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“New Age Dinosaur” by New York City’s Radical Dads sounds like it’s being broadcast directly from the second stage of Lollapalooza circa 1995, holding down the slot between Yo La Tengo and The Poster Children. The young trio perfectly captures the ambience of that era, when a tour package headlined by Pavement, Hole, Beck, The Jesus Lizard, and Sonic Youth could actually fill massive amphitheaters around the country.
Like many pop bands from the era that inspires them, Radical Dads wed Sonic Youth-inspired tunings and Pavement attitude to hooky, somewhat shaggy pop hooks in support of mildly Dadaist lyrics. It’s not exactly clear what the band is going on about with their talk of robotic fish being electrocuted on satellite dishes and power lunches and stuffed seagulls, but it all sounds pretty cool. “New Age Dinosaur” is a well-crafted valentine to the days when Alternative ruled the airwaves and the Flaming Lips were playing “She Don’t Use Jelly” on 90210. This is the sort of song that Angela Chase might’ve put on a mixtape for Jordan Catelano.
The bands that Radical Dads sound the most like are the ones inspired by the 1995 Lollapalooza headliners. The early/mid ’90s were a time when every college town in the country was shipping product into record stores by the truckload and it’s amazing to think back on how much of it was pretty great, even if most of the groups never broke through to headliner status. Bands like Small Factory, Majesty Crush, Eric’s Trip, St. Johnny, Hot Rod, Tsunami, Rollerskate Skinny, Joe Christmas, and Jacob’s Mouse might all be considered footnotes now, but in their era they pointed the way to the future and their echoes live on in young bands like Radical Dads.