Hotline TNT

Hotline TNT

Will Anderson believes in true love—as both concept and catalyst, aspiration and inspiration. During his 34 years, the Hotline TNT founder and architect has found such love perhaps half-a-dozen times. Each instance has prompted some enormous swing of commitment, like a cross-country move or simply being honest about his budding attraction. It is a hopeful and vulnerable way to exist, a way to ensure maximum bruising during the fall of the breakup. And so far for Anderson, that is how it has always ended, whether the air has slowly seeped out of some once-full balloon or whether it has simply popped, those expanded feelings expelled in an instant.

This tension is the brain, blood, and beating heart of Cartwheel, Hotline TNT’s second LP and an endlessly romantic testament to reaching for something that slips forever out of grasp. The byproduct of Anderson’s decades-long quest to pin down the surging sound long in his head, Hotline TNT has come to notice in the last four years through loose association with a feverish surge of shoegaze revivalism. And Hotline TNT indeed trucks in the touchstones you might expect: skywriting guitars that bathe in fluorescent hazes of distortion, blown-out drums that pound as though they’re trying to escape a concrete box, and honeyed vocals that try to rise above the chaotic mess in true-to-life mimesis.

But borne of real hurt and continued hope, lit by the flickering belief that just maybe things will sort themselves out, Cartwheel transcends those scene associations to become something greater—a classic encapsulation of youthful ardor, fading into adulthood’s grim acceptance. It is a beautiful, radical, and engrossing record about trying to find what most of us have not yet attained: fulfillment.

Through his 20s, Anderson was a peripatetic idealist. He shuffled repeatedly among North Carolina and New York, Vancouver and Seattle in pursuit of musical enclaves with cheap rent or relationships that felt like the one. Anderson first gained notice nearly a decade ago with the scuzzy noise-pop delights of Weed. Hotline TNT’s 2021 debut on Smoking Room, Nineteen in Love, betrayed his devotion to even stronger hooks and distortion, dripping like sour honey. Hotline TNT toured relentlessly, enduring seemingly endless lineup shifts to become a linchpin of a several interconnecting DIY scenes. Their audience steadily ballooned, with Nineteen in Love becoming a coveted LP. It remains an inspiring document of and to blown-out beauty.

Still, hard questions remained. Late in his 20s, Anderson moved to Minneapolis, an hour away from the small Wisconsin town where he was born. After 30 years together, his parents had unexpectedly split, upending his understanding of himself and his supposedly stable family. If the folks who raised him couldn’t stay happy and together, what was he working for as both a partner looking for permanence and a musician looking for a full-time band? Neither was happening, anyway. He went home in part to investigate, to reckon.

Now back in New York, Anderson plays and sings nearly every note on Cartwheel himself. He recorded the bulk of these songs during two very different sessions—one with prolific art-pop-punk auteur Ian Teeple, who pushed him to keep working on every idea, and one with bicoastal engineer Aron Kobayashi Rich, who encouraged him to get ideas down and keep moving forward. But Cartwheel itself is seamless, notions of bedroom studio largesse and punk simplicity perfectly coiled inside Anderson’s catastrophic visions of true love. The straightforward, stomp-along clatter of “Out of Town” slides beautifully into the curdled and crackling drift of “Maxine.” The tandem shares the same infatuation and resulting isolation, as though Anderson were watching a beautiful ship sail away as he holds the ticket he worked hard to afford.

Cartwheel, though, is decidedly not the record of some sad sack, clear from the way the notes ring and chime or how Anderson leans into a melody as though it were a wish. There is a youthful longing and wishfulness here, a sense that the corner could be turned at any time. Listen to those sparkling guitars and scenes of childhood mirth during the masterful closer “Stump,” and you’ll spot the smile lurking beneath the frown. All these emotions hang together in Cartwheel like sets of interwoven ellipses.



Management: Rusty Sutton // Libby Webster
Booking (US): Andrew Ellis // Gabe Sunshine 
Booking(EU/UK): Paul McGivern
Label: Camille Augarde
Publicity (US): Jacob Daneman // Jaycee Rockhold
Publicity (UK): James Parrish

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