Friday, July 21, 2006

Two from Hotel Lights (including TMBG cover!)

Hotel Lights
"Let Me Be the One"
(from Goodnightgoodmorning 2005. Sample other songs and buy it here)
"The End of the Tour"
(from Hello Radio: The Songs of They Might Be Giants 2006. Buy/download.)

I got a copy of Hotel Lights' EP Goodnightgoodmorning from the kind folks at Sit-n-Spin over in Carrboro (Carrboro!) and, man, is it great. It's nothing flashy, but a very well-crafted collection of songs in a low-key pop vein that's not too far removed from the Pernice Brothers. The part of me that likes Colossus finds this dreadfully wimpy, but the part of me that's moved past middle school can appreciate something as lovely as this. Goodnightgoodmorning is at least as good as, if not better than, Hotel Lights' debut album, which I wrote about back here. (Apparently some find that one too mellow.)

The band is spearheaded by Darren Jessee, who used to be the drummer for Ben Folds Five, though the Hotel Lights drum seat is filled by Mark Price. Price was a member of the Archers of Loaf, and if Hotel Lights sounds little like Jessee's work with Ben Folds Five, it sounds nothing at all like the Archers of Loaf... Here's an interesting interview with Jessee, including a few ambivalent comments about music blogs.

Hotel Lights also contributed a song to the just-released Hello Radio, a tribute to They Might Be Giants. It also features Frank Black, the Long Winters, and the Wrens, among other indie lumniaries. (Stream some other songs here.) I have to confess that my knowledge of TMBG is mainly confined to Flood, so I can't really comment on the quality of this song as a cover, though it's a nicely pensive performance in its own right, that sits nicely besides the rest of Hotel Lights' songs. (It is interesting to me to notice what a distinctive way with a melody TMBG have. I could probably guess that this was one of their songs even if I didn't already know it -- I don't really have the music theory vocabulary to define it, but it's something about the length of the melody lines, and they way they rise and fall...)

Hotel Lights plays at Local 506 in Chapel Hill on Saturday (7/22) with Jennifer O'Connor, who's been touring with Hotel Lights for a while, and Chapel Hill's wonderful North Elementary. Six bucks -- go see this show!


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