Everybody loves the ’70s

By By Trevor Hale

By Trevor Hale

NPR has deemed The Hold Steady the “the best bar band in America.”

Whether or not that’s a good thing is entirely debatable.

In any case, the band will be bringing its riff-heavy mix of ’70s rock and Kerouacian lyrics to one of Salt Lake City’s best bars, The Urban Lounge.

Before signing to Vagrant Records for the release of its latest album, Boys and Girls in America, the group released two albums–2004’s Almost Killed Me and 2005’s Separation Sunday–with indie label Frenchkiss Records.

Two years on the road earned The Hold Steady a growing following, but by the time Boys and Girls was released last October, the band had climbed to the Top-10 lists of critics everywhere.

Sounding slightly out of place on Vagrant Records–home to emo-pop luminaries Alkaline Trio and The Get Up Kids–The Hold Steady has more in common with the E Street Band or Dylan tour partner The Band.

Songwriter Craig Finn pulls lines from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to kick off the first track: “There are times when I think Sal Paradise was right/ Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together.”

Riding the success of Boys and Girls, the group will take part in a few of the larger summer festivals, such as Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Lollapalooza in Chicago.

Boys and Girls in America–which ranked first in the Onion A.V. Club’s Best Music of 2006 list and eighth in Rolling Stone’s–is a welcome diversion from the myriad young bands just discovering the ’70s while trying to re-create their own A Night at the Opera–read: My Chemical Romance and The Academy Is.

When The Hold Steady rolls into town this coming Wednesday, May 23, let’s hope its title lives up to the hype, leaving smiles on the faces of the sad, intoxicated boys and girls of The Urban Lounge.

“The best bar band in America”