10 Indie Rock Acts Your Dad Might Enjoy


Here’s the deal: It’s the Wednesday before Father’s Day. You need to get your present to dad in the mail stat, but you haven’t even found out yet. Since it’s probably too late to order one of the items from our gift guide, why not go down to the music store and thoughtfully pick out an album you think your old man might like? Instead of resorting to yet another Beatles box set, we think it’s high time to get Dad interested in something new. So, after the jump, we’ve put together a quick guide to finding a current indie-rock band your father will enjoy, based on the ’60s and ’70s acts he loves best.

If your dad likes Bob Dylan…

… try the Mountain Goats

Why he’ll like it: Mountain Goats mastermind John Darnielle is the best lyricist of his generation, with a keen eye for detail, a novelist’s talent for character development, a knack for social commentary, and a somewhat non-traditional singing voice. Sound familiar?

Suggested albums: Tallahassee (2003), The Sunset Tree (2005), All Eternals Deck (2011)

If your dad likes Joni Mitchell…

… try Joanna Newsom

Why he’ll like it: People thought Joni Mitchell sounded weird when she first came out, so if he acclimated to that, we’re sure he can get used to Joanna Newsom’s crackly, high-pitched voice. These smart ladies are known for taking the folk form to new places, so if your dad’s an open-minded type, Newsom is sure to show him something he hasn’t seen before.

Suggested albums: The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004), Ys (2006), Have One On Me (2010)

If your dad likes Johnny Cash…

… try Justin Townes Earle

Why he’ll like it: Your dad must identify with the rebels of roots music — so don’t go buying him some Lady Antebellum CD. Justin Townes Earle, son of outlaw country legend Steve Earle, is much more his speed. Did we mention he was arrested in Nashville last fall for battery, public drunkenness, and resisting arrest? Your pops’ll love him!

Suggested albums: Midnight at the Movies (2009)

If your dad likes The Eagles…

…try Grizzly Bear

Why he’ll like it: America’s great soft-rock band was California through and through. Grizzly Bear come from Brooklyn, but their gentle melodies are so peaceful and sun-kissed, you’d never know it.

Suggested albums: Yellow House (2006), Veckatimest (2009)

If your dad likes Prince…

… try of Montreal

Why he’ll like it: Prince has been a major influence for of Montreal frontman and songwriter Kevin Barnes on his past several albums, which boldly plumb the depths of psychosexual crisis. The music is funky, androgynous, genre-busting — and you probably won’t want to over-analyze why your dad’s so into it.

Suggested albums: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (2007), False Priest (2010)

If your dad likes the Beach Boys…

… try Panda Bear

Why he’ll like it: Panda Bear takes inspiration from the Beach Boys’ songs of sun and surf, building those melodies out of tons of tiny samples and adding plainspoken lyrics that dissect 21st-century life and relationships. Accept no chillwave imitations.

Suggested albums: Person Pitch (2007)

If your dad likes girl groups…

… try Hunx and His Punx

Why he’ll like it: If he dug the Shangri-Las (pictured) and the Ronettes back in the ’60s, then we’re sure he’ll be into Hunx and His Punx — the Gravy Train!!!! offshoot that bills itself as the world’s first male-fronted girl group. Well, assuming he’s progressive enough to appreciate love songs written from one man to another.

Suggested album: Too Young to Be in Love (2011)

If your dad likes the bands on Nuggets…

… try the Beets

Why he’ll like it: Who said lo-fi was dead? If your dad is into the low-budget, ’60s garage bands that made it onto Lenny Kaye’s essential Nuggets collection, we’re sure he’ll get a kick out of the catchy-as-hell, vintage-sounding slacker rock of Brooklyn’s the Beets.

Suggested album: Stay Home (2011)

If your dad likes James Brown…

… try Janelle Monáe

Why he’ll like it: James Brown wasn’t just a master of funk and soul; he was also a weird freaking guy. While she doesn’t strike us as even a little bit nuts, Janelle Monáe has a thing for infusing Brown’s chosen genres with a generous dash of eccentricity — think sci-fi story lines, outrageous costumes, and performances that would make the Hardest Working Man in Show Business stand up and cheer.

Suggested album: The ArchAndroid (2010)

If your dad likes Paul Simon…

… try tUnE-yArDs

Why he’ll like it: Sure, Vampire Weekend are the go-to indie band known for picking up where Paul Simon left off in incorporating African pop sounds into Western rock. But we have to say, we prefer tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus, who manages to incorporate those influences into a mix so singular it’s difficult to accuse her of thoughtless re-appropriation.

Suggested album: w h o k i l l (2011)