Savoy Motel's Playful Video for "Souvenir Shop Rock" Belies Its Dark Dark Subject Matter

For a song about a war criminal working in a souvenir shop this cut from the Nashville crew is surprisingly cheery.
August 3, 2016, 1:05pm

You can find the actual Savoy Motel off of Dickerson Pike in Nashville, TN. Right off the city’s sketchiest street, it’s quite possibly the scariest building of accommodations that you would never want to check into. This is the type of mental space where Jeffrey Novak and gang, Savoy Motel, create their sound and lyrics. According to Novak, "Souvenir Shop Rock,” the band's new single/music video, is about an "old war criminal with an extended trail of atrocities behind him…This unnamed protagonist is living a new life in a less than desirable ‘second’ existence, working at a cheesy gift shop."

In addition to troops grasping onto disembodied gold teeth, a coconut filled with blood is thrown against the floor, and an empty picture frame burns in a trash can. Directed by Dylan Carver, there’s nothing confrontational about any of these images on their own, but it’s unsettling enough to make you realize that Savoy Motel isn’t simple feel-good boogie rock. The band’s catatonic stares into the camera only highlight the bizarrely catchy guitar and tenor sax riffs that pulse through the somewhat off kilter visuals.

Novak and drummer Jessica McFarland aren’t new to the scene. Their former band, Cheap Time, was a staple of the garage rock sound coming out of the South in the last ten years. Savoy Motel is an evolutionary step for Novak: darker, slower, and funkier. This addictive song comes off the band's self-titled debut that will be released on What’s Your Rupture (the team behind Parquet Courts) on October 21.

Savoy Motel Tour Dates

Aug 10: Nashville, TN - The Exit/In

Sept 19: Calgary, AB - Marquee Beer Market & Stage *

Sept 20: Edmonton, AB - The Starlite Room*

Sept 22: Winnipeg, MB - The Pyramid Cabaret *

Sept 23: Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater *
Sept 24: Chicago, IL - Park West *
Sept 25: Columbus, OH - Skully's *
Sept 27: Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live *
Sept 28: Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *
Sept 29: Charleston, SC - Charleston Music Hall *
Sept 30: Orlando, FL - The Social *
Oct 1: Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room *
Oct 3: St. Petersburg, FL - The State Theatre *
Oct 4: Ponte Vedra, FL - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall *
Oct 6: Atlanta, GA - Terminal West *
Oct 7: Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge *
Oct 8: St. Louis, MO - Delmar Hall *
Oct 10: Birmingham, AL - Saturn *
Oct 11: New Orleans, LA - Tipitina's Uptown *
Oct 12: Dallas, TX - Granada Theater *
Oct 13: Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall *
Oct 14: Austin, TX - The Scoot Inn *
Oct 15: Austin, TX - The Scoot Inn *

* - w/ The Dandy Warhols

Savoy Hotel's debut album is out on October 21st via What's Your Rupture.