Hotless Drive

EP1

Hotless Drive
EP1
self-released

Last summer, Portland singer/songwriter Reilly Musgrave quietly released his debut EP as Hotless Drive. The young man may not be the most energetic self-promoter, but the five songs on EP1 are anything but timid. “Sick of all the running around they make you do / If you wanna be cool,” go the opening lines, half-screamed over a lo-fi “Hey Ya” acoustic bounce. The mono, DIY aesthetic is consistent throughout. And since he’s far from the first artist to play folk songs with punk energy, there’s no real innovation going on to capture our attention — which makes his raw talent all the more apparent. On the best song here, “Stay Busy,” a stripped-to-the-studs acoustic guitar and drum arrangement somehow builds into a maelstrom of compelling passive-aggression. “I promise not to cry / Wait until you get bored,” Musgrave sings, his delivery bitter and hoarse, yet never out of tune. This willingness to strain his voice to the limit makes EP1 crackle with 3 a.m. shoestring-budget energy. It makes these songs about feeling ignored and going on six-week benders feel genuine. Dude, if you keep making music like this, we’ll all be paying attention.