Aural story of the week

I wrote about The xx last week, and really, just buy the album. But I need to revisit it, briefly, because Sasha Frere-Jones has just explained why:

The songs on “xx” are as intimate as pop gets, and, now that I’ve fallen for the music, it makes complete sense that it baffled me live. These are songs to be sung inches from someone’s ear, preferably with the lights off.

Exactly. Best line of music criticism I’ve read in a while. Now, onto this week.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had a feature on musical storytelling for this long without Craig Finn and The Hold Steady. Say what you will about his voice (or, yeah, lack thereof), dude can tell a story:

She drove it like she stole it
She stole it fast and with a multitude of casualties
She said i shipped it out from Boulder
Packed in coffee grounds and wrapped around in dryer sheets
We spent a few months just wandering the Sonoma
High as hell and shivering and smashed
We were trying for a vision quest we opened up three buttons
And all we saw was desert trash

And the guitars are good:

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