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Hurray For The Riff Raff (#110 of 3)

Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

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Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

Brendan Walter

Listen to Slant’s 25 Best Singles of 2017

Even the resilience of retroism was, this year, tinged with the irony of watching those not knowing the past being doomed to repeat it. But in a grasping-at-straws moment, grim reality checks, bubblicious-pop contraptions, stripped-down folk-soul, and, yes, Old Music 2.0 seemed to coexist on a playlist sending signals of life from the Upside Down, or at least one designed to help us feel some type of way. So even though, as our list of the year’s top singles reveals, we more often than not had to travel all the way to Japan and England to satisfy our memories of hip-thrusting better days that we may never see return, the pleasure of the perfect three- or four-minute escape will never be quashed. Though we’re at the point where even Katy Perry knows we’re all metaphorically in chains.

Bonnaroo 2015 Photo Diary Florence and the Machine, Spoon, Betty Who, Brandi Carlile, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shakey Graves, Christopher Denny, & Awolnation

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Bonnaroo 2015 Photo Diary: Florence and the Machine, Spoon, Betty Who, Brandi Carlile, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shakey Graves, Christopher Denny, & Awolnation
Bonnaroo 2015 Photo Diary: Florence and the Machine, Spoon, Betty Who, Brandi Carlile, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shakey Graves, Christopher Denny, & Awolnation

Photographer Chris Jorgensen has once again set up shot at Bonnaroo, a four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. Each day we’ll be posting some of his up-close-and-personal shots of the bands, the fans, and the press events.

SXSW 2014: The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Black Lips, Hurray for the Riff Raff, & More

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SXSW 2014: The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Black Lips, Hurray for the Riff Raff, & More

Big Hassle/Danny Clinch

SXSW 2014: The Hold Steady, Phantogram, Black Lips, Hurray for the Riff Raff, & More

If you passed him on a street corner, you might mistake The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn for a stressed-out dad or high school chemistry teacher, but on stage his conspicuous nervous energy gets channeled toward making sure that every single person in attendance has a fantastic time. When he sings, he gesticulates wildly, pitching his body over the stage and stretching out his fists as though trying to shake any lingering note of complacency out of his audience. Playing in anticipation of the March 25th release their new album, the Hold Steady bookended a series of new songs with two older favorites, “The Sweet Part of the City” and “The Weekenders,” which recall Bruce Springsteen’s snapshots of urban life in both their sharply observed lyrics and their measured, melodic tempos. The offerings from the new album, including lead single “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You,” portend a return to the band’s origins, notably their brassier guitar onslaughts, punkier percussion, and Finn’s signature speak-singing, where every line hovers somewhere between a tune and a full-throated shout.