Jack Antonoff has come a long way from street hustling. Since Steel Train
swapped its lineup and released their second LP, traction has been slowly building. Trampoline
was a great jumping point (sorry) full of catchy riff-rock, and the band established itself as the best thing you'd never heard on their 2007 tour with The Format (when I saw them, and pre-ordered the CD at the show). Antonoff joined Nate Ruess (formally of the now defunct Format) for the supergroup fun., where he was lauded for his guitar skills, and where I lauded them all for being great
. The band left its label (Drive Thru), and now it's prepping a third LP (tentatively untitled). A few songs have made live appearances but now the first recorded material is available for the price of an email. Get on it!
The caffeine-fueled vocals and head-first distortion seem new, but the underlying twinkle of chimes and catchy refrains are definitely the work of the Train. Great to see them developing and trying new things while keeping their core sound in tact.
More on the new album (due in June), via Spin:
"...an energetic romp that already reminds him of the band's early days playing American Legions and firehouses in their home state. "The sound systems were always so bad, we had to go ape shit to put on a real show, and somehow that inspired the music and lyrics to reflect all that madness," he tells SPIN.com. "It's all positive aggression. That's the vibe of the record and the shows."
And "Turnpike Ghost" mirrors that reckless attitude. "The music is frantic and aggressive to support the lyrics which are about moving on, pulling yourself out of whatever hole you've fallen into," Antonoff explains. "I wrote this song after hearing a Propagandhi lyric: 'When you jump ship, you can either swim to shore or drown.' The song and the whole record are about that. Getting the fuck out of bed with your mind open to the world around you. No bitterness."
Steel Train is going on tour with Tegan and Sara in April, as well as making some festival appearances (Coachella in Cali, and Bamboozle in their home state). Stay tuned for more. -joe puglisi
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Steel Train on Myspace