Hot-Water-Music-ExisterHot Water Music
Rise Records

To be clear, I am not an old school Hot Water Music fan. In fact, I didn’t even pay them any mind until I happened upon their set at last year’s Riot Fest. The band blew me away, and I began to regret missing out on the past decade and a half of raw rock and roll this Gainesville-bred quartet has been cranking out tirelessly.

With “Exister”, Hot Water Music return to form after a self-imposed hiatus from recording HWM music that’s been in effect (more or less) since 2006. Right off the bat, “Exister” is a powerhouse of guitar-driven rock and roll, fueled by Ragan and Chris Wollard’s wall of distortion that would make Electric Frankenstein fans swoon. The record kicks off with “Mainline”, a two and a half minute romper stomper anthem that sets the pace for the rest of “Exister”. Hot Water Music don’t play music on this record, as much as they steamroll the listener with endless waves of killer riffs peppered with melodies and singalongs.

“Drag My Body” is hands down one of the best rock tune in recent memory. HWM’s rhythm section takes the lead with a swinging groove that perfectly compliments Ragan’s gruff croon. “Well I got my head up in a critical mess/Fighting like a demon in a shell I possess/Gnashing my teeth and speaking in tongues/Still shaking something mental at a loss of the words I’d once known,” Ragan proclaims before the band tears into one of the catchiest punk choruses ever.

One thing of note, it’s hard to ignore Bill Stevenson’s production influence throughout “Exister”. Ragan channels his inner Chad Price on some of the albums harder tunes, and bassist Jason Black’s low-end is very reminiscent of Karl Alvarez’s heavily-compressed punchy bass lines. None of this is a bad thing—ALL are amazing, but this record is definitely a Hot Water Music album.

As of mid-June, I’m calling “Exciter” as my pick of record of the year. Between the infectious choruses, sick singalongs, and fierce guitar playing, this record has everything going right for it. I can’t wait to hear HWM play these tunes live and am looking forward to being a Hot Water Music fan. It’s about time.

Interpunk: Milky Clear and Swamp Green vinyl (Limited to 500 copies)
King’s Road/No Idea: LP dookie brown splatter on electric blue (Limited to 2200)
Rise Records: Black (Limited to 100) Gold Splatter (Limited to 400)
European: Transparent Milky Clear on opaque Red (Limited to 1,000)
Australia: Opaque Gold w/ Silver (Limited to 300)