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Tag Archives: steel train

A long while back in middle school, as I was discovering my first taste of independent music in the heyday of Drive-Thru records, I listened briefly to a group on their roster called Steel Train.  For eighth grade me, they were nothing that really stood out compared to the other Drive-Thru bands that had captured my attention, and I went back to listening to The Early November and The Starting Line (nothing wrong with that!).

A few years later Lucas tried to tell me how good they were by sending me their cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”  I became a little more interested and checked out “Better Love,” a song that details the lead singer, Jack Antonoff’s, high school relationship with…Scarlett Johansson.  Yep.  That would be a tough one to get over.  Anyway, their music for some reason still didn’t hook me and thought that I would never really enjoy the band that much.

Cut to last week when I saw the cover of their new independently released self-titled album.  I loved the album art immediately, and the image of the punk girl particularly struck me because I’ve been reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series recently.

Their most recent Self-Titled album plays out like a retrospective study on the last half decade of indie rock, which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing!  There are Animal Collective-like whoops and hollers, chiming guitars that evoke Vampire Weekend, and a general epic feel that echos the recent Springsteen obsession of punk bands like the Gaslight Anthem

The standout track for me, however, is the pop abandon of You Are Dangerous.” Piano and palm muted guitars periodically rise and fall over a stop-and-start rhythm section, which gradually builds to a catchy-as-hell post chorus guitar riff that makes me want to dance around forever.  Add in some obligatory vocal “oohs” and you’ve got a great mid-summer jam.

With specific online purchases of the album the band is also giving away an alternate version with every track covered by a different female artist!  This is a pretty sweet idea, and is made only better by the fact that Lexington native Amanda Palmer lays down her own version of Steel Train’s “Behavior.”  Awesome!

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