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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.

Customer Reviews

Barfruit Blues...

Listening to this band makes my eyes sting and my clothes smell like Basic Cigarettes and PBR. Its proof that rock is intelligent and coffeehouses are just bars without the payoff.

I dig it

This is hard rock by people who listened to hard rock when they were like twelve, and then listened to the misfits and the pixies and husker du and black flag for like fifteen years and then were like, "hey that hard rock stuff was rad, let's go back to that. It will be refreshing in this world of crappy retro new-wave and hipster garbage." And they were right. Also, their punk leanings make for good economical song writing and no rock-guy attitude. Enter their singer, Craig Finn: A true natural poet, he recites, rambles and rants as much as sings and though a touch monotonous at first, once you get to know him and his characters and his hilarious, semi-abstract stories, well you'll fall in love. This is a band where you can really get the idea from previewing the songs. "The Swish" is probably the fan classic but I really think that every song on this record is great.

Sunny D

The vocals and the lyrics are make this album great


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...
Full Bio