Though they tend to be smothered by an indulgent but undeniably evocative bassline, the guitar parts are decidedly at the source of the melodic heat in “Tadpoles,” the new single from Hot Shot Kixxx. The music video for “Tadpoles” essentially feels like an acid trip at an El Paso block party, but even at its most abstract, it never distracts us from the instrumental excitement here. Hot Shot Kixxx are a band with a very defined sound, and whether you come for their jazzy compositional wit, psychedelic grandeur or hard rock machismo, I think you’ll stay tuned for their relentless passion.
Check out the band: https://www.hotshotkixxx.com/
Aside from the vocals, which volley between velvety and slightly scratchy, the bass is definitely the most communicative element in this master mix. It swings harder than the drums ever do, and although the guitar is the foundation of the main melody here, it’s not producing the most texture in the music. Low-end tonality is often underexploited in contemporary indie rock, but this can’t be said of the new single from Hot Shot Kixxx. “Tadpoles” is well-rounded and full-throttle heavy rock with an angled arrangement of beats designed to inspire listeners on levels others would just as soon ignore.
The percussion attempts to suffocate the melodic components at the front of the mix on a few occasions, but the chaos this creates eventually yields even more chills than the verses do. Contrast is a key ingredient in Hot Shot Kixxx’s recipe for success, and if you listen to their 2020 LP Devils at It Again, you’ll find a lot more gems similar in style to what we hear in “Tadpoles.” For this being a cut from their rookie album, they certainly don’t sound like strangers to the recording studio at any point in their performance.
As surreal and aesthetically strange as the music video for “Tadpoles” is, it’s definitely on par with the eccentric nature of the material it was made to support. There’s a fluidity to this content that, if properly employed in a stage environment, could lead to a swelling cult following for the group a lot sooner than later. They’ve got a lot in common with some of the Palm Desert legends that spurred on the stoner metal sound back in the 1990’s, only their poetic attack is centered far less on druggy enigmas and more on raw emotion. I’m eager to hear what they come up with in the future, and I can’t imagine I’m the only critic saying so right now.
Eclectic rock fans would be wise to regard Hot Shot Kixxx’s “Tadpoles” as a must-listen single and music video this May. A vibrant, supremely experimental mixture of postmodernity and pop/rock aggression, I think it’s among the smarter indie tunes to debut out of the underground this spring. Hot Shot Kixxx have a long way to go before they can claim dominance over the exploding El Paso music scene, but as of now, they’re one of my top bands to watch in 2020 without question.
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