Wednesday, April 24, 7 p.m.
Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel, 304 East Third Street, Davenport IA
Touring in support of the band's sophomore album Lightning Round – an August release in which, according to Rolling Stone, its musicians “refine and polish the blend of indie-pop, folk, and rock that they introduced on their 2015 debut” – the Minnesota-based Bad Bad Hats play a Moeller Nights concert on April 24, demonstrating the talents that NPR described as “programmed to fire all neural pathways associated with carefree indie-rock fun.”
Its original lineup composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Kerry Alexander, guitarist and drummer Chris Hoge, and bassist Noah Boswell, Bad Bad Hats – the band's moniker taken from the children's book Madeline & the Bad Hat – the group formed in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2012 when its musicians were students at Macalester College. All three original members DJ-ed shows at their college's radio station, where Alexander was manager, and Bad Bad Hats' first official performance was at a campus battle of the bands sponsored by the station. The musicians lost that competition to a funk ensemble, but did manage to impress one of the contest's judges – Ian Anderson, founder of the influential Minneapolis indie-rock label Afternoon Records. Subsequently, in 2013, the group recorded its EP debut It Hurts (described by Paste magazine as “a succinct collection of addicting ear-grabbers”), and followed it with the 2015 album debut Psychic Reader, a critically lauded release that earned the group national attention.
Pitchfork magazine praised the “apt songwriting which translates [Alexander's] experiences into poignant, universal stories” while The New Yorker stated that Psychic Reader's “terse, honest lyrics suggest a weathered wisdom.” Paste, meanwhile, wrote, “Unlike what its title suggests, the album proves to be unpredictable from track to track, adding splashes of crunchy garage-rock where others would've gone full-blown syrupy.” The album's success resulted in Bad Bat Hats touring the country extensively alongside artists including Margaret Glaspy, Hippo Campus, The Front Bottoms, and Third Eye Blind, as well as recording a Psychic Reader follow-up in last August's Lightning Round. With Boswell consequently leaving the band to pursue a master's degree and Connor Davison performing in his place, Bad Bad Hats is currently touring in the light of the band's latest glowing notices, with Atwood magazine calling it “an energetic collection start to finish” and Idientry lauding the group's sound as “confident and bold, mixing gritty elements with smooth synth melodies effortlessly.”
Bad Bad Hats plays Davenport's Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel on April 24, admission to the 7 p.m. concert is $10, and more information and tickets are available by visiting MoellerNights.com.