Lost Classics: Lifter Puller “Fiestas + Fiascos”

tapem200bThey’re nobody’s buzz bands anymore. But since 1993, MAGNET has discovered and documented more great music than memory will allow. The groups may have broken up or the albums may be out of print, but this time, history is written by the losers. Here are some of the finest albums that time forgot but we remembered in issue #75, plus all-new additions to our list of Lost Classics.


Fiestas + Fiascos // Self-Starter Foundation, 2000

“Woke up in the grass with the assless chaps!” The Hold Steady may be getting all the critical acclaim these days, but Craig Finn was funnier in Lifter Puller. Devoid of the classic-rock posturing that characterizes Finn’s current band, Lifter Puller’s instrumentation sounded just like any of its indie-rock contemporaries: Put it on a bill with Pavement, Archers Of Loaf and a faceless Chicago post-rock outfit. All of which made Finn’s lyrics about druggy Minneapolis nightlife seem more like an inside joke and less like teenage nostalgia. Fiestas + Fiascos, the group’s final album, was a complete narrative involving the rise and fall of a disco called the Nice Nice, recounting the patrons’ massive nights and the girls who liked to get bombed on the bass and the Bombay gin. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of Hold Steady song characters such as Charlemagne and Holly, you’ll love Nightclub Dwight and the Eyepatch Guy.

Catching Up: After a brief stint under the glitchy laptop-rock guise of Broker Dealer, Finn formed the Hold Steady with guitarist Tad Kubler. Drummer Dan Monick is a music/fashion photographer. Bassist Steve Barone began a lip-synch comedy-rock act called the Hawaii Show and now works in advertising.

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