From the moment Joe Padilla sent them low-quality cellphone footage of him singing an LCD Soundsystem song in a bar, high school friends and previous bandmates Ryan Lammers (guitar/production), Craig Schwartz Jr (keyboards), Dean Sinclair (drums), and Cale Singleton (bass), knew they were onto something special. Beginning when Lammers and Sinclair first met as long-haired pre-teens competing in a local talent contest, the pieces of August Hotel slowly fell into place as its members moved through adolescence. Padilla’s grainy audition videos were the final bit of the puzzle and, just over a month later, August Hotel was in the studio working on what would become their new EP, Charms.
Reflective yet euphoric—with pulsating synthesizers, shimmering guitars, and Padilla’s rich baritone weaving through it all—the EP’s first single, “12AM,” depicts August Hotel’s unique take on the indie pop genre. This track showcases their keen ability to effortlessly emulate both the pulsing dance floor and the quiet, lonely night. Shortly after its release, “12AM” received airplay on Chicago’s 101WKQX and was declared “an indie pop giant,” as well as "one of the coolest things that we’ve ever seen or heard" by popular London blog Killing Moon, which later featured the song on their compilation New Moons, Vol. VII.
Charms both upholds and diversifies beyond the feel established on “12AM,” as evidenced by the driving groove of its follow-up and EP opener “Michigan Again.” Self-produced and meticulously crafted, Charms draws on the influences and experiences of all five members to serve as a testament to August Hotel’s deep passion for the music they create and perform. Ultimately, it is a story of youth and what it means to be faced with the uncertainties of love and life. As much as the record forces you to pause in contemplation for a moment, there exists an inherent urgency to move—and move fast.
Live, August Hotel has shared stages with the likes of Urban Cone, Nightly, Vesperteen, The Kickback, and Knox Hamilton, as well as headlined clubs around Chicago and the Midwest.
This band and this EP have been a long time coming, but make no mistake that this is only just the beginning for this dynamic group. In the words of Vox Magazine, August Hotel is “a band on the cusp of a breakthrough journey.”