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The Hold Steady
Credit: The Hold Steady:

Separation Sunday

B+

Craig Finn, the bespectacled singer-guitarist who leads this captivating NYC band, makes music in the grunge tradition — but far more ambitious and clever than you might expect. On Separation Sunday, the Hold Steady’s second album, Finn spins wordy yarns about shady characters heading for trouble (or retreating from it), tossing off his smart-aleck lyrics with a sexy swagger that belies his nerdiness. Factor in the roaring keyboard-enriched arrangements, and you’ve got a group that grooves like the E. 13th Street Band — bar rock for the smart set.

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