Hot Garbage: Precious Dream [Album Review]

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Hot Garbage
Precious Dream
Mothland/EXAG’ Records [2024]


Album Overview: Precious Dream is the sophomore album from Toronto’s Hot Garbage, a band I first encountered when they opened for TFN favorites Frankie and the Witch Fingers in 2022. Their set was impressive, and I grabbed their debut, 2021’s Ride, on the strength of their performance. Precious Dream finds the band refining their sound, building on the strengths of the first album while sticking pretty close to its musical blueprint.

Musical Style: Hot Garbage’s sound is anything but—brooding psych rock with some shoegaze textures and garagey moments, it’s a hazy mix of loud guitars, atmospheric production, and a heavy rhythm section balanced by the vocals of bassist Juliana Carlevaris.

Evolution of Sound: The band stick pretty close to the sound of their debut here, but that’s not to say there aren’t differences. Some of Carlevaris’s fellow band members step up to the mic more frequently, the production has a thicker, bass-heavy sound (which better replicates how they sound live), and the songwriting feels more consistent overall.

Artists with Similar Fire: Hot Garbage fits firmly within the modern garage-psych camp alongside the aforementioned Frankie and the Witch Fingers, along with bands like Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and King Gizzard. That said, Hot Garbage’s krautrock (they cite Can as a major influence), post-punk, and shoegaze elements help them carve out their own niche.

Pivotal Tracks: “Look At My Phone” is an obvious stand out, with its bouncing rhythm and catchy hook. Tracks like opener “Snooze You Lose” and “Mystery” lean into the heavier vibes, while others like “Sarabandit,” closer “Erase My Mind,” and especially “Traveller / Caravan” are more spacious and deliberate, adding some new dimensions to their sound.

Lyrical Strength: The lyrics shy away from straightforward interpretations, and instead use different points of view to describe unsettling (but at times oddly relatable) situations. Heavy on opaque references and repetition, the words form a hypnotic collage of imagery that meshes well with the music.

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Simon Workman

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