Bad Bad Hats
About Bad Bad Hats
An indie rock trio from Minneapolis, Bad Bad Hats play lean, melodic music steeped in pop tunefulness and a mildly jaundiced perspective on the world around them. Taking contemporary pop tropes, twisting them into new shapes, and filtering them through the sensibility of guitar, bass, and drums, the group's music is accessible enough for mainstream music fans but with enough smarts and intriguing textures to keep more adventurous listeners interested. Bad Bad Hats first connected with an audience outside their hometown with the 2013 EP It Hurts; their debut LP, 2015's Psychic Reader, earned them enthusiastic reviews and a growing cult following; and they moved to a bigger and more established label with 2021's Walkman.
Bad Bad Hats was formed in 2010 by guitarist and vocalist Kerry Alexander and multi-instrumentalist Chris Hoge. They met when they were both attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Florida-born Alexander had been performing original songs and covers at acoustic shows on campus, and Hoge was impressed with her talent. He started listening to tracks she had posted on social media, and she soon discovered he was doing the same. After comparing notes on music, Hoge volunteered to play drums on some of Alexander's songs, and they decided to form a band. Bad Bad Hats made their recorded debut with the 2012 demo Grow Up, with Alexander on guitar and vocals, and Hoge handling guitar, bass, and drums in the studio. They became a trio when Noah Boswell signed on as bass player, and they began playing regularly in the Twin Cities. 2013 saw the release of a five-song EP, It Hurts, issued by Minneapolis' Afternoon Records, and the title tune racked up an impressive number of plays on major streaming services. In 2015, Bad Bad Hats presented their first full-length album, Psychic Reader, and they spent more time on the road as positive reviews and solid word of mouth helped to grow their audience.
2018 was an eventful year for Bad Bad Hats: Alexander and Hoge got married, the band completed and released their second album, Lightning Round, and not long after the LP arrived in stores, Noah Boswell amicably left the group in order to attend graduate school. Hoge opted to move from drums to bass, and Connor Davison took over the percussion duties. The new lineup stayed busy as a live act, sharing stages with the likes of the Front Bottoms, the Beths, Hippo Campus, and Margaret Glaspy. When America went into lockdown in 2020 due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bad Bad Hats were forced to curtail their live work, but they stayed active by offering fans a "Song Club" subscription service, where each month they would make a new song available to members, as well as livestreamed performances and other premiums. While keeping up with their Song Club activities, the trio continued to write and rehearse new material, and their third album, Walkman, was issued in 2021; it was their first release for the respected independent punk label Don Giovanni Records. ~ Mark Deming