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The Hold Steady Details ‘Positive’ 4th Album

The Hold Steady has finalized the track listing for its fourth album, “Stay Positive”. The 11-song set is due July 15 via Vagrant Records and features contributions from Drive By Truckers’ Patterson Hood, J. Mascis and Doug Gillard, formerly of Guided By Voices. The Brooklyn rock group also reconvened with John Agnello, who produced 2006’s “Boys And Girls In America.”

“There’s less party talk,” frontman Craig Finn tells said of the new material. “I don’t think anything is a radical departure, but there are things that I wanted to talk about. I was influenced a lot [by] getting old, and attempting to age gracefully. The idea is to not wake up washed up. You want to keep progressing, intellectually.”

Indeed, tunes such as the slow, bluesy ballad “Lord, I’m Discouraged” and “Stay Positive” see Finn’s narratives reflecting on themes of maturity. Fans will also notice that the band has opted to change up its sound on some tunes, opting for a harpsichord on “One for the Cutters” and a banjo on “Both Crosses.”

“I think four records in, you’re thinking what have we done before?” Finn says. “What should we do here? You have these initial habits, but you’re fighting those — and that’s healthy, to make things sound different.”

“I think we’ve tackled the big huge rock riff,” adds guitarist Tad Kubler of the band’s past. “And I think we wanted to extend what we’re used to doing. Step out of our safety zone.”

For Kubler, that meant trying out a slew of new gear, including a talk box on “Joke About Jamaica” that he says “was so ridiculous, I had to try it out.”

Finn’s vocal delivery has gone through some changes as well. He has been engaged in singing lessons since the release of “Boys And Girls In America.”

“One of the things I found out [is] I always hear more melodies than I was projecting,” Finn says. “I hopefully got better, communicate more than I’m hearing.”

The Hold Steady plans to launch a large tour following the record’s release, with July dates already lined up for Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party and Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Here is the track list for “Stay Positive”:

“Constructive Summer”
“Sequestered In Memphis”
“One For The Cutters”
“Navy Sheets”
“Lord, I’m Discouraged”
“Yeah Sapphire”
“Both Crosses”
“Stay Positive”
“Joke About Jamaica”
“Slapped Actress”