It’s no secret ’round these parts how much I like love The Hold Steady. Here are a few reasons why:
1 – I’ve said many times that their 2006 single, Stuck Between Stations, is a minor masterpiece, and my take on that song hasn’t changed.
2 – In a lot of ways, stumbling across that album, “Boys and Girls in America,” brought me back from the wilderness of ignoring new music and new artists. I still think most of them suck, but I’ll at least give them a try.
3 – Associations. I vividly remember listening to BAGIA on maximum volume last year as I strolled to Pax Arcana’s place for some frosty libations prior to a St. Paddy’s Day bash at the Reverend E’s. Good times, except for the part when I slipped on Pax’s ice-covered porch and royally screwed up my back. Still, good times, from what I can remember.
4 – In a prolonged and ultimately victorious campaign against a jowl-related affliction, I started riding a bike 24 miles and doing a bunch of pushups and situps a few times a week. BAGIA prompted me to check out the other THS albums; their debut, “Almost Killed Me,” became the default soundtrack to workouts last summer. Workout music is vital; it must kick ass. AKM kicks major ass.
5 – They tell stories, interesting stories, tell them well, and sound great doing it.
6 – Killer guitars. Just killer. Tad Kubler, you are awesome.
7 – The guys in THS are about as old as I am, which is pretty old. But the kids seem to like ’em a lot, which makes me feel a bit less old. Not much, but I’ll take what I can get.
Well, THS has a new album out, “Stay Positive,” and let’s avoid about 5,000 words worth of hyperbole and just say I’m far from disappointed (thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou Carl Spackler. You area a gentleman and a scholar). It rocks from start to finish, and even the inclusion of the harpsichord on one track couldn’t derail my enthusiasm.
Mr. Spackler hooked us up with an advance copy, but I will be shelling out the dough for this baby (on vinyl if they press it) as soon as it hits the stores. If this band had gone the “In Rainbows” route and allowed fans to download the album for what they thought it’s worth, I’d easily have ponied up $20. It’s just that good.