Best Band Named After Something That Goes Great With Cream Cheese

Hot Bagels

Critics' Picks

I won't lie, when I found this band's recent debut full-length on Bandcamp, I listened to it because of their name—the album's title, Toasted, was just the schmear on top. But my amusement at Hot Bagels' silly jokes was quickly overshadowed by my love for their lo-fi rock jams. Main man Craig Woods writes catchy melodies that hook you in seconds, and he douses his poppy tracks in fuzz—my favorite songs ("Off Your Face," "I Need a Lift") burst with a sort of scuzzy, electric tension. Woods sings like a man unhinged, and for the album he recorded his vocals by screaming into his phone while driving around town looking for a job (he moved here from Philadelphia in the fall). Since pressing Toasted on vinyl in February, Woods has dropped two more great Hot Bagels releases: a cassette collection of solo material called Soft in April and an EP of the first Hot Bagels full-band recordings, Burnt, in May. I hope Woods hits a baker's dozen by the end of the year.