Stay Positive


I don’t know why The Hold Steady‘s new album, Stay Positive, is available only through a popular commercial download service for now, and the physical silver platter won’t be on sale until mid-July. But anyway I downloaded it and it’s a very strong album from a great band. So much so that it’s sidetracked me and I haven’t even finished listening to the new John Hiatt yet.

Jazz and classical dork that I be, I was a late adapter to The Hold Steady: never even heard of them until they released their third album, Boys and Girls In America. But I did become a fan before I ever knew that singer Craig Finn looks a little like me.

There is nothing revolutionary about the new album, but it has a touch more of a ’70s hard-rock tone than its predecessors. Here’s the best Youtube I can find — still not pristine — of a song off the new CD, “Joke About Jamaica:”


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Stay Positive

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    Hi Paul,

    On behalf of Rough Trade / Beggars Digital, Vagrant and The Hold Steady, many thanks for plugging “Stay Positive” (street date 14th July and advance, digital release date 9th June) … .. thanks, also, on behalf of the label and the band for not posting any pirate links to unreleased (studio) material and, if your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, “Sequestered in Memphis” is available for fans and bloggers to stream / link to / post etc on the band’s MySpace … .. check-out http://www.myspace.com/theholdsteady and http://www.theholdsteady.com for details on “Stay Positive” and the band’s 2008 shows … .. for a limited period a play-through of “Stay Positive” shall also be available on the band’s MySpace and on NME (http://www.nme.com), although these are for promotional purposes only and the artist and labels have kindly asked fans and bloggers not to host or link to pirate copies of the full album on-line – for which many thanks in advance.

    Thanks again for your plug.



  2. I’d guess it’s available for download now for the same reason that Arts & Crafts has started selling album downloads months before physical copies go on sale (as they did with Stars last year and Brendan Canning this year): the album leaked awhile ago, and Hold Steady’s label figures that if people are going to download it rather than buy it on CD, they may as well try and get in on some of that action rather than ceding the whole territory to piracy.

    I don’t know why more labels don’t do it this way…it helps build buzz in a way that expensive ad campaigns never could.

  3. I’ve been listening to “Sequestered in Memphis” and the title track all but nonstop for two days.

  4. Told you it was great stuff, Wells. Me likey “Sequestered in Memphis”, very nice!

    Great lyrics too – “They always used to laugh when she said Die-er Make-er, all the boys knew it was a joke about Jamaica”. Gotta love this one too – “Me and my friends are like, the drums on Husker live, we bang it out on four toms, our songs are sing-along songs”.

  5. Another thought as I listen to that soon-to-be-classic single, is there any rock band out there that uses horns as well as the Hold Steady?

    Of course, this is all with mad respect to the E-Street band.

  6. A very strong album from a great band. And a super live band.

    Now the bad news. Due to a 10 year old traffic violation, it sounds like the band won’t be allowed back in Canada.

    Road trip!

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