Friday, October 20, 2006

Song of the Week 10/20/06

The Hold Steady - "Party Pit"

The first time I heard the Hold Steady I thought, "What the fuck is up with this guy's voice?" Craig Finn's vocals sounded somewhere between throaty spoken word performance and a strangled cat. I had read on, well, every blog I visit regularly that this album was "amazing," "earth shattering," and "a drunken fest." Even the Times got into the act with a huge one page spread in the Arts & Leisure section a few weeks ago. And they were a Brooklyn band, but from that horrible indie area of Williamsburg. All of these factors made me dismiss them quickly.

Then on Monday night I was listening to the World Cafe, and they had picked the band as their Next Artist for the week. So I sat there and listened to "Chips Ahoy!" And I realized that Craig Finn's voice had nothing to do with murdering cats. It was more like a raspier John Easdale (the frontman of the great Jersey band Dramarama). And the song sounded like a pre-Born to Run Springsteen outtake.

I was sold.

Tuesday I downloaded the album.

Wednesday I was convinced it was a good album.

Last night it moved into my Top 10 for the year as I listened to it on my way to Shea...and my way home from the heartbreaking loss. "Party Pit" particularly (ooh, alliteration!) caught my ear. It's snapsnot of that reckless party time at the end of high school and begining of college with a great refrain that carries the last third of the song: "Gonna walk around and drink some more/Gonna walk around and drink." That was what I wished I could do after the game last night, but the rain and the fact I had to work and that I was drop-dead exhausted from going to the previous night's game made that impossible.

Today I come into work, head to my friend John's blog, and what is title of the top entry? "Gonna walk around and drink some more..." Freaky. John had just seen them in L.A., and decribed it as "one of the greatest rock shows I've ever seen, and I've seen a couple. Just a joyous uncynical rock show, put on by hard working pros in their 30s. Nice to not be quite so much older than every single soul."

Now I have to see them.

And most likely, drink myself silly when I do.

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