Take all the tracks from every new wavey indie band that are clogging up your hard drive. Drag them to your recycle bin. And delete. HILOTRONS and their sweat-infused, Polaris long-list-nominated, 3rd album "Happymatic" take the best from Talking Heads, Devo and XTC and make it (not fake it) work!


Featuring some of the hardest working musicians in Ottawa, HILOTRONS offer a sound that is hard to pinpoint. And it's pointless to try anyway.

Frantic melodies fuelled by driving keys/synths, steady-tight drums, trebly/tremlo'd guitars and rump-roasting bottom ends are the HILOTRONS' specialty. Taking the "good parts" from funk/soul, new wave, Asian pop and rock traditions, the HILOTRONS create a fresh, striking sound that is sweaty as sin.

Their two early albums (2003's "HILOTRONS" and 2006's "Bella Simone") earned them a very devoted following across the country and beyond, despite limited touring and distribution. In April 2008, the band unleashed "Happymatic," a step up both in production and songwriting, and no less sweaty.

"Happymatic" has made a marked impact in Canada since its release. It was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize long list, and the band has had the opportunity to showcase at NXNE and plan to tour Canada in the fall, with appearances at Pop Montreal and the Halifax Pop Explosion. "Happymatic" will see a US release in February 2009.

THE PRESS have said:

"A HILOTRONS concert is pretty much a quintessential Ottawa event — for the Ottawa that lies beneath the bureaucratic capital exterior, that is. As at all their shows, representatives from the entire music community and a few hundred fans showed up ready for a slightly-off-kilter dance party at Barrymore's Music Hall on Saturday, which was delivered with prompt efficiency. As for why the rest of the country hasn't quite caught on to the odd charms of HILOTRONS' songs, that remains a mystery.

HILOTRONS launched into several songs from their new Happymatic CD, after a spirited opening set of pumped-up pop from Spiral Beach.

And it only took one song for any newcomers to realize just how much frontman Mike Dubue is the HILOTRONS' music. That's not to discount the virtues of guitarist Paul Hogan, keyboards/synth man Mike Schultz, bassist Damian Sawka and drummer Phil Shaw Bova — all of them are fine musicians whose impeccable playing of the Hilos' quick-change melodic twists bring the music alive and make it look dead easy.

Left leg stomping independently from his body, head jerking forward in bird-like fashion, face contorting to deliver the staccato vocals — Dubue acted out the songs, especially the vowel-heavy "Samurai Robot," where each syllable became its own percussive vocal tic. The HILOTRONS' melodies are undeniably infectious, but Dubue imbues them with a strangeness that keeps the immediate comparisons at bay. No wave, new wave, synth and post-pop are all influences. But ricocheting off the high ceilings of Barrymore's, it all somehow came out like a foreign but welcoming sound. HILOTRONS remain the best live act in Ottawa, and perhaps beyond."- Chartattack.com

"Where my predecessors had the Velvet Underground and Alex Chilton, in the era of the long tail I have HILOTRONS, and I would wipe every copy of every record on CMG’s top 50 albums of 2007 off the face of the earth to save one copy of Happymatic."- Cokemachineglow.com

"Ottawa pop rock geniuses Hilotrons hone a timeless sound on the excellent Happymatic, and the multi-layered result is more rewarding with each listen. Even as other bands strive for the quirky tightness of Devo, Talking Heads and the Police, Hilotrons master the artful, immediate energy required to achieve something both sophisticated and infectiously danceable."- Exclaim!

"That said, I was front and centre for the Hilotrons, who were celebrating the release of Happymatic, their latest full-length. All told the Ottawa band delivered an admirable and upbeat set that garnered high praise from those in attendance (Rolf from the Acorn looked particularly captivated), but it’s too bad more people weren’t dancing, as the tunes on display were a perfect fit for some booty shakin’. Personally, I was most impressed by lead-singer Mike Dubue’s pipes, as it’s obvious that he’s a very capable vocalist. Of course, the whole evening was just an excuse for me to hear “Lovesuit” live (I just can’t get enough of that damn song)."- Wolves, Hawks & Kites

"The HILOTRONS' jerky syncopated beats will get under your skin..." - Chartattack.com

"Supremely catchy!" - Ottawa Citizen

"Quirky, unabashedly poppy and irreverent like a motherf#*$er!" - HOUR

"Dubue and his cohorts play high-energy dance-pop-rock with a dash of outer space in the lyrics and stuttering, percussive vocals that recall The Cars’ Ric Ocasek." - Toronto Sun

"(They) know exactly how to bring New Wave together with indie rock without sounding contrived." - Mocking Music

"The band's sound is inspired by the jittery desperation of the early 80's new wave exemplified by performers like Thomas Dolby, XTC and the Vapors." - Ottawa Sun


HILOTRONS (indie, 2003)
Bella Simone (indie, 2006)
Happymatic (Kelp, 2008)

Set List

Danger Town
Streets of Science
Deep River
Regular Me
Screaming Pink Arosa
Caught on Video
Look, Wow
Science Fiction Music
Emergency Street
Lost in Yichang

see a live clip: