The Hold Steady have been described as America’s the greatest bar band. With lead singer, Craig Finn’s, penchant for choruses Springsteen-esque both in their sweeping appeal, and Finn’s gruff intonation. With an amazingly consistent track record of creating excellent meat and potatoes rock it’s hard to argue against this distinction.
However, as surely as the King of Beers has it’s lite counter part, so too do The Hold Steady have a similarly flavored albeit watered down counterpart. Cheap Girls are Hold Steady Lite.
The similarities are striking. Crunchy guitar riffs and tales of drunken, possibly unrequited emotion delivered in a flat, but emotive midwestern dialect. Whereas The Hold Steady deal in pseudo concept albums and tell seemingly personal tales drawn from the experiences of following cool music, Cheap Girls spin cautiously optimistic yarns about dysfunctional relationships with a sardonic edge. Both bands know their way around a shout-along chorus, but you won’t burn any calories getting through a Cheap Girls song.
If you’re predisposed toward finding merit in every little guitar-band-that-could I reall recommend diving into the works of Cheap Girls. My personal favorite is 2012’s Giant Orange.