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Catch the Buzz: Hotel Lights

Former Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee commands the reins and gets melancholy on sophomore full-length, Firecracker People, due Aug. 19.

By: Larry Fitzmaurice // July 16, 2008

Who? As co-songwriter behind both of the now-defunct Ben Folds Five’s radio hits — the stark ballad “Brick” and the shambolic, misanthropic “Song for the Dumped” — former Five drummer Darren Jessee has already displayed his wonderfully schizophrenic talents. And with his new project, Hotel Lights, Jessee reveals a more aching, hushed side to his craft that owes as much to Sparklehorse (which, coincidentally, shares a member in guitarist Alan Weatherhead) as it does the lonely landscapes of Being There-era Wilco. And even in Jessee’s most introspective moments, the sparkling folk-pop arrangements of Hotel Lights conjure a breezy autumn whimsy.

Their Latest: Sophomore record Firecracker People, scheduled to drop Aug. 19 via Bar/None.

Recommended if You Like… Wilco, Sparklehorse, Nada Surf, Earlimart

Now Hear This: “Firecracker People” (DOWNLOAD MP3)