The Hold Steady announce re-releases and old band getting back together

holdsteadyGood news for fans of loud, Springsteen-ian guitar rock and roll with intelligent, soul-grabbing, blue-collar, Lou Reed-ish spoken lyrics, majestic piano, and essential gritty rock that transcends easy classification. The Hold Steady is celebrating their Our Boys & Girls in America album, which turns 10 this year

From the band…

“we are very excited! We will be playing a limited number of live shows this fall to celebrate. Our old friend Franz Nicolay will be joining us. More info on the first few shows will be available Wednesday, May 18. Mark it on your calendar!

“One apology: The plan was that today was going to be the day releasing the precise info on everything. Unfortunately, some details with our co-conspirators changed and it required waiting two more weeks on the details.

“Also, we are finally reissuing Almost Killed Me and Separation Sunday on VINYL this fall on Frenchkiss Records.

“Stay Positive! It’s about to get incredible!”

The Hold Steady.

Love that they are getting together with former piano player Nicolay, who lent a certain gravitas to their music and is associated with their glory days….


The Hold Steady Headed to Indianapolis in September

Indianapolis gets The Hold Steady at the Vogue. How about that? September 30th, with tix $18 advance/$20 day of show, on sale Friday, July 16.

They are making a trek across our part of the Midwest, in Lexington, KY the night before the show in Indy, and part of an exhausting one-night stand tour that makes the rock superstars who play a couple nights each week seem lazy. The band begins this particular run of shows on September 20 in Richmond, VA and works their way through both the South and Midwest, before winding their way back to Boston October 6 and New York City on October 7. It’s a run of 16 shows in 18 days. Indy falls right in the middle of the itinerary.

Heaven is Whenever is the album they are promoting, and healthy guitar rock and roll is what they push each night on tour. Along with kindred spirits The Gaslight Anthem, they are inspired by the Springsteen Way. Live shows are often sweaty, loud and legendary. Let’s see if that’s what they bring to Indianapolis. If I had to bet, I’d say this show sells out.

Hear Four New Songs from Upcoming Hold Steady Album

Heaven Is Whenever, the new album from the Hold Steady can be heard – at least some of it – on the web. Four songs from the record are online: “Hurricane J”, “Rock Problems”, “The Weekenders” and, “Barely Breathing”.

 Stream it at Stereogum

The album comes out May 4, and the band rocks “The Colbert Report” on May 13.

Now without longtime keyboard player, Franz Nicolay, The Hold Steady will slightly tilt how they have sounded for the past half-decade. Nicolay announced he was leaving at the end of January, believing his ideas were a bit, shall we say, stifled?

He gave a majestic, elegant layer of sound to The Hold Steady, and was an important ingredient in their musical soup – I would argue as important as the spoken-sung vocals or the snarling guitars.   Irreplaceable?  Probably not.  Judging from the new music, they’ll be fine.  But different, subtly or more.

For the man who’s always seemed to be either the subliminal genius or annoying little brother in the band, he is on his own, with his solo debut album “Major General”. Nicolay, famous for the Rollie Fingers-like moustache, Roy Bittan sound, and the near-bombastic (for a sideman) stage manner, told Paste Magazine that “(The Hold Steady) have their one big idea — making literate, wordy lyrics over big anthemic rock — and the last two records were about as good as I felt like I could do with that idea.”

“I told the band I’d be leaving in early September, and played my last show with them in Minneapolis around Thanksgiving” he wrote on his website.

Nicolay says he took part in recording sessions for the band’s new album last September, but his parts were re-recorded by another keyboardist.

He talks of banjos and tap dancing in most of the interviews I read online, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Rock and Roll into April – Rock Hall on Fuse, The Elms, The Hold Steady, Album Releases

Hey. How’s it goin? Here’s some stuff you might want to know:

100x115fuseThe 24th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be broadcast live on FUSE Television Network Saturday night. The performer inductees are: Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C. and Bobby Womack. Wanda Jackson gets in through the Early Influence category. The Sidemen Category inductees are two of Elvis’ early bandmates, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, plus Muscle Shoals keyboardist Spooner Oldham, who played on, among many other songs, “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge and “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett .

elmsguitarThe Elms Wrap Up Recording
I got sucked into the oddity and thrilling surprises of Seymour, Indiana’s The Elms. They streamed two different cams (one in the the control room with the biig mixing board, and one in the actual recording studio) and spent about three weeks, mostly Monday to Friday with an occasional weekend evening tossed in. They laid down basic trakcs, overdubbed guitar solos, saved some some killer Owen Thomas double-tracked lead vocals and even rolled in a Hammond B3 on the final weekend to lay down steamy, soulful keyboard chords. We should give them credit; nobody threw a whiskey bottle through the control room window, and there were no fistfights (that I saw). Instead, they are going to have a sweet and nasty little album to release in a few months. It was recorded in Nashville, and Owen, Chris, Thom and Nate have tracked what sounds like a fine batch of heartland rock-infused, completely modern tunes. Will be interesting to see what the final pressing sounds like, but was guilty fun to watch develop. And from the recording session wrap, they loaded up and played SXSW.
Read the play-by-play via Thom’s blog here

Best Show of the Year?
We’ll see. It’s The Hold Steady at Jake’s in Bloomington on Saturday night. They are on a major roll, and the college town gets the show. Lucky kids. Worth the drive from Indy.

ryanadamsThrough the greatness that is the web, l have located a bootleg file of Ryan Adams & The Cardinals’  “last performance”. He announced on January 14th that he was done (only for now, me thinks) with music. You see, he just got married to Mandy Moore. He’s known to change his ond quickly, so we’ll see how long he can stay away from the microphones. Anyway, we have below what could be his last show, from March 20 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia.
Download zip file of show here

Steve Forbert (best known for 1979’s “Romeo’s Tune”) has a new one this week, “The Place and the Time”.

→ The Felice Brothers are one of the hot bands in roots rock., and have a new album “Yonder Is The Clock” out on April 7th. Lovely gravel with the sweetness of a great band playing old instruments….they are headed on tour and come as close as Louisville, at Headliners on April 24.
Here’s a new tune:
Download “Chicken Run” | Hear “Penn Station” and “The Big Surprise”

Bob Mould releases his new solo album “Life And Times” on April 7th.

Booker T. meets the Drive-By Truckers, and new album comes out of it….
“Potato Hole,” Booker’s new album, comes out April 21. I think this thing will be way cool, thanks to layers of guitar from the Truckers and old buddy Neil Young, who plays on nine tracks. Like classic Booker T. & the MG’s albums, “Potato Hole” is instrumentals, including covers Tom Waits’ “Get Behind the Mule” and OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” Booker performs with the Truckers at three of this summer’s major concerts: Coachella, Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
read more

Bob Dylan releases his 46th album on April 28th called “Together Through Life”.
download “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”

The Smithereens celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Who’s Tommy by cashing in, uh, creating their own version of the rock opera. “The Smithereens Play Tommy” will hit stores and the Internet on May 5.

Elvis Costello’s newest album, “Secret, Profane & Sugarcane,” has him visiting an American roots music sound for the first time in about 20 years. “Sugarcane” will be released June 2 on Hear Music.


My ipod is on shuffle and here’s the first five songs that come up:
1. “Rumbleseat” – John Mellencamp
Quick little underrated rocker off of Scarecrow. And that’s the album, argue it if you want, that really is the roots-rock/alt-country/americana holy grail. Sure, talk about Gram Parsons and the rest if you like, but the combination of regionalized lyrics, slashing guitars, Kenny Aronoff snare smashes and chart success make this the album that influenced a whole generation of guitar-slinging, lyric-writing cowpunks.

2. “Help Me” – Johnny Cash
What a voice. And what words. “Oh Lord, help me walk another mile. Oh Lord, help me smile another smile” From his “American V: A Hundred Highways” record, this marked the end to his recording career, and was another great vocal recording effort from producer Rick Rubin. Just John’s by-then creaky voice and ruminations on dying. Heavy and brilliant and sad.

3. Sweet Caroline” – Supersuckers
From a bootleg from 2004, this outfit is a Seattle country punk rock band that has never really become as well-known as some less-talented counterparts. I saw them on a Farm Aid show (Lousiville, maybe?) and thought they were eerily similar to Jason and the Scorchers, but a little less accessible, if that could be possible. This cut is from an acoustic show, and is a fast shuffling take on the overdone Neil Diamond song. Thankfully, the audience isn’t heard yelling “bomp bomp bomp”, though I bet they did.
Here’s a video of “That is Rock and Roll” to give you a taste of the ‘suckers

4. ”Let Me Down Hard” (Live)” – John Eddie
From his “Who the Hell is John Eddie” record from about five years ago. That record is one of my ten favorite releases of the past decade. It’s is a slow burning love song to a girl who is about to dump his ass. He writes great hook-filled country-rock tunes, with enough pop sugar to make this record work as a great statement that a rocker at 40 can be viable, even if he is selling records to just his small collection of rabid fans. Was played on WTTS, so give them credit for having a clue. By the way, “Lowlife” from this record ended up on Kid Rock’s most recent records. And the song “Forty” is the hero of the album.

5. ”Itsalwayssomething” (live) – Rick Springfield
A 1999 catchy rocker taken here from a live greatest hits record. And here’s why you should like Rick Springfield: The “Working Class Dog” album from 1981 is a power pop classic. And who’s to say “no way”? If it’s you, then you aren’t listening to the music and just hammering the soap opera image. Listen again. Plus, us guys who went to a concert knew the chicks outnumbered the dudes by a 10-1 ratio. Nice. His output is hit-and-miss these days, but he is still capable of a catchy tune with every album.

MP3 4U- Favorite Bootleg of the Week:
Todd Snider – Viva Satellite Demos
Awesome. Freakin’ awesome. It was 1998 and Todd Snider released Viva Satellite, getting mildly ripped by critics for trying to sound like Tom Petty. I think they missed the pure Chuck Berry-ness of the music because the volume might have masked some of Todd’s lyrics, and all sounded a bit derivative. That’s what I think. And I also think those who couldn’t find the greatness were idiots for writing that (even it was just 2 or 3 reviews that I am remembering. Don’t stop me, I’m on a rant…) And there’s many who would say, and it would be damn difficult to argue, that his career has blossomed because of his non-stop solo tours since breaking up the band. But if I’m voting (and I am, and win 1-0), this is the Todd Snider I fell in love with and that is still best. More like stoned-not-drunk Replacements than just Petty, there’s 16 tracks on the bootleg I have linked to for you, and nearly every one of those 16 rock. Most feature Will Kimbrough’s ripping guitar work (check his “Americanitis” album for a recent whiff of his smokin’ brilliance) and most all sound like a band that has the amps up and the lights down. This is Todd and the Nervous Wrecks at their studio rockin’ best – though the would splinter after the tour for this album. I also think this demo version is better than the official release.
Thanks to for the MP3 blog post.
I’m sharing it… you need to take it. – get it here

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant- “I’m In The Mood”

Motown drummer Uriel Jones, whose hard-driving funk propelled classic tunes by the Temptations and Marvin Gaye, died in a Michigan hospital after suffering complications from a heart attack, a family member said. He was 74.