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Indie rock trio brings new sound to Sheldon stage

Songwriter/vocalist Kerry Alexander (center) teams with Chris Hoge and Noah Boswell to perform as Bad Bad Hats Jan. 28, at the Sheldon Theatre.

Lovers of what National Public Radio called "carefree indie-rock fun" may want to check out the Sheldon Theatre Jan. 28, when Bad Bad Hats comes to town.

The up-and-coming Minneapolis trio performs at 7:30 p.m. on the historic Sheldon stage.

"The Bad Bad Hats combine folk-pop influences with playful garage-rock styles," Sheldon spokesmen said, describing the group as "an important new voice in the current music scene."

The three musicians are Kerry Alexander, singer-songwriter and guitarist; Chris Hoge, drummer; and Noah Boswell, bass. They met while attending Macalester College in St. Paul.

The others credit Alexander with providing the perspective that is the guiding force behind Bad Bad Hats. She was born in Minnesota but grew up in Birmingham, Ala. When the family moved away from her childhood home there, she became the new kid at school.

Alexander compensated by writing songs to temper her loneliness and occupy her time. She developed her own voice with inspiration from popular female songwriters of the 1990s.

According to the band's website, she embraces "classic melodies and simply arrangements," but does not shy away from emotion in her lyrics. "It's Kerry's party and she'll cry if she wants to," the site concludes.

Afternoon Records, which signed the group in 2013, writes that Alexander recorded rough demos in her mom's walk-in shower and sang pop covers at open mic nights.

Hoge played electric guitar in high school, but took up drums in college, the studio added, while Boswell played in a jazz band by day and spun turntables by night in a teen rap group called the Erotic Assassins.

Once the three got together, their "respective roots in jazz, grunge and alternative pop coalesced into a sonically understated sound," Interview Magazine wrote. "Where one lacked, another compensated, and almost unwittingly they conceived their identity as Bad Bad Hats."

The magazine gave plenty of credit to Alexander's original music: "Addictive hooks with melodic nods imbued with wistful lyricism and retro guitar riffs."

Their classic arrangements imbued with contemporary sentiments caught the ear of Minneapolis label Afternoon Records, which promptly released an extended play, "It Hurts." The trio's debut album, "Psychic Reader," was released in July 2015 (

A Pitchfork review of the album commented: "Vocalist/guitarist Kerry 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."

Bad Bad Hats performs in St. Cloud and Red Wing next week, then heads on a busy national tour taking them from Chicago to Tennessee, Pennsylvania to Kentucky, then back to Madison, Wis., in mid-February.

Tickets to the Sheldon concert are $13-$20. Call 651-388-8700 or go online to

If you go...

Who: Bad Bad Hats

What: Indie rock concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28

Where: Sheldon Theatre

How much: $13 to $20

More info: 651-388-8700 or