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The Hold Steady: Live at Fingerprints EP

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The Hold Steady performs "Cattle and the Creeping Things"

(Vagrant/CIMS exclusive)

A live acoustic record from the Hold Steady? Heresy, you say? It’d be understandable if you did. The very notion of this Brooklyn-via-Minneapolis band captured in concert conjures up hollered vocals, furiously stacked beats and amp dials pushed to ten. Their propensity for loud and live propulsion—going off like some kind of Thin Lizzy fuelled on the sounds of American hardcore—is what has made them legendary in just a few short years of existence. Singer/lyricist Craig Finn’s sharply turning stories of hard-partying exiles from religion and suburbia are the stuff that lay on the thickness of that status. So the test here is whether or not Finn’s anthemic homilies to booze and racehorses and love’s hard luck can hold up in front of a hushed Hold Steady. Indeed, with touches like Franz Nicolay’s lively accordion on “Cattle and the Creeping Things” and the subtle perfection of Tad Kubler’s acoustic guitar on “Citrus,” the band comes to life in a very different way that highlights its songwriting strength. Because the band has clear and firm roots in the world of word-of-mouth record collecting and “limited edition” ethos, this EP may take a little hunting to find. Don’t waste your time checking iTunes or the big-box stores for it because this release is exclusive to outlets in the Coalition of Independent Music Stores. I’ll give ya hint: There’s a CIMS store on the 700 block of Elmwood Avenue here in Buffalo.