best new spinoff band (2008)

HOLD STEADY

Loving a band means being extremely wary of the former members' new bands. So when the HOLD STEADY began gigging earlier this year, the fix was in: No way would they be as good as singer-guitarist Craig Finn and lead guitarist Tad Kubler's previous outfit, late-'90s Minneapolis indie-rock gods Lifter Puller. And they're not—but a handful of shows, each shading Finn's already-there songwriting and the evolving interplayfulness of rhythm section Galen Polivka and drummer Judd Counsell, are enough to make even a skeptic add a "yet." As for the CD they've just completed, we'll just have to wait and see.