The Hold Steady are combining a first and a last to kick off this week: Craig Finn and company’s first new song of the year is “The Last Time That She Talked To Me.”
Released exclusively via Bandcamp Monday, the single won’t arrive on streaming services until this Friday, March 8, via Frenchkiss Records. In the meantime, fans can download the track for the price of a $1 donation to The K + L Guardian Foundation, a fund benefitting the children of late Unified Scene founder “Jersey” Mike Van Jura, who died in 2012 at the age of 36.
Though “The Last Time That She Talked To Me” is The Hold Steady’s first new single of 2019, it’s the ninth in a series of singles the band have put out over the past 15 months, including “Confusion in the Marketplace” b/w “T-Shirt Tux,” “The Stove & The Toaster” b/w “Star 18,” “Eureka” b/w “Esther” and “Entitlement Crew” b/w “A Snake In The Shower.” All of these previously released singles are now streaming, in addition to being available on The Hold Steady’s Bandcamp.
The Brooklyn-based rockers—that is, Finn (vocals), Bobby Drake (drums), Tad Kubler (guitar, vocals), Franz Nicolay (keyboards), Galen Polivka (bass) and Steve Selvidge (guitar, vocals)—haven’t released a proper full-length album since 2014’s Teeth Dreams, instead opting for singles like today’s. Frontman Finn has been staying busy on the LP front, though: He released his third solo album We All Want The Same Things in March 2017, with a fourth, I Need A New War, arriving on April 26 via Partisan Records.
The Hold Steady recorded “The Last Time That She Talked To Me” with producer Josh Kaufman and engineer D. James Goodwin at Isokon Studios in Woodstock, N.Y. Stuart Bogie and Dave Nelson contributed horns to the track, with Annie Nero on backup vocals.
There’s no question The Hold Steady are staying sharp despite taking it a couple of singles at a time of late: “The Last Time That She Talked To Me” manages the band’s typical bittersweet raucousness, Finn’s rueful recollections bolstered by bluesy guitar and piano, the celebratory horn section and Nero’s fluttering “yeah yeah yeah”s.
“We played this in November 2018 at Brooklyn Bowl so the trainspotters know of its existence, but here is the full-blown studio version,” the band explain on Bandcamp.
The Hold Steady’s live schedule next features The Weekender, a sold-out, three-day event in London comprising two shows at Camden’s Electric Ballroom (on March 8-9) and a third, limited-capacity performance at Oslo in Hackney (March 10). In spring, the band hop back across the pond for a handful of U.S. shows—more info here.
Listen to “The Last Time She Talked To Me” and/or donate for a download via the band’s Bandcamp page here. You can also hear the track below, along with a 2009 Hold Steady performance from the Paste archives.