Confusion In The Market Place – The Hold Steady

They’ve done it again! For a fourth time in a calendar year THS have surprise released a Double-A-Side single of two stand out tracks, Both songs markedly different from one another and robust enough to hold their own with the rest of the band’s cannon. These digital only twofers are scratching HardCorey’s itches and causing Hoodrats to change their names back to Holly across The Unified Scene.

For a band like The Steady, with their Theorist Fandom Army looking for links throughout their discography and digging on and digging up rock archaeology references on everything from Neal Schon to Led Zeppelin, to 80’s teen movies, to Heavenly to Dr. Feelgood, this new release model is boomtown.

What started with A Snake In The Shower has got to the stage now where one more of these before Christmas and the band will have released a new album in 2018 by stealth.

The bands fans had been calling out for a B-Side compilation for years and with the recent remasters of the first three albums they sort of got their wish. As whole and fully realized Almost Killed Me, Separation Sunday and Boys And Girls In America are as long players, there was a deeper (if you will) Directors Cut to be made from their narratives. Remastering the back catalogue and adding Hot Fries, Girls Like Status, Milkcrate Mosh and (one of my personal favourite THS moments) You Gotta Dance (With Who You Came With) helped keep the light alight during the bands lengthy hiatus. The coloured vinyl was a bonus.

When they came back for Anniversary shows for those early records and then started slipping out these little bonus BandCamp releases for fans only (or that’s how it felt) it was exhilarating. Now there’s a pattern. These two tracks up the total to eight, there could be a Bandcamp only set list soon. For now though, this silent and fast release strategy has truly helped name the latest single. Confusion In The Market Place is right. Even the Stereogum’s and the Clash’s of the internet are struggling to keep up with The Hold Steady and their disregard for the rules of the game.

“Princess came to breakfast looking puffy from the Prednisone, someone’s little sister had me marching to the metronome, the Maharaji on the mountain with a megaphone, reaching for the secrets in the static on the stereo, there’s something funny about the place that all the money goes, coughing up the offering and in between his toes, knew a couple kids from when I still went to shows, all the little hornets forming swarms around the honeycomb”

There’s very little in way of an intro on this one. Just a drum fill and Craig Finn is off. Koob’s low grind blues riff is surrounded by ample space for Bobby’s 4/4 beat to allow a horn to sound like a siren. This is not the intense dense classic rock tribute of Most People Are DJ’s nor the post punk rapid fire Costello in the Clash vibe of The Swish. This is closer to other THS contemporaries like Dillinger 4 or The Thermals than it is their influences.

Of course they approach their heralding of a new way of doing things more like a smash and grab on a convenience store than a tech start up.

“Searching for a purpose or just something we can celebrate, people take advantage of confusion in the marketplace, I’ll distract the manager and you obscure the license plates”

What a time to be a fan of this most unassuming band. They may look like your Dad (or more to the point like my drinking buddies) but they’re sticking it to the man, Maaan.

“Smoking at some dynamite and seeing if it detonates, we can take advantage of confusion in the marketplace, you can turn the circles yeah and I can pull the parking brake”

Customary BandCamp Linky

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