Motel Motel
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Motel Motel

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Band Rock Americana

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[‘Coffee’ is] The best Ryan Adams or Cold War Kids song of 2008, complete with raspy Americana mise-en scène and piano-tinkling cocaine reference. - Spin


"If I had a reputation to gamble, I'd put it all on Motel Motel. I've said it all before, but this is a gifted band which equals the sum of all its parts. Each of the 5 members is a technically efficient musician that brings in different tastes and ideas. That in itself is the foundation for a good band with a unique sound." - BrooklynVegan


Brooklyn-based indie band Motel Motel released their debut album 'New Denver', back in July 2008. Things have been a bit quiet since the release but we predict that big things are going to come from this band.

Their roots are indie/folk rock and they certainly have a distinctive sound that has to be heard. The single 'Coffee', realised on their EP, is a mix of rattling, old-time country and foot-tapping good riffs. Look out for these come 2009. - Female First


Some time last week I received two tracks from a band called Motel Motel - so compelling were these two songs that Motel Motel have managed to achieve the hallowed 'FEATURED ARTIST' status on The Mix Tape Podcast. 'FA' status is soley reserved for those bands that exhibit true innovation and achieve some kind of original sound and MM are the perfect example of this.

For a band that formed less than a year ago (Sep '07), MM's sound is sophisticated and self-assured. The songs on their myspace show that they are confident enough to allow for quietness and subtlety in their music - the sweeping orchestral violins of 'Conspiracy' are a prime example of this.

Stand-out track 'Coffee' opens with the soft patter of drums accompanied with the train-like thrash of guitar that reappears throughout the song and provides real momentum and movement. The opening line 'Wait 'til I get home before you walk out my life' sets the sombre tone for a song that goes on to display true song-writing talent - reaching a pinnacle with 'I don't need your help, I can feel helpless on my own'. Not only is this line beautifully written, MM show real musical instinct to strip back the instrumental at this point and let the line breath on its own - it's elements like these that make you have faith in what the Brooklyn-based band are doing.

As for musical parallels - well it's really up to you to draw your own, but lead guitarist and keyboardist Mickey Theis, likes to refer to Duke Ellington's adage that there is no such thing as genre, only good and bad music. While in today's music industry that can seem a harsh distinction to make, Motel Motel most definitely fall on the side of good. - mixtapepodcast.blogspot.com


We've had some really great unsigned bands on HearYa in the past. Some of my favorites have been The Record Low, Pale Young Gentlemen, Gringo Star, Cracklin Moth, and yesterday Woody featured a great album by Bean Pickers Union. I think I have a new band to add to the list and their name is Motel Motel.
Motel Motel hails from New York City and are polishing up their debut album entitled New Denver. They describe their sound as "shwag rock" which is a fitting description I suppose. Wait. I know what you're thinking, but this five-piece is not a jam band and their songs aren't all about smoking weed. They also sing about cocaine and coffee.
I haven't had a chance to listen to the entire album, but "Pedal Steel" is a standout track from the upcoming New Denver and "Coffee" is a great tune from their Old York EP, available now on iTunes for under $5.00. As for the sound, they play a brand of garage-Americana that draws on influences ranging from Sonic Youth to Willie Nelson. - Hear Ya Indie Blog


MOTEL MOTEL
Motel Motel first caught our attention with the song 'Coffee', a five-minute retelling of a tale complicated by wine, cocaine and the eponymous stimulant. At its inception, frontman Eric Engel sounds wounded and defeated, but as the string section and chugging guitars gradually build up steam, his voice gives way to resounding urgency and vigor. We've got high hopes for their brand of rattling, old-timey country on their soon-to-be released full-length, New Denver. - L Magazine


The debut record New Denver clocks in at an ambitious 72 minutes, and every single one of them is necessary listening. This is NYC´s best debut record of 2008. - NY PRESS


"Motel Motel is not a statement band. It might be playing at a benefit concert—thrown by the Press’ own Jonny Leather— this weekend for the Jiamini Scholarship Fund (which provides educational scholarships to Tanzanian children), but the quintet isn’t out to change the face of music or throw an agenda at you. Though it will occasionally talk politics. At a show last Thursday, guitarist Mickey Theis said the band had the pending presidential debate in mind and had worked out a dialogue with John McCain, who still had yet to confirm his appearance. “We were joking around and saying, ‘We won’t play until John McCain debates!’ And then John McCain comes back and says, ‘I won’t debate until Motel Motel plays!’” Luckily, the band was willing to concede first.

Motel Motel formed as a trio in 2006 with Theis, vocalist Eric Engel and bassist Timothy Sullivan. Theis explains that the trio played few live shows and was meant more as a “songwriting project” among the three New School students. Engel majored in psychology, while Theis, 21, and the band’s youngest member, is still in school and studies fiction writing. Drummer Jeremy Duvall came into the picture as a friend of Sullivan’s, the two having met in Boston during a stint at the Berklee College of Music. All of the band’s members have some sort of music-study background, except for Engel, whom Theis jokes only wanted to form a serious band because he “just didn’t want to go to grad school.” The group’s most recent addition, Erik Gundel on pedal steel, banjo and piano, joined within the last couple of months.

The band resides predominantly in Brooklyn and Queens, but during a tour in the summer of 2007, the guys planted some roots in Colorado, Theis’ home state. Motel Motel finished up some tour dates, rented out the basement of an apartment in Boulder and spent the rest of the summer writing and recording songs in spaces that included a spacious music hall at the University of Denver. “The security guards asked us to leave a couple times,” Theis says. “We felt dangerous.” The songwriting process at that time involved Engel coming to the table with an idea and the rest of the group toying with it, but now Theis says every member offers up original ideas and opinions. “It’s an annoyingly democratic band.”

Motel Motel released an EP titled Old York in June 2007 and came out with a debut LP, New Denver, this past summer after a year’s worth of work. The songs reveal a band that respects the elements of alt-country—plenty of twang, chugging guitars, a habit of setting scenes with the lyrics and a vocalist who tips his hat to Ryan Adams—without bowing to the genre altogether. “We all have an appreciation for roots music of America,” Theis says, explaining that it’s something every member of the band can agree on, unlike the story of how the group got its name. Theis tells of several stories behind the name Motel Motel; but the most plausible one involves a friend who worked as a night janitor at a hotel in Denver. The friend, Theis says, was complaining about his job and pondered why the fancy hotel he cleaned was not just called something like “Hotel Hotel.” The group considered this name for a while but eventually settled on Motel Motel since another band already had snagged the other name. “But [Motel Motel] works better for us anyway,” Theis says. “The name is a little sleazier.” -Christine Werthman - NY PRESS


Brooklyn's Motel Motel isn't quite what you'd expect from a resident New York band. Where most bands here come up with some sort of shtick or a sound that they believe to be new, Motel Motel instead toils in the realm of indie rock, perfecting their craft, and using superb songwriting to drill the point home. They are not flashy or showboats and they certainly don't use shtick, they just allow their music to make the point that they are here to rock.

Maybe rock isn't the most appropriate word. Their new album, New Denver, features an array of sound ranging from the obvious indie rock to realms of folk and Americana that can be found in any of a number of bands. In truth Motel Motel are definitely similar to a host of other well known indie acts. Cold War Kids, Two Gallants, and their New York brethren the White Rabbits immediately spring to mind, but of course for as many similarities as there are there are also a ton of differences. There's plenty of twang to go 'round on this album but it's the serious guitar riffs that have me truly hooked on this album. They are powerful and strong throughout the album, and the have to be when the album features only two songs under 4-minutes long!

This is an album that caught me by surprise and one that will probably still be catching my attention months from now. It isn't a new sound or anything flashy, it's just pure indie rock at it's finest and I'm loving every minute of it! - Pop tarts Suck Toasted


This Brooklyn-based Americana pop band is that right taste of something new in your ears. With beautiful hints of piano and percussion behind killer guitar chords and emotional overtones, they are smoky hot. Their Tasty Track "Coffee" plays with so many sounds that it may just feel like you had a double mocha Frappaccino (and no, you won't feel like ralphing Cher.) - New York Post blog


Discography

Old York EP - June 1st, 2007
New Denver LP - July 15th, 2008
New Denver (Re-Release on The Rebel Group) - June 9, 2009

Photos

Bio

The five grievous angels who comprise Motel Motel steal the candlelight, bali hai wine, shotguns and steam trains from forlorn honky-tonkers like Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt and escape without being smothered by the alt-country label. Unlike their more direly nostalgic peers, New York-based Motel Motel imbue the gothic storytelling of their forebears with a nubile energy that suggests they're living just as hard but having more fun. Eric Engel's ecstatic tremolo invites semi-relevant comparisons to The Cave Singers and Timo Sullivan's raucous stage presence places them solidly in the aesthetic pantheon of contemporaries like Dr. Dog and Drug Rug. Literate, classic, occasionally baroque; Motel Motel isn't riding a wave or clinging stalwartly to a movement so much as they're hunkering down for a long run at rock relevance.