Results for The Hold Steady

interviews

The Hold Steady

Jim and Greg welcome The Hold Steady this week. The Minneapolis born, Brooklyn bred band are on tour to promote their 2008 album Stay Positive. Our hosts talk to lead singer Craig Finn, guitarist Tad Kubler and keyboardist & accordionist Franz Nicolay about their“meat and potatoes”style of rock and roll. Greg notes that comparisons are often made to Bruce Springsteen, but the band also cites Nick Cave and Bob Dylan as influences. Jim explains to the band that he was not immediately a Hold Steady fan, and was only converted after seeing them live. Craig, Tad and Franz explain that they are happy to convert him. That, of course, is the power of rock.

Go to episode 165
specials

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213
reviews
Teeth DreamsTeeth Dreams available on iTunes

The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams

Minneapolis-born, Brooklyn-bred Beat-rockers The Hold Steady have undergone a few changes since their 2009 visit to Sound Opinions. The band took a break after the departure of keyboardist (and moustache idol) Franz Nicolay, while frontman Craig Finn put out a solo album. Now the boys are back, with an extra guitarist, Steve Selvidge, and a sixth album called Teeth Dreams. It's their first venture with producer Nick Raskulinecz (best known for his work with Foo Fighters, Rush, and Evanesence), and as Greg points out, their sound is“slicker”than ever. Perhaps too slick — while the band can still rock, the album is bogged down with slow, melodramatic experimentation. Greg has to say Try It. Jim scoffs at the lyricist's literary bent — with Finn so obviously ripping off Raymond Chandler and Jack Kerouac, this host has to wonder if it's parody. Regardless, Jim prefers The Hold Steady live, in their bombastic, Springsteen-ian element — as for Teeth Dreams, it's a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 436
Boys and Girls In AmericaBoys and Girls in America available on iTunes

The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America

Next up is the third release from New York rock group The Hold Steady. Boys and Girls in America continues the band's streak of "bar band" music, but our hosts disagree about this record's big musical influences. Greg hears a lot of AC/DC and '70s hard rock in the songs, but Jim really only hears one thing: Bruce Springsteen. As Sound Opinions listeners know, for Jim, this is not good. He calls The Hold Steady's music“lousy,”and finds their blue-collar lyrics really put-upon. Greg doesn't think that Jim is giving head songwriter Craig Finn enough credit. He finds his storytelling smart and very believable. Boys and Girls in America gets a Trash It from Jim and a Buy It from Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 46
Stay PositiveStay Positive available on iTunes

The Hold Steady Stay Positive

Jim and Greg review two of the bands who appeared at last weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival. The first up for review is The Hold Steady. Their fourth album, Stay Positive, continues with the band's literary bar music formula, but according to Greg, the emphasis has been moved away from guitarist Tad Kubler's riffs and hooks. Greg wishes there was more great guitar work and less“harpsichord filagree.”He gives Stay Positive a Try It. Jim has never been a Hold Steady fan, but was impressed with their performance at Pitchfork. On record is another story. He agrees with Greg about the keyboards and describes Stay Positive as overdone and a whole lot of nothing. Jim gives the album a Trash it.

JimGreg
Go to episode 139
Heaven Is WheneverHeaven is Whenever available on iTunes

The Hold Steady Heaven is Whenever

The Hold Steady is back with a new album and a new lineup. Heaven is Whenever is the band's fifth record, and its first without keyboardist Franz Nicolay. He was a big part of their sound, so Jim and Greg were curious to hear their new offering. As Greg explains, The Hold Steady is something of a glorified bar band, with rambling anthems. On 2008's Stay Positive they polished things up. And Heaven is Whenever is an attempt to find balance between those two approaches. Therefore, it's a transitional record, and for Greg, a Burn It. Jim has come to terms with the fact that he just doesn't like The Hold Steady. He loves singer Craig Finn's energy live, but finds his vocal style very grating on record. He gives this a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 231
Clear Heart Full EyesClear Heart Full Eyes available on iTunes

Craig Finn Clear Heart Full Eyes

Craig Finn has achieved a fair amount of mainstream success with his indie band The Hold Steady. So why would he venture out on his own at this point? According to Jim and Greg, Finn wanted to go a little less rock, a little more country on his solo debut Clear Heart Full Eyes, inspired, of course, by Friday Night Lights. He also went for less bombast and more mature lyrics. Those lyrics deserve an A+, says Greg, but the music falls flat. He says Burn It. Jim doesn't understand why Finn is stepping outside of The Hold Steady, which is a perfect vehicle for his songs. The lyrics are strong when they are funny, but otherwise this is a Trash It record.

JimGreg
Go to episode 321
lists

Summer Songs (Part 2)

Back in 2006, Greg and Jim put out a playlist of their favorite summer songs. Now they give you the long-awaited part 2 of their hot summer mixtape.

Go to episode 502

Hero Worship

Today's theme is Hero Worship. The genesis of this idea was that we here at Sound Opinions started noticing that a lot of artists have written songs about their own heroes. Think of Bob Dylan's "Song To Woody." It's the kind of love only one rocker could express to another. Though when it comes to name-checking important musical figures, critics like Jim and Greg come a close second. Here are their favorite moments of musical Hero Worship.

Go to episode 307

Hero Worship

Without a doubt, musicians influence one another. Sometimes in subtle ways with a borrowed riff or lyric. Sometimes by overtly name-checking another artist. This week, we look at those obvious examples of Hero Worship - songs written about another musican. Think of Bob Dylan's Song to Woody, or David Bowie's Song For Bob Dylan. Jim and Greg picked some tracks from their musical heroes, that mention other musical heroes.

Go to episode 575