U.K. trio HotWax is on an unstoppable climb to take up the mantle of riotous punk heroes who’ve come before them. They will make their U.S. debut when they jump the Atlantic to open for Royal Blood at The Wiltern on November 9th, followed by a headlining show at Zebulon on November 28th. Armed with grueling guitars and a knack for dually volatile-melodic anthems, they’ve already rightfully won over everyone from Elton John and Beck to Karen O and Wolf Alice.
The dynamo of addictively turbulent energy that oozes from HotWax originates in the trifecta that is Tallulah Sim-Savage (vocals and guitar), Lola Sam (bass), and Alfie Sayers (drums). Together, they create momentous rock by melding post-punk and grunge into irresistible expulsions of brutal sound and cathartic fury.
Sim-Savage and Sam initially met in secondary school — becoming childhood friends and eventually forming their first band Kiffs in 2017. Taking inspiration from bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Starcrawler they reformed as HotWax and started releasing a string of clamorous singles in 2020 that began with “Stay Cool” and “Pat the Killer Cat.”
By 2021 Sayers, who attended the same music college as Sim-Savage and Sam, had joined the band as their permanent drummer. Further offerings like “When We’re Dead,” with its rabid exchanges of gritty guitars and roaring percussion, or the off-kilter and scathing rambler “Barbie (Not Yours)” only further emblazoned the trio has harbingers of a new generation of punk resurrectors.
The arrival of their debut EP A Thousand Times earlier this year has only deepened that status. It’s also confirmed that HotWax refuses to ever find themselves pigeonholed by any one label. Sure, tracks like “Treasure” and “Rip It Out” bear all the hallmarks of their frenzied and blistering rock.
But everything in between reveals an unwavering zeal for creating music that is as unbridled as it is consistently astonishing. Like that face-melting guitar solo that cuts through “Mother” before the whole song is engulfed in volcanic sonics or the haunting harmonies that swell alongside waves of grumbling riffs of its title track “A Thousand Times.”
Speaking of staggering surprises — HotWax took no breather and proceeded to rage full steam ahead toward their sophomore EP Invite me, kindly. Here, they focus the brunt of their colossal energy toward carving out their own niche. On “High Tea,” Sayers unleashes a ferocious pummeling of drums as Sim-Savage cries along to the groans of Sam’s rubbery bass.
Their storm-driving sound reaches a fever pitch on songs like “Phone Machine” and “Drop,” which is tempered and lends a cacophonous punchiness to “E Flat.” When you reach the drawling wailer “She Don’t Like It,” you find yourself in unfamiliar territory as HotWax easily switches their sound between collapsing crashes of rock and swaying harmonies.
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to Invite me, kindly the new EP from HotWax.