Artist of the Week – The Hot Dark

The Hot Dark is a collaborative post new wave jazz rock dance sextet (there’s a mouthful) from northern California whose uptempo, sprawling and diversely crafted songs have a way of pulling music lovers into their potions of vocals and instruments to listen more closely.

Nearly two years since we first featured the band, The Hot Dark have been evolving and growing the way a promising and talented DIY band should. During that time, the evolving band wrote, recorded and dropped their debut album, Live Young, on March 28th.

The Hot Dark’s origins trace back to 2013 when the studio duo known as Descendants of Prospectors, featuring guitarists and vocalists Kiel Williams and Owen Ridings, decided to form a full band, and set out to recruit other members, eventually acquiring bassist Andy Merrill, keyboardist and saxophone player Rick Moore, drummer Nicholas Lefler, and keyboardist Gabriel Cronos.

The band’s commitment, Williams said, is a “dedication to bringing high quality artistic writing to a fun, high energy performance” on and off stage. This is evident on the album which features a cornucopia of different styles and sounds going on, including post new wave synth pop, jazz rock and dance infusions as highlighted by gems like the excited, sax-intoxicating and “The Cure-ish” track, “Private Caller,” the raw and emotive “I And We,” and the melancholy, but somehow also sexy, song, “One Time.” Williams’ voice sounds so similar at times to that of Robert Smith’s (The Cure) that it’s almost surreal. Any Cure fan will hear the likeness immediately.


But the unforgettable power pop track, “Blossom,” is perhaps the most unforgettable and universal song on the album. With infectious, driving rhythm, jangle-heavy guitar hooks, oh-oh-oh choruses, shinny keys and magnificent sax playing from Moore, the would-be indie hit single jumps out and envelopes the listener. Live Young is an album of keeper songs.

The band has opened for artists like Major Powers and The Lo-Fi Symphony, French Cassettes, Golden Drugs, Biosexual, and Religious Girls. As far as their musical influences, the band members refer to Francis and The Lights, Talk Talk, Rubble Bucket, and The Cure. The Hot Dark are on the radar and officially a band to watch just like they were in 2013.

“Blossom“The Hot Dark from Live Young – March 28th

“Private Caller“The Hot Dark from Live Young

“One Time“The Hot Dark from Live Young

The Hot Dark official website

The Hot Dark on Facebook

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