Stepdad: Strange Tonight EP

Stepdad continues its uninterrupted string of solid releases.


Strange Tonight EP

Label: Quite Scientific
US Release Date: 2014-03-04
UK Release Date: 2014-03-04

Michigan indietronica outfit Stepdad's first two releases, Ordinaire EP and 2012's excellent Wildlife Pop, positioned Stepdad in a specific synthpop lane, one of thumping beats, wild-eyed synthesizers and unabashed joy, the soundtrack to a chunky man in shades and an undershirt just rocking out to the beat, dancing his way to the weekend. The Strange Tonight EP manages to stay within that lane, though with a welcome hint of experimentation.

The EP's first half is pleasantly layered and recognizably Stepdad with its bassy thud, shimmering surfaces, baritone-and-falsetto vocals, and smattering of electro detritus. Elsewhere, the 8-bit power pop transmogrifies into 16-bit balladry with "It's You" and "Evening at Marie's". The latter is one of the most sober tracks in the Stepdad catalog, and the lyrics are downright personal and contemplative. Think Passion Pit's "Constant Conversations" but sped up, with a soaring red wine-doused chorus. "I see my nightmares coming true," ultramark declares, his voice clear and earnest, before a heartfelt refrain that alternates lines like "I promise I'll do what I can" and "I'm just a man" with "keep the devil out of my hands". It's a step away from the high-flying over-the-topness of "My Leather, My Fur, My Nails", but it works, and the second half of Strange Tonight demonstrates the wide potential for Stepdad's aesthetic, even if it doesn't quite capture the overall joyfulness of previous releases.

This is Stepdad's third offering in 4 years and, so far, their record is spotless. There's not a bad release among them, which should be grounds enough for a half dozen Grammys and a stint as Seth Meyers' house band.





How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?


The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.


'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.


​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.


Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.


Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.


Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.


Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.