Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday, the Song of the Day podcast spotlights local musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Kite Fight” by Hotels from their new release Where Hearts Go Broke available from Hidden Shoal Recordings.
If you tune into KEXP regularly, you might notice that KEXP still champions bands like Joy Division, Kraftwerk, the Pixies, and Devo-all bands that get regular airplay because the dj’s think they’re great and still relevant to today’s listeners. In fact, those bands are all listed as influences by today’s Song of the Day artist, Seattle-based Post Punk/New Wavers Hotels. Last month, Hotels sold out the CD release party they shared with Portland’s Point Juncture, WA. From the crowd that formed to hear them play, it’s obvious that people are enthusiastic about this band’s second release Where Hearts Go Broke.
The band was actually formed in New York City in 2004 when Madden (bass, vocals) worked at a hotel chain during the graveyard shift and decided to form his own band. Always drawn to the idea of hotels, and the weird and interesting things that happen in them, Madden decided to incorporate elements of his professional life into the band and started wearing his name badge to shows thus creating Hotels’ signature style (all the band members wear uniforms) and the band’s mantra Travel Romance Solitude Rest has weaved its way into the iconography surrounding the band though more in a tongue in cheek manner.
Well, I know some people see our clothes, hear a synth, look at our influences and say ‘oh yeah, another ’80s revival thing’. I guess that can’t be helped, but for me, the strong influences come from elements of the actual MUSIC I like, not the fashion of a time period or the period itself.
Many parallels can be drawn between Hotels’ music and that of their musical forefathers but it’s not by any means redundant. Founder and principle composer Blake Madden explains “Our music is supposed to feel familiar without being derivative, so that people can connect to it... in the end, we’re just trying to make the music WE would like to hear. I like music with driving beats and up front basslines. I love a good analog synth or dinky keyboard, and I love huge spaced out reverbs and delays -- stuff that sounds other-wordly.” Indeed, today’s song, “Kite Fight,” features many of those elements it starts out with a heavy bassline before being joined by catchy snares and synth melodies.
Hotels are embarking on a west coast mini-tour starting with a stop at Bob’s Java Jive in Tacoma and culminating with a show at Chop Suey on May 7th (they may even be live on KEXP that day -- stay tuned). For dates and to stream their new album, check out their MySpace page.
Here’s a clip from their recent show at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard: