Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Hold Steady’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE HOLD STEADY-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #219 (June 23, 20210).

sudan

I have never seen The Hold Steady, but I have seen Craig Finn solo (which seems like the same thing to me).  I never really liked them all that much, although he was great live.  It’s the spoken/sung delivery (that sounds a little too much like Bruce Springsteen) that makes all the songs sound the same to me.  I feel like there’s a story in each song and his delivery makes me tune out of the words.  Oops.

But for its first-ever full-band Tiny Desk appearance, the group squeezed behind a cramped backstage corner of the Brooklyn Bowl, COVID mask protocol in place.  Illuminated by string lights, the band ran through tracks from its latest album, Open Door Policy, kicking off with “Heavy Covenant” as a swell of clarinets and trumpets round out the sound

“Heavy Covenant” opens with an accordion from Franz Nicolay with Craig Finn singing.  After a verse or two Stephen Selvidge and Tad Kubler bring in the guitars.  Halfway through, The Horn Steady add clarinet (Stuart Bogie and Peter Hess) and trumpet (Jordan McLean).

Though the lineup consisted of its current supersized iteration – featuring both Steve Selvidge on guitar and multi-instrumentalist Franz Nicolay back on accordion – the band scaled back its swagger for the space. Here, the recurring “Woos!” on the recorded version of “Unpleasant Breakfast” become softer and more subtle;

For “Unpleasant Breakfast” Bobby Drake starts the song with some hi hat claps before Tad Kubler adds in chords and Stephen Selvidge adds in solo notes.  You can hear Galen Polivka’s bass pretty clearly (even if he is hidden behind Finn).  Normally I don’t like the addition of horns on songs, but these gentle additions (maybe its the clarinet sound) add perfects accents.  After what felt like three minutes of the same melody the song changes gears and gets really big and swaying–and I started paying attention again.

The surf sounds of “Riptown” still rolick, but with restraint that suits the setting.

Finn says “Riptown” is a fictitious place that they should now visit.  The claps are a nice addition as are the horns (once again).

“Parade Days” is a bonus song (it didn’t make the vinyl).  I like the drama of the opening guitars and the accordion build up.

[READ: July 1, 2021] “Dream Fragment”

This month’s issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue and features three pieces of fiction and three poems.

The second piece is a poem. It is about the winter, which is a little odd for a summer reading issue.

This story, about many things, but focusing on the moment children are taken from their parents, is a tough read.

The story is also not set at a specific time or place.  Some clues are given.  The parents are called Amma and Appa but those words are used in both Korean and Tamil.  The opening line asks, How do you find sweet syrup at the end of the world?

Things were bad.  The family would soon head into the basement and then “see if there was still an upstairs.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

2017-02-25-21-21-28[ATTENDED: January 31, 2017] Craig Finn

The universe has insisted that I see Craig Finn perform.  Last year he opened for My Morning Jacket, but my friend Jay and I arrived late and missed his whole set.  Well, here was a second chance.

Back then I had assumed that Craig Finn was one of the Finns from Crowded House.  It wasn’t until that MMJ concert that I discovered he was the guy from The Hold Steady, a band I’d never listened to.  I didn’t know much about him beyond that except that his delivery was kind of spoken/sung and there were comparisons to Bruce Springsteen.

I had gotten up pretty close to the stage, and I was surrounded by diehard Finn fans, so I felt like a bit of an imposter.  But he didn’t seem to mind and he played a really enjoyable set.

Given how raucous the Japandroids were he seemed like a bit of an odd match, but he certainly has a punk vibe, even if his songs are not very loud. (more…)

Read Full Post »

2016-12-05-21-06-09SOUNDTRACK: CRAIG FINN-Tiny Desk Concert #193 (February 9, 2012).

I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars.  But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.

finnCraig Finn opened for My Morning Jacket when I saw them in New York.  However, we arrived late, so I missed him.  I was fairly certain that Craig Finn was actually Neil Finn when I saw his name, so I expected Crowded House, not The Hold Steady.

For this solo venture, Finn has crafted some slow folk songs.  He sings slowly and deliberately on these three acoustic songs.  The melodies are simple and his voice sounds very California to me. He’s accompanied by Ricky Ray Jackson playing a great-sounding echoey slide guitar.  In fact, I feel like Jackson is the highlight of the show.

“Apollo Bay” and “Western Pier” are from the solo album.  They are story songs.  The final song “Jeremiah’s Blues” is not on the record, but it’s fun to challenge yourself.

[READ: December 6, 2016] “Just Like Us”

Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar.  Which is what exactly?  Well…

The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas.  This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.

I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived (a few days late for advent, but that was my fault for ordering so late) I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.

I really enjoyed this story about a girl and her mom and the struggles they have had.  It opens with the excellent line: “It wasn’t easy to get kicked out of Happy Trails RV Park and Camp.”  The owner put up with a lot.  Including her son, who was rather a layabout.  He was injured in a construction job and is on disability–meaning he doesn’t do anything around the camp either.

Nina was fourteen, part white, part Chinese.  Her father returned to China when she was a baby  and sent them money for the first two years.  And then suddenly he stopped.  So her mama had spent time with many different boyfriends.  Her last boyfriend, Roy, seemed promising until she caught him cheating on her (for the third time).  And after that she decided it was time to get outta California.  So they got in their camper and took off.

There’s a line that I really enjoyed: “She turned on the radio…the lead singer wailed about a small-town girl escaping into a lonely world–the coincidence of a song about our lives.” (more…)

Read Full Post »