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Hot Water Music Preps ‘Next’

Rock outfit Hot Water Music will release its third Epitaph album, “The New What Next,” on Sept. 21. The disc was produced by Brian McTernan (Thrice, Cave In), who also manned the boards for HWM’s 2002 album “Caution,” at his Washington, D.C., studio Salad Days. “We purposely tried to make each song stand on its own,” bassist Jason Black said. “We kind of got stuck in a mid-tempo rock rut on ‘Caution.’ I mean, we’re all proud of that record — it’s by no means an embarrassment, but we were looking for different tempos and feels. We even experimented with different tunings, which in the past — if it had been brought to the table — we would have thought, ‘That’s never going to work.'” The 12-track “The New What Next” promises stylistic diversity. Tracks like “Keep It Together” and “End of the Line” are in the roaring yet-melodic vein Hot Water Music fans have come to love, while “Ebb and Flow” and “All Hands Down” have rhythmic leanings. “We did a lot more re-writing in the studio,” Black explains. “There was no pre-production in Florida. So we’d be like, ‘Okay, that chorus doesn’t stand up to the rest of that song, so we have to write an entirely different chorus or lose the song.’ It might seem like we put a lot more pressure on ourselves to come up with great stuff on the spot, but it all came together easily.” The album news comes just a week after guitarist Chuck Ragan severely injured his hand and underwent reconstructive surgery, forcing the band to prematurely drop off a series of dates on the Dashboard Confessional-fronted Honda Civic Tour. According to Black, “[Ragan] just sort of fell and put his hand through some glass. It’s a bad break. We have the summer off so he should be fully rehabilitated by the time we head out on tour.” “It’s definitely got the potential to be a really serious issue, but its really good timing for such a sucky thing,” he continues. “In fact, when it happened we were only an hour from home, and we had played five of the seven nights we had planned. So we were like, screw it. We don’t have our guitar player, it’s only 20 minutes a night. See ya.” Hot Water Music’s next round of live dates is slated to coincide with the new album’s release. They will kick off Sept. 21 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and also visit Sunshine State destinations Orlando (Sept. 22), St. Petersburg (Sept. 23) and Gainesville (Sept. 25).