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FUV's New Dig: The Hold Steady

by Darren DeVivo
A A

Teeth Dreams
The Hold Steady
Razor and Tie / Washington Square / Positive Jams Records


The Hold Steady are based in Brooklyn. Their music was born on the streets. It was schooled in tenement apartments, neighborhood bars and the backseats of cars. It developed its streetwise attitude by observing life and experiencing what it’s like to be alive. It’s tough. It’s loud. It’s aggressive. It’s emotionally charged. And it’s real, just like the characters in the songs.

Yet, while the Hold Steady’s music might be a product of New York City, the stories in the songs could happen in any city, any town, any suburban setting. They could be about anybody. The Hold Steady are about real life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Most importantly, the Hold Steady are about rock and roll.

The Hold Steady’s sixth studio album, Teeth Dreams, comes 10 years after their debut. Once again, the band delivers an album packed with lyrically dense, punk-influenced rock and roll. Frontman Craig Finn has said that the new songs are inspired by how anxiety affects everyday life.

The stories in each song unfold over a soundtrack of aggressive guitars, creating a “Bruce Springsteen meets Husker Du” feel that has become the trademark of the band. The guitars are reinforced by Steve Selvidge, who makes his recording debut as a member of the band, bringing the band’s lineup to five members. The twin-guitar attack of Selvidge and original member Tad Kubler powers Teeth Dreams. It also allows Finn to put down his guitar and concentrate solely on the vocals.

One listen to the opening seconds of “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You,” the first song on Teeth Dreams, demonstrates that the Hold Steady mean business, and their amps are turned up to 11.

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