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Essentially the solo vehicle for former Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee, the mellow indie pop group Hotel Lights formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2000 after Ben Folds Five disbanded. Switching from drums to guitar, piano, and vocals, Jessee hooked up with guitarist/producer Alan Weatherhead, guitarist/keyboardist Chris Badger, bassist Roger Gupton, and drummer Mark Price for the band's eponymous debut album released on Bar/None Records in 2006. By 2007, Gupton and Price had been replaced by longtime Tift Merritt sidemen drummer Zeke Hutchins and bassist Jay Brown, and the band started work recording new material at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. After finishing the album, Jessee relocated to New York City. Hotel Lights' sophomore effort, Firecracker People, was released on Bar/None in August of 2008. In 2011, the band released Girl Graffiti, featuring the single "Falling Down."
Hotel Lights is an American indie rock band led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Darren Jessee, the drummer for Ben Folds Five.
Hotel Lights (album) (2006) featuring Archers of Loaf drummer Mark Price and Sparklehorse touring guitarist Alan Weatherhead, had previously been available only as a very limited self-release, one that generated a serious interest and prompted lots of internet chatter about when the album might actually show up at the local bricks-and-mortar record store. The album was officially released by Bar/None Records in March 2006. In support of the first album, Hotel Lights toured with Bishop Allen, Tift Merritt, and Nada Surf.
2006 also saw the release of six song ep Goodnightgoodmorning and a Hotel Lights recording of "The End of the Tour" for They Might Be Giants tribute album, Hello Radio.
Firecracker People (2008), recorded at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin, features longtime collaborator and guitarist Alan Weatherhead with rhythm section Jay Brown and Zeke Hutchins of Tift Merritt's band. The album was praised for its understated elegance and songwriting. The fifth track, "Amelia Bright", was originally performed by Ben Folds Five on their final tour.
In 2009 The band joined Ben Folds on tour in the northeast and supported shows for Mark Eitzel and Joel Plaskett in Brooklyn, NY.
The newest album, Girl Graffiti, was released August 16, 2011.
Television and Film 
Hotel Lights song "Follow Through" was used in the television shows Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill. "Miles Behind Me" was heard in the film Baby Mama. "Through the Crowd" from the album Girl Graffiti was in NBC's Chuck.