Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Doubt begins to set in as New York band The Hold Steady releases listenings from its new album, Boys and Girls in America. Three album tracks are streaming on the Steady's MySpace page, as well as a track called "Hot Fries."

"Hot Fries" sounds exactly like any other Hold Steady material -- sharp, biting vocal delivery from frontman Craig Finn, heavy riffs from the band, and a general rock beat.

As for what will be the new album opener, "Stuck Between Stations," it plays as an understandable 1 Standard Deviation from normal Hold Steady stuff.

Doubt only sets in with the light, southern classic rock tune "Southern Girls," and the disturbingly pop-punk "Chips Ahoy" (MP3), both of which have Finn singing and both of which seem further than 2 Standard Deviations from normal Hold Steady material.

I hesitate to blame this on the one major (ha) factor I know that separates Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday from the upcoming Boys and Girls in America, namely, major label status. While Finn et al. now share a label (Vagrant) with the likes of Eels and The Futureheads, they are now also rubbing rock elbows with Dashboard Confessional and Senses Fail.

But... just look at the album cover...

Instantly reminded me of this...

And what about the name of the album? And are the lyrics going to continue with the characters presented in earlier albums?

This really does feel like a Strokes-y effort to expand on the band's musical base, though if I had to guess, I would pin it on major label influence. Can't wait to see what reviewers think...


  1. I don't know. Just from what I know about them (which, admittedly, doesn't include much listening time) I don't think they'd be so quick to chase a demographic. I'm also not entirely sure I would call Vagrant a major; although they have major distribution, their roster seems to reflect a more independent approach.

    Anyway, bottom line is I don't think your boys are sellouts. Not yet.

  2. Anonymous11:24 PM

    That song's called "Southtown Girls," by the way, and it is definitely more disturbing than "Chips Ahoy." (Cheesy a cappella opening, stupid harmonies, lame beat...what the...why...??)

    Still, I don't think you should worry too much. They're probably just trying out new stuff. You know, horizon expansion and all that. Or they could be on the severe decline. (Dashboard Confessional???????)

  3. Holy crap! How could you talk bad about this record? "Stuck Between Stations" is Bruce Springsteen if he was any good.

    This is the most fun I have heard in a long time. It's like Andrew W.K. lite.

    These opinions courtesy of Vagrant Records' streaming audio page.