Showing posts with label The Hold Steady. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Hold Steady. Show all posts

Jan 30, 2017

Live Review: Craig Finn of The Hold Steady

Craig Finn- Pittsburgh Living Room Show 01/20

 by Matthew Martin

On January 20th, 2017, the day our new President was inaugurated and spouted nationalist rhetoric to the thousands who were in town, my buddy and I drove to Pittsburgh to get outta DC and see Craig Finn play an intimate show in an office space.

Seeing Craig in this particular setting playing songs from his new album appropriately named "We All Want The Same Things" was extremely cathartic for me.  We sat on the floor and listened to songs about people who've seen better days, but are so damn positive that those better days are still reachable and right over that horizon.  

This blue collar optimism in the face of defeat is the signature of any Finn-penned song.  The new songs on the upcoming record are no different, if maybe a little darker at times.  Those characters are still there fucking up, but getting back up and fighting back.  If this isn't a metaphor for the times we're in right now, man, I don't know what is.

I'd never seen a show in this setting, and I gotta say, it was wonderful.  It was something I'd highly recommend to anyone who is within driving distance to see one of their favorite musicians play an incredibly intimate show to fewer than 50 folks.  It gives a real sense where the artist was when that song was created.  It didn't hurt that Craig made time for some questions during the show, so it was a real insight into some of his songs.

I think most in the room, including Craig, felt a little weird about what had just happened earlier in the day.  I think everyone felt a little better about the world afterwards.  Maybe not for too long, but at least for a little bit.  And, dammit, that's what music is for.  Craig Finn is a national treasure and I can't wait to hear this album in full.  Go pre-order this album here and I can guarantee you you won't be disappointed.

Jan 5, 2015

Matthew Martin's Top 10 Albums of 2014


10. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Half The City
This AL band generated quite the buzz before this album ever hit shelves - and with good reason.  This album is full of near-perfect throwback soul/funk gems that Alabama is getting good at reviving.

 

9. Gary Clark Jr. - Live
The first time I ever actually heard Gary Clark Jr was when I saw him live in Baltimore at a small venue called the 8x10. When I heard his debut album, I wasn't in love because of the slick production and added, unnecessary instruments.  That's why I think this album is so essential.  This is GCJr at his best.  Live, blistering, and unrelenting.

 

8. Natural Child - Dancin' With Wolves
I don't want to say Natural Child hit their stride on this album, but rather, they hit their comfort zone. Adding pedal steel and keys to the band, they have created, essentially, a modern day Harvest.

 

7. Mastodon - Once More Round The Sun
This happens to be my favorite Mastodon record to date. While that may not be a popular opinion among some Mastodon faithful,  I believe this is Mastodon doing what they do best.  Each song hits at break-neck speed and by the time you reach the last quarter of the album,  you equally beg for the onslaught to cease and to continue.

 

6. Lucero - Live From Atlanta
Another live album on this list because of how significant I think this one is.  Lucero is a great band.  They have transitioned from a cowpunk band to this band we have today at little-to-no detriment to their core sound.  This album is document of that complete transformation and more proof that if you have not seen Lucero live, you have to do so immediately.

 

5. Drive-by Truckers - English Oceans
Cooley. Really, the review could end there, but what fun would that be? With Cooley and Hood splitting the duties here, this album finds the Drive-By Truckers yet again reworking the band and creating something even stronger and tighter.  While I, unabashedly, really have enjoyed most of what DBT have put out, this album will arguably stand out as one of their greatest.

 

4. The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams
I don't even know what to say about this album. It's great. There isn't a bad song on here. When I first listened, I'll admit, I was a little taken aback by the production quality (maybe too slick?), but as time has gone on and I've listened to the album numerous times, I have realized that there is not one thing wrong with this album.

 

3. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
On importance alone, this album deserves to be in the #1 spot.  But, this album happened to be released in a year that 2 other great albums were also released.  Musically and lyrically, this is a near perfect album.  Laura Jane Grace sings her heart out about a hell few of us know much about.  Give this album a listen, then listen again, then listen one more time.  It's absolutely stellar.

 

2. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
Another important album- albeit for different reasons- Simpson's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music attempts to take everything we know about traditional country music and turn it on its head.  Simpson sings about LSD, reptile aliens, and love- all on the first track of the album.  As the album progresses, it's clear you're listening to something familiar and incredibly unique all at once.  Country music fans have been waiting for something like this, and I hope this album clears the path for other artists more inclined to sing about interesting topics- rather than trucks, beer, and backroads.

 

1. Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires - Dereconstructed
Speaking of important albums, I'm not sure there has been a more important Southern album.  This one came out and completely shattered my expectations.  Taking shots at the Southern ideology that still permeates some of Southern culture, the album is important because it shows that you can love something so much that you can recognize the attributes that sicken you and try to attack those head-on.  The South is a great place, but there are lots of things, past and present, that are nauseating.  LB3 attacks every angle with pinpoint accuracy.  And, let's not forget the incredible music on this album.  LB3 and band sound perfect on this album with, in my opinion, perfect production styles suited to the band's sound and style.  Oh, and if you haven't read Bitter Southerner's write-up on this band and album, please do so now!


____________
By Matthew Martin

Dec 30, 2014

FTM's Favorite Albums of 2014: Very Honorable Mentions


Being mentioned here while still outside the top 50 may seem like a slight to these albums, but in a year I listened to 200+ new albums and sampled countless others, these were all worthy of hours of play each. Also, it was a consistently strong year for music (if not as full of stone cold classics as some) so there was a lot of good stuff to choose from. This is just one guy's opinion (next year FTM will likely begin having a composite list from our 3 contributors plus me), so sometimes it's not about actual quality of an album, but how it affected me on an emotional, critical and intellectual level. These are all very strong releases.

Very Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
 

Sunny Sweeney - Provoked

Parker Millsap - s/t

Counting Crows - Somewhere Under Wonderland

Shovels & Rope - Swimmin' Time

Eric Church - The Outsiders

Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky

Dierks Bentley - Riser


The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams

Justin Townes Earle - Single Mothers

Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers


Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - Give the People What They Want

TV on the Radio - Seeds

Nickel Creek - A Dotted Line

 Miranda Lambert - Platinum


Sundy Best - Bring Up the Sun

Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread

 YG - My Krazy Life

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

 Eli Young Band - 10,000 Towns

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Jenny Lewis - Voyager

Apr 1, 2014

New Video: The Hold Steady - Spinners (Lyrics)

From their awesome new album Teeth Dreams, here's The Hold Steady with the lyric video for "Spinners." RIYL: Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, Titus Andronicus, etc.

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