Sunday, Oct. 24; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): Crossing elements of D.C. hardcore, dusky Midwestern emo and New York-style prog-core, Gainesville, Fla.'s Hot Water Music have been making bristling, isolationist punk rock since 1994. But over the course of nine full-length recordings and a handful of EPs and compilation appearances, they never seem to be the same band twice. Which has turned out to be a very good thing for band and fans alike.
But that's why it's also difficult to say whether HWM's latest, The New Next What (Epitaph) is their “best to date” or just another stunning chapter in what's turned into much larger, more important story than the standard “four school buddies disenchanted with their social lives pick up instruments, make hasty-sounding records, tour and descend into alcoholism and drug abuse” tale everyone else seems to stick to. Hot Water Music's best record is most likely the one they haven't made yet. But until they do, The New What Next holds up better than fine.