The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
When I first heard the Hold Steady, I thought they were kind of hokey. And they were, but the more I listened to them, the more I couldn't stop listening to them. Once I got passed the initial impression of the lead signer with the prominent voice signing about sometimes goofy topics like your little hoodrat friend, I saw the kickass musical prowess and the epic Springsteen-like communities behind their songs. Then, a few years later, I heard this record and it blew me away at first listen. There were fewer throwaway songs and the lead signer's voice had been toned down so that the instruments could shine through. Every song rocked out, every lyric sounded inspired by a lifetime on the scene and "Stuck Between Stations" brought it all together like only great rock songs can. The best compliment I can give this record is that it makes my heart beat, that it makes me want to be part of the scene under the railroad bridge dancing and drinking.