Stepdad is a prime example of how to organically grow a band. Now based in Grand Rapids, Mich., the group began in Chicago circa 2009 as an Electro Pop duo, when roommates Ryan McCarthy and Mark Tafel — doing business as “ultramark” — found common musical ground and began writing songs together.
After relocating to Grand Rapids, McCarthy and ultramark recorded their 2010 debut EP, Ordinaire, in McCarthy’s bedroom, which they self-released through Bandcamp, ultimately expanding Stepdad with an actual band lineup. Ordinaire racked up a ton of positive critical response and, in 2011, Stepdad signed with Quite Scientific, which reissued Ordinaire with a pair of bonus tracks. Last year the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to bankroll their Chris Zane-produced full-length debut, Wildlife Pop, released on former Passion Pit multi-instrumentalist Ayad Al Adhamy’s Black Bell label. The powerful yet infinitely danceable Wildlife Pop was met with the same exultant accolades that were lavished upon Ordinaire and Stepdad’s exposure was heightened with the inclusion of “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails” in the series finale of Showtime’s Weeds.
With tour response reaching a fever pitch and new material working its way into recent sets, Stepdad and its “8-bit Power Pop” could be the breakout sensations of the new year.
STEPDAD plays a free show with Halvsies Thursday, Nov. 14 at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Check out performance times and get venue details here .