Artist: The Hold Steady Track: "Sequestered in Memphis" Album: Stay Positive Listen

The great tradition of American music -- that music at once desperate and hopeful, containing all the gusto of a nation founded by rebels -- continues gloriously with The Hold Steady's latest release. I'd recommend the group to anyone who love Bruce Springsteen and, really, anyone who loves a good story.

That certainly is this Brooklyn group's strongest suit. Lots of bands put forward a powerful mix of piano balladry and tight, brash arena rock. But the rich, vibrant stories behind the songs separate The E. Street Band from Bachman-Turner Overdrive -- and The Hold Steady from just about every other group touring today.