The Hold Steady, "Teeth Dreams" (Razor & Tie)
The Hold Steady is a garage band at heart, but it's a two-car garage in a nice neighborhood, and there might be a Mercedes inside.
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Singer Craig Finn and his mates have always come across like upper-middle-class products who are usually the oldest, smartest guys at the party -- and thus the ones who tell the most interesting stories. "Teeth Dreams," the Brooklyn band's sixth album, is filled with Finn's characteristically compelling characters, mostly female, as he sings about bad company, simple minds, night moves, life in the fast lane, dancing the night away and Pink Floyd. Rock doesn't come much more classic.
To help keep the '70s alive, the Hold Steady doubles down on the guitars, and recent addition Steve Selvidge teams with band co-founder Tad Kubler to frame the songs with dense, shimmering sound. It's often pretty, and it always packs plenty of punch. Horns? Strings? There's no need when you're a garage band.