Local Current Blog

Local Radar: Aby Wolf, Bad Bad Hats and Pleasure Horse

Photo by Bo Hakala

Local Radar highlights bands that the local team at The Current is spinning heavily at their desks. You’ll be able to preview a track from each as well as hear them on The Local Show and Local Current.

Aby Wolf

Will this finally be the year of Aby Wolf? And let’s just take a moment and look at everything her bandmate Grant Cutler produced in 2012. The two deserve an award for the sheer output of material their talents have touched.

So this project was originally called Wolf Lords—remember “Permission?”—but now the songs have been transferred to Wolf’s name with Wolf Lords becoming the debut album’s title. It’s a play on names: Aby Wolf mixed with Grant Cutler and The Gorgeous Lords. It’s fun to see that this new Aby Wolf sounds substantially different from the old Aby Wolf. Her voice has never seemed stronger. Hell, if you took out Cutler’s beats, her voice would still work in an a capella setting. But Cutler’s beats are instrumental in how this project has turned out, shifting the tempo, volume and emotion with Wolf fluidly responding to these alterations.

There’s reverb abound on “Brave Boy,” our first taste of the new album due out February 22. It’s just really pretty. Really. They have a CD release show with Lizzo, Demographics and VisionQuest on Saturday, February 23 at the Entry. Barb Abney will host the event.

  1. Listen Aby Wolf – “Brave Boy” from Wolf Lords


Bad Bad Hats

Bad Bad Hats were introduced to the music community through their Grow Up EP, released quietly on Bandcamp last year. We played “It Hurts” a few times, a lo-fi jangly number rooted in Kerry Alexander’s distinct timbre and some sweet guitar work (and let’s not forget the kazoo bit at the end). I believe Bad Bad Hats were only a duo when they started, with Chris Hoge providing additional instrumentation. Now they’ve added a third member with Noah Boswell, and the ensemble has really fleshed out, not to mention better produced.

This sounds more like a studio recording rather than a bedroom recording. The charm is still there, but a little less obviously on the outset. However, as you listen to the lead single “Super America” from their new It Hurts EP, it starts to grab you tighter as the song progresses. This seems to be what they want, and the lyrics reflect a love story unfolding in the local Super America with Alexander asking an unnamed source to hold her tighter, and get her a “sweet tea / and a heart that won’t break” and “an Icee / and a nice boy to date” and a Pepsi and a Reese’s  and the list goes on. It sounds delicious by the end but simultaneously lonely.

They “grew up” with their first EP and graduated from college. Now they are in that vortex of shifting priorities and relationships, and it may indeed hurt, but there’s a lot of hope in the same token, especially for Bad Bad Hats’ future, which should be a bright one. The EP will be available for free download on Afternoon Records’ website starting Monday.

  1. Listen Bad Bad Hats – “Super America” from It Hurts EP


Pleasure Horse

Here’s another project spawned out of the Hot Freaks, We All Have Hooks For Hands, and Buffalo Moon camps, which, in case you aren’t counting, probably contains more than a dozen other bands in its genealogy. Soon enough, they are going to need their own family tree like we did for Pony Trash a few months back. Many of these talented and prodigious musicians are transplants from South Dakota, and most grew up with each other through high-school and college and have been playing together for years. In that sense, it really is a true community, and no matter what style they want to conquer, it always seems to work out.

Pleasure Horse is a country rock band at its heart, and they sure encapsulated that rootsy soul, the result of recording all of the songs on the No One In Mind EP in an attic on ¼” tape. Elliott Kozel (Sleeping In The Aviary, Tickle Torture) did the mastering, and the guy seems to get the mood right on everything he puts his hands on.

  1. Listen Pleasure Horse – “Evenin’ Angel” from No One In Mind EP