Poetic Memory: Hotel St. George (List)

San Diego’s Hotel St. George recently premiered the excellent video for their song “Little Children’s Bones.” The video features a robot battling a wizard in Russian roulette, a dog with a cape, and various other serious things. It’s definitely in your best interest to check it out.

To enhance the viewing of their latest musical movie film, band members Matt Binder and Eric Visnyak provided us with their Poetic Memory. Watch the video above, and read their list of influences below.

Truthfully, I don’t consume much music the way that it’s supposed to be consumed. There are usually one, two, or three records that I’ll really listen to in any given year. Erik (our guitarist) is always talking to me about new bands, and I always marvel at the amount of music he somehow has time to dig into. The guy goes through a new album or two a week. I just don’t have that in me. However, in the past year, there have been a couple of albums that I really dug or that inspired me in some way. — Matt Binder

1. Child Ballads – Cheekbone Hollow EP: I’ve always been a tremendous admirer of the band The Walkmen, so one day I chased their story back to Jonathan Fire*Eater. However, I got sidetracked and never actually listened to them. I started reading their backstory and became fixated on Stewart Lupton, their lead singer. I was curious about what he was doing now, and I came to this record that he recorded in 2008. I listened to these songs nonstop for the whole of 2009. The music has a country-era Rolling Stones vibe to it, but it’s also got an ethereal, psychedelic quality to it. Anyways, beyond the music itself are Stuart’s lyrics, which serve as a window into his weird little world where he makes collages naked on his bedroom floor and sings nostalgically about his hanging out with his cousins in his youth. Each line is delivered with a Lou Reed-meets-Jeff Tweedy quality that I not only admire but also desperately wish were my own. (Matt Binder)

2. The Octagon – Arm Brain Heart and Liver: Last fall I went to my old friend Sarah’s wedding. She married this really rad dude named Sean Sullivan who I’ve gotten to know a bit over the past few years. Sean is an amazing musician who used to play in a band called Sam Champion, but now his focus is on a solo project called Sean Bones. At their wedding, there was a who’s who of Brooklyn musicians that I had read about in various blogs and magazines. All the guys that I met were really cool and nice, so I made a concerted effort to check out all of their bands. However, there was something about Arm Brain Heart and Liver that really stuck with me. It’s nothing terribly unique — it’s pretty basic, post-punk stuff with nods to Pavement, Guided By Voices, and Dinosaur Jr., but each song creates its own special place in the world that I really dig. I actually made a conscious effort to replicate some of their style on our latest record, but I think I failed pretty miserably at it. (Matt Binder)

3. The Soft Pack [formerly The Muslims]: A couple of years ago, I was playing in my first proper band and hanging out and going to a lot of shows around town. I had checked out all the local bands and some touring bands and I was feeling pretty decent about what I was doing. Then one night, I went to The Kensington Club and randomly stumbled upon The Muslims as they were playing their second show ever. The set was a bit of a mess because they didn’t really have a proper drummer, and their friend Emily was just filling in on bass, but after just a couple of songs I was feeling very psyched on them and pretty bummed on myself. In my mind, these guys were totally out of everybody else’s league. There was just something about the songs and Matt’s vocal delivery that set them apart from everything else that I was hearing. It’s now three years down the road and I’m still totally into these guys. They’re super badass! (Matt Binder)

4. Jens Lekman: This Swedish indie pop star plucks and sings amazing songs that would make even Morrissey blush. He has a way of writing lyrics that are truly creative and very well thought out. Falling in love with a record like Night Falls Over Kortedala is easy, as Jens has programmed beats that provide a slight hint of hip hop to his poetic songs. I remember hearing an interview with him on NPR, where he poked fun at the member in his band running the sampler — as if his band has become the next Linkin Park. It’s his dark humor that really draws me to his lyrics. Songs themed around uncomfortable dinners with a lesbian friend’s father where Jens has to play her boyfriend, or delivering lines like “Did you take tram number seven to heaven? Did you eat your banana from Seven Eleven?” turn Jens into a best friend pulling you aside to tell you his experiences, but with a melodic and well-orchestrated band setting the mood of the discussion. (Eric Visnyak)

5. The Horrors: With some production assistance from Portishead, the Horrors gave birth to Primary Colours last year. This record draws heavy influence from My Bloody Valentine, but presents it in an original fashion that makes the album ghoulish, dark, and very inspiring. I must have played this record hundreds of times, and it never loses it punch. Whether it was my third listen (on a Friday night with my confused out-of-town guests staring at me while I drunkenly danced to the closing track, “Sea with a Sea,” while swinging a glass of beer in one hand and playing air synthesizer with my other hand), or the latest listen (following a long 9-to-5er with the blaring guitars on “New Ice Age” suddenly breaking my zombie work coma), the Horrors provide ample enjoyable listens. Having the ability to shift so dramatically from Strange House to Primary Colours with such ease was really impressive, and it reminded me that taking chances to adopt dramatic changes is what makes composing music truly exciting. (Eric Visnyak)

One thought on “Poetic Memory: Hotel St. George (List)”

  1. you are far too kind. however, this shortcoming is offset by yr rarified taste.

    thanks for your kind words.

    yer comrade in arms till the credits roll,

    Stewart S. Lupton

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