Listen: Bad Bad Hats at First Avenue

A sneak preview of indie rock band Bad Bad Hats’ upcoming show at First Ave, kicking off their new album “Lightning Round”

The band Bad Bad Hats
Courtesy of Bad Bad Hats/Zoe Prinds-Flash

Bad Bad Hats? Now what is that?

They’re a young and new indie rock band St. Paul. Bad Bad Hats was born in 2012 and quickly gained traction, signing a label with Minneapolis’ Afternoon Records that same year. In 2015, they released their first, full-length album Psychic Reader, which put them on the radar—earning attention from The New Yorker, NPR, Pitchfork, and Paste as well as a U.S. tour alongside other big names in indie rock, including Margaret Glaspy, Hippo Campus, and Third Eye Blind.

With vocalist/guitarist Kerry Alexander’s dreamlike vocals paired with her unabashed and honest lyrics, their songs are instantly likable. Commenting on the band, Pitchfork says, “Alexander’s pure voice might be called ‘sweet’ or ‘childlike,’ but her innocence is belied by her apt songwriting, which translates her experiences into poignant, universal stories.” The band has layered tones of ’90s rock and pop-punk, which places them in a niche genre where their style and sound currently thrives. As for their unusual but catchy name, the trio playfully named themselves after a trouble-making character from the Madeline children’s books.

Lighting Round

Bad Bad Hats released their second album Lightning Round on August 3. The album, with singles “Write It on Your Heart” and “Talk with Your Hands,” showcases the band’s evolving vulnerable-yet-mature sound. Brett Bullison, who produced both Psychic Reader and Lightning Round, encouraged them to record live in the studio, a technique that renders a loose, organic, and spontaneous sound.

The band is ready to debut their new album and kick off their U.S. tour by playing at First Avenue Saturday, August 18 with Scrunchies and Jessica Manning.

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