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Ear to the Ground: Dot Hacker's “Elevator”

The new single from the side project of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer has more in common with moody glam icons like Suede than SoCal punk-funk.

With the Red Hot Chili Peppers being an exceptionally busy band, you have to wonder where guitarist Josh Klinghoffer finds the time to work on his Dot Hacker side project. The band is comprised of co-guitarist Clint Walsh and drummer Eric Gardner (both from Gnarls Barkley’s touring band) as well as Klinghoffer’s friend Jonathan Hischke on bass. Dot Hacker are about to release their sophomore long-player in the form of an epic album released in two parts—How’s Your Process? (Work) and How’s Your Process? (Play).

The lead single from the first chapter is inspired by the band’s up-and-down existence and is aptly entitled “Elevator.” Because of the Chili Peppers’ demanding schedule, Dot Hacker can only exist during Klinghoffer’s sporadic downtime. Subsequently, the band doesn’t really get to tour their albums in a timely fashion.

Though “Elevator” has trace vestiges of the quacky Strat tones Klinghoffer parlays in his work with the Chilis, the song sounds absolutely nothing like the music Anthony Kiedis and company have been creating for the past three decades. The first thing you notice is the smoldering, seductive groove of Gardner’s drumming. Then there’s Klinghoffer’s high, reedy vocal approach. At times his timbre recalls the androgynous inflections of a young Brett Anderson (from Suede), but his approach is softened by lush harmonies that help add a gauzy atmosphere to the tune’s romantic feel.