Archive | July, 2016

Certain Songs #608: The Hold Steady – “Spinners”

hold steady spinners Album: Teeth Dreams
Year: 2014

Near the end of 1982, I got to see The Clash open for The Who. Which, at the time was my current favorite band opening for my all-time favorite band.

I was pretty sure even at the time that was never going to happen again. Until it did, when in 2014 Rox & I flew out to Minneapolis-St. Paul and saw The Hold Steady open for The Replacements.

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Certain Songs #607: The Hold Steady – “The Sweet Part of The City”

Hold steady - heaven is whenever Album: Heaven is Whenever
Year: 2010

The difficult fifth album. It’s tripped up more than one great band. You start your career with four absolute winners in a row, but while it’s only cool and logical to wanna mix things up, you get too far away from your strengths for your own good.

It happened to the Ramones with End of the Century. It happened to X on Ain’t Love Grand. It happened to Pavement with Terror Twilight. And it happened to The Hold Steady with Heaven is Whenever.

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Certain Songs #606: The Hold Steady – “Magazines”

hold_steady -stay_positive-frontal Album: Stay Positive
Year: 2009

I’ve seen The Hold Steady live five times in the past decade, which doesn’t seem like much, but considering that I don’t get out to see shows that much anymore, it’s a pretty fair amount.

And at least two of them were among the greatest shows I’ll ever see: opening for the Replacements in 2014, and of course, 2008’s rock ‘n’ roll lovefest with the Drive-by Truckers, which I wrote about totally hungover while sitting on the floor of the Virgin terminal at LAX waiting for an early flight to Seattle, where we were going to spend Thanksgiving.

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Certain Songs #605: The Hold Steady – “Sequestered in Memphis”

hold_steady -stay_positive-frontal Album: Stay Positive
Year: 2008

One of the things about that differentiated Stay Positive from its predecessors was that there weren’t just quite a few songs that weren’t about fucked-up kids from a fucked-up scene.

Nope, there were also songs about fucked-up adults, too!

Like the protagonist in “Sequestered in Memphis,” who is clearly not having a good day, as he’s being interrogated by cops about something he barely remembers from a recent business trip.

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Certain Songs #604: The Hold Steady – “Constructive Summer”

hold_steady -stay_positive-frontal Album: Stay Positive
Year: 2008

Some of you might have noticed that one of the things I really like in an artist is prolificness.

And by the standards of the 21st century, putting out their three albums in three years, the Hold Steady were absolutely on fire. So to me, the two years between the world-beating Boys and Girls in America and the 2008 follow-up seemed almost interminable.

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