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The Fucking Hotlights - S/T Cassette (2012)
Being bowled over by last years album High Society Torture Party, how would these songs compare? Needless to say, I have not been let down. Chaotic rock'n'roll, noise rock with a swagger, AmRep sounds crossed with sweaty punk attitude, aggression with control but always with a looseness that demands your body be moved or twitched to the beat, this is hardcore which has the freedom to go in any direction it wants to - just as long as it sounds pissed off and ready to knock you over into the gutter in its rush to get to the next track. Fucking good stuff
The Fucking Hotlights - S/T Cassette (2012)
The Fucking Hotlights play a style of music that incorporates elements of punk, hardcore, and noise rock within their sound. The Fucking Hotlights play a style of music that mixes equal parts Fugazi and Drive Like Jehu with the southern fried swagger of bands such as Every Time I Die or The Joan Benet. This seven song cassette is the band's latest offering and these seven songs are killer. I was a fan of the band's High Society Torture Party LP released in 2011 and these new songs serve as a great follow-up to that album. Great album, to say the least. Enjoy!
Flannel Jammies Blog - Best of 2011, December 15, 2011
So there’s a lot of well-deserved chatter and hype about Obits and their hybrid of classic-rock swagger and hardcore/noiserock grit. For my money, though, The Fucking Hotlights are way more visceral and rewarding. This Buffalo NY outfit ups the ante by throwing in some nods to Jesus Lizard and Circus Lupus and churns out a record that epitomizes fuck-all rock and roll. Dig it.
(High Society Torture Party Ranked number 4 in the top 15 releases for 2011)
It would be a crime to ring out 2011 without mentioning one of the strongest releases birthed by this city in quite some time, by one of it’s hardest working bands, no less. The Fucking Hotlights have crafted something special here, so I’m going to let the accolades fly. These gents have earned it.
When a band comes out with something, it’s usually easy to imagine what scene they run with. Whether it be punk, hardcore, indie, twee, folk, klezmer, zouk, whatever. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, it’s just the natural way of things. In a rock and roll timeline it’s all too easy to be caught up with tracing our steps back to much loved musical pioneers and staples of the past so much that no one really tries to branch out enough to keep the tree growing. However, with High Society Torture Party you get the sound of five guys marching to their own theme, and that theme is altogether crazy and enthralling. Sure, you can catch flashes of Stooges, Jesus Lizard, Melvins, Converge and MC5 out of the corner of your eye but for the most part you find yourself wondering what other worldly demon came to earth to conjure these sounds because they clearly weren’t born of man and woman.
These songs are filled with odd time signatures galore and an unabashed heaviness while still boasting a looseness that every hardened garage band needs in order to tug at a listeners inner ear. This ensures that they’re feeling the music just as much as they’re hearing it. There’s something very mechanical yet organic about the Hotlights. You can almost visualize gears grinding like clockwork controlled by pulleys and levers like some kind of rock & roll Rube Goldberg machine.
Things start off with “Revival,” a serious gate crasher of a tune. This is chopped and screwed punk, which spills over into a paranoid dirge at the halfway point complete with dissonant guitar noise, terrifying yelps and guttural moans all driven crazy by a rhythm section displaying all the ominous fury of a villainous monster closing in on its victim. “Awful Ends” is a beautifully broken math-rock tune from hell with an off kilter raked guitar line that will make your skin crawl, while “Lip Service” roars with an intensity that could best be compared to an imaginary Stones and Motorhead collaboration. “Hammering of the Goldbeaters” is a closing song of epic proportions. Incredibly technical, full of swagger, and at times downright theatrical. A great example of how tastefully psychedelic heavy music can be.
There it is. Willfully abrasive, punk in spirit, and pure rock & roll in delivery. Most importantly High Society Torture Party could set as a new high water mark and serve as a reminder that while it’s fun to ape your influences it’s always more important to build something new. That said, The Fucking Hotlights have one hell of a foundation started.
- Eric Kendall
Maximum Rocknroll #341, October 2011
"I reviewed a 10" last month that in the JESUS LIZARD / SHELLAC / OXBOW world and this is yet another record in the same universe. Is this a new trend, to revist the early-mid '90's underground heavy rock? This is pummeling heavy rock with menacing vocals. In this case the singer sounds a little bit like the guy from KILLDDOZER or BARKMARKET. Back in the early '90's this minimalist yet heavy and menacing sound was a revelation, bu I'm not sure it has the same impact these days. The FUCKING HOTLIGHTS do it well, except when they get too melodic and try too hard and sing. On tracks like "Sugarbaker" they are downright frightening and I mean that in a good way. The demented and crazy feeling on "Warehouse" reminds me of BARKMARKET or the rock side of COP SHOOT COP.
- Mike Howes
"Coming across like the bastard son of Acid Tiger & Botch, this also has enough chaotic noise elements thrown in to please any AmRep fan. It has a looseness about it that I would imagine replicates a live set but also gives it a fresh, urgent feel. The chaos is controlled, giving a destructive powerful sound rooted in hardcore/punk but above all, it rocks like an avalanche tearing it's way through all the mediocre bands that litter this genre. This is the good stuff."
"Wow, this threw me for a loop. The Fucking Hotlights are a Buffalo, NY based band who play an impressive style of diverse and heavy music with varied influences. On one end, the band incorporates 90's Amrep style noise rock mixed with more chaotic and at times, tense music made popular by bands such as The Icarus Line, Blood Brothers, Cancer Bats, or Acid Tiger. At other times I hear the angular discordance of bands such as Fugazi or Drive Like Jehu. Add to that, the Southern rock swagger of Every Time I Die or The Joan Benet. The end result is a beautifully orchestrated style of controlled chaos. I can almost smell the booze and sweat coming out of my speakers. Great stuff."
At its core rock'n'roll's appeal is based as much on its visceral quality as it is the music. Does it make you feel alive? Do you want to get up and move when you hear it? Would it piss off your parents? Naysayer's have been projecting the demise of rock'n'roll for years now, claiming it lost its way and fell out of touch. "There's nothing new under the sun", "it's all been done", you know the claims. Everything is a rip-off of everything else, everything is contrived, yada yada yada. Danger has left the rock'n'roll arena.
I have an announcement. Rock'n'roll is alive and well and its name is the Fucking Hotlights. Like a bat out of hell (excuse the lame reference), High Society Torture Party charges out of the gate in such an aural assault that it demands you take notice. From the opening track ("Revival") when singer John Toohill, screams "let the witchhunt begin" to the pummeling "Hammer of the Goldbeaters" you get the sense that the bands pointed attack is both urgent and caustic. This is take no prisoner's, grit your teeth and hold on for the ride music, with enough sex swing to charge a room full of teenage girls. The sleaze literally drips off the wax.
Describing the band's sound (in objective terms anyway) is difficult mostly because it is its own and comparisons rarely do a band justice. A few bands come to mind nevertheless. The Icarus Line, the Stooges ( purely on the looseness of it all), and even Fugazi with some of the song structures and discordant nature of some of the tunes. In a strange way the album has a similar feel to Every Time I Die's classic Last Night in Town. Last Night in Town was a mess but it was a beautiful mess, made even more special because the lyrical presentation had such vitality. Lyrically and vocally John Toohill is a one of a kind. His words contain swagger but more importantly are driven by conscious and intelligent thought. With lyrics such as "we are the blood in the water, our friends have friends and they have no fathers, or daughters, mentors, manners, limits or law", the songs are elevated to new plains. It's not just the same old re-hash sex, drugs and rock'n'roll story.
It should be noted that this is the band's debut album (they have another release, an EP, but it is in limited quantity). Despite this, the band has already paid their dues, playing dates all across the U.S. and Canada, as well as exciting audiences in Buffalo for the last year or two. Their live shows are really something to see. John writhes around stage, twisting and contorting, seemingly under a spell, while Ryan and Peter hold the pieces together with their tightly locked instrumentation.
It's a skill to be able to ride that fine line between controlled chaos and utter destruction and the Hotlights do so masterfully with this release. Chaos is great, but chaos for the sake of itself is meaningless. Chaos that is pointed at something, with direction and purpose, is potent. Highly recommended if you like spices on your meals. Rating: 92
- Jon Krol
Zann's Music, 04/04/2011
" It's good that this quartet from Buffalo, NY has something more than the simple irreverence of using the word "Fucking" in their name. It's good that behind that almost adolescent tic, you find a proposition so personal and potent like the one presented in this debut album. How to describe them? Post-Hardcore with a trouble-making, drunken spirit? A Black Flag that is both revised and nerdy? Rock that is intelligent but with balls? The distorted son of Hot Water Music and Planes Mistaken for Stars? At first glance, we have a singer with a raspy voice, who is attentive to the melody but with a delivery that is both cathartic and out of control. We have a bassist with a rhythm that is potent and makes you sweat, but that drives the dynamics and movements with a meticulous knowledge. We have guitars that scrape and twist, going from the most basic punk-rock expressions to the more researched and constructed Math-Rock, passing for savages related to Noise-Rock and arrangements of visceral emotional sensibility. We can find all of this in the eleven songs that are sure of themselves, hooky, contagious, tremendously energetic and urgent but with a wink of perverse intellectuality that separates them from the crude and predictable. Ok, we can add names like Sonic Youth( on the surface more rocking, that's clear), The Jesus Lizard, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Nation of Ulysses and even the Stooges when it comes to mentioning their influences, but all of that does nothing more that speak of the strong personality of The Fucking Hotlights. "High Society torture party" is a liberating and stimulating disc, an electric whirlwind that forces you to twist in violent and almost sensual convulsions that at the same time prompts the neurons with an ingenious musicality and gives breath to the spirit with an emotive nature that is honest, direct and in it's own way, mature. It rescues the crudeness and the spontaneity that at one time Rock and Roll had but it does not do it with a revised desire and manages to get away, by force of defiant gestures and fresh musical ideas, from the mere revivalist pose. To shake it like there is no tomorrow."
- Translated from Spanish. Original review here
"Right off the bat...these boys let you know that they mean business (i mean...they use that f word in the name of their band). They're a little bit black flag. They're a little bit Hawks. They're a little bit the blood brothers. They're a little bit camp climax for girls (yes...such a band existed...) That should've substantially tickled that fancy of yours, now go and tickle that DL (you should keep some hand sanitizer close by)"
Artvoice "Best of Buffalo" Awards, April 2011
"BAND MOST LIKELY TO DRINK YOU UNDER THE TABLE: The Fucking Hotlights
They're loud and you can barely understand them while they're tearing their shirts off on stage, but the Fucking Hotlights know rock-n-f-n'-roll. Naturally, with a deep knowledge of that comes a lot of booze. I would not like to be on the other end of a game of Liquid Hell against these guys."
"The Fucking Hotlights hail from Buffalo, New York. It’s hard to completely pinpoint their sound, and I like to think that’s a good thing. If you try to imagine a mixture of The Icarus Line, Zeke, The Stooges and Black Flag… well, you probably still won’t quite be there, but you might be close to hitting the right vein. The best that I can really describe them as is a Rock ‘n’ Roll band, in its purest form. They play loud, raw, dirty and urgent music. They also seem to have some sort of a cat obsession, but hey – who am I to judge?
The band have one self-titled EP released so far, however their new LP, High Society Torture Party, has been recorded and is due for release soon. Having received a Top Secret sneak-preview of said album, I can tell you with much conviction that it will definitely be worth your time to check it out. No release date is currently set so keep an eye on The Hotlights’ website or social media platforms for the latest news.
I happen to be much too far away to vouch for this first hand, but live videos and glowing reviews in local press play testament to this being a band who play extremely frenetic and energised shows. So, if you are reading this and you happen to be in reach of Buffalo, you should go and see them play. Go. Go now. Well, maybe you should check their gig listings first. But definitely go soon.
As for the rest of us, we will have to wait and see. But if The Fucking Hotlights don’t manage to expand their empire across the pond, I might just lose my last dregs of hope that people don’t have such bad taste after all."
"... The Fucking Hot Lights finished the night and oh what a night it became. The grime rock, hard rock, punk, indescribable mixture of what it means to play hard and put on a show that gets you moving and feeling like you could stay out all night if you didn’t have to be back at the office Wednesday morning, made me feel like less of a Tuesday warrior than ever. The heavy drums, fast guitar, rolling bass, and fierce vocals will make you throw back one more or maybe two to keep up with the energy blasting from the stage. It was so good when they finished I wanted a round two, and even a round three if I was up for it. ..."
Artvoice Vol.9 No. 45, 11/11/2010
"... Kicking things off will be local showstoppers and all around dashing gents, The Fucking Hotlights, who’s M.O includes being viciously raw and captivating in every way. Take the overdriven swagger of the Stooges and cross it with the musical complexities of the Blood Brothers and you’re getting close. Arguably one of the hardest working bands in the city, they’ve spent most of the fall extensively touring the Midwest and Northeast in anticipation of their soon to be released full-length record. ..."
- eric kendall
Bill Abdale (NYC Artist) email message to Hunter College MFA candidates, 10/02/2010
"... THE FUCKING HOTLIGHTS - Yes, that's really the name of the band. These crazy motherfuckers are coming straight outta Buffalo, and though it ain't Detroit, they wear the Rust Belt with enough pride to evidence inspiration from the Motor City's great lineage of rock madmen - especially their fucking lunatic singer, who's probably the best frontman since Iggy Pop (alright fine, since David Yow). They will drink you under the table before the set even starts, and then give it to you down and dirty for all the world to see, in a way that your coy, ironic, tight little art school ass ain't ready for. They're on tour with the mission to collect stray cats along the way; it's gonna get weird. ..."
- bill abdale