Monday, June 02, 2008

Three Steps Back, One Step Forward

Or, "In the Greater Plan to Save Music in 2008, Restore Milam's Worldview, and Save Planet Earth, The Hold Steady Read My Mind, Do Their Part"

Subtitle: "Milam's Titles Need Work"

Before I begin, I'd like to call to your attention two things:

1) June 16 - Start date in the studio. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I'll be blogging from the studio all that week, so stay tuned.

2) June 21 - Capping off a week of recording, a 4-band blowout show at 12th & Porter. If you live anywhere near Nashville, you have no reason to miss this show. I don't care whose cousin is getting married.

Meantime, my ambivalence toward the much-hyped records of the spring (Black Crowes, Counting Crows, NMAll-Stars, REM, Black Keys, MGMT, to name a few) has been well-documented. I'm on record stating that the new My Morning Jacket (due June 10) needs to be at least twice as good as Revolver to restore my faith in pop music and humanity. These have been trying times.

But what if I told you one of rock's coolest and most interesting bands had a new record coming out in a few weeks? And that the record was full of full-band, piano/organ/loud-guitars, rollicking, awesome rock songs? And that the first single from the record was titled "Sequestered in Memphis"? And that it's about spending quality time with a special lady in a Memphis venue's bathroom? And that Ben Nichols from Lucero sings the background vocals? And that this was available for your listening enjoyment at Myspace, RIGHT NOW???

Such is the case with The Hold Steady and their new single off their forthcoming record. It's awesome, they're awesome. Just go to it.

(For those new to the Hold Steady, don't be alarmed: the singer always "sings" like that. Which means he doesn't really sing. At all. Ever. This might be something of an acquired taste, but the band's performances and the songwriting in general more than balances this out. Trust me, if I'm cool with the lack of melody--and all I ever want is an insanely catchy melody--you can be, too. If I can change, and you can change, we all can change.)

While you're there, if you've never heard "Stuck Between Stations" (the second song on their Myspace), do that too. That song single-handedly made me a Hold Steady fan.

"Sequestered in Memphis." Hand to God, it's as though The Hold Steady stole my personal diary and dedicated a song to its innermost secrets, stories, and desires.

Also in that diary? Unicorn doodles, def poetry slams about how lame detention is, a monthly outline of what outfit I wore each day, and a dried lilac pressed between pages. To remind me of last summer's whirlwind romance, and everything that could've been. Sigh.

What do you think? What are you listening to? Tell me...I'm an ear. And in desperate need of good recommendations.

In bar light she looked alright,

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