Craig Finn, frontman of The Hold Steady, is releasing a solo album in a few weeks, and two of the songs are streaming on Pitchfork (link above).
We are assured that this by no means means that The Hold Steady is in trouble.
The band is in fine form, as evidenced by these videos from a couple of weeks ago here in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom:
The Hold Steady, do not play rock steady or any other Afro-Caribbean product, rather they play straight ahead rock and roll... more like an assault, like those bands from the 70s... like Thin Lizzy, featuring two and sometimes three guitars. Famously a "bar band" transplanted from The Twin Cities to Williamsburg, frontman Craig Finn, an unlikely rock star, brings his smile, literary tongue-twisters, and multiple recreational drug references (you really need a Pharmacist's Guide to figure out what he's tripping on now) to the band's solid rock to create the unique sound of The Hold Steady.
I'm always surprised how few people have heard of The Hold Steady, considering how famous and how good they are. I mean, they've been around for several years, several albums, several tours... high profile covers of Dylan and Springsteen (both of whom they've been compared to), in which, as my friend Pete pointed out, they manage to both sound exactly like the originals and also exactly like themselves... but many people still think they are a reggae band from Connecticut or something.
But the people who have heard of them, tend to love them incessantly, both as recording artists and (especially) as a live band. Rarely have I met such devoted fans of any band.
If you need any proof of their merit as a live band, check out the videos at the link above.