One Star Hotel — ‘Can’t Be Trusted’, ‘Frustrated and Free,’ ‘Starlight’
Available for free at www.purevolume.com/onestarhotel
If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know that every two weeks, I tell you about the songs you should go out of your way to download. Or, as is sometimes the case, not download. With the overwhelming amount of exclusive EPs and pre-release singles floating around all over the place, it’s a lot to navigate, so I try to help you suss it all out. If you like the advice you’ve been given, I’m glad. I’m also going to ask that you bear with me for a minute, because this installment is a little bit different. The band in question has a record you can purchase — two, even — but chances are you don’t know them. I want that to change, though, and I’m trying to be realistic, so I figure I’ll start by pointing you toward some tracks that are available online.
Hailing from the single most underrated music city in the entire country, One Star Hotel is a Philadelphia band that’s been kicking around for a few years, earning slots on strong bills in their hometown, but not making much noise outside of it. And that’s a shame.
They play a rare brand of rock music that sounds very adult without falling down the slippery slope to the cutout bins of bona fide adult-contemporary. The most obvious comparison to be made is to Summerteeth-era Wilco, as frontman Steve Yutz-Burkey sounds an awful lot like Jeff Tweedy. There’s also a pointed focus on the juxtaposition of acoustic guitars with the more ethereal keyboards and background sounds — a quality that makes the band’s work perfectly suited for headphone listening.
If you’re trying to figure out what makes One Star Hotel any different than all the other bands that kinda sound like Wilco, it’s understandable. All I can say is this: when we hear a band for the first time, we have to decide if we believe them or if we think they’re full of shit. It’s a vague notion, but something you feel pretty strongly about right off the bat. I don’t believe Franz Ferdinand. I don’t believe Kings of Leon. I believe these guys, and I think you will too.