Last week, America’s greatest bar band the Hold Steady dropped by the Rolling Stone offices to play a three-song acoustic set of tunes from their new disc Heaven Is Whenever . After slowly building a rabid fan base with four records of fist-pumping, boozy Eighties college-rock romanticism, the band took a new approach to its latest LP. Singer-guitarist Craig Finn and guitarist Tad Kubler labored over writing and recording, spending six months cutting the album instead of the usual six weeks. The band say they’ve gotten more comfortable with their life as professional musicians as a result.
“We’re not just a flash in the pan,” says Kubler. “This all started with very little ambition — we didn’t know if we were going to make a record let alone go on tour. Having played in bands since we were teenagers to little or no success at all, I think there’s a tremendous amount of gratitude.” Watch acoustic versions of three new songs — “Hurricane Jay,” “We Can Get Together” and “Barely Breathing” — up top.