A Positive Rage
Label: Vagrant Records
A lot of critics talk of the Hold Steady's ability to channel their inner Springsteen, but that isn't what makes them special. As this live album clearly demonstrates, Craig Finn and company possess an uncanny knack for filtering 1970s pub rock and East Coast boogie through the gritty Midwest punk jammers they listened to while growing up in Minnesota. The throwdown "Barfruit Blues" says it all: While Finn and the piano shuck 'n' jive, the rhythm section rumbles like vintage Gaunt.