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New Music Discovery: Radical Dads

December 20, 2013

This is “What’s Making Me Happy This Week,” a weekly feature inspired by the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

What’s Making Me Happy This Week is the discovery of Brooklyn-based indie rock band Radical Dads. What makes me happy about this band in particular is not just their music – which is really good – but the way they’ve come together. The band consists of three friends, all married with children and in their mid-30s: drummer Robbie Guertin (guitarist for the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), guitarist/lead vocalist Lindsay Baker, and guitarist Chris Diken. The three met and became musical friends back in the late ’90s but only decided to start a band in 2008 and not putting out a debut album (Mega Rama) until 2011. What kept them so busy until then? Well, for Baker, it was her role as a 3rd grade teacher! (Which she still is.)

Radical Dads new album, Rapid Reality (listen below), has a bit of that ’90s charm – you can tell it was put together by people who were influenced my music from that era. There is ample distortion and lo-fi-ness throughout. Aside from that though, this isn’t a ’90s sound. The band is distinctly modern in their fun lyrics, super-high energy level and general upbeat sound. I am as big a fan of distortion-led guitars as anyone, but I’ll be the first to admist that too often it is coupled with an overall sadness to the music. Obviously this was true with the grunge bands (Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc.) but it was also true for most indie rock bands that believed noise was where it’s at (I’m looking at you Sonic Youth). You could be uplifted by this kind of music, but I wouldn’t call it fun. Radical Dads is fun.

So what does a fun indie band that features a 3rd grade teacher do on a Sunday morning? Naturally, they play for kids. At least that’s what they did last Sunday, when they played a Kidrockers show at Brooklyn Bowl (together with Small Black). Radical Dads played 3 songs for the kids (with warm support from Baker’s students), finishing up with their single “Skateboard Bulldog” (legal and free download here). Listen to this song and I think you’ll get a sense for why I’m so excited about this little rock band that could. Luckily for me, after the show I got to speak a little bit with Robbie and Chris while picking up a vinyl copy of Rapid Reality. They were both as nice and down to earth as I hoped and expected them to be. Chris took his time to tell me all about the famous bulldog. When they do some shows in Brooklyn for grown-ups (which they promised to do again soon) I’ll be sure to be there in support. After all, it’s loud and fun!

And What’s Making Me Happy This Week.

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More Radical Dads music, including a few free downloads, can be found here.

A profile of the band appeared in the Village Voice.

Photos from the Kidrockers show (by Maryanne Ventrice) can be found here, while photos from the band’s various non-kids Brooklyn shows can be found here.

Radical Dads – Skateboard Bulldog

Radical Dads – Rapid Reality

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