Artist Spotlight: August Hotel – Cool electro rock pop (NewMusicFriday Episode 17 Winner)

Photo credit: Rinus Lammers/August Hotel IG

I’ve been using the adjective “cool” a lot lately not for temperature or even the 50s term from “groovy,” but more as a mood of being chill. It’s like the songs don’t take themselves too seriously. They walk into the room with their hair just like they want it, dance a little, grab a drink, and only talk to other artsy types. I don’t know the artists in August Hotel, but based on the mood of these songs, they seem cool.

Their song “12 AM” won Episode 17 of our New Music Friday series. It’s a chill electro vibe the puts me in mind of the melting point of 70s disco and 80s big hair rock. I can picture some truly glammed out rockers making this music. Instead their appearance is every bit a modern look. They seem unassuming, positively down to earth in their ability to write relatable music. I’m not sure where this 80s madness comes from, but it’s sure to be a sticking point for the band. The track has a comfortable glitz to it, rolling along with an inspiring flair yet packing a punch with Joe Padillas solid lead vocal. Other band members Cale Singleton, Ryan Lammers, Dean Sinclair, and Craig Schwartz Jr. all contribute for a solid full band sound. The music is fun, full-throated, and driving as all good anthems should be.

“What about now?” is a bit more of a vengeful track. Instrumentally, other than the digi sounds (that remind me of a video game), most of the track sounds like a typical alt rock jam. The electro elements take it to another place. But I say that it’s vengeful because of some pretty heartfelt lyrics. Although the song does not pack quite the punch that “12 AM” does, it does have a nice driving beat and some really fascinating ear candy. The way the guitar dances alongside the electro sounds works better than I honestly thought it would at first blush.

“Valentine” is an older track from these guys, but it shows that their roots run deep. It also shows the progress they’ve made when you listen to it alongside “12 AM.” They clearly had the songwriting chops a few years back, but the production has definitely improved. The song structurally is really promising and I think a reworking is definitely due. There’s a cool sense of togetherness both in the lyrics and the gang vocal. I can see (hear?) it being a sweet crowd-sing-along track at a big show. Some day, guys!

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