The opening line “Let’s just say they owe me a favor…” is probably about as good as Springsteen’s “They blew up the chicken man in Philly last night…” The line leads to a typically twisted Craig Finn penned tale with the full force of his band The Hold Steady behind him.
The group has been sneaking out releases of digital singles every four months since late last year, compiling 6 songs now it seems the group is still as good as they ever were. The fact that this was released as an old school Tuesday release is cool too. (It is the reason new Vocals On Top album reviews fall on Tuesdays as well.) The Hold Steady still sound hungry here as “The Stove & The Toaster” is filled with an unpredictable Finn story and eager guitars and horns to set the mood. The great part is the specific details of cities and even the namesake here, putting “the stash in the stove and the cash in the toaster.” “Star 18” is no slouch either, again the opening line is great as Finn rattles off “I know we made plans to meet in Spokane but the way I make plans you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt” before preaching his way through the rest of the song. There’s other lyrical gems here like “The dress she was wearin’ made a nice case for natural selection.” Lyrics like these just prove how truly great Craig Finn is.
These digital singles are all great songs with no throw-aways so far. We can only hope this is leading to a full album in the near future.
Key Tracks: “The Stove & The Toaster” “Star 18”