In the comments section below one of The Hot Toddies' numerous YouTube video posts one fan wrote, "This is my favorite band, and if it is not yours, the only possible explanation is that you are hopelessly insane." Another fanatic of the indie rock female quartet enthused, "I fuckin' love this band!" Such is the effect that this Oakland group, who played a charged instore set at Amoeba Berkeley last evening (Tuesday, July 13th), has on people. And no wonder. Their hook-laden songs are the sort that slowly seep into your brain and have you still humming the melodies days later. The Hot Toddies' music is catchy and infectious, as evidenced by the ten songs that pack their recommended new album Get Your Heart On (Asian Man Records), which was released yesterday.
At the East Bay store yesterday, where the sound mix of vocals and instruments was just the right balance, the Amoeba crew were actively video-taping and photographing The Hot Toddies' fun set so be sure to keep an eye out here on the Amoeba website in the coming days for lots of quality photos and video footage of the group performing.
Much of the four-piece's half-hour plus set, which started just after 6p.m., included a lot of material from the brand new Get Your Heart On, the band's second album, including the upbeat song "Rain or Shine," which starts out kind of soft and acoustic but then nicely builds up as the drums and electric instrumentation kick in and is accentuated, like all the group's songs, by beautiful harmonizing. The Hot Toddies manage to make music that is new-sounding yet simultaneously reminiscent of some of the best power pop/rock of the past several decades, most notably the sixties.
The Hot Toddies "Only With You" (Get Your Heart On, 2010)
Since joining forces five years ago, the Toddies' Heidi (bass, guitar, vocals), Erin (guitar, bass, vocals), Jessica (keyboards, tambourine, vocals, & guitar), and Sylvia (drums) have honed their infectious sound and developed an obvious chemistry that comes across in their live show. After giving the clearly delighted Amoeba audience, which packed the aisles in the back room of the cavernous Telegraph Ave. store, a generous sampling of the new album, Erin announced that they would play "a couple of old songs." They then broke into their instantly engaging, bouncy sing-along track "Seattle," which is off their 2007 full-length debut, Smell The Mitten (Asian Man Records), and is always a crowd favorite.
As they accurately write of their own sound on their FaceBook page, The Hot Toddies "mix 1950's beach pop with indie rock riffs, a bottle of whiskey and a dry sense of humor." Whiskey, which is the main ingredient of a hot toddy drink, gets mentioned a lot by the group. Although at the Amoeba instore, at the end of a warm Bay Area summer's day, there were no hot toddy drinks or whiskey to be seen onstage, just cold PBR beers. "Amoeba graciously provided us with PBRs and some Jameson [Irish whiskey] backstage," singer/guitarist Erin told me after the show. And how did the band feel about their first Amoeba instore? "We really enjoyed it. We had a great time," said keyboardist/vocalist Jessica, adding with a laugh that, compared to playing nightclubs where they normally play, "It's much more bright in here."
Onstage the band announced their next hometown gig (The Uptown on July 24th) but what comes after that? "We're already on our way to do an East Coast tour this Fall," said Erin. "And we're hoping to get back to Europe next year sometime." Meantime, pick up The Hot Toddies' Get Your Heart On CD at Amoeba Music and check out their MySpace, their FaceBook, and the Hot Toddies website for concert updates and other band news.