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Andy Whitman

The Hold Steady -- Heaven is Whenever

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Now here's a bit of news.

--------------------------

For q+a's with The Hold Steady's Craig Finn and Tad Kubler about 'Heaven Is Whenever,' go here:

http://www.shorefire.com/index.php?a=pressrelease&o=3699

The Hold Steady's 'Heaven Is Whenever' Set For Release May 4

The Hold Steady, lauded for the scope, depth, truth and heart they bring to chronicling the American rock myth, recently put the finishing touches on 'Heaven Is Whenever,' their new album set for release May 4 on Vagrant Records. The album was produced by Dean Baltulonis, who engineered the band's 'Almost Killed Me' and produced 'Separation Sunday,' and was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios in Upstate NY and Wild Arctic Studios in Queens, NY, with mixing also happening at Wild Arctic.

Singer Craig Finn says 'Heaven Is Whenever' is about "embracing suffering and understanding its place in a joyful life. The lyrics speak a lot about struggle and reward." Piano and keys take a backseat to guitar on the new record, which also gets production help from guitarist Tad Kubler. "I really believe the album exposes new elements of the band that we hinted at on other records but weren't able to fully realize until this one," says Kubler. "Rather than just concentrate on changes in the instrumentation, we made changes to the song writing process."

Recorded in several smaller sessions spread out over a long period of time, the songs on 'Heaven Is Whenever' received the benefit of being tested on the band's recent tours. There was also a makeshift recording booth set up on the back of their tour bus so songs and musical ideas could be documented as they developed. As Finn says this allowed them to "see what was working and what wasn't. I believe this record benefits from us working at a more deliberate pace."

Following the release of 2008's critically acclaimed 'Stay Positive,' which gave the band it's highest Billboard chart position to date, The Hold Steady toured relentlessly, playing to some of their biggest audiences to date.

The Hold Steady is: Craig Finn, Tad Kubler, Galen Polivka, Bobby Drake

'Heaven Is Whenever' tracklisting:

1. The Sweet Part of the City

2. Soft in the Center

3. The Weekenders

4. The Smidge

5. Rock Problems

6. We Can Get Together

7. Hurricane J

8. Barely Breathing

9. Our Whole Lives

10. A Slight Discomfort

The Hold Steady Confirmed Spring Tour Dates

Fri April 2 Ardsley, NY LIFE the place to be

Sat Apr 3 New Haven, CT Toad's Place

Mon Apr 5 Burlington, VT Higher Ground

Tue Apr 6 Northampton, MA Pearl Street

Wed Apr 7 Albany, NY Linda Norris Auditorium

Thu Apr 8 Woodstock, NY Bearsville Theater

Fri Apr 9 Jermyn, PA Eleanor Rigby's

Sat Apr 10 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater

Mon Apr 12 Rochester, NY The Club at Water Street Music Hall

Tue Apr 13 Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom

Wed Apr 14 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel Club Lounge

Thu Apr 15 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant St.

Fri Apr 16 Harrisburg, PA Appalachian Brewing Company

Wed May 5 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre

Thu May 6 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore

Sat May 29 George, WA Sasquatch Festival

Sat Jun 12 Newport, UK Isle of Wright Festival

Mon Jun 14 Paris, FR Fleche D'Or

Mon Jun 21 Amsterdam, NL Melkeg

Tue Jun 22 London, UK HMV Forum

Sat Jun 26 Manchester, UK Academy 2

'Heaven Is Whenever' will be available in the UK and EU on May 3 on Rough Trade Records.

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Guest thom_jurek

This is, of course, the best news ever.

I'm hoping it's a return to form; I was disappointed by the last record.

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This is, of course, the best news ever.

I'm hoping it's a return to form; I was disappointed by the last record.

It felt like a transitional record to me. I wouldn't call it a disappointment-- I felt that they were trying to push their art forward, and in many cases succeeding-- but I would say that it's the weakest of their four recordings.

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Guest thom_jurek

This is, of course, the best news ever.

I'm hoping it's a return to form; I was disappointed by the last record.

It felt like a transitional record to me. I wouldn't call it a disappointment-- I felt that they were trying to push their art forward, and in many cases succeeding-- but I would say that it's the weakest of their four recordings.

I guess for me the production was a bit over the edge into "slick" territory and the songs weren't quite "up there." I let go of my copy. I do think, however, that for me, almost anything would have been a bit of a let down after Boys And Girls In America. That said, I am looking forward to hearing this one big time.

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I'm looking forward to the possibility of actually hearing Craig's guitar.

Brave man.

It should be interesting to see where they go from here. The critical consensus seemed to be that Franz is what catapulted them from a good band to a great band. He apparently did work on this record, but the group re-recorded all of his parts with someone else. Also interesting to see Tad talking about pushing the sound farther in that Q&A. Sounds like they're gonna be taking more risks with this one. Hopefully those risks don't include the harpsichord.

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Here's the first single, "Hurricane J."

I could've SWORN Finn said this album was going to be less anthemic...

I'm...I hate that I'm about to say this...I'm disappointed. I think it is less anthemic, and to me it sounds like--again, I hate that I'm about to say this--Fountains of Wayne. I'm officially nervous about the new release (and just bought my ticket to see them in New Haven).

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Here's the first single, "Hurricane J."

I could've SWORN Finn said this album was going to be less anthemic...

I'm...I hate that I'm about to say this...I'm disappointed. I think it is less anthemic, and to me it sounds like--again, I hate that I'm about to say this--Fountains of Wayne. I'm officially nervous about the new release (and just bought my ticket to see them in New Haven).

Holly's mom, she's got it goin' on.

I haven't heard the song yet. It's just such an intriguing merger.

Edited by Andy Whitman

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I haven't heard the song yet. It's just such an intriguing merger.

I'm anxious to hear your response, Andy.

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I think I'm with Marty. First Hold Steady song I've ever heard that I would describe as boring.

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I think I'm with Marty. First Hold Steady song I've ever heard that I would describe as boring.

Shall we all officially begin to speculate on the quality of Heaven is Whenever? Or should we all return to work? I'm inclined towards the former, but something tells me that it's a waste of worry.

*I'm not being snarky, I promise. This is of far more interest to me than the annotated bibliography I'm supposed to be writing.

Edited by mrrrty

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I'm...I hate that I'm about to say this...I'm disappointed. I think it is less anthemic, and to me it sounds like--again, I hate that I'm about to say this--Fountains of Wayne. I'm officially nervous about the new release (and just bought my ticket to see them in New Haven).

I agree with Marty about the FOW comparison, but to me that's a huge (stay) positive. Love it.

Can't wait to hear the rest.

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For some reason, Lala takes forever to stream at work, so I'll just have to listen to this at home. That said, comparing it to FoW is not a bad thing at all (especially if it's, say, Utopia Parkway-era FoW).

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For some reason, Lala takes forever to stream at work, so I'll just have to listen to this at home. That said, comparing it to FoW is not a bad thing at all (especially if it's, say, Utopia Parkway-era FoW).

It's not a bad thing when talking about, say, a new Weezer album (especially if you're referring to "Denise"-era FoW), or, for that matter, most power-pop bands. But when you're talking about The Hold Steady, it is a very, very bad thing. Not to knock Fountains of Wayne, but that's just not what The Hold Steady is supposed to sound like.

Then again, it's one track that I've heard one time, and I'm a zealot.

*And, FWIW, the THS message board seems really, really excited.

Edited by mrrrty

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I can't stop listening to Hurricane J. I've been a fan off and on through their albums, although I'm not a member of the drooling crowd around here. But to me, I love this new direction. It feels a lot more polished, so I see why some might not like it. But I'm very encouraged by the album title, cover and lead single.

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NY Mag's Vulture blog has a stream of HIW track "Rock Problems," which I'm already digging much more than "Hurricane J". Crisis averted, for now. (via Pitchfork)

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Not to knock Fountains of Wayne, but that's just not what The Hold Steady is supposed to sound like.
But those chunky, 8th note staccato power chords have always sounded exactly like FoW. Which is probably the main reason why i could never go further than Boys & Girls, no matter how great Craig Finn's lyrics are.

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If you asked me, right now, to name the two worst songs The Hold Steady ever cut, I'd have to name the two we've heard from this album. Hopefully, hearing the whole piece-- and giving it some time to sink in-- will dramatically change my opinion of this material. But for now, my hopes are seriously dashed.

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