While there’s real emotions loaded behind every Hold Steady song, they’re built around magical realism, where liquor and painkillers are the means to rebirth more than they are a cause of death. I Need a New War, the latest solo album from Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, occupies the same spaces that records like Separation Sunday and Boys and Girls in America does, but Finn isn’t as reckless and mystified as he was in those mid-aughts masterpieces. While Finn still eludes to heavy drinking and a complicated relationship with faith, he’s much more aware of the repercussions of those viewpoints. Continue reading →
With the formal formation of his backing band, The Mermaid, Dave Hause has become more adventurous. Where 2016’s Bury Me in Philly felt transitional, Kick sounds like a musician who wants to see where he can reach. The singer-songwriter still channels the Americana of his peers Brian Fallon and Craig Finn perpetuate, but there’s more of an inclination towards a (slightly more) modern America than the Ferris wheels and classic cars that you’d probably expect from the former or the drug abuse as religious metaphor of the latter. Hause allows his work to be more bass-driven, as he reflects on finding some contentment in age and sobriety. Continue reading →
The best bands are never satiated by just playing their old music, but the best of the best also really enjoy playing their old songs alongside new ones. This past weekend at Brooklyn Bowl, The Hold Steady’s “Massive Nights” showed that Craig Finn and company are amongst the best of the best. Where last year’s shows were strictly a birthday celebration for Boys and Girls in America, these shows were a little more rounded, and the band also had a pair of new songs to feed to a rabid fanbase. Frank Turner was just the cherry to top it off. Continue reading →
In 2012, I was still a baby in the world of indie-rock. I still listened to Marilyn Manson pretty religiously. Eminem’s Slim Shady LP was still relatively prominent on my iPod Classic, and I mostly listened to Green Day above all else. I was a senior in high school. The world at my fingertips, I was pretty picky about what I deemed fine for my ears. Still, that was the year I began listening to Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, and Lou Reed: gateway bands. It was also the year Celebration Rock was released. It seemed every major music publication discussed this breakthrough Japandroids record. Armed with one of the best band names in rock, I figured these guys couldn’t be bad. Celebration Rock was an absolute gamechanger. I was fascinated by how two people could make such full sounds with great lyrics. It became a staple of my first semester of college. Even though my friends weren’t as enthused with lines like “Give me that night you were already in bed/said ‘fuck it’ stayed up to drink with me instead,” I was enthralled. Celebration Rock is the type of record you believe you’re living when you’re just starting college. Continue reading →
Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn has shared the first single from his third solo album We All Want the Same Things, “Preludes,” via NPR. The album will be released March 24, and Finn will also tour with Japandroids ahead of the album’s release.
As album-of-the-year season approaches, we’ve been reflecting on the music we’ve heard this year. While a more formal list is coming, these items are all honorable mentions for a number of reasons. While it may just be that we felt our list was better, for many of these albums it has to do with the fact, we just didn’t get to spend as much time as we would have liked with them. These are still some of the best records of the year, in no particular order.
Chance the Rapper-Coloring Book
Chance’s third mixtape is one of his strongest. With gospel-infused hip hop, he brought some of the best feel-good songs of the summer.