The gritty guitars, the tight, jazz-trained rhythm section, and the vocal dynamics of Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard make Hot Water Music a singular entity in post-hardcore. Taking their name from a collection of Charles Bukowski short stories, the Florida-based group emerged in the mid-'90s with a sound that paired the attitude and energy of punk with the uncompromising sonic attack of post-hardcore. The group found commercial success in 2002 with the release of their fifth studio LP Caution, but disbanded in 2006 to pursue other musical ventures. They officially re-formed in 2012 and inked a deal with Rise Records, with which they would go on to release the well-received Exister (2012) and Light It Up (2017).
The Gainesville-based crew were formed in 1994 by bassist Jason Black, drummer George Rebelo, and singer/guitarists Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard. Debuting in 1995 with the 7" "Eating the Filler," they soon returned with the EP Push for Coin, rounding out the year with the release of their first full-length effort, Finding the Rhythms, on No Idea. Fuel for the Hate Game followed in 1996, but in the wake of their third album, Forever and Counting, Hot Water Music disbanded. The group soon re-formed, however, with a series of split singles as well as a new 7" single, "Alachua," spread across 1998. The following year saw the release of a new studio album, No Division, as well as the Live at the Hardback set and the Moonpies for Misfits EP. Wollard and Rebelo also teamed on the side project Blacktop Cadence.
Flight and a Crash marked the band's first release for Epitaph and of the new millennium, soon followed by 2002's Caution. The roundup compilation Never Ender appeared in early 2004, and The New What Next followed that fall. Around the same time, No Idea also released the full-length debut of Ragan and Wollard's acoustic side project with Samantha Jones (of Bitchin'), Rumbleseat. Hot Water Music took an extended break in spring 2005, allowing Ragan to devote his time to life outside of the band. Meanwhile, the remaining bandmates went on to form the Draft with Todd Rockhill, and subsequent nationwide touring followed. A formal announcement appeared in May 2006 that Hot Water Music had officially called it quits, and the Draft continued full-time as Ragan began to issue solo acoustic material. The split didn't last long, however; Hot Water Music announced their reunion in late 2007 and embarked on a tour the following year, while No Idea issued the rarities collection Till the Wheels Fall Off that January. Exister, their first album of new material since 2004, arrived on Rise Records in 2012. Two years later, to mark their 20th anniversary, they released the aptly titled 20 Year Retrospective, a four-disc box set on colored vinyl. Their eighth studio album, Light It Up, followed in 2017, once again on Rise Records; it was the first since their debut to be entirely self-produced by the band. In 2019 the band issued the EP Shake Up the Shadows. ~ Jason Ankeny