Fans of the Hold Steady in Texas recently got their first listen to a pair of new tunes that are likely headed for the band's next album. During a three-date swing through the Lone Star State last week – their first batch of shows in 2012, since frontman Craig Finn has spent recent months touring solo – the band debuted "Wait Awhile" in Austin and another as-yet-untitled song the following night in Dallas.
Finn describes the tuneful, anthemic "Wait Awhile" to Rolling Stone as a sort of "advice song" that mines familiar territory for the band. "This is in the same vein of the kind of songs that we had a lot of on the last record, of an older and wiser person saying to someone else, 'You know, this might be some good advice.'" explains Finn. "There's a long tradition of those throughout rock & roll, and that's what we've been doing a lot of over the last couple records."
The Hold Steady have completed rougly a dozen songs for the new album since they began writing in November, Finn says, and they've scheduled time at an Austin rehearsal space to work on more material. They hope to make enough progress to book studio sessions by as early as June. No decision has been made yet about where the band will record the LP or who will produce it.
When asked whether Clear Heart Full Eyes, Finn's debut solo album released last year, has affected the band's new material, he says that it's too early to tell whether there will be any lasting differences between the two. "The solo stuff is what I guess I would consider more traditional songwriting, as most people think of it," Finn says. "The band thing is so different because it comes much more out of the riffs, and I just worry about the lyrics. A lot of it is me just trying to find places to sing in between all the other noise.