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Almost Killed Me

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Album Review

"The '80s almost killed me," admits the Hold Steady's Craig Finn on "Positive Jam," one of ten rock & roll confessionals on the band's debut. That sets the tone for the rest of Almost Killed Me, as Finn reveals a lifestyle that included a "skater phase," a "raver phase," and a "razor blade phase." His lamentations are the appropriate voice for the band's debut, which sets out to recapture the glory of classic American rock and early indie rock. With rugged guitar riffs and solos and Finn's half-sung, scratchy voice, the Hold Steady mostly succeed, easily recalling the classic rock of early Bruce Springsteen or the sincerity of latter-day Hüsker Dü. When he's not remembering the parties and acting like "a Twin Cities trash bin," he reacts to the corruption of today's youth. Finn may seem like a fish out of water at this point, but having survived a self-indulgent life, his lyrics, as well as the Hold Steady's back-to-basics rock, are ironically welcoming.

Biography

Formed: 2000 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Resisting the musical trends in New York City, vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn (ex-Lifter Puller) formed the Hold Steady after moving from Minneapolis in 2000. Wanting to capture the sound of bands such as the Replacements and the Grifters, he recruited guitarist Tad Kubler (also ex-Lifter Puller), drummer Judd Counsell, and bassist Galen Polivka. Recording mostly live, the band released its debut, Almost Killed Me, on Frenchkiss Records in March 2004. Dave Gardener (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like...
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Almost Killed Me, The Hold Steady
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