New York’s most Minnesotan rock band had the unforeseeable foresight to record a new album before the pandemic — and even to include a nod to Eddie Van Halen on it.
The Hold Steady announced a Feb. 19 release date for “Open Door Policy,” their eighth studio album and first for their own label, Positive Jams. News of the record arrived Tuesday ahead of the sextet’s fifth annual Massive Nights concert series, which they’re staging over three nights Thursday-Saturday at the Brooklyn Bowl for fans to watch virtually.
Along with pre-order options for the new record, the band posted the song “Family Farm.” The horn- and piano-laced, 3½-minute trackfeatures a line by THS’s Edina- and KQRS-reared frontman Craig Finn about being treated by a nurse who had Van Halen’s “Eruption” as a ringtone.
Here’s the backstory on the record taken from theholdsteady.net:
“We recorded ‘Open Door Policy’ in two different sessions in the back half of 2019. Once again we teamed with producer Josh Kaufman and engineer Dan Goodwin, this time at the Clubhouse studio in upstate NY. Our intention was to create an album that worked as a grand piece, rather than a collection of songs. 2019 was an active year for The Hold Steady — our writing was consistent, and new songs were coming in pretty regularly. The recording process was creative, open and fun.
“We were pretty much done with the record by the time we played a few of the new songs in London the first week of March 2020, as the unease of the pandemic was setting in. Not long after we got back from London, NYC shut down and we began to see our 2020 shows postponed. Over the next months, it became obvious that timing this album’s release to specific weekend celebrations wouldn’t be a possibility in the near future. But we were still excited to share it.”
If all goes (very) well vaccine-wise next year, fans in THS’s sorta-hometown could be among the first to finally see the band live again. Their trio of gigs at First Avenue and 7th St. Entry for the main room’s 50th anniversary this past April were bumped to May 21-22, 2021.
Virtual tickets to this week’s Brooklyn Bowl marathon are available via Fans.Live at $15 per night or $40 for all three shows.