Spinster Records will host a tribute Friday to all things related to "sad dad" rock.
Curator, event planner and all-around record-slinger Kate Siamro hosts the event and says the inspiration came after, “we noticed recently that our listening parties were doing as good as our shows.”
The event is part of Spinster's Friday Night Special Series, which "is going through a ton of records of whatever is themed,” she says, meaning that attendees expect to hear recordings from Father John Misty, The National, Midlake, The War on Drugs and the godfather of sad dad music, Elliot Smith, among others.
Why is Elliot Smith considered the godfather? Siamro says Smith is known for “the saddest music for a man. He could make the most manly of men cry with his tunes."
Siamro is a big fan of the sad dad subgenre and has taken to the Spinster blog to explain it. She describes a sad dad as a “middle class to upper middle class hipster dad... He might have been in a band at one point when younger so he reminiscences to those days.”
The event is designed to champion those men and the subgenre that speaks to their heart, their dreams and their thwarted desires. Sad dad music is difficult to describe because it is amorphous and long-spanning.
According to the event page Siamro created, the true markers of the sad dad subgenre are “mumbled [lyrics], but deep in meaning. Snarky, clever, witty written lines. Lots of political or lost romance references. Genre wise you get hints of late 90s alternative rock... because nothing kicks an old emotional man's ass like nostalgia. Folk and Indie mixed in.”
It’s basically anything that you can imagine a dude in his feels jamming out to in a dark room with a glass of whiskey in his hand, a 12-pack of PBR in the fridge and some expensive coffee equipment in his house.
Friday's event is not just a record-listening party. There’s much more in store for people celebrating this oft-overlooked genre.
Attendees are encouraged to dress in their finest sad dad attire. That means Levis jackets with clean button-up shirts in plaid or a strange pattern. As for pants, participants are asked to wear well-fitted jeans or slacks. Bolo ties will be welcomed, but absolutely no fedoras. For footwear, '80s tennis shoes, light-brown Oxfords or pumas would be best.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it in costume. There is no dress code; it's meant to an homage to the men who make the music.
The Oak Cliff record store will give Pabst Blue Ribbon to guests of sad dad age and will offer discounts on sad dad records. The Spinster Records staff is still debating how to identify a sad dad record.
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“I don't want any of this to sound gender biased,” Siamro says. “I listen to lots of sad dad rock, and I'll probably come to this event in a Levis jacket and fake mustache.”
Siamro is planning a similar event for a future in celebration of women: melancholy moms. That event will feature music from the likes of PJ Harvey and Adele.
But for now, Siamro just wants people to know that it’s OK to cry, no matter who you are listening to.
“When it comes down to it,” she says, “I want people to take pride in listening to sad music. ... Listening to sad music is the best vent. Even the happiest person — the person with the white picket fence and perfect family — can be sad. they need music to vent to because anyone else would tell them, ‘Why are you upset? Your life is perfect.’”