Hot Hot Heat's Indie Reinvention Continues with Bootleg Theater Residency, Dangerbird Records Album, and Free Origami In-Store
Darren AnkenmanHot Hot Heat
Kevin Bronson wrote a great feature for our print edition this week on the rebirth of former big-label hopefuls Hot Hot Heat as a proper indie act (courtesy of LA's Dangerbird Records). The band will be playing their new material at a month-long Wednesday residence at the cozy Bootleg Theater starting June 2.
Now the Scenestar is reporting that the Canadian group will also be playing a free gig at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park "on Sunday, June 6th at 7:00pm where you can buy the album before the June 8th release."
More from our print article:
The retrenchment that led to the making and the release of Hot Hot Heat's fourth album, Future Breeds (out June 8 on L.A.-based indie Dangerbird Records), posed two challenges: First, Bays and his mates had to extricate Hot Hot Heat from its deal with Warner. Then they had to reinvent themselves as do-it-yourselfers.
"We weren't upset with anybody at Warner; it just wasn't the right match," Bays says. "Our asking out of the deal actually made financial sense for them."
Part 2 began in early 2008, when Bays' girlfriend gave him an antique piano as a gift and a gear nerd was born. "I just went completely nuts, studying up on what gear I wanted, surfing Craigslist for vintage stuff," he says.
Where to plug it all in was solved when the band found space in a 1903 office building in the Gastown district of Vancouver -- plucky in a couple of ways. "Best echo chamber ever," Bays says. "You just want to mic the hallways."
The historic neighborhood, with its cobblestone streets, inspired Future Breeds in other ways. "Vancouver is an emerging city, but in a European way -- some joke it's Vansterdam," Bays says. "Gastown is old and gentrifying. Drugs and prostitution are an issue there, but it's treated as more of a social issue than a criminal issue. It's just a crazy little neighborhood."
With crazy little characters. The album's title track, in fact, is about a local couple -- "what you'd call a seasoned veteran who's with a young girl, about to go down that slippery slope, and about how you can get out of that life with a single moment of clarity," Bays explains.
The album's seemingly interminable gestation owed mostly to the fact that the band had to figure out what it was doing. They'd worked with producers such as Jack Endino (2002's Make Up the Breakdown), Dave Sardy (2005's Elevator) and, later, Butch Walker and Rob Cavallo. "We had songs written," Bays says, "but I had to learn how to engineer."
Future Breeds is by no means glossy -- it's back to damaged disco for Hot Hot Heat. Bays still yelps like somebody who's getting goosed, but it's all good fun -- high anxiety amid wicked tempo changes, distressed synths, squiggly guitars, pounding percussion and the occasional blaring horn.
"I hope it just sounds like guys with a sense of freedom," Bays says. "It's like when we were writing Make Up the Breakdown there was no thought of traveling the world, or that anybody would even hear it. It was just the excitement of four guys who don't give a fuck."
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