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HTNT lead Sara Messinger

Hotline TNT swim through hazy layers of shoegaze in their latest single "Protocol"

27 July 2023, 15:30 | Written by Camryn Teder

The latest signees to Third Man Records, Hotline TNT’s "Protocol" is marked with a confident psych-rock swagger, exploring the tough realities of love relationships.

Love cannot be represented by a pendulum or a scale. It is the colour black which holds all of the other colours of the rainbow in the centre of its palm. This is perhaps what makes love one of the most terrifying of all emotions - it is just as gentle as it is brash. But despite love’s ability to be, at times, supremely difficult, it is also often worth those indomitable risks. Love has many pitfalls, but many also believe that it should be fought for.

Singer-songwriter Will Anderson, the frontman of the psychedelic rock group Hotline TNT, knows this reality of love all too well. It is exactly those tough topics that the artist hopes to tackle with his band’s latest single "Protocol”. “This song is about falling on a metaphorical sword - sometimes you just gotta hold an L even when in your heart of hearts you know it's not fair. Saving the relationship is worth taking the blame now and again,” Anderson said.

With driving guitars, the heavy shoegaze sound builds until it reaches a satisfying apex at the beginning of this project. Smooth production meets powerful stacked instrumentation throughout the track, and it lays the foundation for an inexplicably balanced rock noise. With heavy rhythmic layers and heavy blown-out distortion, the song is both freeing and rife with melancholy undertones, as if Anderson is singing it all with a sad smile. Altogether, “Protocol” comes to present itself as a dense psychedelic haze alive with distorted guitars that move forward and build upwards, soaring into the night.

Growing especially prominent in the DIY scene over the last few years, Hotline TNT is reminiscent of rock bands like prog-rock group Post Animal and other shoegaze acts like They Are Gutting A Body Of Water. Since the band boasts a big shoegaze fanbase in the indie underground, the comforts of the DIY scene have grown familiar to them.

For years the group has existed solely in spaces they have shared with nearly every other kind of eclectic sound. With that, the band has grown to love the shaky collage of art that is the DIY scene, a scene that fuses together every genre from emo to indie rock. The group toured everywhere from houses to hole-in-the-wall venues across different cities, and for them, this was the life. Now newly signed with Third Man Records, Anderson and the Hotline TNT crew admitted to being initially skeptical about the idea of signing with a label. For a long time they wondered if, after years of existing alongside other underground bands, did they have a space in the mainstream? And if they did, did they even want it? Eventually, just like with love, Anderson decided to give this new phase of life a chance.

With the help of Third Man Records, many more songs from Hotline TNT are surely imminent. For all those future projects, we will patiently wait. For now, we’ll be blasting “Protocol” everywhere we see fit, from distant unknown highways to familiar idyllic towns. And who knows, maybe we’ll even share the experience with someone we love.

"Protocol" is out now. Find Hotline TNT on Instagram.

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