This year has felt like a hotbed for uncertainty and constant sweeping bouts of anxiety. I swear that I’ve experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my entire life over the course of the last four months, and only now have decided to channel some of that unease back into something creative. There’s been a landslide of incredible art to come out of the woodwork in the last few weeks. Some of it had been waiting to see the light of day long before the world opened up and hellfire replaced our landscapes. And, some of it was born in response to all of that nervous energy. The latter is the case for Buffalo, NY’s Hotel Etiquette.

Hotel Etiquette will most likely mean something different to everyone that sees the name. To me, the name implies a polite sense of something impermanent. It’s a temporary stay, so you know that you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, completely plant your roots in that space…but you still want to feel at home. That’s the kind of energy that radiates from the band’s debut single, “Easy Money.” Born at the very start of quarantine, Hotel Etiquette was started as a means of expelling the pent up creative energy of Mike Hansen of Pentimento. Hansen reflects on the trials of previous runs through the music industry with clever lyrics and a melody that firmly plants its feet in your head from the very first go-round.

They start the track with the biting “what I really want to say here is something so honest it blows you away. what I really want to talk about would be along the lines of how the fear of death can make you feel alive, but spilling my guts just got me knee-deep in blood and debt and jealousy until it hit me” before exploding into a bitter and perfect chorus that reads, “I barely have to say anything. As long as it sounds like money, I’ll do anything I want.” The Brett Bellachino shot music video captures the same energy of the track, thanks in no small part to the treatment being written by Hansen himself.  The point of the visual is to drive home the idea that even though Hansen looks dead behind the eyes and miserable, there’s a team of people behind him to make sure he looks pretty, perfect, and ready for another round of public consumption. It’s a perfect encapsulation of what he’s trying to convey with this project.

Hotel Etiquette is a mostly solo project that sees Hansen at the helm of everything except for bass, which was handled by Christian Adams of Fake Space, I Can See Mountains, Cute Is What We Aim For, and probably 95% of every single great band that’s come from the Buffalo scene. Their debut EP, Sex Questions, was recorded in June with Paul Besch at Quiet Country Audio and was mixed/mastered by Nick Diener of The Swellers at Oneder Studios. The record will be available to stream everywhere on July 25th. The music video for “Easy Money” can be seen above. Enjoy.

And, in the words of Hotel Etiquette, “you are a human being and you can do anything.” Remember that.