Release Date: May 27, 2016
Record label: Revolver Music / Tiny Engines
Growing up is tough. The Hotelier, though, have navigated this treacherous path expertly. Their third album, Goodness, sees them continue on their quest, delivering their most mature, most complete record to date.This maturity hasn't weakened the band's ability to deliver an emotional gut punch that leaves you shaken, changed and feeling the weight of Christian Holden's words in your heart — or your head.
“Listen more, speak less,” Christian Holden wrote on Tumblr a few months ago, in anticipation of his band’s forthcoming new album. These seemed like strange words coming from the Hotelier’s notoriously verbose frontman. To wit: Goodness, the Worcester, Massachusetts indie-punk outfit’s bracingly human, paradigm-shifting third album opens with a recitation of a spoken-word poem.
Christian Holden is fighting like hell to stand in the sun. The Hotelier singer is coming off a dramatized retelling of a tragedy-ridden early adulthood, in the form of the fourth-wave emo classic Home, Like NoPlace Is There, and now it’s time to really start rebuilding. That’s a lot to expect of a record, but it’s not like the Hotelier can’t handle the pressure.
In the lead-up to Goodness, the third album from Massachusetts emo band The Hotelier, bassist-vocalist Christian Holden wrote a reflective essay on the relationships that connect perceived realness, performance, public figuredom, and music in a precipitous balance akin to a hanging Calder mobile. Holden has reason to confront and question those weighty themes. He’s one of a mass of young musicians producing vital, exhilarating music that’s shifting the idea of what emo is — and what it can be — after the genre’s mainstream peak in the 2000s.
The Hotelier are definitely one of those bands who'll always invoke commentary on the emo revival. Home, Like Noplace Is There was a main reason why a couple years ago. And Goodness will certainly continue to incite that conversation, for those willing to drag it on. The Hotelier, however, manage to smartly keep their distance from the debate and just stick to making emotive, moving music.
The Hotelier’s second album ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ has become one of the most treasured emo records of the past decade since its release two years ago, and the band handed the tag of the American scene’s most promising sons. ‘Goodness’ largely takes the promise of ‘Home…’ and runs with it, with the grit and passion that defined that album still firmly evident. First track proper ‘Goodness pt.
The people on the cover of this Massachusetts quartet's third LP are naked. So are the songs inside it: raw-hearted bursts of bald guitar churn backing lyrics that hunger for meaning in terms that'd be corny if the music didn't hit so hard. There's some latent emo here (one song is called "Opening Mail for My Grandmother"), but usually the Hotelier recall dorm-rock questers from R.E.M.
Given the lengthy run-up to its release—spanning over four months from its initial announcement—The Hotelier’s third album, Goodness, could have easily fallen victim to hype of its own making. The group’s last album (and first under The Hotelier name, rather than the original Hotel Year) Home, Like No Place Is There took people by surprise, but Goodness carries with it the weight of expectation. The Hotelier didn’t singlehandedly legitimize pop-punk and emo, but it is one of the first bands of that ilk to get the endorsement of playing Pitchfork’s music festival.
The Hotelier’s Home, Like No Place is There was equal parts punk provincialism and impressive indie rock potential. On their third full-length, Goodness, the Boston group, hailed by many as the flag bearers for a new wave of emo, trend a touch more mainstream, but without sacrificing the characteristics that made them a cult hit. The band has stirred some controversy with their highly NSFW album cover, which they replaced with a censored equivalent on digital services like iTunes.
by Grant Rindner Car Seat Headrest’s newest record is what all good indie rock should aspire to be. It’s intelligent, self-aware, a touch neurotic, and rough enough around the edges to feel completely authentic. Teens of Denial is a long record, but one that has so much personality and insight that you’ll wish there were another dozen tracks tacked on.