Teeth Dreams

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Teeth Dreams
Studio album by The Hold Steady
Released March 25, 2014
Recorded 2013
Genre Indie rock
Length 48:39
Label Washington Square/Razor & Tie
Producer Nick Raskulinecz
The Hold Steady chronology
Heaven is Whenever
(2010)Heaven is Whenever2010
Teeth Dreams

Teeth Dreams is the sixth studio album by American indie rock band The Hold Steady, released March 25, 2014 on Washington Square/Razor & Tie.[1] Produced by Nick Raskulinecz, the album is the first to feature guitarist Steve Selvidge, who joined the band in 2010 to tour in support of the band's previous album, Heaven is Whenever (2010).


Following the departure of keyboard player Franz Nicolay, and the release of their fifth studio album, Heaven is Whenever (2010), The Hold Steady embarked upon an extensive world tour with additional members Steve Selvidge (guitar) and Dan Neustadt (keyboards). Regarding their entry into The Hold Steady, Selvidge noted, "[The band] decided to keep it to the core four members, and were looking for a hired-gun keyboard player. At that point, I think Tad said, if we're bringing in a new keyboard player, I want a second guitarist too, and I want it to be Steve."[2] The band had previously known Selvidge through his bands The Bloodthirsty Lovers and The Secret Service.[2] By 2011, Neustadt was no longer performing with the band, and Selvidge was added to its core line-up. Vocalist and guitarist Craig Finn noted: "We are rolling without keys right now. We did some shows without keys and we really liked it. It sort of opened things up for us."[3]

Upon the tour's completion, The Hold Steady took a five-month hiatus from band activities. Craig Finn recorded and released a solo album, entitled Clear Heart Full Eyes (2012), stating, "I wanted to do something with a little more storytelling and a lot less volume."[4] Reconvening in June 2012, the band began writing new material and released a limited edition single for Record Store Day in April 2013, which included the tracks "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" and "Criminal Fingers". Featuring lyrics written by George R. R. Martin, "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" appeared in the HBO television series, Game of Thrones. Regarding the single release, Kubler noted "[Steve] wasn’t in the band when we did the last record so we haven’t formally released anything that he’s played on – other than an iTunes session, or something like that. Having been away for a few years, we thought this would be a great opportunity to reintroduce the newest version of the band."[5]

Writing and composition[edit]

The band began writing Teeth Dreams in June 2012.[5] Prior to the writing process, Finn stated, "It's hard to tell where the new one will go. [...] I'm curious whether it will be an extension of [Heaven is Whenever], or if it will be a return to what we did before."[3] Guitarist Tad Kubler elaborated, "“The general consensus may have been that our last record felt like it was maybe rushed a little bit, so I know speaking for myself personally, I want to be really careful not to do that – to be like, 'Oh shit, we need to get a record out and go on tour.’ Going into this, everybody realized that it was going to take as long as it takes."[5]


The release of Teeth Dreams was announced on January 8, 2014, with guitarist Tad Kubler stating: "We’re really proud of our new record. This is an exciting time for us. Making the new record has been a journey for the band, and the results exceeded even our own expectations. Can't wait for people to hear it."[1]

On January 23, 2014, the band released the first track from Teeth Dreams, "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You".[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[7]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[8]
Consequence of Sound D[9]
Cuepoint (2-star Honorable Mention)[10]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[11]
Pitchfork Media 6.4/10[12]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[13]

At USA Today, Jerry Shriver rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of four, writing that "Blue-collar rock and gritty story-songs of desperation and sketchy connections infuse the Brooklyn band's powerful sixth album."[13] In addition, Jones states that "Ferocious, chiming guitars frame Craig Finn's half-spoken narratives of lives on the edge."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Craig Finn, Tad Kubler and Steve Selvidge, except as shown.

  1. "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" (Finn, Kubler) – 4:01
  2. "Spinners" (Finn, Kubler) – 5:24
  3. "The Only Thing" – 4:33
  4. "The Ambassador" – 5:12
  5. "On with the Business" – 4:04
  6. "Big Cig" – 4:17
  7. "Wait a While" – 3:37
  8. "Runner's High" (Finn, Selvidge) – 4:12
  9. "Almost Everything" (Finn, Kubler) – 4:17
  10. "Oaks" (Finn, Kubler) – 9:01

UK iTunes bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Records & Tapes" – 4:12
  2. "Saddle Shoes" – 4:12
  3. "Look Alive" – 3:44

Pre-ordered vinyl track listing[edit]

  1. "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" – 4:01
  2. "Spinners" – 5:24
  3. "The Only Thing" – 4:33
  4. "The Ambassador" – 5:12
  5. "On with the Business" – 4:04
  6. "Saddle Shoes" – 4:12
  7. "Big Cig" – 4:17
  8. "Wait Awhile" – 3:37
  9. "Runner's High" – 4:12
  10. "Almost Everything" – 4:17
  11. "Oaks" – 9:01


  1. ^ a b Flanagan, Andrew. "Razor & Tie Launches New Imprint Washington Square, Hold Steady Is First Signing (Exclusive)". Billboard.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Herrington, Chris. "Different Directions". Memphisflyer.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Dauphin, Michael. "LouFest Interviews: Craig Finn of the Hold Steady". Blogs.riverfronttimes.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Hyden, Steven. "Craig Finn – The AV Club". Avclub.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Pajer, Nicole. "The Hold Steady 'Figuring Out' New Album, Unveiling New Lineup on Record Store Day Single". Billboard.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Dan Hyman (2014-01-23). "The Hold Steady Return With 'Big Rock' Aspirations on 'Teeth Dreams'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  7. ^ Heaney, Gregory. "Teeth Dreams – The Hold Steady". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  8. ^ Pearlman, Mischa (2014). "The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams". Alternative Press. April 2014 (309): 92. ISSN 1065-1667. 
  9. ^ Cosores, Philip. "Album Review: The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 3, 2014). "Robert Christgau: Expert Witness". Cuepoint. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Teeth Dreams review – 'the big record they've been threatening to make'". The Guardian. March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ Thompson, Paul (March 28, 2014). "The Hold Steady: Teeth Dreams". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c Shriver, Jerry (March 24, 2014). "Listen Up: Other notable releases". USA Today. Retrieved March 24, 2014.