Get Hurt is the fifth studio album by American rock band The Gaslight Anthem, released in the UK on August 11, 2014, through Virgin EMI, and in the United States on August 12, 2014, through Island Records. It is the first full-length studio album since the band’s 2012 release, Handwritten, and marks their first album on Island Records, which absorbed the band and its previous label, Mercury Records. Produced by Mike Crossey and inspired by vocalist and guitarist Brian Fallon’s divorce from his wife of ten years, the band was influenced by artists whose albums represented “career shifts”.
The Gaslight Anthem isn’t a punk band anymore. They’ve gone lengths to shed that label since 2010’s American Slang introduced them to a wider mainstream audience. Frontman Brian Fallon traded screams for croons, and song tempos decelerated as the production got cleaner. The band cited an appetite for new sounds and stylistic experimentation, but hardcore fans felt betrayed. Gaslight, after all, only began distancing themselves from folk punk after corporate behemoth Universal Music Group started writing the checks. Their first release for the conglomerate, 2012’s Handwritten, was steeped in alt rock clichés and neo-Springsteenian tropes, hardly resembling the band that dropped The ’59 Sound.
Musicians can’t be faulted for change. Songwriters mature; people get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. But, Handwritten sounded like it was puppeteered by producers. The layers of vocal overdubs, the lush keyboard backdrops, the perfect guitar tones: It was as if the Gaslight Anthem were being molded into Universal’s answer to the Foo Fighters, like the bigwigs saw Wasting Light at the top of the charts and said, “Oh, people still like rock music. Let’s do that.” Too often have the majors ensnared beloved indie bands and turned their music into commercial pap. A band might think they have control over the creative process, but do they really? When the money talks, does creativity even matter anymore? Does Stockholm syndrome set in?
In the case of The Gaslight Anthem, the answer is an unfortunate and resounding yes. On their fifth studio LP, Get Hurt, the quartet wander further into the realm of radio rock, evoking all the trite Mutt Lange-isms that come with that territory. Opener “Stay Vicious” actually pulls this off with its pounding metal intro and melodic verses, a total Def Leppard transition in the best way. But, man, are there a lot of overdubs on this album. Every instrument sounds like it was tracked 12 times, including Fallon’s vocals. Somebody (probably producer Mike Crossey) got crazy with the background vocals. Where there should be rests in the melody, spaces for Fallon to take a breath before singing the next line, background vox are stacked to the point of annoyance. The production is excessive but somehow sterile — a dealbreaker for Get Hurt, which already suffers from some loudness compression issues.
That’s all semantics in the face of the songwriting, which isn’t strong enough to overcome the album’s production. When Fallon told Rolling Stone that the album was “completely different than anything we had ever done before,” he was right: Forget what you know about The Gaslight Anthem. Every track here differs from the one before it. The title cut apes The National; “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” is post-grunge (in the worst way); “Red Violins” goes country. The diversity is admirable, but it makes for a disjointed record, and it’s not as if The Gaslight Anthem perform each of these varied styles exceptionally well. Fallon’s lyrics remain poignant and earnest, but it’s hard to concentrate on them with Crossey triggering so many instrumental flourishes.
Change can be good, even necessary. Change can also be awkward, as is the case with Get Hurt. The genre experiments don’t work, and the overblown production presents these efforts poorly, never adapting to whatever stylistic side road the band is going down. Get Hurt sounds like The Gaslight Anthem trying to figure out what kind of band they want to be. One thing is for sure: They don’t want to be the band they were before signing on that dotted line.
Essential Tracks: “Stay Vicious”
Ukraine Crisis: Death and destruction continues in Eastern Ukraine / Хунта убивает людей. [ENG SUB]
By Eric Zuesse
Washington Blog co-posted along with with RINF Alternative News
America’s ‘news’ media do not let the victims of Ukraine’s civil war — the people who are dying and being driven out from the southeastern regions of that country by the new Ukrainian Government — speak, and tell their story. Scenes will therefore be posted below from an admittedly overlong amateur video from southeastern Ukraine, in which they have been allowed to tell their story. This is being done here since U.S. ‘news’ media apparently don’t consider it something that you would want to know, and since you should be allowed to judge for yourself whether it is or not, and to judge why it’s not being reported on the ‘news’ sources that our ‘democracy’ offers to ‘inform’ America’s public about public affairs. It is also being done because these still photos from the documentary summarize this over-long documentary’s important narrative. You are welcomed to click onto the link above to see the entire 82-minute documentary.
First, there will here be an introductory paragraph summary of the relevant background (not discussed in the documentary), if you want to know that: In February 2014, our State Department and CIA used ‘false flag,’ or engineered-so-as-to-be-misinterpreted, violence by our country’s paid Ukrainian agents, in order to exploit the ‘Maidan’ demonstrations in Kiev, the desire of Ukrainians for a less-corrupt government than existed in Ukraine, and than has existed in Ukraine ever since the fall of communism there.
Our Government, the Obama Administration, paid masked gunmen there to dress as if they were from the State Security Force of the corrupt Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and to shoot at and murder not just policemen but anti-Yanukovych or ‘democracy’ demonstrators. (However, Yanukovych had, in fact, himself been democratically elected in 2010, and still was the democratically elected President.)
(NOTE: The complete key phone-transcript whose audio is briefly heard excerpted there is printed here.)
And our gunmen also threatened some members of the Ukrainian Parliament at gunpoint, and engineered their approval of an emergency replacement of Yanukovych’s government by one that was appointed by Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland, and that was headed by Nuland’s friend “Yats,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This new government was filled with people who stated their desire to exterminate the people in Ukraine’s southeast, the people who had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych — to just get rid of them. Doing that would make Obama’s regime in Ukraine become permanent.
Then, Ukraine held a ‘democratic’ election in which voters everywhere but in the southeast voted, and essentially the same coup-installed people remained in power.
The billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko was elected as the President of ‘Ukraine’; and Victoria Nuland’s chosen leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, continued on as the new country’s Prime Minister. Yatsenyuk fired the previous Defense Minister and replaced him with Mikhail Koval, who on June 11th announced a program of ethnic cleansing in the southeast. This was actually a direct extension from the program that had already started with the extermination on May 2nd of hundreds of supporters of the previous government, who were trapped inside the Trade Unions Building in Odessa and burned alive there. This massacre was masterminded by people who were installed by the Obama Administration.
That massacre started Ukraine’s civil war, by demonstrating to people throughout the southeast, that the newly Obama-installed Ukrainian Government wanted to kill them. It was now official policy throughout the southeastern portion of Ukraine, to kill the Obama-installed regime’s opponents. All of the residents there were being officially labelled by the Obama government as ‘terrorists,’ and their elimination was declared to be a patriotic necessity for Ukraine. However, this amateur documentary from Ukraine’s southeast — the video from which the scenes above are taken — presents the resulting civil war not from the Obama Government’s side, but from their regime’s victims’ side, which is hardly heard at all in the West.
Since this amateur documentary presents the unvarnished reality of an actual ethnic cleansing campaign in progress, corpses and parts of corpses are necessarily shown, and also bombed buildings are shown. There also are curse-words that are spoken by the victims. Censoring these things out would be a violation of the most basic requirements of honest journalism, and would be to cover-up the reality of an ethnic-cleansing campaign, merely because this reality is ugly — that would be a shameful thing to do, a fundamental violation of the journalistic standards of any democracy, and will not be done here, though it is routinely done by our ‘journalists.’
Whatever it is, is mass-theft, combined with mass-murder, combined with a super-scandalous cover-up by all but a half-dozen ‘news’ media in the West (each of which has a small audience), so that even almost all ‘alternative news’ sites are part of the cover-up. But this site, fortunately, isn’t. It’s one of the few that are honest.
In fact, international aristocrats are raping our entire planet with impunity (such as by owning ‘news’ media and politicians), and are ‘trophy hunting’ and otherwise slaughtering not only rare species of animals, but also the human residents of southeastern Ukraine. To ‘bag’ a human or an expensive animal of any species is especially status-confirming to them. Their impunity is the mark of their ‘superiority’: Only they can commit crimes with impunity; so, the bigger the crime, the bigger the thrill it is for them.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
RT – August 12, 2014 10:37
By Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
This is the way the multi-trillion dollar Global War on Terror (GWOT) ends: not with a bang, but with a bigger bang.
The GWOT, since its conceptualization 13 years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, is the gift that keeps on giving. And no gift is bigger than a Transformer Al-Qaeda on steroids – bigger, brasher, and wealthier than anything Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri had ever dreamt of; the IS (Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS) of Caliph Ibrahim, former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
US President Barack Obama, before deploying his golf holidays in Martha’s Vineyard, casually dropped that bombing the Caliph’s goons in Iraq will take months. One may interpret it as another layer of the Obama administration’s self-avowed “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine, not so subtly mocked by prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Shock and Awe in 2003 destroyed the whole of Baghdad’s infrastructure in only a few hours.
Obama also confirmed the US was showering Iraq again with humanitarian bombing “to protect American interests” (first and foremost) and, as an afterthought, “human rights in Iraq.”
One could not possibly expect Obama to declare the US would now bomb “our” allies the House of Saud, who have supported/financed/weaponized IS, in Syria and Iraq. The same erstwhile ISIS that thoroughly enjoyed the marvels of US military training in a secret base in Jordan.
Obama also could not possibly explain why the US always supported ISIS in Syria and now decides to bomb them in Iraq. Oh, the perils of ‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’.
So a quick translation applies.
Obama’s bombing of the Caliph’s goons has absolutely nothing to do with US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power’s much beloved R2P (‘responsibility to protect’) doctrine – as in the responsibility to protect up to 150,000 Yazidis, not to mention Kurds and remaining Christians, from a ‘potential’ genocide carried out by the Caliph’s goons.
The whole fighter jets + drones bombing exercise, lasting ‘months’, has to do with the Benghazi syndrome.
The Caliph’s goons were dead set on conquering Irbil – the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is led by the wily Massoud Barzani – a long-time US client/vassal.
The US maintains a consulate in Irbil. Crammed with CIA types. Or, as the New York Times so lovingly puts it, “thousands of Americans.”
Enter Benghazi. This is an electoral year. Obama is absolutely terrified of another Benghazi – which Republicans have been trying non-stop to blame on his administration’s incompetence. The last thing Obama needs is the Caliph’s goons killing ‘diplomats’ in Erbil.
That would certainly raise a tsunami of questions all over again about the shady CIA weapon-smuggling racket – as in arming Syrian ‘rebels’ with weapons from Libya – at the time Benghazi took place. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, of course, also knew about it all. But then, and especially now, no one should know that the CIA was weaponizing the bulk of the future Caliph’s forces.
Regime change or bust
Obama said this humanitarian bombing adventure could last “months,” but in fact it could last only days.
The price is cheap: regime change. As in former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blocked from having a third term.
That explains why all hell broke loose in Baghdad, as Iraqi parliamentarians clearly saw which way the wind is blowing. Haider al-Abadi was chosen by new President Fuad Masoum, a Kurd, as the new prime minister – hours after Maliki positioned Special Forces in strategic sites in and around the Green Zone and may (or may not) have tried to stage a coup. Maliki maintains that Masoum violated the Iraqi constitution by not selecting him to form a new cabinet; after all, his State of Law bloc got the most votes in last April’s parliamentary elections.
Obama, predictably, was delighted. But whatever happens next, Maliki won’t go down quietly – to say the least. Even as the predominant narrative among Sunnis, a substantial number of Kurds and even some Shiite political blocs is that Maliki antagonized Sunnis all-out; and that’s what drove them to support the Caliph en masse (although now many are having second thoughts.)
As for the KRG and Barzani, in the Obama administration scheme of things, what matters is that they should not declare independence. As long as Barzani promises to Obama that Kurdistan stays inside Iraq, the KRG will get more bombs and drones and the ‘humanitarian’ operation will speed up. US Special Forces are already deployed all over the huge area where the Caliphate borders the KRG, in so-called desert forward operating positions. And the US for all practical purposes is now the Iraqi Air Force against the Caliph.
Watch ‘the Hillarator’
This Obama administration warped R2P – protection for Americans first, refugees second – will accomplish nothing for a key reason; no bombing – ‘humanitarian’ or otherwise – exterminates a political/religious movement, even one as demented as IS. The Caliphate prospers, somewhat, and expands, because unlike that pathetic Free Syrian Army (FSA) it’s winning territory, desert and urban, in both Syria and Iraq; an area bigger than Great Britain already, holding at least 6 million people.
As for the much-peddled Washington myth of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jihadists, the Caliphate also exploded it. Virtually every jihadi Washington – and Riyadh – weaponized and trained in Jordan and in the Turkey-Syria border is now among the Caliph’s goons, wallowing in cash raised from oil smuggling, hardcore blackmail and ‘donations’, and weaponized to their teeth after looting four Iraqi divisions and a Syrian brigade.
As for the GWOT gift, it will keep on giving in a bigger and bigger bang because of the dream narrative now displayed for every aspiring multinational jihadi; we are now defending our Caliphate from the mighty Crusader Air Force, no less.
The US lost the war in Iraq, miserably, only nine days after the fall of Baghdad, in April 2003. No ‘humanitarian’ bombing will turn it into a victory. And no ‘humanitarian’ bombing will finish the Caliphate off.
As for prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, she’s taking no prisoners. She insists the US should have bombed Syria in the first place; then there would be no Caliphate. But now she worries the Caliph will attack Europe and even the US (“I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence and defeat”).
Predictably positioning herself, Clinton could not but totally dismiss Obama’s foreign policy doctrine, a.k.a. ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’: “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” So the world will have to wait until 2017, when she’s finally able to implement her own doctrine/organizing principle: “We came, we saw, he died.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of UH.