Radiohead are a band of men with an extraordinary gift for writing intense, moving songs full of interesting textures and sophisticated rhythms, melodies and harmonies. They have written six consecutive classic albums, each different from the last, and a number of iconic songs, a few of which can be considered something akin to contemporary standards.
The most charitable description of The Hold Steady would be “a glorified bar band with a tone-deaf asshole shouting over the top.” Each of their albums are virtually identical, right on down to the same tired barre chords and the mind-numbingly narrow subject matter of the lyrics. There is not even the tiniest glimmer of imagination in their music, only the dull chug of faux-blue collar “populism” contrasted with the desperate efforts of a terribly geeky man to seem cool and macho. In place of memorable songs, they’ve got a lot of generic power chords and snarky lyrics that will only make you seem like a tool if quote them.