It’s a rare and beautiful occasion when you listen to a new record in its entirety and it blows your fucking mind. After listening to The Hotelier’s second full-length album Home, Like Noplace Is There all we could think was, “DAMN, they did it.” The Hotelier (formerly known as The Hotel Year) made an authentic, diverse emo indie rock record that will (hopefully) go down in history. With a voice reminiscent of The Menzingers, the epic emo-rock sound of Brand New, passionate screaming jams comparable to early Thursday, and addictive song structures like that of early Taking Back Sunday, The Hotelier have delivered one hell of a record.
The understated first track “An Introduction To The Album” drifts in with its floating guitar melodies and organs that allow the lyrics to shine through, which are the real guts of this record. As the song builds and erupts lead singer Christian Holden proclaims, “I had a chance to construct something beautiful and I choked,” which can only be interpreted as irony as the listener realizes how incredible this album really is.
The crowning element of the record is the fantastic songwriting. Genuine and introspective with existential and even political leanings, Holden vocalizes the lyrics with equal fervor as he strains his voice to the verge of screaming to give every word the intensity it deserves. This is especially evident in the angst filled track “Life In Drag” that spits out lines illustrating the struggles of personal identity, more specifically gender identity. “Your Deep Rest” is another lyrical triumph for The Hotelier. An emotional marathon exploring with brutal honesty the mental journey of losing a loved one to suicide, he sings, “I called in sick from your funeral / The sight of your family made me feel responsible / And I found the notes you left behind / Little hints and helpless cries / Desperate wishing to be over”.
The best kinds of songs don’t beg for attention, but rather demand it through slowly building and gaining your trust. “Among The Wildflowers” slowly lulls the listener into a trance then completely breaks down and smacks you in the face, demanding your respect. And that is what this record deserves. It’s anthemic and cathartic in its misery and wrought with self-destruction and self-doubt. Unfortunately for us, Home, Like Noplace Is There is an album we can all relate to.
LCM Score: 9.5/10
Envision yourself in a dark room filled with flickering candles whose wax is dripping with melancholy. Now you’re ready to listen to the Halloween Dream EP by Miserable, the project of Kristina Esfandiari, former vocalist of Whirr. The EP kicks off with “Bell Jar” with sultry, dark feedback and vocals. The layers of shoegazey guitars and rapid, pulsating drums build into a dizzying crescendo that fills you up and leaves you wanting more. The next track “Orchid” continues to satisfy and follows with similar style, as digging through the haze of distortion and reverb uncovers brilliant melodies.
A subtle change in pace comes with “Spinning” which starts slow and steady with ringing acoustic guitar and vocals. The song build in instrumentation and *feels*, then suddenly drops out as she expresses the impossibly sad, “I know you say you hate me, but I hope you take it right back.” The EP comes to a close with “Halloween Dream” which belongs in the opening of an epic battle scene. The ghostly vocals overlap the heavy drums to create a sound that builds and resonates in the darkest parts of your heart.
LCM Score: 8/10
Osoosooso will be releasing their debut self-titled EP on March 11th via Soft Speak Records. PropertyOfZack is stoked to be debuting a track from the release today in addition to revealing the artwork and track listing. Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates with The Hotelier here and stream “Neighbors” below after the jump!
Last week You Blew It! released their sophomore album Keep Doing What You’re Doing through Topshelf Records. With the help of producer Evan Weiss, of Into It. Over It., You Blew It! has matured and refined their power-pop, indie rock sound while holding onto the fervid emo energy that defines them. The album as a whole is a kind of “post-angst,” where lead singer Tanner Jones explores topics such as self-confidence, love, friendship, and jealousy in hindsight.
The record starts out with the hard-hitting upbeat track “Match & Tinder”. The ringing guitar riffs and penetrating drums set up a party vibe where they criticize their peers and themselves while trying to deal with their own insecurities. The party continues on “Award of the Year Award” with swelling guitars and drums that create a full-bodied sound. On “Strong Island” the mood comes to a slower, more solemn pace with lines like, “I’m still finding pieces of me that I could live without”. Here you can really start to hear elements of bands like Jimmy Eat World and even Brand New with the big rock sound but with indie-emo roots.
Throughout the rest of Keep Doing What You’re Doing, You Blew It! continues to explore the ups and downs of leaving adolescence and entering adulthood. Especially on the mid-paced melodramatic jam “House Address,” which really sums up this period of time. With a self-deprecation yet optimistic attitude and lines like, “I’ve always felt fine singing in your basement” then going on to say, “Eventually I’ve gotta get used to ‘remember when’”. And not to mention the bridge that gets heavy as fuck as he sings, “I’m not the sum of my own parts, just a rough combination of the people I’ve met,” over resounding guitars, intricate drums, and dark-angelic background vocals.
The record effectively comes to a close on the last track, “Better to Best”. It’s a 2AM self-reflection where YBI try to evaluate where they are and how they got there. The larger than life guitars and drums matched with the gang vocals create a cathartic experience as Jones realizes, “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe”.
LCM Score: 7.5/10
The Hundred Acre Woods have always made us feel warm and fuzzy, and even with the title “Cold In The Morning”, their latest EP does the same. With their sweet simple lyrics like “Our minds are as free as the fish in the sea,” a full backdrop of rhythm guitars and banjos, rich vocal harmonies, and tight drums they create a revitalizing vibe that will leave your heart and mouth singing. There’s no better collection of tunes to simultaneously wake you up and calm you down this winter, and maybe make you feel better about the cold in the morning.