Local Current Blog

If You Like: The Hold Steady

Photo of Agharta Records by Cecilia Johnson | MPR
Hey all,

Here at The Current, we’re introducing a new feature called If You Like. The gist: You tell us who you’re into, and we recommend a local artist you might enjoy.

Nick from the Minneapolis metro wrote in with our first submission, saying he loves the Hold Steady because of their clever lyrics, good hooks, and unpretentiousness. In response, I’ve got to recommend Dylan Hicks, an earnest, wry character of an artist who’s just released his fifth album, Ad Out.

Hicks has spent more than 30 years in the Twin Cities, having moved to Minneapolis at age 13. Newer scene watchdogs may be unfamiliar with his music, as his last album came out in 2012. But literary community members are likely to perk up at the name; Hicks has published two novels, Boarded Windows (2012) and Amateurs (2016), via Minnesotan non-profit Coffee House Press.

That storytelling instinct shines through Hicks’s music, and here’s where I see a huge parallel with the Hold Steady and Dylan Hicks. Craig Finn is often recognized for his narrative ways; the New York Times, Stereogum, and USA Today are all fans. Hicks is also a yarn-spinner; a little softer-sounding, granted, but he’s not afraid to call for a ripping guitar solo. The Hold Steady’s work is rich with dark humor, so reading that Hicks’s new band (pianist/vocalist Hicks, multi-instrumentalist John Munson, guitarist Adam Levy, and drummer Richard Medek) call themselves “Dylan Hicks and the Looming Crisis” sealed them as my recommendation to you.

Produced by Semisonic’s John Munson, Ad Out is a great next step for someone who jives with the Hold Steady. Thanks, Nick, for writing — we’re excited to hear from more music lovers.

Dylan Hicks is on: SpotifyApple MusicYouTubeBandcamp

If you’d like a personalized recommendation of your own, submit your information via this form.