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The Gaslight Anthem Record

The Horrible Crowes 
The Horrible Crowes Story

compiled by Alexander for The Gaslight Anthem Record

Brian introduces the project on his blog (20 January 2011):

"What we're doing is writing songs and making demos at the very moment. We hope to put out a full length record sometime this year, before it gets cold again, I don't know with whom, or when exactly it will come out. But the point is, it's coming out. We're calling ourselves The Horrible Crowes. [...] It's the darker side of soul music, it's slow, it slithers, and it's raw. At the same time, the melodies and pianos are a juxtaposition to the topic material because it's eerily soothing. I'm really proud of what's been coming out and we'll see how it goes, but it's in the works and it's heading for an actual record. We might do a few shows with the Crowes, maybe select cities in the US, Can, and Europe/UK, but not major touring like Gaslight does. This is my "for me" record, Gaslight is my baby, no mistake. I always said I never would do a "solo" record so that's why I found a partner in crime in Ian. So it's not going to be the acoustic Brian Fallon road show. There's organs, pianos, even (gasp) strings!!! There's drums, everything. So don't expect a folk record. Here's a good description, if Tom Waits, the National, the Afghan Whigs, Bon Iver, and Nick Cave made a band with Percy Sledge that'd be called The Horrible Crowes."


The Horrible Crowes write on their blog (21 January 2011):

"From across the sea... 
Currently we're writing new songs across the Atlantic Ocean. Working on a surprising amount of demos, almost ready to go."

Brian provides further details in an interview with AMP Magazine (27 January 2011):

"We set a goal for ourselves to write 17 songs, which is a lot, so we've been cranking it out all of January, but all we have is rough demos we did on garage band.  Nothing recorded for real though.  I'd like to see the record clock in around 12 songs; that feels right somehow.  It's also really important we figure out how to place the songs with this project, because it's slower than Gaslight and there's not all the fast paced excitement to move it along, so it has to be really interesting sonically and musically.  You have to really make sure it's moving along and not dragging with music like this. [...] I think we'll play a few shows, but we won’t tour like Gaslight does, I just don't have the time or desire to do that.  The thing I love the most about Gaslight is the live show, but the thing I love about the Crowes is I can deliberate and create more somber sounds that you wouldn’t want to play every night for 8 months straight.  I like jumping around and playing loud guitars, which is not the Crowes' forte."

Further details appear on the Horrible Crowes on blog (11 February 2011):

"So it looks like we're going to be putting out a full length this year, we'll give specifics once we figure it out, but very soon... [...] We've got 11 [demos] done and we're going for 17 so we can have a full length album of 12 songs, and then some stuff for Itunes, and Record Store Day, etc. Ted Hutt is going to be at the helm not only producing but helping out on guitars as well."

More details from the Horrible Crowes blog (31 March 2011):

"The News... We now have what we call a record. There's 15 songs written, of which 11 or 12 will be on the record. As of right now we have no title for the album, but we know Mr. Ted Hutt will be producing. We're all flying in from all over the world to meet in my hometown in New Jersey around the last week in April to start pre-production, and we'll actually start recording May 2nd, Lord willing. For once I'm not flying all over the place to work. There's gonna be some very exciting, well dressed gentlemen inside this studio."
A Facebook post added: "It looks like you'll be hearing from us before the year turns too cold. Until the leaves fall off, then... nevermind the wheels."

On Episode 11 of Matt and Mondo's Punk Rock Power Hour (1 April 2011) Brian reveals that although only he and Ian are in the band and playing guitar, there will be bass, drums, piano, organ, violin, strings and horn.  Ted Hutt will produce the album and Sam Siegler from Rival Schools will play drums.

Brian tells The New Jersey Underground (18 April 2011): "The Crowes is like Tom Waits and Nick Cave, Mark Lanegan, Greg Dulli kind of stuff, it's pretty dark.  It's kids music, to give them nightmares and make girls cry."

Brian reveals on Twitter (2 May 2011): "The Horrible Crowes are finishing pre production. Recording Wednesday."  That same day, the Horrible Crowes tweet a photo of guitars on a 'studio' floor accompanied by the words "Fine tuning".

On Twitter Brian writes (10 May 2011): "Organ on fire!!!! - today with the horrible crowes". 

Brian posts the first of several studio updates (10 May 2011), along with a photo:


See here for eight Studio Updates.

The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook (23 May 2011): "Recording is now finished and Ted is back in LA to Mix!"

Brian talks to Spin about The Horrible Crowes (26 May 2011).  Here are some extracts:

"We built something very special with Gaslight and we don't want to mess with that sound too much," Fallon tells SPIN. "But I've always wanted to do a record where I can put strings or organs or pianos or whatever on it. Radical is a good word to describe the record," says Fallon, who taught himself how to play Hammond organ and piano for some of the tracks. "It's definitely out there. There are song structures, but it's not what you expect from me at all. Someone's either going to get pregnant or want to steal a car listening to this record." Fallon's new tunes could be his darkest yet, and his lyrics explore the pain and heartbreak brought on by three intense relationships he had as a teenager. "All these relationships I thought, 'Man, I'm going to spend the rest of my life with this person, and then one day they just up and leave," says Fallon, adding that one song deals with how he overcame his depression after meeting his current wife. "I played these songs for her and she just got to hear me totally lose my mind. It was cathartic to revisit that past, in a weird way." Fallon and Perkins have laid down 15 tracks — some featuring Gaslight members Alex Rosamilia and Benny Horowitz — which will get whittled down to a dozen for the final product. The most out-there song is titled "Go Tell Everybody," which Fallon says sounds like Cave covering a Marvin Gaye song. Another cut, titled "Mary Ann," explores Fallon's religious upbringing. "That song would give a kid nightmares for months," he says. "It's all about the end of the world." 

SideOneDummy issue a press release and a new photo (1 June 2011):

We are proud to announce the debut album from The Horrible Crowes, Elsie, on September 6, 2011. The group-which is composed of The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon and longtime friend Ian Perkins was conceptualized while Perkins joined Gaslight on a worldwide tour last year and the duo wrote the songs on buses, in hotel rooms and even a bathroom in Japan following the earthquake.
"Ian and I had a ritual where we'd go to the back on the bus at the end of a show and play each other records, I got him into Afghan Whigs and he got me into PJ Harvey and one day we just thought, 'we should do something like this'," Fallon explains. In that spirit earlier this summer the duo holed up with producer Ted Hutt (Dropkick Murphys, Chuck Ragan) to capture these songs on tape-and the result is something that will likely surprise even the most strident Gaslight Anthem fans in the best way possible.
"As much as I have this fantasy in the Gaslight Anthem of being Bruce Springsteen, I also have this fantasy of being Tom Waits or Greg Dulli," Fallon explains when asked about the catalyst for this project, which sees him playing keyboards and working with drum loops and string arrangements for the first time. "These songs are very dark; they're like hymns for lonely people," Fallon continues, "it's really a trip through a breakdown and that dissent into madness and hopefully redemption."
The Horrible Crowes will also be playing shows to promote the album and Fallon promises that the environment will be a stark contrast to a typical Gaslight Anthem performance. "Our shows are going to be smaller and they're going to take place in very intimate venues," Fallon explains. "It's not the kind of thing where you get wasted and listen to some music. It's more, 'I'm going to take my lady out and watch a band play and it’s going to be quiet and then we're going to go home and have a good evening,'" he continues.
"I'm not a different person when I’m in this band, it's just another side of what I love," Fallon summarizes, adding that although his Gaslight Anthem bandmates stopped by to perform on this record, The Horrible Crowes is its own tortured and sometimes beautiful beast. Get ready to fall in love with Fallon’s songwriting all over again.


The Horrible Crowes write on Twitter (8 June 2011):  "Record is mixed and now off to mastering!!!!! Sounds KILLER!!!"

The Horrible Crowes write on Twitter (10 June 2011): "Record is mastered. Officially done!".  They add on Facebook:  "We just got the masters back and they sound AMAZING! Preview track coming soon!"

The track listing is announced (15 June 2011) and a major interview with Brian (with a new photo) appears on the Alt Press website.


What are some of the other songs sounding like? What else stands out to you?
The record opens up with a song that’s only a minute and 30 seconds. It's called "Last Rites." It's just a piano and some organ and the vocal, and a tambourine. And that's it. It's a story—the record kind of goes through this process…it's like every breakup you’ve ever had, where you lose your mind. I wrote about a time in my life that I went through when I was younger. I really needed to get this out—and it was such a weird time, I couldn't write about it through punk rock. I just couldn't do it; it was too weird. When I was about 18 or 19, I literally went insane. I was an insane person. I just lost touch with reality.  That stuff has always been kicking around in the back of my brain. I just called it up. I sat down at the table and had coffee with that guy, and I haven't done that in 10 years. And we wrote a record. But at the end of it, it resolves. The beginning song is called "Last Rites," and [the album] ends with a song called "I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together." You would think that that would be like, "Aw, so romantic." But it's not, because that's not what life is. It's horrible, horrible circumstances, yet you still bring something good out of those horrible circumstances.


The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook (22 June 2011): "Here is a preview of "Black Betty & The Moon" from our new record "Elsie", which come out on September 6th."

The Horrible Crowes write on Facebook (24 June 2011): "Thank you to everyone who's been excited for the Fall Revival Tour in Europe! We can't wait to get over there, we all are thrilled about it. This tour will be following the release of The Horrible Crowes debut album "Elsie" and Ian and I will be performing songs from the Horrible Crowes on the Revival Tour. It's going to be a great tour and the first tour where you can hear songs from The Horrible Crowes."

WMNF radio (30 June 2011) leaks a song from Elsie, 'Mary Ann', earning itself a stinging rebuke from Brian Fallon on his blog (1 July 2011), which reveals much about the way in which Elsie has been conceived as an album:

"Dear DJ... please do not put music on the internet that you know you're not supposed to.
For once can someone have the respect of an artist or band to let them release their creation in it's entirety when they deem it ready? I understand people are excited, but if I was waiting for a movie to come out, why would you want to download a chapter of the whole? You'll miss the point and you'll miss the intent of the whole. When a single is officially released, it's like a trailer... it's thought over, and it represents a mood or a sum of the parts... it's a statement. 
If you respect us at all and our music, please don't download or listen to anything that's not official. Especially not when you take an MP3 stream, hook up coaxial cable and run it through a board and broadcast it. It sounds like garbage, and I know Myself, Ian, and Ted certainly didn't agonize over the sound of the record to have it played through a tin can telephone. The internet is great for somethings... but it's taking the magic out of music. There's no surprise and no mystery of art when people take it upon themselves to do things."

'Behold the Hurricane' is released as the Horrible Crowes' first single on the Rolling Stone magazine website as streaming audio (13 July 2011).

'Behold the Hurricane' is released as a download only single on iTunes, Amazon etc. (19 July 2011).

Brian talks at lenth to New York magazine about the Horrible Crowes, the Gaslight Anthem, etc. (25 July 2011):

NY: The Horrible Crowes’ stuff is darker and slower than Gaslight. How come?
"I was bored. After the last record for Gaslight Anthem, I was just bored. I still had the desire to write, but I didn't want to write anymore rock n roll songs. I was in this weird mood; I had just gotten this PJ Harvey record, and this was right around the time that High Violet came out from the National, too. So there's all these records that were slower and moodier, and I couldn't get away from it. I wondered, If I wrote a couple songs like this, what would it sound like? And then [Horrible Crowes bandmate] Ian [Perkins] and I started talking and I said, 'Well, I'm gonna try and write some songs, and then you write some bass lines and guitar lines over them and we'll see what it sounds like.' And it ended up sounding really good."

Pre-orders for Elsie start on 26 July 2011.  These include a deluxe bundle with a limited 7'' and a poster and t-shirt designed by El Jefe.


On 26 July 2011, the Horrible Crowes also announce a show at The Bowery Ballroom, NYC, on 8 September, and at  Troubadour, LA, on 14 September.

On his blog, Brian gives some advice on the upcoming Horrible Crowes shows (8 August 2011):

"The Horrible Shows
Thank you very much to everyone who bought tickets to our New York and LA shows!
We're going to be playing the whole record at these shows and we're working on some very interesting covers to play for you too. 
Expect lamps and dim lights. Wear something pretty, and boys, don't forget to shave... 
See you all there!
The Horrible Crowes"

On 1 September 2011 'Elsie' starts streaming on the Rolling Stone and NME websites.

Elsie hits the stores, in the UK on 5 September, in the US on 6 September.

Elsie has its full length live premiere at the Bowery Ballroom, New York City, on 8 September 2011.


The Horrible Crowes also perform the album at Troubador, LA, on 14 September 2011 and do an instore gig at Fingerprints Music, Long Beach, CA, on 15 September 2011.

NYC and LA concert poster by El Jefe

On 20 September 2011 the Horrible Crowes' first video, for 'Behold the Hurricane', premiers on

On 23/24 September 2013 the Horrible Crowes release Live at the Troubadour, which is available on CD/DVD and 2 LP/DVD.



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Page updated: 2 November 2011