The Hot Toddies
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The Hot Toddies


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Don't Call Me Baby, Love"

With the advent of the Pipettes, El Perro Del Mar, and even Amy Winehouse to a certain extent, the girl group sound has returned to the indie arena. Suddenly, there are multi-part harmonies, love-obsessed lyrics, echo-y orchestral production, and girls girls girls everywhere. Several Bay Area girl-group acts have also sprung up recently. But typical of the Bay, these bands — especially Dreamdate and the Hot Toddies — offer a rougher, rowdier take on the vintage sound, adding riot grrl grit and saucy wit to the mix.

Sonically, Dreamdate owes a large debt to '60s girl groups like the Shirelles and the Ronettes, offering interwoven vocal harmonies and percussive hand claps. "At the same time, we were also greatly influenced by the garage scene in Oakland, specifically the dirty, short, poppy songs of the Mothballs," says guitarist Yea-Ming Chen.

On Dreamdate's debut album, Come On Over (recently issued by Mothballs/Makes Nice bassist Aaron Burnham on his Chocolate Covered Records), the threesome of Chen, bassist Anna Hillburg, and drummer Emily Grayson exhibit an appreciation for recent girly sounds as well. "Maon Kur" and "Back on My Feet" feature chugging bass and slashing guitar that could've been ripped from the Breeders' first album, and "New York City" recalls U.K. jangle-pop outfits like Tallulah Gosh. Lyrically, Dreamdate adheres to the lovelorn aesthetic of Motown's finest, while occasionally putting the "grrr" back in grrrl (see "Back on My Feet," in which Chen sings, "I've got problems and I've got doubts, but at least I don't have you").

"I write songs often only when I'm feeling some sort of icky feeling like heartbreak or jealousy," says Chen. "I think Anna's that way, too."

Oakland's Hot Toddies are far more lighthearted. "The Hot Toddies are a fun-centered band who don't like to take themselves too seriously and sometimes drink too much before they play," explains guitarist/bassist Erin Skidmore.

The quartet, whose debut full-length should be out in July, offers similar ingredients as Dreamdate, including sweet multi-part vocals and gritty guitar hooks. But there's a bubblegummy vibe to the songs, and the Hot Toddies' lyrics tend toward the silly or salacious. "Seattle" may be the funniest and sexiest tour song ("It gets so hard without someone to straddle/ I get so horny when I'm in Seattle"), while "Jaguar Love" ("So let me take you for a ride/ You might get laid") sounds like the kind of grrrl-empowered rock that '70s icon Nikki Corvette used to make. And then there's "Geneva," an ode to Swiss derrieres in which the Toddies croon, "Hello sunshine, show me yours, I'll show mine/ Let's do it while we're young."

Unlike Dreamdate, which came by its original all-gal lineup accidentally and is currently using several different male drummers, the Hot Toddies set out to be testosterone-free. "It was a conscious decision to keep the band all-female," says Skidmore. "Being all girls allows you to do silly things you might be embarrassed about in front of guys. ... We've had some crazy times hula-hooping in bars, singing Journey songs karaoke in Vegas, and ghost-riding our minivan."

Still, even in this liberated age, it's not always easier being in a girl group. Just ask Dreamdate's Chen. "We played a last-minute benefit show at the Milk bar for the S.F. Asian Women's Shelter," she recalls. "We were setting up, getting our amps on stage, and this guy comes up to me and says in the stupidest voice ever, 'Dude. There's chicks in your band?' I was like, 'Um, yeah.' And he's all, 'Awesome. Now I'm really excited.'"

Sounds like a dipshit worth writing a song about. - SF Weekly

"Live- The Hot Toddies @ the Make-Out Room"

The Hot Toddies come complete with tight harmonies and unapologetic “shooby-doo-wops,” welcoming the obvious comparison to sixties female vocal groups. At the same time, they’re playing their own instruments and the lyrical content is not drenched in nostalgia. Instead, the quartet sings about the disappointment of teenage internet dating and missing your boyfriend when you’re in Seattle because, well, you’d like to “ride him like a horse without a saddle.” “Seattle” is my personal favorite, but each song - most sung with tongue firmly in cheek - is a custom-made crowd pleaser. Most importantly, it’s really, really fun, which - on a night before I must return to the confines of my office job - is just what I needed. - The Bay

"Smell The Mitten"

All relevant signs -- twee album art, a precious band name, '60s girl-group posturing -- suggest the Hot Toddies are out to kill us with cuteness, but beneath the outer layers of doo-wop, Beach Boys fanaticism, and a commitment to the tried and true practice of California beach carefree shenanigans, there is a kick-ass no-frills rock band at the heart of this San Francisco four-piece. In appropriate Bay Area fashion, the band formed with fun-seeking whimsy, going as far as to bring on non-drummer Sylvia Hurtado, because "[they] just knew she was a Toddy," and reluctant keyboardist Jessica Wright, who admittedly had less experience with the instrument than fronters Heidi Bodeson (guitar) and Erin Skidmore (bass); the band's sheer will to have a good time both defines their music and provides a point from which to spin out safely. Their most striking feature, after all, is immediate accessibility.

Bodeson and Skidmore's vocals strike up irresistible harmonies and the band grooves as one: on one hand these retro tendencies seem more like copycat adoration than channeled inspiration, but then again, there's no fighting the urge to dance and sing along to the Farfisa organ licks and '60s backbeat of "Surf Song." The lyrics kick in ("Bonfire on the beach, whoa! / Pacifico and some mushroom tea, whoa! / Dude I must be tripping / Is that Brian Wilson up on the hill?") and carry you away for a welcome left coast BBQ with a young Sally Field and sand comfortably in one's underwear. Of course, the band continues to riff off their sunshine foundations with tracks like "What's Your Sign?" and "Motorscooter," but elsewhere the Hot Toddies begin to translate influences both eclectic and haphazard by mixing those girl-group harmonies with distortion-heavy, almost proto-punk arrangements. The fusion is perfect on "Photosynthesis," pairing lyrics right out of some lost PBS children's edutainment program with a beat vicious enough to hang with the Pixies. And "Rocker Girl" is just one big dirty Stooges jam save for an a-cappella bridge in which the ladies nail a harmony that could have been off a '70s Yes vocal breakdown.

Despite the album's gleeful charm, I do think the Hot Toddies are selling themselves a bit short on the lyrical front. When they put their minds to it, they are actually quite capable of lining up their indie-pop with witty and insightful lyrics (as opposed to the obvious opposite). A song like the online romance tale "HTML" is not only hilarious but also considers the inherent creepiness of the Internet when a wayward teenager goes looking for love online and gets her heart let down:

I typed OMG, should be you and me
You wrote LOL, wrote LOL
My browser froze right down to my toes,
I said go to hell

I should have seen, I'm only 15
And you're 32, you're 32
You don't love me, I went and asked Jeeves
He told me it's true.

You'd have to be a big lump of granite to not crack at least one smile and let yourself go all the way with smelling these sugary-ass mittens. But maybe I'm also hoping the Hot Toddies will lean a little less on their influences the next time around and let their beach-front property harmonies explore more of those inland garage rock tendencies. Am I asking too much, attempting to ruin a recipe that ain't broke? Will all of my demands for them to step up a modicum of seriousness just make the music suck? Oh bands, those silly plans! Forget it, I'm throwing in the towel for the day: I would rather hit up the N-Judah and ride straight out to Ocean Beach for a bonfire on the Pacific. Holler, m'Toddies, where's my shroom tea at?

Andre Perry
October 22, 2007 -

"The Hot Toddies - Smell the Mitten"

A domestic nod to Spinal Tap (Smell the Glove) and L7 (Smell the Magic), Smell the Mitten is full of innuendos. There's a sizzle below the surface of The Hot Toddies' retro style just waiting to tickle the listener's taste buds and catch the senses off guard.

Opener "Sugar Daddy" is an exact doo-wop replica with everything from the deep bass to the dulcet backup harmonies. It would be easy to pass the song up as an old classic cover, until the chorus "You make me want a sugar daddy / with a big fat wallet and a brand new Caddy" kicks in and introduces a touch of mischief. Each song gets progressively more tongue-in-cheek than the next, and by the third track, "Seattle," the lyrics "I get so horny when I'm in Seattle" smack out against their saccharine shrouding and reveal the naughtiness brimming below the surface.

"Wet Dream" is where the ladies really flex their witty muscle, chiming together, "I think I read in a magazine / That science proved that the universe is someone's erotic dream" to explain all of life's perverse inequalities. Lessons about online romance are learned in the spoken word of "HTML" further defining Smell the Mitten as a cleverly modern collection of adult struggles.

The Toddies' musical talents sparkle on psychedelic throwbacks "Photosynthesis," "What's Your Sign?" and "Rocker Girl." The tap dancing drums of Sylvia Hurtado and the guitar and bass of Heidi Bodeson and Erin Skidmore pull the band into a hasty rock party while Jessica Wright's keys put a trippy spin on the songs. The ladies also toy with conceptual storytelling in "Anais Nin vs. The Pirates of Santa Cruz" and a lazy Hawaiian love song in "Ocean." But it is the tension of sweet and sassy woven consistently throughout the album that ultimately makes Smell the Mitten such a cozy fit. (Asian Man Records)

-Megan Clinard - West Coast Performer Magazine

"Critic's Choice for the week of November 29-December 5, 2006: Licentious Pop"

Oakland's HOT TODDIES consist of four gals whose licentious originals cross the emancipated words of Erica Jong with the ebullient sounds of Go Sailor and Nikki & the Corvettes. Whether scratching a libidinous itch or shaking it up with their new dance, the Motorscooter, the TODDIES top their guitar-bass-drums-and-keyboards sound with harmonies that are pure bubblegum sunshine. They'll be working Friday, December 1 at 9 p.m. at the Hotel Utah, and Saturday, December 2 at 9 p.m. at Beckett's Irish Pub. and (Eli Messinger). - The East Bay Express

"Review: The Hot Toddies - Smell The Mitten"

When I was sick between Thanksgiving and Christmas I remember drinking a bunch of hot toddies. In part because they are supposed to be good for sick people but mostly because they are yummy. Sure it may have not helped at all but that has nothing to do with this review. Whatever you do, don't call THE HOT TODDIES a novelty group. On their debut full-length Smell The Mitten this all-girl San Francisco quartet churns out sassy and sarcastic songs full of retro-style surf-inspired 60's girl-group doo-wop that is (on the surface) so cute it makes me wanna puke. It is sickly sweet, but awesome.

But if you don't lose your lunch and actually keep listening, you'll thank yourself. For all the clichés the band walks through there is equally as much substance. And the vocal harmonies supplied by Heidi Bodeson and Erin Skidmore are absolutely perfect in every way. Lyrically (and musically) the band gleefully slides down to the bottom of the hill with fun, whimsical, clever, and intelligent lyrics. It is a little punk, a whole lotta fun, and completely impossible to deny. Smell The Mitten must certainly contain some of the sunniest, most saccharine, sugary sweet melodies and vocal harmonies that have ever been recorded.

My only complaint with this is that the Beach Boys obsession and retro vibe of Smell The Mitten seems a little contrived and sometimes sounds like nothing more than a doo-wop cover band. Or perhaps that's a compliment and it really is just that good I'm not complaining though since Smell The Mitten is (despite my better judgment) one of the most fun and instantly charming records I've heard in awhile. Is it even possible not to like this? Maybe THE HOT TODDIES are falling in rank behind The Pipettes and The Queers. I don't even care. I dare you to listen to awesome and hilarious "HTML" and not crack a smile. I triple dog dare you. - Can You See the Sunset from Southside? Music Blog

"The Hot Toddies "Smell the Mitten""

THE HOT TODDIES are a pop band from Oakland, California, their first full-length album is called Smell The Mitten… and they are fucking pheonomenal. Too varied to be traditional twee and way more snide than All Girl Summer Band, the Toddies have been making up songs together since around 2004, and they’re good enough to make all but the most jaded of pop fanatics say to themselves “Where has this band been all of my life?�.

Now, a word to the wise. Smell The Mitten isn’t going to knock you over the head right off the bat. It opens with the one of the weakest tracks out of the offered here. It’s a slow 50’s prom swinger called “Sugar Daddy�, and here’s the kicker: while it’s my one of my least favorite cuts on the record, it’s still pretty damn good. From there though, you’ll find all sorts of jangly, surf-inspired pop coated in three (sometimes four) part harmonies that are more saccharine than the average listener might be prepared for, but they ultimately become the band’s calling card, as nearly every line of this forty-two minute funfest is slathered in these tricky vocal gymnastics.

And listen, I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t take a moment to point out the ingeniously clever lyrics that keep this record enthralling at every turn. These four gals have an ace in the hole in their stash of fun lyrical couplets, but even if you don’t get the Henry & June references in “Anais Nin Vs. The Pirates Of Santa Cruz�, well… you can choose to get lost in the melody and layered harmonies. However, one doesn’t have to be terribly well read to get off on lyrics like these gems:

“I should have seen, I’m only 15 / You’re 32, you’re 32 / I went and asked Jeeves / He told me it’s true� (from “HTML�)

“It gets so hard without someone to straddle / I get so horny when I’m in Seattle / … It’s time to skedaddle� (from “Seattle�)

“Photosynthesis is my favorite chemical reaction / When the plants are growin’ / It gives me so much satisfaction� (from “Photosynthesis�)

Smell The Mitten is just a flat-out fun and upbeat blast of pop greatness. If someone put a few That Dog, Dream Bitches and All Girl Summer Fun Band records in a blender, it would make a mess and probably ruin that appliance. However, if you could somehow smoosh all the above-listed bands strengths into one really solid album, Smell The Mitten is probably what you’d end up with. I can’t recommend THE HOT TODDIES highly enough, and you can betcha bottom dollar that we’ll be keeping an eye on them here at RetroLowFi! -

"The Hot Toddies [Smell the Mitten]"

Welcome to the sultry and saccharin sweet sounds of THE HOT TODDIES. Like a gang of prom queens that sipped a little too much of the spiked punch, these gals rock with a quirky seduction and loads of mischievous naughtiness. The vocal harmonies are drop dead gorgeous (especially if you miss the vocal sound of the Dance Hall Crashers) and the music kinda of an alterna-fifties indie pop. Smell the Mitten is a great full length debut from this band of Bay area beauties. They've got the chops and the hooks and the satiric wit that has me waiting for more. -

"The Hot Toddies - Smell the Mitten"

Smell the Mitten doesn't sound like a huge, boss, hit-bound record on first listen, but that just goes to show you. The album draws on all original material, but they're all splattered with a retro feel, and that's a good thing! With plenty of talent, easy confidence and self-deflating humor ("Sugar Daddy," "Seattle"), the colorful Hot Toddies will win (and break) countless hearts, especially when they present this disc live, injecting warmth and graciousness via 50's doo-wop, 60's surf rock, and whatever else that it is that they do, into mega-pop hits. What's also cool about THE HOT TODDIES is they don't sabotage the music with over- zealousness or blandness. They're music showcases their inspirations like the Go-Go's, The Flirts, and The Ronettes, but without any appolgies. They capture their influences brassy allure, and artistic charm, although some of their material is somewhat bizarre ("HTML," "Wet Dream"), but awkwardly funny, and yes, easy to dance to! "Motorscooter" and "Rocker Girl" sound like a danceable slices of Summer, like something kitschy, and rockin' that The B-52's should be doing (when are they going to put a new album out and tour)? Overall, fancier or more rugged production would reduce the group's amateurish appeal, and obscure their quirky personalities, and superb songwriting talents.

THE HOT TODDIES are one of those bands that you know would just sound and look great live. And just to show you that The Hot Toddies mean business, the last song "Ocean," has three-part harmonies (like the rest of the songs,) with just a ukulele as accompaniment; it’s a cute little ditty of a Summer beach tune. This is one cool band! - Phil Rainone - Jersey Beat

"The Hot Toddies - Smell the Mitten"

"If you want to hear the honest truth about girls being bad and horny, pick up The Hot Toddies' first full-length release, Smell the Mitten. These four girls from Oakland tackle topics such as wet dreams, online sex predators and photosynthesis all covered by happy harmonies. "I miss my boy when I'm in Seattle/ I'd like to ride him like a horse without a saddle/ I'd like to spank him with a big wooden paddle," the girls sing ever so sweetly on "Seattle". Not only are their lyrics entertaining, they have talent to boot. Made up of drums, bass, keyboards and guitar, The Hot Toddies craft upbeat indie-pop rhythms with a dash of retro-rock and barbershop style harmonies that are almost too catchy. Oh, and they're hot too." - Synthesis Magazine


Get Your Heart On
Release date: July 2010
Asian Man Records

Smell the Mitten
Released 2007, Asian Man Records.

self-titled EP
Released 2006.



Heidi, Erin, Jessica and Sylvia have been playing music, drinking whiskey and writing songs together since the fall of 2005. Blending 60's pop, doo-wop, and beautiful harmonies, they are a fun loving group of four girls from Oakland who play drums, guitar, bass, and keyboards and sing charmingly about being bad.

The Hot Toddies have played all over the West Coast with bands like the Lawrence Arms, Northern State, Dear Nora, Street to Nowhere, The Octopus Project, Division Day, Minipop, the Morning Benders, Port O’Brien, and Audrye Sessions.

In 2009, they toured extensively in the US and the UK in support of their debut album, Smell the Mitten. Their sophomore album Get Your Heart On will be released on Asian Man Records on July 13th, 2010.