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New Hampshire’s COOL PARENTS brings back nostalgia-soaked pop punk/powerpop on their new album “Who Cares?”

13 mins read

With 16 jams about ghosts, bigfoots, draculas, clickbait, 3D Doritos, “Who Cares?” by COOL PARENTS may sound a bit like a modern version of tongue-in-cheek pop punk acts (think super early Blink-182), but it’s way more than just that.  Designed to keep the tone light and put smiles on faces, the band’s nostalgia-soaked powerpop is built on catchy party jams with infectious hooks that will be stuck in your head for weeks on end whether you like it or not!  These fellas also have a weekly comedy podcast featuring Curtis and Justin that drops every Wednesday! Today, we’re giving you a full profile of the band through their own words, including their backgrounds, more insiights about “Who Cares?”, their take on COVID-19 pandemic, local music scene and loads of other artists worth a check.

The album officially came out on April 20th, 2020. This is the bandโ€™s first vinyl and cassette release. It’s available to stream and download on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Physical copies available on cassette (courtesy of Bitter Hearts Records) and vinyl (self release).

For fans of: early Blink-182, The Lillingtons, Weezer, Alkaline Trio.


Recorded by Ryan Stack at The Noise Floor in Dover, NH. Mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East. Album art by Curtis Charles. Cool Parents is: Justin Furtak – Vocals/Guitar, Curtis Charles – Bass, Nick Avery – Drums, Mike Norton – Guitar

Justin Furtak (lead vocals, guitar) comments on how the band came to be:

โ€œIn 2015 I had been playing in shitty hardcore bands for 7 years and decided it was time to do something else. After a long night of drinking boxed wine with a friend I picked up my acoustic guitar and improvised a very simple song called “Skateboarding and My Girlfriend.” It got a laugh from my friend so I started writing these silly pop punk songs about being 13. I always found it funny that Blink-182 was writing songs about high school when they were in their late 20’s, so I took it a step further and started writing songs about all the things I loved in middle school but when I was 24/25. Then one night I ran into Curtis, whom I hadn’t seen in a couple years, at a party and I played a couple of my joke songs and people laughed. That night we decided to do something with them and over the course of a few months we recorded some poor quality demos with god awful programmed drums and put it up on Bandcamp. These songs were not good by any means but they were catchy as hell and for whatever reason when we posted them there was a small demand for us to re-record the album with a full band. So we went into the studio with some reluctant musicians we knew, recorded it, put it up on bandcamp and played a few small basement shows. That was it for a while. There never was a real lineup at that point and reliable drummers are very hard to come by so it just sat in limbo for a long time. We tried out 2 drummers and tried to keep it going, but they both bailed on us so we just dropped it for a while. During the time away I started playing a lot of music with Mike. We both had tons of ideas and we’d record riffs on our phones and expand on those, but we never had any real direction until I asked him to join CoolParents. Shortly after Mike invited his cousin Nick to join the band, I moved in with Curtis, and we were off to the races writing tons of demos for what would eventually become our new record “Who Cares?” and everybody lived happily ever after.โ€


Curtis Charles (bass) adds:

โ€œIโ€™ve played bass since middle school but very rarely played with anyone until Justin came up with the concept for Cool Parents somewhere around 2015. I happened to have some rudimentary recording knowledge, so I started recording demos with him. The whole thing was really just a joke at the time, but then we slowly started taking it more seriously. Never too seriously though. My contributions to the band expanded and I started writing a lot of the lyrics while Justin handled the musical side. I also dabble in visual arts such as graphic design and videography so I naturally incorporated those interests into the bandโ€™s overall image by making show fliers, artwork, music videos, etc. Early on in the process, Justin moved in with me and we started the Cool Parents Podcast, a comedy podcast that we release every Wednesday to this day. A lot of our song ideas actually come from bits weโ€™ve done on the podcast. So, between Cool Parents the band and the podcast, I stay very busy and I love it!โ€

Mike Norton (guitar, backup vocals):

โ€œI started with the band in 2016-2017 area. Justin and I have always written music together on the side. We really didnโ€™t have any direction for any of it. Oi songs, Weezer covers, and plenty of phone recordings of any riff that sounded good to us. While we were sending songs to each other, I was playing bass in the Black Metal/Crust band Ramlord. That time was definitely one of the best experiences of my life, but eventually we called it a day. Once there was an opening for guitar in Cool Parents I hopped on. It wasnโ€™t a challenge to write or play anything since Justin and I had been doing that together for years. There were only pluses. I guess the toughest thing was now we had to throw shit away if we felt it wasnโ€™t good enough. Everything was good enough before then. We needed a drummer next. Justin asked if I knew anyone who could play with our style. I mentioned that my cousin is a great drummer but lives in Portland, ME. I never thought heโ€™d be down to drive that distance on top of work and school. I messaged Nick about coming down twice a month and he said he could do it once a week! I was pumped. The first practice we had as a unit made it even more clear he was absolutely the drummer for the role.โ€

Nick Avery (drums):

โ€œ I started playing drums around 2006-2007, but I didnโ€™t really take drumming seriously until co-forming the band Machete (2010-2017) with some friends based in New Hampshire. We started the band as a homage to the movie โ€˜MACHETEโ€ featuring the legend Danny Trejo. It was stoner thrash metal in the vein of Soundgarden and Queens of the Stoneage. We basically wanted that Palm Desert scene sound that happened in the early โ€˜90s. Kyuss, shit like that, with some heavy fast riffage. We recorded one live album with Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios in 2014. I was living in Portland, Maine for the majority of the band’s duration. Making an hour and a half commute to practice and schedule conflicts a difficult task. This project eventually fizzled out around 2017. It was good timing to get a text from my cousin, Mike, saying he was in this band called Cool Parents and they were looking for a drummer. I am pretty sure I immediately said yes without even knowing what the band sounded like. Growing up and seeing him play guitar at family parties and discussing music, I was quick to learn we had very similar taste in music. I figured that any band that he was a part of would be fun to back. Plus he is family, which is a bonus. I then watched the music video for โ€œPizza Partyโ€ and immediately knew it would be a perfect fit. It had that perfect skate-punk blend of Blink-182 and Weezer with the lyrical genius of Tenacious D. Making my hasty decision to join all the better. Mike then got me in touch with Justin to talk about new material they have been working on. He sent me some demos they recorded, which I would listen to and learn over the next week or so we could jam them at their next practice. I got together with them in their jam space and it felt pretty seamless, like weโ€™ve already been jamming for awhile. I guess the rest is โ€˜Who Cares?โ€™. Ba-dum-tsss*โ€

The new record was released on April 20th, 2020 on vinyl, digital, and cassette. Itโ€™s called โ€œWho Cares?โ€ and features 16 tracks. It was engineered by Ryan Stack at The Noise Floor in Dover, NH and mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East. The cover art was designed by Curtis Charles.

Writing this was just straight-up fun. Roller skating, ghosts, Draculas, and mob killings. What more could you need?

The album was conceived over the course of nearly three years. Three of the tracks were written and recorded acoustically for a Halloween demo/EP called โ€œShadow Boys from Heckโ€ that was released in 2018 and then reworked for electric studio versions to be included on the full-length. Those three tracks were Smorgasbord of Orbs, I Was a Teenage Dracula, and Martians in the Backyard. A few non-spooky songs were written before that and the rest spread out over the time between releases.

Aside from the Halloween songs, the themes and styles throughout the album are super varied. All this while maintaining a sense of light-heartedness and humor. Some of the songs were even written from the perspective of the teenaged trouble-making slacker that lives in us all. He just wants to skateboard and break dadโ€™s rules!

๐ป๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’โ€™๐‘  ๐‘Ž ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘› ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘˜:

1. Apology – a break-up song. Straight forward melodic punk with a goofy bluegrass intro.

2. WebMD is Trying to Kill Me – rhis songโ€™s about anxiety caused by self-diagnosis of health issues via the internet.

3. Roller Dance – a roller skating anthem.

4. Crazy If True – this oneโ€™s all about click bait ads on the internet. It definitely shows the most Weezer influence on the record.

5. Pixie Cut – a synth-led power-pop ode to a favorite androgynous hairstyle.

6. I Was a Teenage Dracula – this songโ€™s all about being a teen Dracula in love.

7. Martians in the Backyard – the band possibly at its most puerile, this one was inspired by getting fingered by aliens.

8. Smorgasbord of Orbs – Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel inspired this song. Itโ€™s all about hunting ghosts with โ€œthe boys.โ€

9. I Got Eaten by a Bigfoot – self-explanatory

10. Nacho Business – this little ditty is a love song written for 3D Doritos. Remember them?

11. VHS – this song is about hanging out with your girlfriend inside all summer long

12. Happy Days – actor Clint Howard is a long-held obsession of ours. This song is about stealing his nudes.

13. Burger Girl – this one is very Blink-182.

14. I Wanna Join the Mob – being poor sucks and sometimes you have to wonder if organized crime is worth getting into.

15. Alone at the Movies – this was written as a podcast theme for a podcast of the same name, but we loved it so much it made the album. It has a heavy doo-wop influence.

16. Prom – This songโ€™s about being an outcast at your junior prom.

Plans for 2020 and current pandemic situation

Weโ€™ll definitely do what we can. Weโ€™re always writing and always planning! We canโ€™t rule out another Halloween EP. We pride ourselves on our holiday spirit. Maybe weโ€™ll just chat roulette a live set, if chat roulette still exists?

The first few months of 2020 were super productive! We were playing shows consistently and had some cool things in the works but the pandemic hit and brought that to a standstill. We’re still planning on putting out some more music videos to support the album and possibly the Halloween EP, but we’ll have to see what happens. Curtis and Justin host a weekly podcast under the Cool Parents name and made a short movie called “Polterguys” last year, based on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures. Polterguys 2 is definitely coming in October!

It took us 3 years to get our new album out due to setbacks that were out of our control and once we finally announced the release date and played a few shows the pandemic hit, so that sucks. There was no way we were going to delay putting it out any longer than we already had. We have a few new songs written and we’ll keep writing demos until we’re able to jam together again. We like to take things pretty slow anyway and try to have as little filler as possible, at least in our minds. I’m dying to practice and play shows again but Dr. Fauci says “absolutely not.”

We even had to cancel our band photo shoot, hence the lack of any real group photos. I swear weโ€™re not cartoons like those Gorillaz boys. I donโ€™t want to sound like a car ad, but as far as the band goes we have to be creative with how we share and communicate. If this was 20 years ago weโ€™d be mailing burned CDs, but now we can get sound to an audience so easily. Mosh in your living room! Youโ€™re not alone!

Dover, New Hampshire music scene

There used to be a pretty decent local punk scene in Dover, NH but it kind of died out a few years back, or at least slowed down. We don’t know exactly where we fit in, we’re still trying to figure that out. We’ve played basements, backyards, a high school graduation party, a wedding, bars, etc. It doesn’t really matter to us, and it doesn’t matter what the other bands/acts on the bill sound like. In 2019 we played a few shows where the acts were predominantly hip-hop and they were great! We don’t want to limit ourselves to just playing punk shows because that gets boring quickly.

๐‘€๐‘–๐‘ฅ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘ก’๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘ก!

There is too much division in the local music scene, that’s why every couple of years it seems to fizzle out. Hoping when this pandemic is over our local music communities will come together and support each other.

๐ป๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐ท๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ, ๐‘๐ป-๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘ก๐‘  ๐‘ค๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘—๐‘œ๐‘ฆ:

Green Bullets – sweet, sweet music. If you want to wear anything stitched post-1974 while listening to them, thatโ€™s your business and frankly thatโ€™s offensive. (Check out โ€œSlow Downโ€ and โ€œFrida Kahloโ€™s Pop Songโ€ on Spotify)

Rayโ€™s Occult – Tight, catchy, and fun as hell. You want to be friends with these guys. (Check out โ€œTherapy and Cigarettesโ€ on Spotify)

Dead Trains – Unreal live. Itโ€™s a three piece blues rock fiesta that makes you wanna tiesomeone to the tracks. (Check out their new release โ€œRide on, Billโ€ and the two previous releases as well. Seriously so good.)

Eyenine – A hip-hop workhorse and absolute NE mainstay. Heโ€™s been affiliated with the best, works with the best, and is the best. (Check out โ€œA Reason For Departureโ€)

๐‘€๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘  ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘š ๐‘๐‘–๐‘๐‘˜โ€™๐‘  ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘›๐‘’:

Jared Fairfield (Portland, Maine) – Ambient Synth Dream Pop

This dude is an angel sent from heaven. Unfortunately, I donโ€™t believe he is writing or pursuing music at the moment, but highly recommend checking out his whole discography. Starting with โ€œThe Protecting Cloak.โ€

Greasy Grass (Portland, Maine) – Psychedelic Dream Rock

His two-piece band embodies that early Tame Impala โ€œInnerspeakerโ€ sound. I expect some great music from these guys in the near future. Great to see live as well.

Cain / Shiver Potion (Manchester, New Hampshire) – Indie Alternative Melancholy Rock

Some friends of mine. Released a great EP โ€œActual Loveโ€ back in 2019. These guys and gal suck you into a melancholic groove that you never want to leave.

Pleasure Gap (Manchester, New Hampshire) – Indie Alternative Folk Rock

Again some friends of mine. โ€œScatterโ€ is a highly underrated album in my opinion. This band unfortunately broke up, but I would suggest giving that album a listen. The magic created between these guys needs to be heard. Theyโ€™ve got an early Radiohead โ€œThe Bends,โ€ โ€œOk Computerโ€ sound.

Mikeโ€™s Spotify Playlist:

Best song to slowly walk around your house in the dark to – โ€œNight Goatโ€ by Melvins
Best song to listen to before recording a song in your bedroom – โ€œWatch Me Jumpstartโ€ by Guided by Voices
Best song to sing to your cat while dancing – โ€œDonโ€™t Turn Your Back on Magicโ€ by Crossover
Best song for an angry shower beer (have a shower mat…) – โ€œMissing Teethโ€ by Raspberry Bulbs
Best song to listen to after watching Friday again for the third time this week – โ€œBig Wormโ€ by Maxo Kream
Best song for missing your friends – โ€œWeโ€™re Coming Backโ€ by Cock Sparrer
Best song to throw your TV out your window to – โ€œGet an Oxygen Tank/Chiller Than Most (Yo! Live version)โ€ by Mental
Best song to read a sci-fi book to – โ€œNow Iโ€™ve Gone and Done It, I Spilled Holy Water…โ€ by Sumac and Keiji Haino
Best song to fall asleep to – โ€œMaggot Brainโ€ by Funkadelic

Curtisโ€™ โ€œWTF is Spotify?โ€ Playlist:

Best song to go ape to – โ€œLALAโ€ by NOBRO
Best song to kickflip to – โ€œBorn to Die in Suburbiaโ€ by Night Birds
Best new Weezer song – โ€œBoomerangโ€ by Rozwell Kid
Best song about menstruation – โ€œF.D.P.โ€ by Tacocat
Best treble – โ€œCosmic Dancerโ€ by T-Rex
Best Alice Cooper cover – โ€œClones (Weโ€™re All)โ€ by Mose Giganticus
Best metal riff in a non-metal song – โ€œOsama bin Laden as the Crucified Christโ€ by Against Me!
Best song for driving into tornadoes – โ€œSnakes for the Divineโ€ by High on Fire
Best bassline thatโ€™ll get you pregnant – โ€œCrazy, Classic, Lifeโ€ by Janelle Monae
Best Lovecraftian punk song – โ€œPyramidsโ€ by The Lillingtons
Best pennywhistle solo – โ€œMoonage Daydreamโ€ by David Bowie
Best singalong chorus – โ€œBloody Mary Kate and Ashleyโ€ by Pup
Best album opener – โ€œIntro/Bombs Awayโ€ by Foxy Shazam
Best song for ridinโ€™ a dusty old hoss – โ€œRamblinโ€™โ€ by Murder by Death
Best guttural mouth sound before a bridge/outro – โ€œBudapest Gambitโ€ by None More Black
Best kidโ€™s song – โ€œWatch Outโ€ by 2 Chainz

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Karol Kamiล„ski

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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