Been waiting for this one for a while now – almost a year to be exact. The Hot Damn showed up on my radar after I heard a tune on PatRadio’s podcast last August, the band’s sound decidedly different than the flavor of the year (shit-gaze) here in Columbus. There isn’t anything lo-fi about this foursome, it’s mass market material written for the Alternative Press / Hot Topic / Urban Outfitters crowd and while usually I’d cringe at any band that can sell loads of records to that demographic, there is something about The Hot Damn that makes me really excited.
Matt and Ash were nice enough to send me a copy of the CD earlier this week and I’ve been spending a lot of time digesting it. Really, what I think, is that you get three different bands in one with this self-titled release – there is the post-emo / Warped Tour-ready sounds of the songs sung solely by Matt (do I detect a little Ben Gibbard in his vocal style?); there are the songs that Matt handles the lead vocals and Ash provides the female backup (these songs, like “Lefthand, Righthand”, bring to mind one of my favorites, Helicopter Helicopter); and then you’ve got the songs that Ash sings lead on. Now, I’ve only had one opportunity to see the band live (opening for Great Northern) but I don’t remember Ash really stepping up to the front on many of the songs. Not sure if the songs weren’t written at the time or she’s found a new self-confidence, but the songs she sings (which I’m assuming she wrote as well) bring to mind some of the early ’90s female-led indie rock bands like Madder Rose, The Melting Hopefuls, and even a bit of our hometown heroes, Scrawl. I hope as the band matures, Ash continues to keep up with contributing – as it is, she handles vocals on maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of the songs.
The Hot Damn will throw themselves a CD release party on Friday night at the House of Crave (the club above The Basement). I’d be there if I wasn’t headed to Cincinnati to see Blind Melon. I’m not sure if this is the highest compliment I could throw at the band, but I will say that if The Hot Damn were an out-of-town band, I would do everything in my power to see them every time they play in Columbus. As it is, I’ve missed out on a BUNCH of shows since first discovering them but plan to make up for that over the summer.
You can stream the entire new CD here (do it … it’s FREE to check it out, you’ve got nothing to lose). And you can hear Pat from PatRadio interview the band – and play 4 tracks from the CD – on his most recent podcast here. Hot Damn, indeed!