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Friday Music Roundup – Motel Motel, Hotel Lights and Capital Road

As another week draws to a close, and I head down the coast (and offline) for the weekend, I thought I would throw up a quick music roundup of those songs that have been spinning incessantly on my iTunes this week. So here you go…

Motel Motel – Mexico

Motel Motel
Motel Motel… these guys deserve to be bigger.

Listen to Motel Motel, even if only once, and you know that these guys are on the cusp of indie-hugeness (no, that’s not a real word. So sue me).
Having only formed in 2006, this band from Brooklyn sounds far more accomplished than you would expect from a two-year old outfit. There’s swaggering rock there, but also sweltering and dusty americana. Basically, everything that makes me fall in love with music.

The song featured below, “Mexico“, exemplifies that love. While Motel Motel’s new album, “New Denver” ranges from bar-room rock to frantic jangly guitars (see the track “Mountains”), this tune “Mexico” (which originally appeared on their “Old York” EP) is stripped down, dirt-covered folk at its best. It’s a shot of Jack Daniels and well worn denim. Take a listen, and you’ll see what I mean.

With one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard this side on “The Alternate Routes”, “Mexico” is right up there as a contender for my favourite song of 2008.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Motel Motel – Mexico

Hotel Lights – Firecracker People

Hotel Lights
Hotel Lights aka Darren Jessee

The day that Ben Folds Five broke up was a sad day indeed. After all, Ben Folds has most definitely released some great solo stuff since, there’s no argument about that; but let’s be honest here… most of that solo stuff has… well, sounded like Ben Folds Five anyway, hasn’t it? So it kinda made the break-up a bit of a moot point, to me anyway. Really, all that seemed to come out of it was that Darren Jessee, the drummer and sometime songwriter of Ben Folds Five seemed to slip into obscurity.
That was, until I heard his new project, Hotel Lights.

Hotel Lights is a bit more introspective than your average Ben Folds Five stuff was… but Jessee’s trademark touch in his songwriting is unmistakable, and hearkens back to that previous band at its best. This single, “Firecracker People”, is the title track of Darren’s new album, and it’s a great tune. Here’s hoping to more like this from Hotel Lights.

Listen: Hotel Lights – Firecracker People

Capital Road – Little Child

Capital Road
Capital Road (image credit: Shelby Grubbs)

So after my Pete Francis Live Music Friday post, an email hit my inbox telling me that I should check out some tunes from Capital Road, as I may like their music. And you know what? I really do.

Now, my love for Dispatch is no secret. One of my favourite bands of all time, Dispatch will always have a soft spot in my heart. And when they broke up, I thought I would never hear music such as their’s again. And then came along Capital Road.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s early days yet in our relationship, and I’m not saying that Capital Road can fill Dispatch’s shoes, by any means; the guys still have a lot of maturing, as a band, to do before we get to that stage. But I definitely feel something there, an ember that might become a flame.

Fact is though, that the fact that these boys sound exactly like Dispatch (and I’m not kidding here, close your eyes and you could picture yourself listening to early Dispatch) is going to be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, in the fact that they’ll find a ready-made audience, in old Dispatch fans like me, that are desperate to hear anything that reminds us of Pete, Chad and Brad. But it’s also a curse, in that they’re going to have to be careful not to fall into that trap forever; otherwise they might become something of a tribute band, and I can sense that there’s so much more to offer from Capital Road, so I really hope that they’re cognisant of that fact.

The song below, “Little Child”, is taken from their “It’s All Gravy” EP,  which is out now. I’ll be watching these guys with interest.

Listen: Capital Road – Little Child