So the first run of this had a defective link to the bonus tracks. Upon receiving the replacement (loose in a padded mailer without a sleeve - not a good look) I tried to get the unreleased tracks and was stymied once again. Having to cough up an e-mail address and zip to get them is a little shitty, too (like you're not going to sell that info off, Vagrant. Keep news of the umpteenth Thrice vinyl reissue to yourself, will you). Especially when you don't actually get them. After a couple three e-mails, the enigmatic Jake of Vagrant and HS list fame hooked me up with the five tracks via a link (like they should have just done in the first place). Props are due to him, but it's all about the b-sides here, isn't it? So let's get to it:
First, while there are five bonus tracks available for your APR dollar, it's really only two new tracks, as the first three tracks were available if you bought the deluxe version of Stay Positive.
The tracks were strung together as a single track, so if you weren't of a mind to chop them up, I guess it's refreshing to get them as separate tracks. And a great trio of tracks they are:
First up is Ask Her For Adderall, which is as good if not better than any of the Stay Positive tracks. It rocks and it's awesome. It's also pretty much the same as Constructive Summer with different lyrics. Who cares, it's one of the best Hold Steady tracks yet.
Second is Cheyenne Sunshine. A slower tune with good Franz parts. Melancholy, kind of Modesto-esque.
Third is Two Handed Handshake, one of Craig's character studies. You've heard it live and liked it. All three tracks are great, and for my money one of them could have taken the place of Navy Sheets. But that's just me.
As for the two actual unreleased tracks, 40 Bucks is sort of a companion to Sequestered In Memphis, again with a Modesto/212-Margarita flair to it and Spectres has the big string and B3 treatment. Epic, heartfelt, better than a gang of Arcade Fire records. Plus, it's pretty much free for buying a CD/DVD set that's as cheap and awesome as some of the less tragic women in Hold Steady songs. Buy a copy if you haven't already. Buy a second for a friend if you have. Here's a link.