Thursday, August 7, 2008

it will be stoney and adorable

ATTN scant warm-blooded Baton Rougeans: The Hold Steady are playing at Chelsea's tonight and you need to hear them, Normally I'm-live-and-let-live with whatever it is you want to see and listen to, go for it, it's a free country, U! S! A! etc. etc. but in this case I feel I must intervene and point you to the righteous path that starts in the blue collar snows of Minneapolis, hangs south at Brooklyn and ends right at the intersection of convulsive youth culture and making it out alive. There might be people around you saying they are all hype, talk talk talk, drug problem, then guitar solo, but these people are fools and their opinions are not to be heeded. The Hold Steady is the Real Thing for the Real Now.

I'm just now getting around to Bob Mould's new disc despite the urgings of friends whose opinions I trust. Bob has that model of a very modern aging rockstar thing going on - the sheen of District Line is positively radio-friendly at points, reinterpreting the power rock he helped hone with Sugar which has been an innocent founding document of the seamless, bloodless compressed status quo rock sound. The rare thing Bob Mould understands is that compression one works when there are actual contents to be pressurized - you need to feel that violent tension in the can and have some trepidation when you depress the nozzle.

"Old Highs, New Lows" is the most tasteful use of an vocal autotuner ever. Or right behind that big Cher hit anyway. and "Return to Dust" might be my new favorite song of the year.

and not that I have a single solitary thing against Paul Westerberg or The Replacements, but I trolled through Wikipedia's Minnesota musical groups looking for some new sons of the 12th largest state in the Union whose virtues I might extol, and came across the perfectly-monikered Small Towns Burn a Little Slower. STBALS, or stuh-balls as we immediately new fans of the band are led to call them, are in full posession of the Minnesota glory grind - I bet people shout a lot in Minneapolis and have the Wide World of Sports theme running through their heads at all times. A bit too da-DAAAAAAAAAH-Dah emoey at points for my tastes, but in the valleys between their peaks are some interesting stuff, nice textures, a little exposed underbelly. Those guitars chime like church bells in the distance, clouded by the hum of low-hung power lines. Nice surprising slide work on "What is it Worth?" Thankfully, STBALS has resolved the urge I've had to dig up some old Get Up Kids albums. Plus, great name y'all.

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