Jesse Malin immortalized London’s Columbia Hotel on his 2004 album The Heat, writing about the loneliness and liberation of the transient existence in the song “Hotel Columbia.” It’s a theme he explores further and brings to colorful life in the new video for “Room 13,” the lead single off his upcoming album Sunset Kids.
Directed by Dito Montiel, the video finds Malin checking in to the Pink Hotel in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, where he ruminates, as the lyrics go, on the shadows on his wall and the voices in the hall. Some of those voices no doubt belong to the clip’s eccentric cast of characters, including a runaway, a dominatrix, and a gun dealer played by Malin’s ex- D Generation bandmate Howie Pyro. (The gun deal scene is an homage to 1976’s Taxi Driver.) All of them are seemingly tortured souls, looking for meaning, or at least solace, in the confines of a seedy motel room.
Lucinda Williams lends background vocals to “Room 13” and produced the Sunset Kids album. Malin recently told Rolling Stone it was one of the first songs he wrote for the record. “I remember bringing my notebook and guitar over to Lucinda’s place and sitting around her kitchen, working up the lyrics, not knowing what where it would go. Like the first drop of a good rollercoaster,” he said. “Music can be a great way to hide the pain and loneliness, but sometimes you’ve gotta deal with it head on. ‘Room 13’ is that place far away from the distractions, the noise and the telephone zombies. It’s a place where you’re forced to reflect on what really matters most.”
Due August 30th, Sunset Kids is Malin’s first full-length since 2015’s Outsiders. He’ll perform a special release show September 14th at Webster Hall in New York.