Tag Archives: hot hot heat

Album Review: Boxed Wine – Cheap, Fun EP

Seems I haven’t posted on here for a ‘bit.’ I’ve been a tad busy with the real world, but I figured if I liked something enough, then I should probably write about it.

Boxed Wine just put out their second EP last week, as a preview of an album that should be out in the Spring. They describe themselves as ‘indie party pop,’ and this looks to be just that. In a time when so many bands are afraid of the term ‘pop’ on account of it sounding mainstream, the band bats a blind eye and throws their cards in. The results are exactly what one would expect; catchy, simple songs about having a good time.

The first track is “Bones,” and has a bit of a rockier sound than the other two, and might remind fans of their first EP. Still, it’s sonically bigger than what they’ve done before and is more along the lines of Young the Giant than Two Door Cinema Club.

“Boomerang” is next, and that’s where they find a pop groove that could legitimately get people dancing. If you don’t get the damn title stuck in your head, there may just be something wrong with you, with the band coming off a bit like the child of Hot Hot Heat and MGMT. Weird, I know.

It’s on the last track, “Dayglow,” where they start to really stray from their formula. It’s still poppy, but the dance element sticks through more than anything else. The beat sounds like a Pitbull b-side more than an indie rock band from New Jersey, but somehow Boxed Wine makes it work. This might be where they’re going with their sound, but all three tracks could point to a possible direction change.

Overall, the band gets to the point, and maybe that’s what we really need in 2013?  With the indie scene how it is, it’s kind of refreshing to hear a band honestly describe themselves and not come off as pretentious. Hopefully this EP doesn’t have the best songs from their album, but being how different their songs have been up until now, I don’t even know what to expect. All I know is that it might be cool, and will definitely be fun.

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Album Review: The Postelles – S/T

The Postelles are a New York group who just released their debut album.  It’s pretty great, and I swear I’m not just saying that because Albert Hammond Jr. helped produce it.  The one thing the band has made known is how dearly they care about their songs, along with the act of song crafting in general.  This is where I find myself most identifying with the group, though I realize that’s an odd thing to relate to as a writer.  Yet, so many songs I hear–whether sent to me by up and coming bands or even ones discovered on my own–have such incredibly poor structure that I can’t bring myself to enjoy them.  One might like a group’s sound, but when that sound lasts for over five minutes it just gets flat out irritating.

Like a movie, a song simply needs to know when to end.  Whether this is in the middle of a verse or after eight choruses in a row doesn’t matter, it just needs to happen at the right time.  Of course this entire idea is genre and style dependant, but in the world of rock and roll singles there is a pretty well-defined limit.  Fifty years of history have taught the world that three minutes is usually the time to start wrapping up your little masterpiece of pop perfection, and nobody is going to reap any rewards if you get over indulgent.  My point, if you think this is a digression, is that the Postelles have mastered this feat on their self-titled LP.

They’ve had plenty of time to do it too, as they were caught in a crappy label situation for two years while perfecting this batch of tunes (by playing everywhere the could, of course).

Each and every song on the album is as light as it needs to be, and the reward is a quick listen filled with catchy, danceable, hooks and memorable singles.  For somebody who adores the Strokes, the Kooks, and Hot Hot Heat, as well as the masterful Beatles themselves, I couldn’t really ask for anything more.  Self described ‘band statement’ “White Night” is a perfect way to start the album, even if it does have a melody slightly lifted from Supergrass’ hit “Alright.”  This is pretty forgivable in a song that’s so well executed, and the tune walks the same excited, edge-of-the-rails line that its inspiration did.  Albert Hammond Jr. should  have stolen “Sleep on the Dance Floor” if he didn’t actually help write it, being that it sounds just like his first solo album.  “Stella” is another pure rocker, and screams the same way the best Locksley songs do, even if it’s filtered through the sound of Miniature Tiger’s first album.

Surprisingly, Elvis Costello is who came to mind when “Hey Little Sister” started the first time, whereas Mystery Jets could easily have written “Whisper Whisper.”  What these easy comparisons all boil down to is that the Postelles are easy to classify, but still fantastic to listen to.  Their vibe is pure summer, pure pop, and pure perfect for anybody who appreciates good indie rock and perfectly written songs.  This version below is the EP version, because you should seriously buy the album itself…

The Postelles – White Night

One last match: Birdmonster +the morning benders = “Boy’s Best Friend.”  Ok I’m done…

Butch Walker is the Man.

“Butch Walker, why are you so awesome?  You write so many good songs that you just throw leftovers at other artists so they can have hits too.  Between yourself and Dr. Luke, the pop charts have been commandeered for the last ten years!  On top of this, you have an awesome solo career backed by all your fans from Southgang, Marvelous 3, and 1969 (each band is great, btw).  As a result of all your hard work, artists consistently come to your door asking for help, and you’ve produced everything from Hot Hot Heat and The Films to Avril Lavigne and Pink.  This is ridiculous, Butch.  Why are you not unbelievably famous by now?”

I don’t really understand the way the world works.  The people who have actual talent get shuffled under the rug in favor of pop starlets and growling beasts who learned how to bellow and play power chords.  It is unfair, but I guess that’s life and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Nothing except post my thoughts to the Interweb of course!

Anyway, Mr. Walker has had a vast and varied career, and just released a new solo album under the name Butch Walker & the Black Widows.  It’s called I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, and for the most part was co-written with Michael Trent, leader of one of my personal favorites the Films.  It’s a solid album, but still doesn’t trounce my love for his 2006 solo outing The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites.  That album was a bit more garage-y and really struck a chord in my ears, so as a treat, here’s a song from each of them.  Enjoy the tunes and for I hope, for gosh sakes, that fame may truly find you one day, Butch…

Butch Walker & the Black Widows – Temporary Title

Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites – Hot Girls in Good Moods

You know, you can make a difference by buying his material, and I’m sure he’d appreciate it kindly.

Album Review: Hot Hot Heat – Future Breeds

Wow, I knew Hot Hot Heat were weird, but I had no idea they could go this far with it.  Their new album, Future Breeds, is a complete departure from their attempts at conquering the mainstream on Happiness LTD. and, to a lesser extent, Elevator.  This new LP completely follows the bands whim, with no label pressure to conform or be molded in any way.  Structure gets thrown out the window on some songs, but they still manage to work, and the clear amount of time that was put into making this is quite evident a few tracks in.

Standout tracks for me include “YVR,” “21@12,” “Implosionatic,” “Goddess on the Prairie,” and “JFK’s LSD.”  The rest of the songs are also great (though I do think they could have used “Times a Thousand” as a b-side) and fill out the album nicely.  Also, the sax? in “Zero Results” is badass as heck and the siren guitar tones all over the album are unlike anything I’ve ever heard.  This album is one of the most oddly accessible records to come out in a while, and really brings Hot Hot Heat back to the weird rhythms and dance moves they abandoned for Mtv fame a few years ago.  Overall, it is a welcome return to form after their last slightly tepid release.

Here’s a song I hated at first, until it bonded with my subconscious…

Hot Hot Heat – YVR

Go buy this album from myspaces!