The Hat Madder
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The Hat Madder

Lansing, MI | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Lansing, MI | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Oh My God gives fans energetic show"

Published on September 28, 2008.

After performing at (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St., with The Plurals on Friday, Oh My God played Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing, for a standing-room only show.

Lansing-based indie rock band, The Hat Madder, opened for the Chicago-based alternative rock band Oh My God, and they did a great job hyping up the packed

The Hat Madder had a pleasing alternative sound with elements of hard and soft rock. They were also full of energy and unpredictable. For example, near the end of their set, it was unknown whether the lead singer was playing his guitar with his teeth or he was singing into it. Either way, it was awesome.

After The Hat Madder wrapped up their successful set, Oh My God started setting up, but technical difficulties did not allow them to start playing until after 1 a.m. Once the sound problems were fixed, the band made their way to the stage by cutting through the crowd. Billy O’Neill literally jumped on stage, and kicked off a loud, energetic rock song that drove the crowd crazy.

- the State News

"Spotlight: The Hat Madder"

Published January 29, 2009

As the leader of Lansing's The Hat Madder, Isaac Vander Schuur creates underground pop-rock-glam with jagged, brisk guitars and strong melodic hooks. And audiences are catching on. Fast. The guys have already gigged in France. They have an energy-packed full-length out, "Friend of the Devil." (You can pick that up at Flat, Black and Circular, The Record Lounge, Uncle's Sam's Record Emporium and And they're at Mac's Bar on Monday, opening for Gil Mantera's Party Dream.

So what's next for The Hat Madder, which also includes keyboard player Matthew Lofts, drummer Mark Jagmin and new bass player David Brunger (Narc Out the Reds, Things Without Wings)? A new EP, "Rogue Notes and Phones," mixed by Scott Bozack in New Haven, Conn. That drops sometime this spring. " 'Rogue Notes and Phones,' is something we came up with while we were in the studio recording," Vander Schuur said about the title. "We were editing one of the tracks and the engineer said, 'Oh, we have a rogue note.' But even though it was a kind of a bad note, we kept it because ended up sounding cool in the song. So we decided somewhere in the title there should be something about rogue notes."
- the Hub-Lansing State Journal

"Tip of the Hat - Lansing band lives up to the hype"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No matter what underground scene you happen to be dredging, it's an arduous search finding a band that lives up to the hype. Lansing-based rock outfit The Hat Madder have built a significant buzz in just over a year, which is enough to make any jaded music snob raise a skeptical eyebrow, but hopefully it's also enough to get them to see a show, because these guys are worth a listen.

What has earned admiration for The Hat Madder is the band’s ability to get a crowd to uncross its arms and remember what makes music fun. The band plays exciting shows and writes songs that can simultaneously carry emotional weight and make you bounce around like an over-caffeinated crazy person. They're confident on stage, but not cocky self-promoters. The music, which touches on ‘70s psychedelia, ‘90s slacker rock and a dose of indie-electronics,
is at once affecting and fun.

In October the band released its first LP, "Friend of the Devil," a collection of 14 meaty songs that sound polished for an unsigned group presumably working on a modest budget. Between the record's swirling guitar and vocal effects, pop jams and riffage that conjures Seattle's heyday and Sonic Youth’s experimental punk, the band is obviously unafraid to try anything. Still, the songs are focused enough to give the impression the band is reining in its sound to play to its
members’ strengths.

Primary songwriter Isaac Vander Schuur (guitar/vocals) spent the mid-‘90s recording no less than nine cassettes full of whatever was in his head. Some of these songs have served as fodder for tracks on Hat Madder releases more than 10 years later. "I was definitely approaching it from a different place," Vander Schuur says. "I was a little bit more introverted and less exposed, so a
lot of it just sounds like scary, sparse, acid-trippy stuff."

In 2004 Vander Shuur, then living in Austin, Texas, began playing shows with an entirely different lineup of Hat Madder contributors. Personal circumstances dictated he return to Michigan in 2005, and by the following year the band reformed in the Lansing area with Mark Jagmin on drums, Aaron Pangborn on bass and Matthew “Doobie� Lofts on keyboards (and assorted noise).
Numerous shows accompanied by college radio play (including Michigan State University’s 88.9 WDBM The Impact) of standout track "Leave Every Light On" has garnered a sizable fan base. "When we first started to play, we couldn't get but a smattering of people," Vandur Shuur says. "Now when we play, the room kind of fills up. I feel like things are a little bit more responsive toward us as far as Lansing goes, but a lot of that probably has to do with the radio exposure
and the press finally trying to figure us out."

It has been a long time coming for Vander Shuur to realize his musical vision, but in the decade-plus since he began writing he has honed his musicianship and songwriting to the point where deceptively complex grunge is second nature. The dude can sing, too, sometimes switching from deadpan delivery to crisp vocal harmonies to throaty growls all in the course of one track. What
pushes The Hat Madder from exceptional band into the realm of legit indie.

contender, though, is the outright power of the supporting cast. Jagmin, Pangborn and Lofts would each provide a significant lift to any outfit. That they have joined forces with Vander Shuur is good news for anybody who’d like to hear some impressive musicianship and memorable songs to erase the memory of the weak bar bands they’ve been booing.

The Hat Madder are already working on a follow-up EP and full length to “Friend of the Devil,� which is expected to see a spring 2009 release. Vander Shuur indicates the band’s sound is already beginning to evolve. "The [new] songs seem to be a little bit more edgy, a little bit more jagged,� Vander Shuur says. “It has a bit more of a live feel, which is definitely different than what we did in the first one."

In the meantime, The Hat Madder has been featured on a recent Magnet Magazine compilation with its song “Sadder Days� and a DIG Music Vol. 1 disc sold in Meijer stores. “Friend of the Devil� can be downloaded at

The Hat Madder
With The Lexingtons, Flatfoot
9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26
Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
$5, 18
(517) 484-6795
- City Pulse

"Indie-rock act crafts tight tracks"

Published July 31, 2008

The Hat Madder is likely the perfect 21st-century underground rock band. The Lansing-based group makes musically cohesive songs, packed with energy and brimming with creative lyrics and catchy hooks. The style is somewhere between glam and hardcore, with lots of melody.

The band officially releases its new album, "Friend of the Devil," at Mac's Bar on Sept. 26, with digital sales through and www.biggig But don't wait until then to experience the Madder, which features singer/guitarist Isaac Vander Schuur, keyboard player Matthew Lofts, bass player Aaron Pangborn and drummer Mark Jagmin. Catch the band Monday at Rendezvous on the Grand.

If you're not hip to The Hat Madder yet, read on and get acquainted.

LSJ: You guys have real potential on the indie scene right now. Are you
shopping around to indie labels?

Vander Schuur: Basically at this point, this is our debut record, so I feel like this is a cold shop. ... At this point we're
getting our name out there and saying, "Hey, this is where we are."

Lofts: We're putting it out there, and if they don't like it, we'll just have to do
better next time, which we are.

Vander Schuur: Being the sole writer of this album, I'm really close to it. I'll go
though periods of listening to it again to see if we can go back and remix the stuff,
or whatever. But right now I'm going through a period of letting go and letting my amateur ears come back to it. I try to listen to the record as if it's for the first time again. And it takes a huge departure as a songwriter to let go of

LSJ: You're on the DIG Music Vol. 1, available in Meijer stores on Aug. 19, alongside bands like Modey Lemon, who was just at Mac's, and Of Montreal.

Vander Schuur: It's really funny because our song was the first song they listened to for consideration. They were shopping to different markets, and there are bands from Australia and Ireland on the CD.

LSJ: Tell me something random about The Hat Madder.

Vander Schuur: A lot of people aren't aware that we played in France a few months ago for a couple thousand people at a Harley-Davidson festival. Our manager hooked us up with the opportunity to sell a song to the Harley owners group. They bought it and decided to take a chance and bring us out there and have us play to their people. We stayed in Southern France for four days and played the festival in the co-headlining slot, and they seemed to dig it.

Show details: The Hat Madder, Narc Out the Reds, My Fearless Leader, Endive, 10 p.m. Monday, Rendezvous on the Grand, 226 E. Grand River Ave., 853-0300, $5.

- Lansing State Journal


2008 - Friend of the Devil - full length records, at or

2009 - Rogue Notes and Phones EP (mid year)

2008 - "Tomorrow We Ride" - featured track for the Harley Owners Group 25th Anniversary celebration video, shown at events with audience of 50,000+

2008-9 - "Leave Every Light On" - rotation at MSU East Lansing, MI "The Impact" WDBM 88.9FM

2008- "Leave Every Light On" - DIG Music Volume 1 compilation

2008 - Sadder Days - Magnet Magazine Music sampler compilation



Although featuring a revolving supporting cast, Isaac Vander Schuur – songwriter, lead vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist (but mostly guitar at live shows) – has ably led various incarnations of The Hat Madder, always sticking to his compelling vision of demented pop music. Originally founded in Austin, Texas in 2004, Vander Schuur has since returned to his native Michigan and built The Hat Madder into one of the top groups in the region with their exciting live shows and intricately detailed recorded productions. The Big Gig Productions released Friend of the Devilbrought these recordings to light in 2008, with the GTG/ Big Gig released Friend of the Devil EP following in 2010. A second full-length album, the psych-rock masterpiece Orgy Opposite, came out towards the end of 2012. Currently joined by guitarist/ keyboardist Chris Baritono,  drummer John Miller, and multi-instrumentalist Nick Merz, Vander Schuur and The Hat Madder are already in the process of working their way into your ears and minds.

Band Members