Pop quiz, everybody: How many emo kids does it take to screw in a light bulb? The correct answer is five -- one to do it, one to form a band because of it, one to write a poem about his loss, one to cry to his girlfriend about it, and one to start a 'zine about it.
Connecticut's Hot Rod Circuit has four members, and none has a girlfriend. (They're all married.) No word on whether any of them plans to raid the nearest Xerox machine, take up custodial jobs, or write broken-hearted haikus. But no matter what they do, the quartet makes no apologies for the melodic, uptempo pop/punk that's earned it a growing fan base and landed opening slots for emo torchbearers like Jimmy Eat World and the Get Up Kids. Hot Rod formed in Alabama, of all places, but the band soon grew disheartened with the heart of Dixie and moved to Connecticut (except for vocalist Andy Jackson, who still lives in Sweet Home but keeps up with his northeast crew). After several releases on the small N.Y.C. label Triple Crown, Hot Rod signed to Vagrant, and its most recent album, Reality's Coming Through, marks another chance for the band to reach the top -- or at least the nearest chandelier.