Top 89 Staff Picks (Local Current Blog)

Top 10 Songs of 2015 (no particular order)

“Sedona” // Houndmouth (the anthem to the end of high school)

“Violet” // Hippo Campus (“SING IT BEANS!” #NPHippyCampCrew)

“Shame” // Bad Bad Hats (the salad music video is pure brilliance)

“Coming Home” // Leon Bridges (home sweet home is sweet, but home is also wherever you make it)

“Doing the Right Thing” // Daughter (driving at night on the A1A)

“Gibraltar” // Beirut (Happy Heart)

“Mountain at my Gates” // Foals (it’s been too long since Holy Fire)

“Greek Tragedy” // The Wombats (#WombatsWednesday was the best show I’ve ever been to)

“Loud Places” // Jamie xx (Once upon a time I listened exclusively to the xx for a month straight, this is in ode to that month and conjuring memories)

“Cocoon” // Catfish and the Bottlemen (18 years old)

Top 10 Albums of 2015 (no particular order)

South // Hippo Campus (our #NPHippyCampCrew release party stretched the country)

Our Own House // Misterwives (winter in the library, and tears when they weren’t playing Cultivate anymore)

Midway // Bad Bad Hats (Recent loves, Kerry is like Greta Gerwig as Frances Ha in a very good way)

Vestiges & Claws // Jose Gonzalez (front row for his show in Hollywood, FL and I cried)

Every Open Eye // Chvrches (Lauren Mayberry is the best thing)

Another One // Mac Demarco (cuffed mom jeans and baggy t shirts, “Mac Demarco is gonna get lung cancer”)

M3LL155X // FKA Twigs (outer space and blurry pictures)

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful // Florence and the Machine (QUEEN FLO FOR PRESIDENT 2016)

The Pale Emperor // Marilyn Manson (growing up on heavier music, this one is dedicated to my fantastic parents)

New Glow // Matt & Kim (reminiscing of Rock the Garden 2014 while waiting in line for the show in Ft Lauderdale 2015)

Albums: Encore

Before We Forgot How to Dream // SOAK (summer ceiling fan stares)

Pe’ahi // The Raveonettes (this came out in 2014, but I listened to it HEAVILY in 2015)

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Bad Bad Hats

I had heard their single Midway all over my favorite public radio station back home in Minnesota this past summer, but I never really researched much into the band until after I saw them open for Hippo Campus in November. Openers can be very hit or miss; either they vibe with the crowd or they disappointingly don’t, but I can honestly say Bad Bad Hats is extremely impressive. 
The Minnesota based three-piece, Kerry Alexander (guitar and vocals), Chris Hoge (drums), and Noah Boswell (bass), got their start as a band a few years ago. They all grew up playing music, writing, Alexander even used to record amateur demos in her mother’s walk in shower. Signed to Afternoon Records, the band released their first EP in 2013, Hurts, and their debut LP, Psychic was out in July 2015. Their name comes from the children’s book Madeline and the Bad Hat, in which the character Pepito was called a bad hat, an innocent name for something terrible, and it was fitting for the band and their sound. They’ve been on tour twice, supporting Mynabirds and Hippo Campus, and just announced an upcoming tour opening for Hey Marseilles.
Their songs exude their youthfulness into a catchy indie pop sound. Unlike their last tour mates, Hippo Campus, they tend to keep things, music-wise, fairly simple, yet do so in a new and tasteful way. Kerry’s clear vocals, at first listen, evoke descriptors such as ‘dainty’ and ‘innocent’, yet her lyrics are a brilliant translation of shamelessly personal accounts that are relatable to a more collective audience.
I have tried to think of artists they are comparable to, and I can’t seem to put my finger on anyone in particular; their sound is all their own. I chatted with Kerry the other day and we talked about many a subject, but one that came up was being compared to other bands, specifically female lead bands and female musicians. “We get grouped with women just because I’m a woman, when we really don’t sound anything like those other artists. [. . .] I call it lazy journalism.” On stage, front woman Kerry Alexander reminded me very much of Greta Gerwig as Frances Ha, in a very good way. There was a nearly tangible happiness from the band as they played, with the tidbits about the story behind songs, huge smiles, and a little ‘rock n roll move’ that I was later told, they had been working on for a while.
Bad Bad Hats is gaining traction over here with songs like Super America (which she said at the November show, was blatantly about the exclusively Minnesotan gas station chain) you can almost hear the smiles in the breezy vocals. Shame is a bit noisier than their usual sound, a bit like what an angst-filled sugar high might be in music form. It turned out to be one of my favorite songs of the year, with the goofiest music video I’ve seen in a while, which reminds the audience of their youth, but also to never grow up.
This piece was originally written for The Indie Daydreamer, a super cool online music magazine based out of London, much like this here bloggo! Go follow Indie, they’re a great publication!

Sophia // Venus Demilo

Liverpool is the claimed and famed home of many musical favorites; Echo and the Bunnymen, The Wombats, and of course The Beatles. But there is a rising star amidst the legacies, Venus Demilo. The four-piece’s first single “Sinking Ships” that came out nearly a year ago, in January 2015 made some waves in the media with coverage from Bay TV, Amazing Radio, and BBC Introducing. Venus Demilo’s latest single, “Sophia” due to release on the 11th of December 2015, has already had its radio debut a few days ago on BBC Introducing Merseyside. “Sophia” builds like Atlas Genius, Bombay Bicycle Club, or The 1975, and crashes with a chorus reminiscent of Foals’ angsty heaviness. A run of singles is currently in the making, be on the lookout for new releases as Venus Demilo is a band worth keeping your eye on.

(Editor’s note: originally written for Indie Daydreamer).