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Portland, Maine, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Pop Indie





This is a band to watch, and better still to listen to. It's hard to say Maine has a "sound" when it comes to rock music, but there is something about the new album that raises the notion.

Moving away from the big flashy hard rock trend, but also backing down off that jam band prog rock pedestal, Grand Hotel has the soul of a working blues band in the body of a Portland rock band writing songs that will deliver over a long tour, not just for the fans but the band too. Not quite smashing the guitar for a finale because, well, you need to play it the next night. This subtle resistance to rock's charms and the inclusion of a world outside the tour makes for songs about life not just excess, and yet still remains fun to dance to. rock 'n roll is here to stay, still. - WERU Community Radio - Corey Paradise

"Tight Mix: Featured Album GRAND HOTEL "in color.""

After last night’s horrendous halftime display at the Super Bowl, I needed some emotional reconstruction. I needed something to reverse my temporary brain damage, and found a band in my inbox that did just the trick.

Grand Hotel is an indie rock band from Portland, Maine who mix catchy vocal harmonies with groovy bass lines to create a sound that is both confident and interesting.

Their latest album, “In Color”, is all set to release on February 22nd. Jason (bassist) sent me an advance download of the album, and I must say I loved it. I think you will too. This is guitar-heavy indie rock done right. It’s fun, it’s thoughtful, and keeps you interested the whole way through. I really like the track “Walken,” it sounds like Best Coast and David Bowie are butting heads.

You can purchase a copy of the album any time after February 22nd atBullmoose, and I’m sure they’ll have some goodies available at their website and Facebook page in the near future.

Chris Bracco - Tight Mix - Chris Bracco

"Grand Hotel’s radiant and vibrant in color."

Less than a year following their terrific self-titled full-length debut, Grand Hotel are back with in color, an album that sees that debut and raises the stakes considerably. Added to the urgent post-rock with which they've established themselves are dance beats, soulful call-and-response choruses, all manner of nuances that create alternately biting juxtapositions and soaring polyphony.

They are a band full of bravado who do things exactly the way they want. Open an album with an eight-minute song that takes two minutes to build and another two to play out? Why not? "Hurricane" is introduction by construction: Aaron Lachance's drums open, mean and crisp; he's joined by bassist Jason Elvin, kind of nasty; Glen Capen and Michael Reid enter with first chiming guitar chords, then a single-note melody. Finally, there is Kyle Gervais's vocal: "Such a mystery, the way you walk in/I know that you miss me/Now that we're talking."

As with the last album, I wouldn't mind if Gervais was mixed more to the fore here and throughout, but this isn't a vocal-dependent album, despite Gervais's charisma and versatility. And I might have saved this eight-minute number to open the album's "b side."

But there's so much to recommend this as the first track. The slow burn that sets the stage. The change of pace where Gervais sings, "the wind is starting to blow/I'm starting to lose control," as though the album is about to explode. Elvin setting the stage for his bass-playing to drive the songs, smart and strutting, like Sting's playing sometimes, both straight ahead and not at the same time.

It takes up a fifth of the 42 minutes here, making the other 10 songs seem like a rapid-fire assault afterwards. Grand Hotel make sure they pop appropriately. "I Gotta New Message" introduces an industrial-dance feel that permeates the disc, bringing in elements of MGMT, Hot Chip, maybe even LCD Soundsystem. The bass is fuzzy and big-bottomed, and Gervais is cutting to the quick: "I've seen the inside of your record collection/Don't you think it's time for a change?"

Later, following an explosive high-end melody spike, he sneers in a more spoken delivery: "You say nobody talks to you that way/Well maybe they should/Cuz I talk however I want."

"Walken" is '60s pop-rock drenched in noise, like the Everly Brothers encased in concrete and dropped to the bottom of Casco Bay. "Body Touch" has a guitar tone and bite like Modest Mouse's "Missed the Boat." "Go Go Gadget Gorgeous" is two minutes of electronic snare-driven beat with caustic elements, boops and beeps, and a swirling sort of thing that coalesces with a melody line eked out on what might be a xylophone, maybe.

Then comes the big mid-album apex. "Boomboomboom" leads with Gervais muted and chunky, "I want you to love me, but I don't want to care," then launches into a giant rock chorus: "Well if you're looking for a man to take you out tonight/Could be we pretend that I'm not here/And could you please turn out that light?"

These songs are infused with sex without coming off either sleazy or cheesy. Whatever the other genres pulled into the music, the themes are old-time rock and roll. Girls. Guys. Getting together. Breaking apart. "Boomboomboom" goes the heart. If yours doesn't get racing, stick with something safer than this.

Now fully warm, Grand Hotel really start to bounce. "In the Bank" has a Duran Duran thing going on, a rave-up that's a little bit disco. "Learn2Dance" features a riff that's almost "Billie Jean," with a sentiment to match: "She put her body up against me/I knew I made the right decision." "Denise" is like an indie-rock version of what Smokey Robinson would have done (and I'm really not sure how that's possible).
Part of that's simply the passion Gervais evinces. He's completely invested.

By the closing "Thanks!," a goofy vamp, almost totally different from everything else here, you've got to be a little unsure how to accept those thanks. Is it snarling and sarcastic or enthusiastic and sincere? "Well I like your face/But I hate your smile/so keep your mouth shut, baby."

Okay. It's probably the former. Grand Hotel sound here like they're tight as hell, feeding off a bit of that us-against-the-world meme that can bring out great performances. They keep this up? Watch the fuck out.

Sam Pfeifle
- Portland Phoenix - Sam Pfeifle

"The Maine Campus CD Review Grand Hotel -Rockers deliver high-energy pop among silly moments"

One of the best parts of Grand Hotel’s “In Color” comes at the very end during the song “Thanks!” As the band plays out, lead singer Kyle Gervais repeatedly spits out “thanks to you”s of varying sincerity, while others saying “thank you” can be heard in the background.

It’s a warm and fuzzy moment where the band seems to be having a party in the studio — there’s even the faint sound of a cigarette being lit.

But as it fades out, there’s the distinct sound of a fart, most likely from some sort of horn. It makes for a fitting end to an album filled with some wonderful musical moments tarnished by some downright silliness and extravagance.

On the follow-up to their self-titled debut, Portland’s Grand Hotel are able to bridge the gaps between pop styles spanning ’80s new wave, ’90s rock and 2000s indie. Their music is a splattering of hooks and grooves hand-picked from the charts over the last few decades, yet still uniquely all their own.

However, such an eclectic mix of influences makes for a rather disjointed album experience. There are ambient sound collages (“Tenderloin”) next to falsetto-laced disco ballads that channel Electric Six (“Denise”). The album inexplicably opens with an eight-minute indie pop jam, though this type of sound never returns.

Song by song, Grand Hotel excel. The production — done by the band and recorded by their drummer Aaron Lachance — is magnificent. Crisp and professional only touches the surface of these songs, which are full of intricate layers and parts. This is a marked improvement from their first album.

These production techniques really shine on songs like “I Gotta New Message” and lead single “Walken,” arguably the best tracks.

“Message” is an upbeat ode to ’80s synth pop and it couldn’t be more fun. The slight reverb on Gervais’ voice as he sings, “You used to talk like you were famous,” makes for just the right amount of old and new. There’s a definite similarity in his voice to fellow Portland popster Kurt Baker, with whom Grand Hotel shared a bill on Tuesday for the album’s release party.

“Walken” is a hard-edged dose of the kind of artistic sincerity close-knit scenes breed. The lyrics drive this standard small-town guitar rock anthem as Gervais sings, “What would happen if we actually ditched this city?”

The heart of this album spans tracks two through six, which by themselves would make a wonderful EP. Grand Hotel hit their stride on the cerebral instrumental interlude “Go Go Gadget Gorgeous.” The angular “Boomboomboom” and slinky “Body Touch” are the first to capture the band’s sexual undertones, but they aren’t disgustingly overt and the metaphors work.

It’s on the second half of the album where Grand Hotel retreat into a single bag of tricks. Musically the effort is still obvious, but songs about girls grow tiresome fast. “Learn2Dance” comes off as more of a joke, especially when compared to “Boomboomboom,” where they do a decent job at the “take-you-home-tonight” song. The bedroom tracks are further marginalized by Gervais’ tendency to slip into a gritty rock star voice, like on “Denise.”

If Grand Hotel are simply about having fun and making danceable music, they have certainly succeeded on “In Color.” But their dissonant instrumental tracks and ability to use such complex instrumentation make me think they’ve got a higher purpose. They’re great musicians and Gervais is a convincing vocalist when he’s singing about more than the vixen at the bar.

I’d like to say “thanks” in advance for leaving the fart sounds off the next album.

The Maine Campus
Kegan Zema
- The Maine Campus - Kegan Zema


Self Titled / Local
available now
After putting his massively underappreciated band Cosades to bed too soon, Kyle Gervais was done with music. He planned to go to school and work and not allow the promise of making successful music waste any more of his time. It didn’t take long for Gervais to dump those foolish safety plans and get back to what he was born to do in this world: front a band. All-ages favorites Alias Grace were over before they really got started. The band's CD release show was their last show, and it was even billed that way. Their CDs were not sold, but given away at that show. Unlike Gervais, members of Alias Grace had plans to move onward immediately after the demise of their band. Three members, Glen Capen, Jason Elvin and Aaron Lachance, stayed a tight unit and eventually opened the door for Gervais to come and jam and see if they all could put together a band that would exist after their CD release show. So far, so good. Their release show has happened and they’re still in one piece. Grand Hotel’s self-titled debut is a solid start. Indie pop rock numbers for those who want to dance a little. Just as the record starts to feel cool and tricky it quickly lays you out on a groove to keep things from getting too stuffy. The Franz Ferdinand-ish “Visual” goes from sneaky to all out butt swaying and you won’t even notice 'cause you’re floating on one of the bounciest bass lines of the year. The great thing about Grand Hotel is in songs like “Visual,” where Kyle Gervais’ pop music love gets to shine through unlike ever before. The rest of the band back it up so well, too. Gervais has a one-take style of vocals that keeps the feel real every time and it continues with Grand Hotel. I don’t know the exact age of all of the members of Grand Hotel, but my guess is they probably aren’t old enough to be making music this mature. They’re younger cats who luckily don’t have to worry about being stuck in the all-ages circuit. They can play to rooms with or without bars. Regardless, I would dare anyone in either room to stand still for an entire set. This self-titled record is infectious and the beginning of something really cool in local music.

Portland Daily Sun
Mark Curdo - Portland Daily Sun

"Rockin' the scene with Kyle Gervais of Grand Hotel"

Rockin' the scene with Kyle Gervais of Grand Hotel


Safe to say, great performers and musicians should be extremely memorable. Kyle Gervais is easily memorable and one of the best frontmen in the music scene. From his fiery stage presence to his fiery off-stage presence (have you ever seen him in a passionate conversation about something? Oh, mama!), Gervais is someone you will remember when you watch him do his stuff. He's the real deal.
Gervais cut his teeth early with two high school bands and by the time he broke out with Cosades (he was 19), he was fronting one of the most original local acts we'd seen in years. He loves music of all kinds. He listens to more music than anyone I know in town, easily. (I'm pretty close though!) His name has grown from some of the legendary Clash of the Titans performances he's given. Right now, his current band Grand Hotel is one of the hardest-working bands around. From Nateva to the soon to be Kah-Bang Festival, to radio to press to TV to the clubs; Gervais and Grand Hotel are out there doing it right and getting in your face. That's what "Kage" does. He's in your face and trust me you'll love him for it.
?YOU'RE ORIGINALLY FROM UP NORTH. SO, WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP AND STAYING IN TOUCH WITH MUSIC BEING SO FAR REMOVED FROM BIGGER CITIES??I grew up in Fort Kent and then moved to Saco in the middle of seventh grade. Oddly enough, it wasn't that big of a deal back then. During the time I was up north, MTV still played videos and I was able to at least be exposed to popular music that wasn't on one of the only Top 40 stations in the area. 120 Minutes was still on so I got to hear some of the stuff that was a little under the radar, too. Plus, I was reading Spin and Rolling Stone from a young age so if I wasn't hearing it, I was at least able to search it out.
YOU HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF MUSIC TASTES, FROM POP TO ROCK TO INDIE TO DANCE TO HIP HOP. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON WHAT'S GOOD MUSIC??Good music is whatever is able to hold my attention while it's going on. I don't really discriminate when it comes to styles because if it's well done, it's good. Doesn't matter what it is.
YOU WERE IN A COUPLE OF SERIOUS BANDS AT AN EARLY AGE; GLORY TRAP AND THE CHECK. YOU WERE PRETTY YOUNG THEN. YOU SEEMED TO MUSICALLY GROW UP AND WORK OUT THE INFLUENCES QUICKLY, DIDN'T YOU??Glory Trap was formed as soon as I hit high school and had Miek (from the Holy Boys Danger Club) on guitar. We definitely wore our influences on our sleeve back then. Doing things your own way, making things your own, it tends to last a little longer and mean a little more.
WHAT LOCAL BANDS, IF ANY, INFLUENCED YOU AS YOU CARVED OUT YOUR OWN NICHE IN THIS SCENE??I don't know if there are any that influenced me musically, but certainly Rustic Overtones, Even All Out, Jeremiah Freed, and 6gig influenced me to try and play music and be in a band and have the opportunity to be heard around town.
WHAT LOCAL BANDS TODAY ARE YOU BIG ABOUT??I'm really good friends with the guys in The Lucid. I grew up with half of them up north and they are always doing interesting stuff. We just played with Brenda and The Mallett Brothers at the Nateva Festival and they both just put out great records. Holy Boys, Dead Man's Clothes, Jacob and the House of Fire, Murcielago and a new band called Nice Places.
COSADES IS ONE OF THE MOST UNIQUE BANDS WE'VE SEEN IN MUSIC SCENE IN YEARS. WHEN YOU STARTED THE BAND, IT WAS DEMOS DONE BY YOU AND YOUR BROTHER THEN TURNED INTO A FOUR PIECE. IT WAS TOUGH?TO EXPLAIN THAT BAND, WHICH IS REFRESHING. EXPLAIN COSADES AND WHAT YOU HOPED TO DO WITH THEM.?Cosades started with my brother Chris on drums. It was just a way for me to get some of the songs I had recorded released. As it developed into a band, I think the game plan was to write catchy rock songs, or at least our idea of catchy rock songs, in unexpected ways. I think we were all just trying to challenge ourselves as players and songwriters but still have fun rocking out. We would just get together and try to feed off of each other's energy, because we were coming from such different musical places.
WHEN YOU PUT COSADES TO BED, YOU SEEMED PRETTY SERIOUS ABOUT STAYING AWAY FROM MUSIC. HOW DID THE FORMER MEMBERS OF ALIAS GRACE CONVINCE YOU TO COME OUT OF A SHORT RETIREMENT TO START GRAND HOTEL WITH THEM??They really just called and asked me to sing with them. Being serious about quitting and actually wanting to do it are two completely different things.
I KNOW YOU'RE A BIG FAN OF SEEING LIVE SHOWS. WHAT MAKES A GREAT PERFORMANCE TO YOU AND WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE LIVE ACTS TO WATCH??A great performance is when I can't look away from the stage, and if I do, it's because I'm rocking out or dancing. The National put on one of the best shows I've seen recently. The set The Flaming Lips put on at Nateva was the fastest two-hour show I had ever seen, very entertaining. Two bands that I will a - Portland Daily Sun

"Grand Statement - A different take on Hotel California cool"

There are times when I just can't get Grand Hotel's new self-titled LP loud enough. Not because it isn't recorded or mastered well — it is — but because I'm willing to risk my hearing just a bit in trying to let this album wrap itself around me. I want to live inside it. The spiky guitars, the rippling full-throated harmonies, the raw emotion and heartache combine to make this the kind of record you can listen to dozens of times — maybe in a row.

And while it's tempting to label Grand Hotel a Kyle Gervais vehicle, considering his songwriting and frontman work with the likes of Glory Trap and Cosades, this album evinces a band that is tightly cohesive, working in concert to get a whole that's more than its disparate parts. From the opening "Telephone," in fact, Gervais almost seems to be sublimating his role in the band, singing his first verse through muted distortion following an intro filled with excellently crisp drum sounds (possibly no surprise, as drummer Aaron LaChance produced the record, with help from Noah Cole). And when the chorus launches in, it is a chorus of voices that sing it, doubled over and amplifying one another. It's like the band are emerging from a cave's opening into the bright sunlight of well-crafted alt-rock songs that are filled with pop hooks that make them utterly listenable without seeming to be desirous of commercial appeal.

When Gervais sings "I do things that I shouldn't do/But I am missing my calling," it's enough to make you wonder if this band aren't missing their calling to be the next great radio-rock band. But who even wants to be that anymore?

Much better to just crank out great edgy songs like "Happy," which opens like a Phantom Buffalo tune, with a descending lick from lead guitarist Glen Capen heading into each line of the pre-chorus and then blows your doors off with a chorus that's hard not to yell along to: "All I want to do is make you happy/And all you want to do is hide away." There's even a bridge where Grand Hotel segue into an ironic, vocally muted, all-pop verse, almost mocking today's radio fare, before exploding into a final go-round with the chorus as Gervais has always done so well, as though there's a direct pipeline from his bursting heart to the 'phones wrapped around your head.

The way that Capen and Gervais play off each other is superb throughout the disc (guitarist Michael Reid has since been added to the line-up, relieving Gervais of some rhythm duties live), Gervais's rhythm work subtly lays foundation for Capen's reserved lead work, often grouped into three- and four-note bursts, and rarely moves into what might normally be considered a solo. In "Disillusion," they create a frantic, alt-country vibe as Gervais scatters all over the place and Capen pairs mirrored three-note riffs that set up the song's melodic foundation. Moving into a melancholy shoe-gazer, Gervais sings, "I remember when we were young we used to sing," and you keep expecting a song title or some other finish to the sentence, but that's it — "we used to sing" — leaving the 30-second jam that runs the song out to let you wonder what it is we do now.

Nor is bassist Jason Elvin to be overlooked. His work turns "Tastees" into a must-hear song, mixing the Brand New Heavies with Queen and getting a strutting, smoking, kick-ass bass line that's full of venomous cool. It's the perfect support to snide comments like "the only person that I'm certain that you love is yourself" and "you say you'll be there/You say you'll make time/You know I can't believe every single thing that I hear." Despite a rock foundation, Grand Hotel are often able like this to reference an R&B or urban feel. "California Cool" is a vampy, chanting kind of rock like Living Colour used to put out, with a bouncing guitar chime. "Moving," incorporating strings and a bounce in the open, reminds of Curtis
Mayfield, though the chorus is more straight rock/pop, guitars full of treble.

It's a penetrating, continuously interesting record they've released here, both intellectually satisfying and appealing on a very gut level. By the time they finish up "Dade" with the mesmerizing chant of "I wanna go back, I wanna go, I wanna go back there," you're right with them, wanting to go back to the beginning of the record and start all over again.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at

GRAND HOTEL | Released by Grand Hotel | with Bronze Radio Return + Marie Stella | at the Empire, in Portland | July 16 | - Portland Phoenix - Sam Pfeifle

"Ain't Life Grand"

Bands come and go. Especially local ones. The money's not great, personalities clash, young and single people tend to move around a lot. Kyle Gervais with Cosades had a band a lot of us in Portland will remember for a long time, but they broke up last year for the reasons that bands break up. Alias Grace were a band only a few of us even knew about. They formed, put out an album that showed great promise in the summer of 2008, and then broke up.
Now we have Grand Hotel, featuring Alias Grace guitarist Glen Capen, bassist Jason Elvin, and drummer Aaron Lachance, fronted by Gervais, putting out a debut EP this weekend. Is this a band you can dare to fall in love with? Maybe they're a one-night stand, but you'll forever think about what could have been; maybe they'll put a ring on your finger.
If you pass like two ships in the night, you'd be missing out. Gervais's talent continues to be unmistakable, with a rare ability to channel raw emotion and induce empathy, and Capen, Elvin, and Lachance combine to back him with a rippling, edgy, nerve-y kind of rock that's captured well by emerging producer Noah Cole (the Cambiata).
Their six-song self-titled debut can be bleak and morose, but there are bright, shining moments of melodic hope, soaring instrumental bridges and hook-filled choruses. "Visual" has a whomping '80s vamp in the open, like the Killers if they were from this cold and gritty place instead of Las Vegas. And just as you're digging on the verse, they shift into an a capella shout: "Why can't a love be only visual?" It's a thrilling transition that makes the 3:29-long song seem terribly short. This is a band that know they can get away with being a little crazed and disturbed, without being all that heavy, just working with sharp edges and brittle melodies that seem like they could crack at any time.
"Footsteps" is bass-heavy and adds a cello: "I've been wasting my time trying to hear your voice again." After an electric wash of an instrumental break, Gervais comes back really pained, "you feel so far away," and I actually care. The song plods and lurches, Lachance here, as elsewhere, both time-keeping and keeping the listener off-kilter.
"Ride the Light" is a classic drugs-and-girls rock tune (not surprising considering Cosades' A Lack of Heroine) with that indie-rock two-note cycling up and down the fretboard and a late-song devolution into drunken, fucked-up crescendos. "You know I like the chemicals," Gervais sings in a high tenor, with deeper backing vocals for body. "I got a habit for staring and I'm drooling girl"; "I feel your mind just breaking."
Sounds like a recipe for a tumultuous relationship.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at
GRAND HOTEL | Released by Grand Hotel | with Brenda + Lady Lamb the Beekeeper | at the Empire, in Portland | August 13 | with Pushing the Clock + Six String Crush | at MJ's Tavern, in Brunswick | August 15 | - Sam Pfeifle - Portland Phoenix


Grand Hotel self-titled EP (2009)
Grand Hotel self-titled LP (2010)
Grand Hotel "in color." (2011)

Grand Hotel "Heaven Tonight" (2021)



Father Time had a still. After what felt like cosmic years of stomaching the light lager of throwbacks to the sixties and seventies, he got a wild, grey hair up his ancient, omniscient ass and dusted the brass and glass that had been sitting in his basement for centuries—nay, kiloannums. Maybe megaannums. He spun the wheel of fates, knowing full well where that clicking pin would stop. He reached for the bottle labeled “1990-1999 Common Era,” popped the top, poured, and lit the flame. He blinked a decade to find the finest spirit he had ingested in ages; a spirit that hit him honeyed around the teeth and tongue and left a trail of fire from the back of his head to the pit of his stomach. Father Time smiled and grimaced, sip after sip after glorious sip, and said to himself, “Grand Hotel.”

As if that tale were true, Grand Hotel’s colorful consonance pounds on eardrums like the gods had spoken, leaving listeners charmed and charred, immobile and in motion, pillars of salt and drunken Lots. Better than the first sweet scalding from too-hot pie, candied choruses scorch the roofs of mouths and linger on lips like last night’s drunken poetry. One writer with incredible taste said, “Grand Hotel has ‘80s Mick Jagger swagger,” and you might be hard pressed for a reason to disagree.

The finest of the 90s with an 80s haircut and an ear for atmosphere, Grand Hotel represent both a shift in aesthetic for indie pop and an undeniable continuity with the faithful rock ‘n roll remnant. Future-oriented and root-conscious, there is nothing tentative here. No one will be traipsing and there is only one volume. With the grit and grace of rock and roll past and luscious layers of airy noise all their own, Grand Hotel move unapologetically forward, half-marching, half-stumbling, and at least half as plastered and cobblestoned as the streets of the Old Port themselves.

A powder keg of pop, sardonic and smart, this deadpan musical will all but force you to your feet. Stick ‘em up. And bring your fucking dancing shoes.