HemlockHotel Get Inside The Head Of An Angry Young Man

The Ottawa rockers share a poweful narrative of upheaval and confusion.


HemlockHotel capture the emotional upheaval of youth with their smooth-rocking single and video Angry Young Man — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

A warm blend of rich, full-bodied acoustic guitar, wailing electric guitar, and easy beats, the Ottawa outfit’s latest cut tells the first-person narrative about a confused young man in conflict with the people he loves, even though he knows it isn’t deserved.

The inspiration for the song comes from Greek philosophy, of all places — though it’s not all that surprising when you consider how the Greeks had a word to identify every nuance of emotion. “I remember taking this course on ancient Greek philosophy,” frontman Rod Leggett says, “and the teacher was going on about thumos” — an ancient term that translates to ‘spiritedness.’ “At its worst, it’s rage — like the rage of Achilles,” Leggett continues. “At its best, it becomes courage.” At one point, Leggett’s teacher told the class that young men are especially prone to thumos. “That stuck with me,” Leggett recalls. “He’s right, I mean, young men really are prone to being angry.”

Not long after HemlockHotel recorded the song, Leggett’s belief was reinforced when he listened (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads. Leggett heard the opening lyrics — ‘Years ago, I was an angry young man / And I’d pretend / That I was a billboard / Standing tall’ — and smiled. “I thought, OK, David Byrne gets it. I’m good with that,” he says. “You know, I really look up to that guy.”

Along with Leggett, HemlockHotel includes Mark Paré on lead guitar, Danny Lee Duke on drums and recent arrival TJ Jones on bass. Angry Young Man is the first release since their 2020 eponymous EP. It will be followed by a second single in April. Both songs were recorded with Steve Foley at Audio Valley Studios in Ottawa, and HemlockHotel plan to return to the studio in the spring to record another suite of songs.

Watch Angry Young Man above, listen to their EP below, and check out HemlockHotel at their website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.