If The Hold Steady focuses on the literary ideas bouncing around in Bruce Springsteen's head, New Jersey's The Gaslight Anthem focuses on his heart. At some point on Gaslight Anthem's stunning new "American Slang" (Side One Dummy) album, Brian Fallon's words cease to matter. It's not that the lyrics are unimportant - in fact, they've improved by leaps and bounds, especially in "Bring It On," drenched in "Born to Run" heroics and Ronettes sweetness. But, on "Orphans," the full-throttle Replacements-fueled guitars, the driving rhythms and Fallon's Springsteenish growl sound so good together it gets dizzying to try to parse it. It's better to just let go and enjoy the thrill of the next great American band coming into its own.

Listen to "American Slang" here