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Entries in The Hold Steady (3)


Craig Finn of the Hold Steady launches his own beer

Craig Finn is your literate American all-rounder, and his work with The Hold Steady has been the perfect soundtrack to good times for so many. The clink of drinks amongst buddies, the highs and the lows of life where the drink in your hand is as good a friend to you as any other. With this in mind, and after years of drinking the same beers from the same tired riders, Craig took his wealth of life and drinking experience and started to work on a beer of his own.

Following an extensive tasting and testing session at the Signature Brew Pub, where a shortlist of 25 very different brews were supped and sampled, Craig selected his favourite flavours, aromas and styles. These were then taken by the Master Brewer, combined, and the brewing process was set in motion. Several weeks later, hot on the tail of his solo release, “Clear Heart, Full Eyes”, the beer was ready, Craig’s very own Signature Brew.

“When I set out to make this beer, I was going for something with a clear taste and a full flavor. Instead I got a pretty decent buzz. We had a great time creating this beer and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy!” said Craig Finn of the beer.

Served cold in 330ml bottles,"Clear Heart"’ contains a melody of bitterness and citrus notes, the fresh hops and malted barley are in harmony within this golden brew, a full bodied taste with an easy finish.

"We've been big fans of Craig's music over the years and are delighted to have helped him develop his Clear Heart craft beer. It has been a fantastic opportunity for us to have his knowledge and enthusiasm represented as part of our Signature Brew collection," said Sam McGregor, Director at Signature Brew. 

The beer was officially launched on 19th of March at The Signature Brew Pub, and the beer is now available to buy online, as well as at a range of selected outlets, including The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen where Craig recently performed live.

Signature Brew believe in real music and real beer. Bringing some of the world’s greatest artists together with the finest craft beer to create an authentic music taste. Clear Heart is the sophomore beer released by Signature Brew, following The General by The Rifles.

For more information on Signature Brew and wholesaling, visit

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A great American rock record from the Ready Stance


Album release: Damndest by the Ready Stance
Release date: May 21, 2012  

In these days of gimmicky indie art projects, the Ready Stance’s time-honored sound is rare: just four guys in a room knocking out straight-up, folk-based rock, much as it could’ve been done in 1966.

The back story of Cincinnati band the Ready Stance qualifies as rock’n’roll fairy tale. Wes Pence, the creative force of revered early ’90s outfit Middlemarch recalls “I was walking home one night and happened to glance in the open window of a house on my block. Inside were a couple of guitars and on the walls some old show flyers from The Replacements and other bands I loved, which seemed really out of place for the neighbourhood. Then this guy walked out on the porch…”

That guy was lead vocalist and guitarist Chase Johnston - an Ohio native and a veteran of the Athens, Georgia music scene. An animated conversation between the two revealed an uncannily simpatico musical vision and still more shared touchstones: The Hold Steady, Big Star, VU, The Band, R.E.M., the Feelies. After some preliminary sessions, it wasn’t long before talk turned to forming a band. Pence recruited one of his old Middlemarch bandmates, drummer Eric Moreton, and music veteran Randy Cheek (The Libertines U.S, Ass Ponys) on bass and backing vocals and the new quartet started working up Pence’s backlog of tunes. In the guitarist’s basement studio, before even playing out, the four began recording Damndest, the Ready Stance’s astonishingly solid debut.

Much like the story of the band’s formation, the yarns in the album’s 11 tracks—all set to sweeping, melody-rich hooks, raw, ringing guitars, and driving rhythms—are rooted in fact and stranger than fiction; literate, image-laden observations with a penchant for classic, bent Midwestern arcana. There’s Steamship Moselle, the calliope-infused account of an 1838 maritime explosion that ends with an ill-fated minister found clutching a dry Bible; and Marathon, an amusing local legend concerning a confused fistfight between a speech-impaired gas station attendant and a customer with a similar affliction. More timely themes include Real America, a chord-crunching, poetic look at divisive politics and pundits who claim to represent the 'real' country.

Damndest is a also a simple story of a guy who had marginal success in music during the early 90s, then spent a couple of decades in the epicenter of US manufacturing (amid globalization and the disappearance of the entire US/Midwest manufacturing sector…) How does a Midwest industrialist cope with globalization and the decline of US manufacturing? By making the great American rock record, that’s how.

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Debut solo LP from Craig Finn (The Hold Steady)

Album release: Clear Heart Full Eyes by Craig Finn
Label: Full Time Hobby
Release date: 23 January 2011

Craig Finn, frontman of the critically acclaimed group The Hold Steady, has confirmed the release of his debut solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, on Full-Time Hobby Records on 23 January 2011.

Earlier this year, Finn challenged himself to write a new song every day in his Brooklyn apartment. "I had written a bunch of songs that were outside of the norm for The Hold Steady, a little quieter and perhaps more narrative," says Finn. "I wanted to gain some experience and insight into the process of making a record by working with new people."
Finn travelled to Austin, Texas in July, removing himself from all familiar surroundings, to record the album with producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead). Of the album's title, Finn says, ”It's a juxtaposed reference to 'Friday Night Lights,' a TV show that excited and moved me and also happened in Texas. Further, 'Clear Heart' signifies honesty and transparency, and 'Full Eyes' suggests experience."

Finn's solo album features a variety of guests, including members of White Denim, Phosphorescent, The Heartless Bastards and Centro-matic.

2012 tour dates will be announced soon. The Clear Heart Full Eyes tracklist is as follows:

1) Apollo Bay
2) When No One’s Watching
3) No Future
4) New Friend Jesus
5) Jackson
6) Terrified Eyes
7) Western Pier
8) Honolulu Blues
9) Rented Room
10) Balcony
11) Not Much Left Of Us

'Making of' video

Craig has also posted a “making of” video about the record here:,66908/

Instore gig at Rough Trade East

Craig Finn play an intimate instore gig at Rough Trade East on Wed 25 January at 7pm in support of his debut solo album. For more information about this event please see the Rough Trade website.

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