sides of the sleeve, which is made of thin glossy paper by the way and is not printed on card stock, were no longer attached. Some people had about an inch of paper holding one side of the sleeve together.  Myself, living in the same state as the 7”s were shipped from, still had a decent sized seam split because of the terrible packing job.

Another problem once the records started shipping was that they were being sent to wrong addresses. Since it took so long to get the fan club records out, some people undoubtedly moved, and when those people contacted Infinite Merch/ about an address change ultimately nothing was done about it. Even though the member received confirmation back from Infinite Merch/

As of writing this there are still countless people who have not received their records. The records started shipping in early July, over a year since the fan club went live, and I did not receive mine till mid September. I sent countless emails, all of which went un-replied. Things got so bad that The Gaslight Anthem’s manager got involved, promising to help get people their 7”. Ultimately she was a liar and refused to help me after a while. She actually told me not to contact her anymore, and it’s not like I was harassing her. I sent her three emails, the first went unreplied (shocker!) so I sent another which got a response saying she would look into it. After 3 weeks and still no  7” I emailed the manager again for help, which is when she said don’t contact me again and to contact Infinite Merch directly, giving me an email address to contact the which did not work (emails got bounced back as undeliverable). Gaslight’s manager only actually helped at most five people, and I’m being generous with that number.

To my surprise I emailed Infinite Merch/ about not getting my 7” one last time and got a response. I used their contact form on their website though since they never replied to direct emails. So everyone still waiting for their 7” should go that route. Infinite Merch/ claimed they already sent me a 7”, which was a lie as the only tracking number on my order was for my initial membership package for the shirt and stickers that was sent back in November. Keeping in mind getting my t-shirt was like pulling teeth too. I quickly got my 7” after contacting them that last time, but getting it so quick was only because it was sent within the same state.

The biggest kicker and the most laughable move made by Infinite Merch/ was that started their fan club membership renewal drive before they even sent out the records from the first year. And they wanted almost double the money the first year cost, $45 instead of $25. Further proving the fan club is a terrible attempt at a cash grab. But hey, that extra $20 gets you a cooler t-shirt.