Vinyl Vlog 400

Vinyl Vlog 400

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Thursday, 07 November 2019
COLUMN

The Hold Steady
Thrashing Thru the Passion

Happy 400th Vinyl Vlog!

Thank god for this album, folks. Thank GOD!

I think I’ve said this before, but the Hold Steady are one of those bands that suffers from Monty Python syndrome, in the sense that it’s good, but the most annoying people in the world will not shut the fuck about it. Have you met a Hold Steady fan? If you’re not sure, then you haven’t. The real Hold Steady fans are annoying as hell. As such, it’s hard to really enjoy a band that others have elevated to such a god-like stature (“The Hold Steady ruined music for me, because nothing else compares to them” is an actual quote, guys). The thing about the Hold Steady is that they’re a good band. They really are. It’s just that, just like any band with a long career, they have good songs and band, and – GASP – they have good ALBUMS and bad ones. For a good Hold Steady album, Separation Sunday is a good an album as any. For a bad album, look at Heaven is Whenever. Their album before it “Stay Positive” might have birthed them a logo (a + sign modified to also look like an infinity symbol), but it’s also maybe the last great Hold Steady Album. So in that sense, the Hold Steady haven’t put out a good album in 6 years. But yeah, now Thrashing Thru the Passion has come along, and much to everyone’s relief, it’s REALLY good.

It’s hard to say what exactly makes Thrashing Thru the Passion stand out so much. The overpolishedess plaguing their previous effort is still present (like singer Craig Ferguson’s overdubbed vocals). Maybe it’s the band writing harded songs again (instead of the ballady Heaven is Whenever). Whatever the case, the songs on Thrashing Thru the Passion just rock, and quite honestly, I haven’t heard a Hold Steady album that keeps picking up steam like this one. From the song “Denver Haircut” straight through the ballad “Epaulets” and the awesome back to back wonders of “Entitlement Crew” and “T-shirt Tux” (isn’t it nice to hear a Boston reference every once in a while) one has to admit this might be the most consistently good Hold Steady album. Maybe it’s because Fran is back? And for a band that has been around for so long, it’s always easy to jadedly point to the old material when someone asks you where they should start if they want to get into the Hold Steady. Fuck that, man, you can start right here!

The vinyl edition is very very cool. The 8-bit artwork looks beautiful in 12” format, in 180g either black, brown, or coke bottle clear vinyl, on a single record, because this album is surprisingly short. Or maybe it’s just so good, it’s over before you know it. Keeping it classy, guys!

Get it here.

Photo: @Kett_Ben64

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