Hothead, S/T (Sister Polygon)
Hothead is the solo alter ego of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laurie Spector, who has played in DC bands like Gauche, Foul Swoops and Chain and the Gang. Her Hothead debut (released on cassette by the fantastic Sister Polygon) contains seven tracks, including a cover of “You Should All be Murdered” by Sarah Records sly indie pop titans, Another Sunny Day.
The cover choice feels apropos, since standout tracks here like “How It Goes” conjure up the same emotions, with jangle perk offsetting the more acerbic lyrical aspects. Spector’s Hothead arrangements, though, are less wide-eyed, with each track smothered under a heavy cloak of reverb. Spector sings withering kiss offs to “disaffected pseudo intellectuals” (“Rocco”) and and those for whom she “feel[s] nothing in love” (“Inside Loop”) at times with a kind of drunken snarl, her voice buried deep in the mix (even when accompanied solely by acoustic guitar on the strummed ballad, “Marilyn”, her voice sounds like it’s coming from a different room).
Musically, in addition to indie jangle-pop, there’s shades of 70s AM rock (which, in turn, brings in aspects of folk and bluesy country) and power pop. Add in some playful ornamentation (“Hothead” (the closing track) features what sounds like a recorder(?); “Rocco”, handclaps) and some eye moistening melodies – seriously, we double dog dare you to listen to the chiming guitar leads in “How It Goes” or “Inside Loop” without a wistful smile filling your face – and what you have is an immensely satisfying listen. Is “lo-fi power pop” an oxymoron? Maybe, but who cares when it’s this good.
The self-titled album is out now, and is available digitally on Bandcamp (tapes are sold out). A tour is also imminent (though, sadly, not near us *sniff*), so go say ‘hello’ if you’re in the area – dates here. There are also some great discussions with Spector on the ideas and processes behind the album, courtesy of Impose Magazine and WAMU’s bandwidth.fm. Check ‘em out.
Highlights include: “Inside Loop”, “How It Goes”.