Still from the Hold Steady video for "Sideways Skulls" showing the band on stage.

New Hold Steady video: Sideways Skull

Video: The Hold Steady – “Sideways Skull”

Directed by Sebastian Hagan. From Price of Progress, out March 31.

The Hold Steady doesn’t release a lot of music videos, do they? It’s been a while for sure. And maybe this is why. Cobbled together from footage from a show at the Brooklyn Bowl in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, you might as well watch the whole show. Skip to about 1:17:15 for this song. But who cares? This is a classic Hold Steady song.

She flew a flag that she made from a bedsheet
A sideways skull and a lopsided pentagram,
Said “Asymmetrical’s way more diabolical
You don’t wanna make it look too perfect, man.”

That’s true, you don’t. Perfect is boring. And that’s one of the things that’s great about this band. Unlike a lot of the characters in their songs, the band is not sloppy but they’re always a little messy. There’s a difference and it’s important. And “Sideways Skull” has that messy exuberance that makes the Hold Steady such an inspiration.

Craig Finn says the song “is a rocking song about rock and rollers. In this case, they’ve been taken out of the game for a bit of rest, but still keep their dreams alive as they discuss past glories. We loved the big sound of this when Tad Kubler brought it into the band, and the studio performance of it felt especially joyful.”

Yes! Embrace the joy.

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