I work in DC and have a limited number of places to eat lunch in the particular neighborhood surrounding my office, minus sit-down restaurants. But no one has time for that. So every time something new opens up that isn’t a Subway, we all make a beeline for it. Yesterday I was doing a search for a new sandwich shop called Devon & Blakely (which turned out to be delightful, btw) and found a review for the D&B in NYC. The review was written by someone by the name of Mr. Hipster.
This guy could not be more self-righteous if he tried. Apparently, he is the expert in all things books, movies, music and food. To my dismay, there is no comment section for me to publicly call him a tool. He probably did this on purpose. I can see this guy pretty clearly in my mind. Flannel shirt (over an obscure band t-shirt,) jeans that are way too tight with some ridiculous looking mustache walking around trying to prove that he is more hip than you. I used to love the stache. The manly Tom Selleck. Not the skinny child molester look that has become so popular now that even that look is overdone. Anyway, Mr. Hipster, show yourself.
Let’s read one of his album reviews together, shall we?
The Hold Steady
Heaven is Whenever
This is one of those bands that I think I always liked conceptually more than I liked in practice. I was a big fan of Craig Finn’s old band, Lifter Puller. Those dudes were drunken nutjobs fronted by a dude who seemed to actually go out of his way to be annoying. They were Les Savy Fav’s drunken bar band hillbilly cousins. The Hold Steady has become something else–a real band. This album, especially, feels like someone watched over them in a studio twiggling knobs and shaving the rough edges. Funny then, that this sounds the most generic and formulaic bar-bandy and dated of their recent albums (see “The Smidge”). Granted, I do like the opening song, “The Sweet Part of the City,” which couldn’t sound more like a beer-soaked country, bar band ditty (despite its excellent production). Maybe it’s a matter of finding that balance somewhere between the chugging mid-90s alt band and the twang that seems to suit them better as an aging rock band settling into their post-party days–somehow more reflective and less in the midst of a party that’s passed them by. It’s not to say I couldn’t listen to Finn sing his twisting narratives all day long, but while he’s dialed down the similes and wordplay that used to dominate his songwriting, now he’s settled into a bit of a formula that unfortunately shows off the musical limitations of his band.
Now, who can tell me what he is really saying?
*For the record, I think The Hold Steady is a shitty band and I have been unfortunate enough to see them live more than once and I was unhappy both times.