It’s a struggle most of us have experienced with our families, at least to some degree – the parents think the kids’ music is unlistenable garbage, and the kids think their parents’ music was recorded by the first dinosaurs to ever hold guitars. But when you find those rare few bands that occupy the middle ground between everyone’s tastes, it’s a special moment that brings the family together way better than getting a pet fish ever could. (Seriously, you can’t cuddle a fish. Not even a cuddlefish. Who thought that was a good idea?) In this two-part edition of the Tuesday Ten, we take a look at some of these artists, starting with the bands from your collection that your parents can get down to.
Check back tomorrow for part 2!
My dad and I have this ritual where every special occasion I buy him new records to–as he puts it–“keep him up to date”. This involves a lot of hunting around my local record store trying to find suitable, appropriate, non-profane… “dad” music. Normally I go for a few middle-of-the-road records and one “wildcard” album. This past Christmas I decided to test the waters and got him The 1975’s self-titled album as his “wildcard”, because they’re a band capable of bridging the gap between past and future. The 1975 are rock and roll’s hottest new kids on the block, and they’ll bring those glory days of 80s music back to your parents. They’re not too moshpit-inducing, but they’re upbeat enough to make sure everyone is tapping along. For me, their synth-heavy rhythms are incredibly catchy and they’re a different voice cutting through all the noise out there. For my dad, they’re a fun jam that brings hints of nostalgia and those fantastic, long-winded stories from “back when I was young”. For the both of us, they’re something new we can agree on. At least when we ride around in the car with the windows down, he can blast out something much less embarrassing now. And fortunately, any profanity is generally marred by Matt Healy’s mumbling vocals, so they’re pretty parent-friendly, and a good time is guaranteed for all. (Alex Bear)
While my mother drives her BMW and blasts Ted Nugent’s “Free For All” like a scene from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, my Dad is marking his calendar to see Jackson Browne perform a solo show at the Palace Theater. Together, they will hold each other’s hands in the car while singing along to early Counting Crows and Alanis Morisette records, bonding over their secret love for 90’s “adult alternative.” Although their musical tastes seem conflicting, it’s evident they both love a few things in particular: inner monologue, honesty, and raw emotion. This is why Bright Eyes would be an ideal choice for them. They can rock like The Eagles and croon like James Taylor. Conor Oberst gets extremely personal in his songwriting, and instrumentation can range from a full band arrangement with Oberst shouting about the woes of our society, to a lone desperate acoustic guitar as he cries about giving away something you love. Although Bright Eyes sports a folky/emo vibe that would mainly please my father, there is so much punk rock undertone and angst that my mom could get into with no hesitation. Bright Eyes has just the right touch of minimalism, emotion, and story telling that my parents would fall in love with. They also have a sense of youth and sincerity, and a bare bones approach that would remind my parents of growing up and having very little, but making every bit count. (Ethan Rose)
Death Cab For Cutie
My dad may have grown up on the best rock n roll the 60’s and 70’s had to offer, but thanks to artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, he developed a taste for the gentler side of music as well. So while four guys from Seattle who brought the term “indie rock” to the mainstream might seem out of place with the rest of his favorite artists, it actually makes more sense than you may initially think. Death Cab For Cutie’s tunes have an intimacy that rivals folk music’s greatest songwriters, with a level of energy that’s perfect for someone whose ears are a little damaged from too many loud shows back in the day–upbeat (at least on the less sad songs) yet subdued. When Transatlanticism comes on, my dad gets swept up in such a trance that I think he briefly forgets who Robert Plant is. Or maybe that’s just Alzheimers gradually setting in, eh Dad? After all, “our youth is fleeting and old age is just around the bend”. Whatever the reason behind it, Death Cab are one of the few bands from my record collection to get the elusive fatherly stamp of approval, and that makes them an even rarer treasure than their incredible discography does. (Eleanor Grace)
The Gaslight Anthem
To say that my mom is a fan of Bruce Springsteen would be an insult to understatements. Growing up, our drink coasters had pictures of his Born In The USA album cover (my friends who visited called them “butt coasters”), we celebrated The Boss’ birthday every year, and my mom owned Springsteen biographies written in Italian. Spoiler: she doesn’t speak Italian. Although I never got into Bruce the way my mom did, there must be something in my genes, because when The Gaslight Anthem came onto the scene, I was all over them. The Gaslight Anthem garner frequent comparisons to Springsteen, a connection that is likely overused in their minds. They are very much their own band. Yes, Brian Fallon’s gruff voice spins songs about blue collar lifestyles and glory days, but The Gaslight Anthem also entertain a much grittier appeal. They offer a more modern sound for those familiar lyrical themes. With multiple albums and EPs that offer a steady progression with just the right amount of musical growth, The Gaslight Anthem have made themselves a band who’s easy to fall in love with. And although my mother could never personally compare Mr. Springsteen to another band, she has admitted to enjoying The Gaslight Anthem when I put them on in the car from time to time. With their new album Hurt coming out in a couple months, it might be the perfect present to kickstart her new obsession. (Alyssa Dempsey)
Jimmy Eat World
My dad’s music tastes are all over the board–jazz, classical, blues, opera–but he also really likes rock music. He listened to Led Zeppelin in college and I’ve heard the story about seeing Pink Floyd live in Los Angeles a hundred times. While he loves those old songs from his era, my dad surprisingly likes modern rock artists like Muse and Young the Giant, too. Anything with a catchy chorus and a killer guitar riff has him hooked. When Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” started getting radio play, we both were instant fans. Bleed American was the first Jimmy CD I ever bought. I distinctly remember lying on my bedroom floor and listening through the whole album on my first stereo, which actually first belonged to my dad from 1988. More recently, I had my first taste of speyside scotch with my dad after hearing the lyric from “Bleed American” instructing to “clear your thoughts with speyside.” I nearly spat it back it out and he told me it was an “acquired taste.” Whatever it is, it can stay in the song as far as I’m concerned.
I never thought we would share so many favorite artists, but Dad has been on my side of the music spectrum for as long as I can remember. He’s listened to and appreciated my favorite bands with me, although maybe without my level of obsession. I owe my love of good music to my dad, and I couldn’t be happier. (Hannah Pierangelo)
I used to politely listen along when my son played Linkin Park, but I hadn’t really caught the LP bug like he had. From the age of about 11 he was a huge fan, I was a casual listener. One year I even caused him to miss their set at Bamboozle–a sin for which I may never be forgiven. But, around this same time I started to fall in love with the Transformers movies (okay, not the second one) and I fell equally in love with the movie soundtracks. I can’t even look at a bright yellow Camero without hearing Linkin Park playing in my head! Their song Iridescent especially resonates with me and I guess you could say this was the song that “transformed” me into a true fan. Who hasn’t felt alone and desperate and wanted to just “let it gooooo”? Today, I’ve truly become a fan and now I’m just as upset we missed them at Bamboozle as my son is. (Cynthia Tenicela, resident idobi mom)
Anyone who knows me even at a basic level would probably know that I’m a pretty huge fan of California seven-piece The Mowgli’s, but what you wouldn’t know is that I’m not the only one in my family who is — my mom may just be an even bigger fan of them than myself! Not only did she pick up their debut album Waiting for the Dawn the day it came out (in case you were wondering who still buys CDs, it’s parents), but a few months later she made the four and a half hour trek up to the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis to see them and Family of the Year with me. My mom was never too big of a fan of the emo music I listened to in my younger days (Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, etc.) which I think is why The Mowgli’s appeal to her so much. They radiate sunny, positive vibes with every track on the album, not just in the music they craft but in the entire mentality of the band; the “Be a Mowgli” campaign showcases individuals who do great things in the world through the @beamowgli Instagram account. They’re one of the most positive-thinking, fun bands in the scene right now — a few members even texted my mom “Merry Christmas” for the holiday — and it’s that free-spirited living that makes them appeal not just to my generation, but older ones too. The family that listens to The Mowgli’s together stays together. We feel the love, and we think you will too! (Tarynn Law)
The Summer Set
In my house, May means one thing and one thing alone – it’s time to pick our beloved summer CD. The album that we will consequently play, and overplay, over the next three months of sunshine and 80 degree weather. Finding an album that everyone agrees on is no easy feat, and that album being from a band in my music scene is almost an impossibility – with one exception. The Summer Set. Everyone can agree that there’s something infectious about the pop rock group, which is exactly what led to Legendary being the official summer CD of the Marvel household, circa 2013. Even more shocking is that my mom is the biggest supporter of the band, aside from myself. While we agree on some genres of music, this is usually not one of them. Maybe her love of The Summer Set stems from the fact that she’s still “hangin’ tough” with New Kids On The Block, and that boybander background attracts her to the bright tracks. Whatever the reason, it’s led to many days being spent driving around with “Maybe Tonight” blasting through the car speakers, and plenty of pool days being aided by the soundtrack of “Jukebox”. The Summer Set have single handedly defied the odds and created a piece of art that not only my mom and I agree on, but that my sisters can rock to as well. They’re even excited to see the band on Vans Warped Tour this year. Long story short: The Summer Set have restored my faith in miracles. (Emillie Marvel)
This Wild Life
My parents are all about calm, mellow music. Anything that sounds the least bit aggressive with a few too many electric guitars or a rhythm faster than a resting heartbeat makes them uncomfortable. This means they hated all the pop punk music I was getting into as I grew up. Every time I get to choose the music in the car, my mom complains about getting a headache. Acoustic duo This Wild Life form the perfect compromise. The tempo never moves too fast, but the catchy melodies still manage to hold your attention. Kevin Jordan’s effortlessly smooth vocals are sure to charm any parent, and the acoustic strumming won’t force my mom to have to knock down a couple Advils to get through their album. If you needed any more persuasion, Jordan himself once claimed that this was the only band he’s played in that his mom actually likes. Just make sure to listen through and remove any of the songs with F-bombs from your playlist, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a family road trip without your parents constantly turning down the volume. (Catherine Yi)
Tokyo Police Club
You’ve probably done the same thing I do, perhaps sometime as a teenager. When the parents aren’t home, you run into your room and turn your favorite record all the way up. One of my favorites would have to be Tokyo Police Club’s Elephant Shell, the band’s first studio album and debut. Undoubtedly, it was my pick as I watched my mom’s car pull out of the driveway and rumble down the road one afternoon. In the sanctity of my own room, I held my hairbrush as if it were a microphone (cliche, I know) and sang to David Monks’s crooning vocals, as if I had an audience of my own. The record is simple and minimalistic, without guitar or bass lines that build and would otherwise weigh the songs down with excess filler. Elephant Shell feels honest and youthful. The perfect example of this is the opening track “Centennial,” with steady drumming that emphasizes the uncertain yet impeccable lyrics. I was in the middle of singing along to the opener when suddenly the bedroom door swung open–it turned out my mom had forgotten her bag and ended up being an audience of one instead. Maybe it was the buoyant vocals that drew her in, or the modest guitar work, or the subtly energetic vibe the record carried. More likely, it was a combination of all of the above…well, who could blame her for being a little late for a Book Club meeting? About half an hour later, as the final notes of the album rang out, my mom and I exchanged lighthearted glances. This time around, when the record started itself over again, it wasn’t just me singing along, but also my mom humming in harmony to little bits and pieces. (Emily Yee)