Winsome yet upbeat indie-pop
LOVELY is the first new music to follow up Hot Freak’s breakout success of PUPPY PRINCESS (28 million Spotify streams) and fan favourite PAYCHECK 2 PAYCHECK.
This is the first of four singles that will eventually compromise the LOVELY EP out now. With the rocketing success of PUPPY PRINCESS on TikTok and Spotify, the band has grown a rabid, organic core fan base virally as well as naturally by word of mouth and the band’s personal and passionate direct connection with their fans.
The year is 2013, new words “twerk” and “selfie” have just been added to the dictionary and YouTube is buzzing with the new Harlem Shake trend before Instagram-supported video posts. It was in these simpler times when Minneapolis quintet Hot Freaks released their first, and (for now) the last LP. Their debut record, the self-titled “Hot Freaks” collects 10 tight tracks of winsome yet upbeat indie-pop produced with a glossy, highly danceable disco sheen that counteracts a yearning lyrical melancholia– reminiscent of famous over-sharers of Montreal and sensitive symbolists Voxtrot, with a touch of MGMT’s unbridled charisma.
For whatever reason, while Hot Freaks’ brand of toe-tapping vulnerability was electric on the lively Minneapolis scene, the band never made it far beyond the borders of Minnesota, playing countless Homefield shows but only one or two in the greater midwest area. Comprised of old friends whose relationships are interwoven like the roots of an old growth tree, (some members have been playing together for over 15 years and drummer Cody Brown even dated bassist Sarah Darnall’s sister in high school) Hot Freaks were born of a tight-knit community and would seem destined to remain hidden gems in the local scene. Or would they?
By 2015 Hot Freaks split amicably, frontman Leo Vondracek moved to LA and guitarist Darin Dahlmeier relocated to New York. While members went on to pursue other interests, the Freaks remained friends as social media made it easier, and then even easier to stay in touch. And just as nothing is ever really lost online, slowly but surely fans and followers found their way to the Freak’s first record in ever-growing numbers.
Suddenly Hot Freaks had found their audience! By the droves, new, young fans are connecting with the single’s earnest hopefulness as Leo’s lyrics admit “You know me as your boyfriend’s goofy friend/ I seem to have this effect on women” and then turn in the chorus to a full-hearted plea to “kiss me, kiss me with your eyes closed…tell me I’m not funny, tell me I’m legit.” Suddenly, in the ‘what really matters?’ of a global pandemic, a generation jaded with being jaded found their voice in the sweet sincerity of the Hot Freaks, just in time for their reunion.
What was to be a small smattering of local shows in Minneapolis is now shaping up into a proper tour supporting a newly shot roller rink-themed music video for PUPPY PRINCESS, and a fresh release of rare 2013 b-side PAYCHECK 2 PAYCHECK, an ode to the work-a-day struggle of pursuing one’s passion that’s as resonate today as it was nearly 10 years ago.