May 21, 2007

Just hold it steady, will ya?

I am thoroughly excited to be seeing The Hold Steady tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, as everyone who sees their live show comes back fairly glowing. Last year’s Boys and Girls in America is a solid, lyrically dense, interesting rocker of an album, but I really started getting excited about buying a ticket for the Denver show when I saw the video of Craig Finn performing at Carnegie Hall for the Springsteen tribute:

Now that’s what rock and roll is supposed to both look and feel like.

I also read a very good snapshot interview with The Hold Steady in Paste Magazine on the airplane this afternoon. I recommend the whole article, but here’s a snippet that made me smile:

It’s awfully easy (and somewhat fun) to get tangled up in The Hold Steady’s Midwestern mythos— the band’s aesthetic is straightforward (brews, devil horns, guitars, good times) but not simplistic (Finn’s lyrics are near-prophetic), and they’ve cultivated, however inadvertently, a certain working-class appeal (see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Hold Steady’s most obvious predecessor). They’re the band you go see when you feel like getting drunk on PBR, dancing and then loitering outside the venue, eating crappy pizza on the curb; they embody the half-tragic, half-ecstatic American adolescence every 33-year-old with a desk job wants desperately to re-live.

In some ways, their appeal is as much about escapism—a return to teen-dom, to making out with a friend and hunting down parties in the woods—as anything else. I hold up a stack of press clippings and tell Finn I’m tempted to highlight every instance of the word “beer.” Finn grins, surveys the drained mugs littering our table, and raises his eyebrows. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he deadpans.

While I was reading the article somewhere over Arizona, I also listened to a handful of related b-sides and live tracks assembled by my friend Tom and scavenged in various locations.

Enjoy these, and come out to the show tomorrow:

Curves and Nerves (b-side) – The Hold Steady

Stuck Between Stations (acoustic) – The Hold Steady
I just love these lyrics

Against The Wind (Bob Seger cover) – The Hold Steady


(links removed: you can still buy it here!)


And here’s an interesting collection: Craig Finn’s old band The Brokerdealer, which may be likened, at least on these tracks, to Finn’s own Postal Service project. All electronica and club-beats, but those same biting, poetic lyrics.

Give Me Back My Body – The Brokerdealer

If Not For Hipster Pictures – The Brokerdealer

The Last Ones Up Became Lovers – The Brokerdealer

And finally a soundtrack to the season: If you’re a baseball fan like I am, you should read this lovely piece from the Portland Mercury with Craig Finn ruminating on the connections between music & baseball, recording “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for his beloved Twins, and how he saw Paul Westerberg at spring training.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame – The Hold Steady

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  • Wow. That is a killer post. With Boys And Girls coming in as my top album of last year, these are greatly appreciated.

    Eric — May 22, 2007 @ 6:02 am

  • you are going to really, really love the Hold Steady show. i wrote about seeing them here:
    but they have to be seen to be appreciated.

    and, for what it’s worth, i’m traveling to atlanta next week to catch the Kings of Leon show, based mostly on the strength of your recommendation / their new album.

    e* — May 22, 2007 @ 8:18 am

  • I am so jealous! Have fun at the show, please post a review.

    Slush — May 22, 2007 @ 8:19 am

  • Wow, I admit while this is a band I have heard buzz about, I never really gave them a listen aside form the 30-second clips on iTunes. But this post really makes me wanna get into them. Sounds like my college days all over again. And I never knew they were influenced by Bruce- one of my favorites!!!

    Pete Pizza — May 22, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  • Bah…I can’t go. Stupid family troubles.

    JJ — May 22, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  • I understand what you’re feeling. I feel that way about Lucero, even some Jason Collett work. It’s a prim-rock&roll-ordial pull.

    Springsteen is in the air. Have a blast, I look forward to a recap. Lose your senses but hold on to your blood this time.

    debs — May 22, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  • Has anyone seen the Springsteen show online at all? I looked on Dime around the time of the show but nothing.

    Hold Steady still rules.

    Mike — May 22, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  • Mike, I’ve been looking too. Some folks think that all the boots have been somehow suppressed because there may be plans to commercially release it?. I haven’t been able to find it, and I wanted to hear the Hold Steady covering Atlantic City. I heard it was incendiary.

    heather — May 22, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  • You get all the awesome shows right before me. They’ll be here the night after in Salt Lake … only I’ll be in Boise, taking in a free Brandi Carlile show. Win some, lose some.

    Dainon — May 22, 2007 @ 12:13 pm

  • Wow… I love this post.

    parisian cowboy — May 22, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  • Pardon me Heather…
    Parisian Cowboy, I have a complete stream of Micah P. Hinson & The Opera Circuit. I will try to post it at your site.

    debs — May 22, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  • Wow, thanks for all the links!
    Keep up the good work!
    90s Music Videos

    DaGooroo — May 22, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

  • Thanks for the insight on the possibility of a boot. Who knows, maybe someday it’ll mysteriously show up.

    Mike — May 25, 2007 @ 5:35 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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