Jun 10, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
San Francisco indie pop trio Hot Flash Heat Wave are back with their first release of the year. In over ten years as a band the longtime friends have built up a devoted following, debuting with their 2015 garage rock debut, Neapolitan and their 2017 follow-up, Soaked. However, the band launched in a new psychedelic direction with their Mood Ring EP last year, crafting some of their most exciting and exploratory music yet. Now the band are back with a new, currently untitled, album on the way and with the record’s first single “m o t i o n s,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“m o t i o n s” once again introduces a new side to Hot Flash Heat Wave, this time deploying an ‘80s-tinged psych pop pastiche that wouldn’t feel out of place on an MGMT album. Danceable instrumental grooves, lush washes of synths, and robotic vocoder vocals join into the mix, offering an irresistible pop edge that’s tailor-made for summer nights. Even so, the track’s underlying melancholy can’t help but bleed through, fitting the track equally well into a solitary midnight drive.
The band says of the track, “‘m o t i o n s’ was inspired by the end of a very important relationship in my life, which was on and off over a number of years and left me feeling stagnant and disconnected, like I was repeating the same empty patterns. It’s a play on the phrase “going through the motions,” toying with the intersection of movement and emotion. I wanted to express this feeling of love’s futility that I was left with, going through so much with someone and becoming so close just to realize that it wasn’t meant to be and learning how to start again.”
With such a heavy story behind the song, the writing process was unsurprisingly difficult. The band says, “Each of us separately record songs/ ideas in our bedrooms pretty regularly, so when we get together we show each other what we’ve been working on and determine if it’s Hot Flash Heat Wave material. Sometimes the ideas are pretty rough and undeveloped or if we’re lucky we get fully written tracks that just need to be polished off. ‘m o t i o n s’ went through a grueling process of reinvention and rewriting that lasted many months. It was one of the most painful songs we’ve ever written because it felt like we had opened a door to infinite sonic possibilities and had to all steer it to completion. In the end the only part we kept from the original demo was the chorus melody.”
With tours planned for this year, a European tour in 2022, and a full record coming this fall, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years yet for Hot Flash Heat Wave. As the band notes, “It’s exciting to see things get back on course after such a chaotic and scary 2020.” Check out “m o t i o n s” below, out now.