Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lifter Puller - Bay City Rolling 7"

Lifter Puller is what Craig Finn was up to prior to fronting The Hold Steady and personally, I've always seen them as the superior band regardless of the mainstream popularity of the latter. Their material was not only much more consistent, but featured the type of gripping tales of drugs, drunkenness and debauchery usually reserved for pulp fiction. Bay City Rolling was one of the group's last releases (post-Fiestas and Fiascos), and it features two songs, the raucous "Secret Santa Cruz" and the more restrained "Yo Quereria", both strong efforts which make good use of the band's established sound from F&F. For fans of the band, or for anyone interested in the whereabouts of post-punk before its mid-00's revival, this is a must.

Bay City Rolling


Ape Mummy said...

A great record, to be sure. But I'm a little disappointed with the statement that Lifter Puller is the Hold Steady, minus the mainstream acclaim. LP was the Hold Steady minus the Catholic guilt, on a 3 day bender, coked out of its mind and on the run from Nightclub Dwight. I've always felt that Craig Finn was coming from a much darker, less personal place on the last batch of Lifter Puller recordings ("SSC", "F+F", "4Dix"), and the world is worse for him not having delved into the same territory since. He coulda been Tom Waits or Chet Baker; instead, he went for the Boss or Elvis Costello. Not a terrible thing at all.

By the way, Bob Nanna does a killer version of "Secret Santa Cruz" on one of the City On Film records.

cretin said...

you're not wrong, but for brevity's sake, I was mostly just going for a synopsis here; the "essentially The Hold Steady" statement referred to the band members and not the sound. I just didn't want to say "THIS IS CRAIG FINN'S BAND", although now that I look into it, the Hold Steady only appears to have 2 former members of Lifter Puller, so boo on me. I think I'll change the wording there.

I think there's a good analysis to be made by comparing the two bands though, and it shows in your post (which I agree with entirely, right down to the Nightclub Dwight reference). I like the Tom Waits comparison, both in story-telling ability and in that same liquor-driven, gravelly-toned voice (albeit to a much lesser extent with Finn).

Thomas said...

Im digging this site a lot; first Frodus and now LFTR PLLR. And I agree with that Ape fellow, theres no comparison between Hold Steady and PLLR. PLLR had incredible stories, great insight, and just great music. Hold Steady just seems a little shallow in light of that.

And yeah I dig that Waits comparison, altho Finn seemed somehow more enlightened back then, going for a fuck-all depravity & ingesting club drugs. I think of him closer to a modern day James Joyce....or maybe John Cheever if you read into the drug ingestion some more. Something like that.

Really great blog (to reiterate).

cretin said...

thanks! hopefully, I'll get back to more regular updates now that exams are finished with.

Finn's song-writing abilities are undoubtedly stronger with Lifter Puller, and I agree that that sort of mentality of 'enlightened depravity' works a lot more effectively with the music than the more staid (but occasionally great) story-telling of THS. the Hold Steady have some material that works to the same degree, but they tend to be significantly less consistent in their song-writing, much more all over the place with regards to their musical influences, and much less interesting as a result.

also, is it wrong that when you mentioned joyce and cheever, the first connection i drew between the two was in their letter-writing tendencies?