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Hold Steady to release live album

Sometimes one wonders if it’s chicken-or-the-egg with the Hold Steady: Were they first “The Best Bar Band in America” (quoth NPR) and then subsequently recognized as such? Or was it the deification that came before, and the “riffs/poetry/BEER” live act (at least in its current incarnation) that shrewdly followed?

In many ways, the correct answer is “It’s awesome. Who cares.”

But with news now surfacing that the band will release a live album in 2008, it’s a question that seems particularly relevant: Between their more-than-a-little oxymoronic critical coronation (find me a real Hipster Bar Band, I’ll find you the Giant Flying Unicorn Bus on which they tour) and their equally winking/ironic acceptance of the crown (pretty sure Craig Finn’s always been a little more Lou Reed than Hootie, yes?), at this point in the Hold Steady’s rather unique evolution…what exactly should be deemed progress?

For the Best Kerouac-Quoting Indie Approximation of What a Bar Band Might Be Like in America™, a live album seems like both a ho-hum stopgap and—fair or not—a self-aware fork in the road. [NME]

For now, all non-existential paths lead to Seattle:

11-04 Seattle, WA – HUB Ballroom
11-05 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
11-06 San Francisco, CA – Warfield Theater
11-07 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
11-08 San Diego, CA – Cane’s
11-09 Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
11-11 Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
11-12 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
11-13 Lawrence, KS – Granada
11-14 Dallas, TX – Palladium Ballroom
11-15 Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa
11-17 Birmingham, AL – BottleTree Annex
11-18 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
11-19 Richmond, VA – Toad’s Place Richmond
11-20 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
11-21 New York, NY – Terminal 5

(All dates with Art Brut)