What is a web log for if not to occasionally complain and rant about things that get under your skin? While such pedantry has no place on a professional blog, I believe this subject breaches protocol in an apropos fashion becoming of my online persona.
I recently saw the Hold Steady in concert with my good friend Christi. I know I’ve probably mentioned it before, but it was likely the single most exhilarating concert I’ve ever experienced. The energy and love emanating from the band on stage was unsurpassed by anyone I’ve ever seen perform. It certainly didn’t hurt that they were my favourite band to begin with.
To prepare myself, before the show, I listened to nothing but their music for two weeks prior. As I learned from seeing Ben Folds live, I sometimes will not know a song they perform. Though well versed in the catalogue of Ben, he played some unfamiliar ones that, while still enjoyable to witness, were not as fully experienced as the ones I knew by heart.
So, in those preceding weeks, I did some research. Despite it’s often bad rap, wikipedia is a great compendium of information regarding bands and their releases. Through it, I discovered that the Australian version of Boys and Girls in America had four bonus tracks and the European version of Stay Positive had three. As I already owned the American release of Boys and Girls in America, I set about locating my missing tracks via various means. Said tracks were fairly easily located.
The Stay Positive bonuses, however, were slightly more elusive. The copies I was able to find were poorly ripped and had many glitches reminiscent of mp3s from the late nineties. As I did not own Stay Positive legitimately, I promptly ordered the UK version used from amazon.com. Though cheaper than new, it was still a good eight or nine dollars more than the American version. I was quite happy with my purchase, seeing it both as a worthwhile investment in a good band and a guarantee of the unadulterated tracks. For a while, I was content.
Fast forward to last night. Or rather, a few days ago. Last night is really the climax of the story. I was browsing the hold steady dot com and found their twitter link. As they do not post prolifically, I though following them would not bloat my twitter feed and so I did just that. Some promos were tweeted about their upcoming DVD/cd. These I largely ignored as I try to make a point a) not to buy live albums and b) not to waste time watching videos online.
On a side note, the reason I do not generally buy live albums is this: archive dot org is a great source of live recordings. It also highlights what sucks about live recordings: shoddy recording by a fan will not get one the full effect of the live performance. Also, if you weren’t at the concert in question, at least for me, you don’t get the feeling of reliving the experience, so this point is kind of in the same vein as my first. Still, the site is a great way to get a feel for an artist you may have not heard yet or even heard of and offers a legal way to sample their music.
Likewise, the hold steady live compendium is a great source for all things live by Craig Finn and company. The quality is what you’d expect, but if that’s what you’re looking for, it won’t disappoint.
My general distaste for recorded live music aside, I did not ignore a tweet regarding a stream of one of their new tracks off the album. The track was so excellent that I utilized a certain firefox plugin to allow me to encode the stream as an mp3 to take with me until the album arrived. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that that song alone convinced me to order A Positive Rage.
Amazon shipped the two disc set very promptly and I ripped it then stuck the disc in my car stereo and have been listening to it since. It’s great! I can’t speak for the DVD just yet but will update when I can give an opinion.
Last night, as I mentioned earlier, was the moment of truth. I put the cd in and ran the program to get my free bonus tracks. As these programs usually are, all it contained was a link. This link required my e-mail address. Soon, I was e-mailed a link to download the songs. Excitement!
The one track was the one I loved, 40Bucks, now owned legitimately (something I hope someday to say of all my music). The second, a new track called Spectres was one which I’d never heard. The remaining three, however, were the very tracks I bought the UK Stay Positive for: Ask For Addedall, Cheyenne Sunrise and Two Handed Handshake !!!
A Positive Rage boiled through my veins!
Truly, the previous statement was only aimed to be hyperbole. Also, I wasn’t particularly angry, per se. It just kind of sucked. I suppose had I waited and done my research, I’d’ve known what the bonus tracks were. That, however would’ve required buying Positive Rage before Stay Positive, which isn’t something that would have happened. Regardless, for a live album, A Positive Rage is quite well recorded; ’tis a far cry from those found at the compendium. Plus, the pleasure of the new song and the the legal version of my favourite song was well worth the money.
The moral is this: patience is a virtue and will pay off in the end. Also, don’t steal music. Thank you.