Burning Hotels, EPIC RUINS
Though you may have caught them at Lola’s (2736 W 6th St, 817-877-0666) during the 2011 Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards Festival in July, you still should go out of your way to hear Burning Hotels at Lola’s on Friday. North Texas’ most progressive New Wavers will be celebrating the release of their gemlike, eponymous new album with Fort Worth’s Browningham, Dallas’ ishi, and Parts Unknown’s DJ Wild in the Streets. (Fort Worth? Dallas? Boise?) Not to belabor a point, one that I made as recently as last week, but Burning Hotels manifests certain indefinable qualities that elevate it to the stratosphere of seminal recordings by groups like New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen, and Roxy Music.
What’s even more impressive is that the two main Hoteliers, co-songwriters and lead vocalists Matt Mooty and Chance Morgan, did the whole thing in a home studio, with assistance from producer Will Hunt (Amy Lee, The Polyphonic Spree). The next step is a tour. The stop after that? Should be an amphitheater near you.
EPIC RUINS bassist and co-songwriter Steve Steward (Kevin Aldridge & The Appraisers) and drummer/co-songwriter Jordan Richardson (Ben Harper & The Relentless7) recently holed up in a nearby rehearsal space, the Haltom City Smoke Tardis, and banged out some new songs with the other permanent ER members: vocalist/guitarist Sam Anderson (Quaker City Night Hawks) and saxophonist Jeff Dazey (Josh Weathers & The True+Endeavors, Gunga Galunga). As with the band’s mind-melting 2010 debut, Void Mariner and the Mystic Boogie of the Sacred Line, the new album will feature contributions from local heavy-hitters –– Aldridge, harmonium player Jordan Roberts (Calhoun), keyboardist Justin Pate (The Orbans), vocalist Ray Liberio (The Me-Thinks, Stoogeaphilia), and ax-man Big Mike Richardson –– and maybe some dudes from L.A., where native Fort Worthian Richardson now resides. Also like Void Mariner, the forthcoming album will be somewhat conceptual. A focal point of musical and lyrical inspiration for Steward is Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near (2005), in which the noted futurist posits that within 40 years the computing power of machines will equal or surpass that of humans, due to the “law of accelerating returns.” Steward recently mused, “What happens to the definition of humanity? Will people finally give up on faith? Do machines go insane?” Questions light-years removed from the sword-and-sorcery of Void Mariner but still outré. “I imagine the world leading up to the practice of converting a human’s entire personality, memory, and experience into a digital sequence that will live ostensibly forever,” Steward said. “Just before death, an artificial construct of a person becomes real on an informational plane, living forever as data in the afterlife. This network is therefore populated by living code with the exact same personalities that formerly filled the Earth.” Science, Steward said, “finally eliminates God, but religion lives on as technological ancestor worship.” Sonic influences on the ER guys include The Ohio Players, ZZ Top, Naam, Floyd’s Animals, and, of course, Italian disco. The new ER album, Steward said, “is going to sound like hard funk from a black hole,” a little prog-rockish and with more keyboards. “There’s another component to the story, but we’ll have to see what happens with what we write,” he said. “We could end up making a record about the Zen of gophers or some other shit for all I know.”
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