For the better part of a decade, the Hold Steady have been the preeminent band to accompany a night of drinking the cheapest beer you can find. Now, however, they'll have to make do without one of the most recognizable of their number, as keyboardist and mustache aficionado Franz Nicolay is leaving the band.
Franz posted on his website that "I told the band I'd be leaving in early September, played my last show with them in Minneapolis around Thanksgiving, and dotted the t's and crossed the i's this week. Five years seemed like a nice round number. Thanks to everyone who was a part of the experience." It's disappointing news, as his singular style and joyous backup vocals added an extra dimension not just to their sound, but to their explosive live act as well.
This will presumably open up his schedule to more solo material, like his 2009 album Major General and his upcoming short story collection Complicated Gardening Techniques, playing with gypsy-punk band Guignol, and according to his statement, producing for the Debutante Hour. [Pitchfork]