The Hold Steady

by Alex Hern

I just went through my archives, and realised I haven’t posted anything on/from The Hold Steady. This is a travesty, but, luckily, one that is easily remedied.
I would guess any American readers will be cursing me for my ignorance right now, but I honestly have no idea of the scale of this band. I know they are critics darlings on both sides of the Atlantic, but I also know that, here at least, that seems to have failed to convert into any kind of sales. They are perennially a band that people have heard of.
I hoped that, with the release of all three of their albums here simultaneously, that would change, but it seems not to have, so I thought I’d do my bit by posting my two favourite songs.
Firstly, there is Chips Ahoy, from their current album, Boys and Girls in America. If I could, I’d post the entire album up here. Bought on a whim from eMusic, it was so good I went out and re-bought it on CD the same week. It was so good, I wanted a hard copy. Chips Ahoy is typical of the album, a story that seems simple at first – a boy and a girl – but gets deeper each listen. And then it decides it doesn’t need to be too enigmatic, and so chucks in some insanely catchy woohoos for the chorus.
Once that has got you hooked, dive deeper in the rabbit hole. Positive Jam is the opening track from their debut, The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me. I think it is the most American song ever made. The beauty of this track lies in its bipartite layout; opening with some sort of poetic history of the 20th century, about halfway through the ban reach the end of the era and decide “Fuck it. Lets have some air guitar.”
I very nearly made this post just a cut and paste of the lyrics. I think they speak for themselves.

The Hold Steady – Chips Ahoy [MP3 Removed]
The Hold Steady – Positive Jam [MP3 Removed]

Image swiped from Juror8’s photostream