Listen Here: Bad Bad Hats 

click to enlarge Bad Bad Hats: (left to right) Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Connor Davison

Zoe Prinds-Flash

Bad Bad Hats: (left to right) Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge and Connor Davison

Minneapolis band Bad Bad Hats is unafraid to mix intimacy with pop-rock. Lead singer Kerry Alexander and guitarist Chris Hoge began writing songs together at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2010. Alexander’s creative writing degree from the liberal arts college translates well into her songwriting; it’s nearly impossible to get the lyrics to “Midway," from the band's 2015 release, Psychic Reader (Afternoon Records), out of your head after hearing them once:

“I knew that I’d leave you by the middle of June
You touched me on my shoulder blade, soft like a tomb
I wanna hear you tell me you don’t know what you’ll do
The words you were not saying nearly filled up the room.”

There’s a passive kind of longing in Bad Bad Hats' lyrics, which is not uncommon in Midwest indie bands bottled up by Minnesota Nice. But lost loves and could-have-beens are overlaid with pop melodies and guitars that help obscure the bite just below the surface. Since its first release the band has toured with Margaret Glaspy, The Front Bottoms and even Third Eye Blind. Alexander and Hoge also found time to get married between recording sessions for their sophomore album, Lightning Round (Afternoon Records, 2018).

Drummer Connor Davison joined the couple on Lighting Round, which was released Aug. 3. The album's turn toward a more synth-pop sensibility is a natural progression from the band's first release. And according to an interview with Rolling Stone, Bad Bad Hats is unabashed about being influenced by Top 40 hits. Drake’s “Hotline Bling” inspired Alexander in “1-800,” a dreamy, down-tempo song with a hint of melancholy.

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