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The Hold Steady Stays Positive

With its riff-heavy mixture of classic rock and lyrically dense storytelling, the increasingly iconic Brooklyn rock band The Hold Steady crafts detailed musical universes that have already made it a critical darling and fan favorite. Hear the band perform songs from its new album, Stay Positive, on World Cafe with host David Dye.

Formed in 2000 from the ashes of the Minneapolis band Lifter Puller, The Hold Steady released Almost Killed Me in 2004. Bolstered by an ambitious tour schedule, 2005's Separation Sunday further boosted the group's profile. A loose concept album, Separation Sunday concerns itself mostly with a set of recurring characters whose exploits are chronicled in lead singer Craig Finn's complex lyrics.

Making the move to a bigger label for Boys and Girls in America, Finn and company created an immensely compelling and accessible set of songs. Taking its name from a line in Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road, the disc ranks among 2006's best.

Stay Positive is the group's fourth album in five years. The record finds the band sampling a broader range of sounds, including a mandolin and a harpsichord, but rock is still its metier. The songs have been kicking around in the minds of the musicians for a while: The Hold Steady played the title track during its 2007 tour with Art Brut.

Copyright 2008 XPN

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