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Rock - Released January 27, 2017 | Rise Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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Rock - Released May 14, 2012 | Rise Records

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Caught somewhere between showing their age and showcasing their experience, Hot Water Music makes their return with Exister, their first album of new material since 2004. Like running into an old friend for the first time after an extended absence, the album is recognizably HWM, while feeling different enough that it's clear some time has passed. Stylistically, the band's sound feels more or less intact, with its bouncy blend of pop punk energy and post-hardcore noodling coming together nicely. What feels different about the whole thing is the overall vibe at work on the album, which feels more weathered and mature than their previous work. It's clear that the bandmembers' time apart from one another has changed them, but that's not really such a bad thing. The most noticeable difference is Chuck Ragan, whose voice sounds gruffer and more forlorn than ever, something he probably owes to the time he's spent out in more folk/roots rock-oriented waters. This change in his style adds a feeling of wisdom to his vocals, giving him an aged sense of authority in his delivery that makes you want to listen to what he's got to tell you. Though Hot Water Music are, unsurprisingly, not the same band they were eight years ago, it turns out that's not such a bad thing. While the world might miss the raw energy and exuberance of their earlier work, the more precise and mature band found on Exister is still as effective, and is definitely one that fans will want to stop and catch up with. ~ Gregory Heaney
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Rock - Released March 14, 2017 | Rise Records

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Rock - Released January 24, 2017 | Rise Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2008 | Epitaph

Picking up where A Flight and a Crash left off, Hot Water Music is all about delivering tight and melodic hardcore on Caution. With even less vocal interplay between singers, the band further refines its music and allows its songs to shimmer with more production gloss. This only helps the group, which has an incredibly tight sound but hasn't always had the resources to make sure it sounded right. Here you can hear every little guitar flourish and snare snap nicely, which reveals the wealth of excellent melodies and lyrics the band is capable of. Every song hits the ground running, offering bountiful amounts of anthemic choruses and ringing guitars, while the music alternates between flattening listeners with a sonic barrage ("It's All Related") and lightheartedly bringing them along for the ride ("Not for Anyone"). Most importantly, the bandmembers display variety that doesn't intrude on their songwriting style but instead complements their thuggish attitude and aggressive delivery. They manage this by taking the general structure (i.e., fast tempos, singalong choruses, dynamic chord changes) and tweaking it so that certain songs are guitar-heavy romps while others allow the bass to carry the vocals on a bouncing beat. They've always hinted at this sort of songwriting strength, but they just needed the right people behind the boards to bring it out of them. By offering stronger melodies than last time but generally following the same pattern, Caution is the strongest album from the band since Fuel for the Hate Game. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 15, 2017 | Rise Records

This eighth studio album from the gravel-voiced Florida punks is the official successor to their 2012 Rise Records debut, Exister, and follows their 20 Year Retrospective vinyl box set. The first since their 1997 debut, Fuel for the Hate Game, to be entirely self-produced by the band, the album shows off their classic influential style to the fullest, with raw, chunky riffs, driving rhythms, and personal, emotional lyrics. The single "Never Going Back" is included. ~ John D. Buchanan
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Rock - Released January 24, 2017 | Rise Records

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Rock - Released January 24, 2017 | Rise Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2008 | Epitaph

A Flight and a Crash doesn't represent a radical departure for Hot Water Music, but it is somewhat different from their past efforts. The group's sound, which reminds one of bands such as Leatherface and Avail, is still reasonably intact; one can still hear Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard's intense, gravelly vocals over their crisp, melodic guitars and the tight rhythm section of George Rebelo and Jason Black, and the lyrics still convey a sincere, confessional quality without succumbing to self-pity. This time, however, the singers sound a bit smoother and there is less interplay between them. Also, the band sounds more polished, the guitars sound warmer, the production sounds slicker, and the songs seem more intricate and varied (although they still flow together well). The songs don't have as much of a singalong anthemic quality as some of the band's previous material, but there are some well-placed shouts on "Jack of All Trades," for example. There are catchy numbers such as "Paper Thin" and even a ballad, "She Takes It," that manages to integrate Ragan and Wollard's scratchy singing with acoustic and steel guitar. Some fans may prefer an album that sounds faster, heavier, and rougher than this one, but others will enjoy this solid collection of songs from a band who continues to refine their craft. ~ Todd Kristel
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2008 | Epitaph

New What Next's "Keep It Together" sounds like vintage Afghan Whigs, and maybe that's all you need to know about Hot Water Music's third Epitaph effort. The vets from the FLA have added a further postscript to their post-hardcore rumble, veering into a melodic yet slightly jaded maturity resembling that of Gentlemen-era Whigs. The Alkaline Trio's catchy, punky fatalism is another touchstone for what New What Next offers; Hot Water Music also provides a few satisfying holdovers from their early-2000s output. (The stinging double-time clap of "This Early Grave," for example.) But in the melodic meantime, "Under Every Thing" and "All Heads Down" back up "Together" with tense and cynical barbed wire meditations. Distant guitar sustain wrangles around a prickly ride cymbal as Chris Wollard and Chuck Ragan harmonize on the latter's lyrical venom. "All I ask is how we carry on/Tricked and blind, raped and robbed"; "...In the end, you're on your own" -- are they referring to government dirty tricks, or a more personally cynical world view? The latter seems truer given HWM's somewhat trying existence, band fragmentation and underappreciation being two big issues. "Poison"'s latent Fugazi-isms are softened by echoing Brian McTernan production and plaintive lead vocals, "End of the Line" is a rawer, seasoned-rocker version of the rager being written by every junior varsity Warped Tour hopeful, and "My Little Monkey Wrench" is as touching a love letter as the underground has in 2004. Veterans always endure adversity at some point; the pros put it back into their music, and Hot Water Music certainly has. What's come next is more controlled and sobering, and shows signs of the lives they've lived around the hard core. ~ Johnny Loftus
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Alternative & Indie - To be released May 24, 2019 | Epitaph

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Rock - Released January 24, 2017 | Rise Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - To be released May 24, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 1, 2019 | Epitaph

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Epitaph

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