Houses And Hotels
New Music

HOUSES & HOTELS juxtapose a sensitive touch of their upbeat rock with tragic lyrics in new single “Deranged”

3 mins read

Originating with punk roots in Akron OH, HOUSES & HOTELS is a three piece combining melody and heart felt lyrics. Fusing elements of shoegaze with pop rock creates a nostalgic but fresh sound. Their first professional album “Never Knows Best” delves into the topics of unrequited love and mental health. Today, we’re pleased to give you their new single “Deranged”, the second track they’ve dropped from Never Knows Best this year.

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, HOUSES & HOTELS are fronted by vocalist and guitarist Brad Flickinger and backed by Amir Gholizadeh on bass and Tynan Evans on the drums.

Deranged” is a fun upbeat pop-rock tune. Following suit from their previous single “Driver,” it draws from Houses & Hotels’ punk roots and it’s filled with anthemic arrangements. Flickenger’s vocals showcase his full, strong tenor. His voice is supported by harmonies to fill out the mix as backing vocals hit classic repeated harmonies /I don’t wanna wait (I don’t wanna wanna wait)/.

The fact that the song is so poppy and so fun perfectly highlights how deeply depressing the lyrics are–which on reflection makes sense since the song is called “Deranged.”

Okay so it’s not the fun, upbeat kind of deranged, but the actual kind! The sad kind! Flickenger says, “‘Deranged’ is about being way too into your head and being unsure of yourself to make a connection with someone else.” As always that juxtaposition between upbeat instrumental and tragic lyrics makes for great songwriting: /I’ve got only you, in my dreams it’s only you for me/ Flickenger sings about a relationship that obviously didn’t work out. One can’t help but root for him though.

Houses & Hotels put a lot of thought into expressing these ideas sonically as well as lyrically. The desperately emotional climax of the song, the off-kilter guitar-heavy instrumental sections, and the layered vocals all serve to represent the sense of anxiety, of disconnectedness that the band is conveying. The guitar tones are straight out of the early ‘00s. Gholizadeh’s bass tone pops right out, winding a melody of its own around the chorus. Evan’s drums are precise when they need to be and heavy as hell when required. It all works. If “Deranged” is any indicator, Never Knows Best is going to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and rock.

With the juxtaposition of heavily distorted guitars and dreamy vocals, their debut full length “Never Knows Best” is a descent into raw emotion and alienation. Catchy choruses and hooks are brought alive by the production of Jim Wirt (Incubus, Something Corporate, Fiona Apple) from Superior Sound Studios in Cleveland, OH.

Houses And Hotels

Asked about their  list of favorite local bands, HOUSES & HOTELS mentioned Wake Magnolia, Niights, The Chewy Center, Soleo, Two Hands, Iron Bison, Abertooth Lincoln, and Sweaty Mammoth. “All of these bands are super vital to the local scene.” – comments the band. “They all fill different niches and they’re bands that care about being authentic. All of them have great live performances and that’s super important to being successful bands.”

We sat down with the band to ask them about the new single, “Never Knows Best” LP and their plans for the next months.

Choosing what tracks are going to be highlighted as a single can be difficult. What about this track made you want to single it out?

This song stands out due to it being kind of different with an off kilter rhythm in the verses but still having the ability to having a hooky chorus. The song is pretty high energy and encapsulates a lot of the core themes of the album.

You’ve said that “Deranged” is about being way too in your head. That must have been exacerbated by things like lockdowns. Did the pandemic contribute to that sense of disconnectedness?

Absolutely, over analyzing and trying to anticipate future was something I battled with during the making of Never Knows Best. That feeling of restlessness and anxiety is definitely something this song deals with.

You recorded this album with Jim Wirt who’s worked with artists such as Incubus, Something Corporate, Fiona Apple. What was the recording process like having someone with that kind of experience and background in the producer’s chair?

It totally was a great experience. Jim did a great job guiding us through the process of perfecting all the parts. He was super instrumental in layering sounds and different textures to really make every part hit as hard as they could.

How collaborative was the writing process on this song? Do you ever hit a wall of creative differences?

Everyone wrote their parts but it took a little more time to dial everything in to really work together. There weren’t really creative differences due to having a pretty solid vision for the song. It could’ve been really easy to overdo everything but we found a nice balance with technical ability and catchiness.

On a scale of 1-1000 how cathartic is it to play this song?

1000! I love playing this song although it’s a tough one to come back from if you mess up a part.

You’re booking a tour for this year! You must be psyched! What cities/venues are you hoping to play?

Totally psyched! We kind of want to do a Midwest tour of cities including Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, and some more. Obviously with the pandemic things are always going to be a little uncertain.

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