The Hold Steady weren't thrilled with 2010's Heaven Is Whenever, the band's fifth record in seven years. "It felt like we were out of ideas," says singer Craig Finn. "We needed a break." After Finn made a solo LP, the group headed to Tennessee with Foo Fighters producer Nick Raskulinecz for its loudest, darkest record yet. Teeth Dreams – a reference to anxiety-ridden dreams about losing teeth – is full of big riffs and desperate characters, including a couple struggling with addiction in the nine-minute "Oaks." "I don't want everyone to feel terrible after listening to it," says Finn.