The Gaslight Anthem have released a lot of music over the years, and most of it was for SideOneDummy. Their last traditional album (released for Mercury/Island), Handwritten is a favorite record of mine, but that's not to say that I'm not a fan of the albums that they made before that. Sink or Swim, The '59 Sound, and American Slang are all great records that the band recorded with SideOneDummy before leaving the indie. Those four albums for SideOneDummy of course had some B-sides to them and that's what we're getting with the appropriately titled The B-Sides coming from Side One Dummy and The Gaslight Anthem, or are we?
The B-Sides isn't as much a B-sides collection as it is a set of acoustic songs with a few fully produced tracks bundled alongside of them. The acoustic and live songs are all great. Included on the album; "The '59 Sound", "State of Love and Trust", "The Queen of Lower Chelsea", "Great Expectations", "Antonia Jane", "American Slang" and "Boxer." Out of the eleven songs featured on this album, seven are acoustic, one is live, and three are fully-produced songs. It would be great if there were some actual B-sides included on this release instead of a plethora of acoustic numbers.
That said, hose acoustic songs are tremendous. That makes up for there being only three produced B-sides. The acoustic versions of "The 59 Sound" and "Great Expectations" in particular are clear moments on this eleven song set. Some of the recordings aren't great, but most of them are perfect for what The Gaslight Anthem does and that makes them really enjoyable.
This is an interesting release from SideOneDummy, but I understand it. All of these great acoustic recordings are lying around, it makes sense to use them for something. Fans of the band can pick this up and enjoy it for what it is, but I wouldn't get too excited about a Gaslight Anthem release from here on out unless it's a formal album.