Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New To Me: The Hold Steady

Depending on who you talk to, I'm either very late jumping on The Hold Steady bandwagon or I've recently found a band that is virtually unknown to the mainstream. I'm not really sure where this band stands right now in terms of popularity. I do know that I will be listening to a lot more Hold Steady in the near future. They're also playing Bonnaroo this year.

From Uncut's five-star review of their album, "Boys and Girls in America":

"Musically, too, The Hold Steady are tighter, wholly as exciting at times as the E Street Band in their turbo-charged prime; several tracks are punctuated by rollicking keyboard parts from Franz Nicolay that recall Roy Bittan’s work with Springsteen’s rowdy crew. The Hold Steady have frankly never sounded bigger or more furiously robust – this is often deafening arena rock, unashamedly so, a ferocious methamphetamine rush, urgent, at times almost out of control, a vast swampy roar. It’s a holy noise that runs from bone-crunching riffs that recall the Stones, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, the E Street boys and Replacements, to swaggering doo-wop harmonies, hook-filled garage band pop and a dynamic clout that more than once recalls the hardcore rancour of This Year’s Model.

Like Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin, Finn’s inspired as much by literature as rock’n’roll - the album’s title is inspired by a line from Jack Keruoac’s On The Road and “Stuck Between Stations” turns out partly to be about the suicide of the great American poet, John Berryman (as much, perhaps, an influence on Finn as the writer Delmore Schwarz was on the youthfully impressionable Lou Reed). There’s nothing starchy or stuck-up about this, however – Finn’s writing is rich in common vernacular, slangy, conversational, often very funny and illuminated by a white-hot attention to detail. It’s the kind of language you might overhear in bars where people go to drink and die, poetic in its grungy perfection but never merely fanciful or artfully abstract.

They swell with charred truth, these songs and rock like there’s no tomorrow. Which, when all is said and equally done, there won’t be for Holly, Gideon and Charlemagne, the world going up in flames around them.Welcome to the first great album of 2007."

Any album review that namechecks Jack Kerouac and Thin Lizzy is definitely an album for me.

Whether you heard them here first or not, enjoy The Hold Steady's Stuck Between Stations:

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