Someone please tell me why I should hate this band. Beside the fact that they do everything wrong: derivative licks, pretentious lyrics, frat-boy posturing.
I wish I hated this band. But I am not cool enough to hate this band. I love this band. I love the way they find that expansive big riff that carries the song. I love the way they shamelessly worship gesture rock. I love the way they sound like Social Distortion meets Molly Hatchett while The Fall mediates the peace talks.
I'd like to see them tour with the Drive-By Truckers, so folks could see side-by-side what a trying-to-sound-like-a-rock-band band sounds like next to a real rock band.
There's a deep sad irony in why Lucero and DBT aren't the shit yet The Hold Steady manages to garner significant press. Don't get me wrong: I love this band. Like, I play "Arms and Hearts" over and over again. I love 'em. But they have copped that hipster pose that allows them to ape authenticity without having the responsibility to back it up. DBT backs it up. And Lucero is simply too good for people to grasp until the band dies horribly or saves a baby from a well.
Leach the irony from a Hold Steady song, add pedal steel, better songwriting, and a Southern drawl and you have the Drive-By Truckers.
But DBT has been honing their craft in bars for 20 years, and The Hold Steady arose from the remains of Lifter Puller (an admittedly pretty good band)....like, Tuesday.
DBT actually thinks that there's a vernacular rock and roll that matters to people. They still exist at the locus of rock, R&B, country, and blues. The Hold Steady sees that as a pose and tries to take something from the dead parts and build a zombie out of it.
Both approaches have merit. Guys go for looks, girls go for status. That's hard to argue with.