The Hotelier – Most Anticipated Album of 2016
Posted: by Sean Gonzalez
I’m not quite sure how I found The Hotelier (then The Hotel Year), and started listening to their album It Never Goes Out nearly 4 years ago, but I was almost instantly stunned by its skillful and emotional songwriting. This was one of the primary albums that I felt not enough people were talking about, and convinced me to start this blog. After an album that so effected my life, I couldn’t wait for their follow up release, and yet somehow Home Like Noplace Is There, surpassed even my lofty expectations and matched their debut on my list of my favorite albums ever. How excited am I for this next release? Holy shit I’m pumped. Even if it is only half as good as previous (which I severely doubt), it will be a fantastic album.
Knowing how many people have their ears pointed in The Hotelier’s direction is both terrifying and terrific at the same time. Regardless of what genre they get looped into now, they have created two albums of stylistically different music but centered it under the same charge and direction that began with The Hotel Year and ended with The Hotelier. The scratchy and wiry audible sensation that was Home, Like NoPlace Is There was made possible by the virulent and albeit downright depressive content material. It Never Goes Out was sparked by revolutionary ideals that backed the upbeat and rather driven punk. Whatever happens next, I’m sure The Hotelier is readying for their third revolution.
After 2014’s universally acclaimed Home, Like Noplace Is There, emo stalwarts The Hotelier are gearing up to release their third studio album. Between the acoustic song on the “birthday gift” lathe cut and the expanded version of “Settle the Scar” from their Fest split, the small tastes of this album show that it is sure to live up to expectations.
The Hotelier are an important band. Home Like Noplace, Is There was an album that resonated so deeply with so many people, emphasized by the fact that six of us wanted to write about this band. It’s tough to pin down quite what it is that The Hotelier do differently, but there’s something that sets them apart from their peers and as soon as you start listening to them, you feel it. 2016 will hopefully bring a new record from them and, if so, expect to see it topping end of years lists all over the place.
Is there a line more provocative in the world of (modern) emotional music than “I called in sick from your funeral?” Home, Like Noplace Is There, the striking 2014 LP from the Hotelier was an earth-shaker – it altered the tone and the scope of an entire scene of music. So why was this 9-song, 36-minute ’emo revival’ record so cogent? For starters, it packs it’s frustration into a polished, sophisticated alt-rock sound; they offer an accessible bridge for those skeptical of anything labeled ’emo’ – albeit by people who don’t quite get what ’emo’ means. Secondly, the record is complex in its narrative and its subject matter; each song serves as a poignant exploration of the world around us through the lens of introspection or with the aid of metaphor and allegory. They tackle important issues like mental health and racism with staggering poise and insight; the Hotelier’s able-voiced frontman injects his personality into his performances, lending himself as a worthy protagonist who doubles as a crafty narrator. The Hotelier captured the ears and hearts of a generation of listeners with something to prove. Emotional music of this nature either hits or misses. The overwhelming passion and vision of the Hotelier was a can’t-miss in 2014 (Even Pitchfork had to shout out Home, Like Noplace Is There – even if it was on their Honorable Mentions List). 2016 will almost positively give us a new LP from the Hotelier. How they’ll match the intensity of their massive sophomore record, I’m not sure – but I am more than excited to see them try.
So often it seems, punk is forcibly drenched with in-your-face energy at the expense of palpable discourse. When bands yell for the sake of yelling over throwaway lyrics, or rehash their genre without adding anything new of their own to the equation, what comes of it? Certainly not waves of gut-wrenching nuance, unpacking complex topics of our day. Definitely not one of the most incredibly poised records of our time out of what, at first, felt like the leftest of fields. Arguably not a careful collection of urgent missives with a catharsis so profound, each listen reveals new multitudes. One can only yell so loud, so forcefully, without having anything of substance to say for so long. Few artists champion a honest discourse reflected in their art. Where many others have tried, with varying degrees of success, to produce work that moves as much as it shakes, it is my opinion that few will ever be able to stand the test of time like Home, Like Noplace Is There. Where yelling does find a home, so does brevity, sincerity, pop hooks, musicianship, poetry, honor, storytelling, nuance, identity, possibility, and a great deal of heart. For these reasons, and so many more, it’s impossible to imagine a future where the next release by The Hotelier doesn’t get the world talking once again.
Over the years, The Hotelier is a band that has come to mean a lot to me. Home, Like Noplace Is There became the soundtrack to my European backpacking trip in the summer of 2014, as I probably listened to the song ‘Housebroken’ 5+ times a day, and is still a record I put on while in the most solemn of moods. With a new year comes new music, and that means a follow up to the most successful release the Hotelier have ever put out. While there’s always distress that a band’s new material won’t quite live up to fans expectations after an extremely successful album, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Christian Holden and the rest of the self-proclaimed “anti-pop” group will produce a record us admirers have been craving for the past year and a half. As evidence, The Hotelier has been selling lathe cuts of a new song entitled ‘Goodness Pt 1.’ while on tour. And although it may or may not be a track on the upcoming record, it puts my mind at ease knowing that there is nothing but genius and raw emotion being produced by the Massachusetts natives.