You know Nathan Larson. Of course you do. As guitarist/songwriter in the beloved (and now-defunct) artpunk outfit, Shudder To Think, Larson, along side compadre Craig Wedren, not only helped mash signature DC angularity with nineties indie pop sensibilities, he also wowed frothing onlookers with a number of never before seen guitar rock moves such as The Mussolini.
Now, just when you thought you may never have the opportunity to see it again, given Larson’s palpable success in the more dimly lit forum of film music, (he composed scores for Boys Don’t Cry, Dirty Pretty Things, Velvet Goldmine, The Woodsman, among many others), he hits us with HOT ONE. A real rock record by a real band! And no- it’s not for the faint of heart, folks. This is some serious shit.
Along with notable soldiers, drummer extraordinaire Kevin March (Shudder To Think, but also Guided By Voices, Dambuilders, etc…), Canadian bassist/singer Emm Gryner (singer/songwriter in her own right) and young man Jordan Kern playing the guitar, HOT ONE are insistent, undeniable, loud as All Hell rock, but they are a whole lot more. The band observe the tradition of rock and roll as a medium for social protest, a la the Clash, Public Enemy, Psychic TV, Woody Guthrie, Minor Threat, the MC5, etc… and it’s very clear, not only ‘cos they have a dot.org, but because they’re unhappy and they know it. So, they clap their hands. And other stuff.
The self-titled debut features songs like, “Sexy Soldier” which is like much of the Hot One oeuvre, a laser beam- brilliant and alluring, yet cuts with precision. “Waiting For The Rapture” is Bowie-circa-Hunky Dory with a seductive, down tempo groove and words that poke at the pious and fanatical. Then there’s a relentless rock grind simply called “Fuckin’” a hysterical commentary sexualizing Our Incumbent’s raging bloodlust. And so it goes… Humorous, yeah, but through the fun and games, Larson and company force us to take a real look at the absurdity of the current regime. We’re left not knowing whether to dance or defect.