For all you drugged up clever kids
So the new Hold Steady record, Stay Positive, is easily my most anticipated record of the summer, despite Andrea (justifiably) still being mad at Craig Finn (and the 9:30 Club, and Art Brut, and the radio contest, and the dazzling array of douchebags that showed up). The song up on their myspace is amazing (Steve, break the rules just once, man), and the promise of Ben Nichols singing backup has me even more excited. I'm hoping for a big, bombastic rock record with the best riffs of the year and beats to get you off your ass and Craig Finn will spin the stories that have us talking until the fall.
To tide you over, I'm posting a big collection of rarities, b-sides, outtakes, soundtrack and compilation appearances, and a cut from their very first single, which predates Almost Killed Me and which routinely goes for $70 on eBay. If you're a fan of the band, you're definitely going to want to check these out, especially "Girls Like Status," which I think should have taken the place of "Same Kooks" on Boys and Girls in America.
I've often said that when you get to the level of Great Bands, the difference can be found in how great their b-sides and castoff outtakes are. The few Ramones and Fugazi leftovers are a good example of this. The Smiths are probably the best example of this - I can think of maybe two songs in their entire discography that isn't at least good, if not great or classic. If your b-material still kicks out the jams, then you know you're a truly awesome band. While not every single one of these songs is album-worthy (some of them you can see why they were kept off records despite being decent - they wouldn't have fit), but they include a truly awesome Dylan cover, the rocker "You Gotta Dance," the melancholy "Modesto's Not That Sweet," and the begging-for-a-Jawbreaker-cover "Teenage Liberation." If that's not enough, for those who follow the snippets of story about Gideon and Holly, some of these songs should shed a little more light.
While not as quality as the party album Atmosphere dropped for free download right before releasing the absoluetly devastating When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold, it should be enough to keep you occupied until July 15th.
Click here for the Zip file: http://www.mediafire.com/?vn0bblxe9dz