Post Hardcore for grownups. Yeah, I said it.
I remember a time when Hardcore meant the exact opposite to me. Hot Water Music have been a hardcore institution for almost twenty years now, not counting various sabbatical years. Delivering intense live shows and equally intense records with clockwork, nothing seems more natural than expecting the same year after year, regardless of the members inevitably growing older. You just expect fire, sweat, and raw energy being thrust toward you by these fine gentlemen. And that’s what they still have in store. No let-downs, no trends, no haircuts. I’ll admit what you’ve already guessed – I love them.
This record feels more swaggery, more rock than before. It starts out with a classic Hot Water sing-along rocker, “Mainline” as what you’d expect. Stripped down, closer to Bruce than Ian nowadays. Springsteen and MacKaye, if you were wondering. Something that might stem from the fact that Chuck Ragan has been touring with The Gaslight Anthems’ singer Brian Fallon on and off for years now on their collective Revival Tours.
The record seldomly strays off the path made by the first couple of songs. And it´s better for it. This is in their own words “it’s just HWM in a room, plugged in and recorded”. Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents & All) produced Exister, or rather recorded it, too clear perfection. Theres no frills at all. Just a band, in a room. I imagine thats exactly what they wanted.
It feels good to see and hear artists speak from the good old heart, and that do not have an ulterior motive selling their clothing line or signature perfume. Its simply about the music, about playing loudly, singing from the gut and the result is an honesty and credibility you can´t get anywhere, except from touring relentlessly and for years and years. It´s getting less and less common these days to be all about the music. I´m one of the many people who are grateful Hot Water Music still exist. See what I did there?