the Shaggs and Thee Headcoatees filtered through riot grrrl and singing about the joys of candy, dancing, and teen-centric romance, Hotpants Romance hail from Manchester in Northwest England, and have added a welcome dose of Girl Power to a local music scene often overflowing with testosterone. Bassist Lowri Evans and guitarist Laura Skilbeck first hatched the idea for Hotpants Romance in 2003; the concept was a band playing lo-fi pop music and performing in public only once a year, on Valentine's Day. The nascent group's first attempts at making music were so dispiriting that Evans and Skilbeck had all but given up on the notion when they got a call from a friend at Manchester's Tiger Lounge on the early afternoon of Valentine's Day 2005 -- a band had dropped off the bill for the evening, and would Hotpants Romance be willing to take their place? Kate Armitage, a pal who sang with the band Airforce Amy, was persuaded to play drums, and after a couple hours of practice for Evans and Skilbeck and a mere 30 minutes for the full trio, Hotpants Romance played their debut gig that evening and went over with flying colors. Word soon spread about Hotpants Romance and the group quickly turned their back on their vow to play only on February 14. After a handful of live gigs, Hotpants Romance recorded and self-released a 7" EP called Hits!, and the band's raucous, lo-fi sound and their upfront sense of humor (which included wearing hot pants for every show) helped make them the talk of the Manchester music scene. The independent Big Print label struck a deal with Hotpants Romance and their first album, It's a Heatwave, hit stores in early 2008. In the summer of 2008, Hotpants Romance packed their bags and headed to the United States for their first American concert tour.