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When you think of kid’s music, what do you see? Freddy Spaghetti, Raffi? A jaded hipster in a colorful costume alluding to some bizarre form of Brazilian Anime? Or some shyster trying to mesmerize infants into action like Mogatu hypnotizing Derek Zoolander?
Rolie Polie Guacamole skips stones over those clichés and splash onto the scene with a technically savvy and imaginative sound that speaks to children and reminds their parents of the golden age of 1990s music. Rock steady, ska, pop punk, and grunge all make appearances in the liner notes that accompany Rolie Polie Guacamole’s catalogue.
That’s not to say that Rolie Polie Guacamole are dark and brooding; in reality the band provides the type of positive energy and accessibility that most people wish were more prevalent throughout the indie music landscape. When one confronts the messages that are bombarding the public through the greater rock genre, it is hard not to be taken aback by the superficiality and baseness that permeates the culture. That is exactly why it was such a pleasure to spend some time with the guys from Guacamole.
If you haven’t seen Rolie Polie Guacamole’s new video, “Fire Truck”, I suggest you head to YouTube or the band’s website and check it out immediately. It combines the vintage toys and stop-motion animation of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken with the wholesomeness of Mr. Rogers. Frank Gallo, the lead singer/guitarist, shot and edited this video himself. He developed the video with the concept that lo-fi is more fun. Like the band’s live shows, the joyfulness behind the scenes shows through this video, making it an excellent example of the type of content that they are putting out into the world.
We were lucky enough to have Rolie Polie Guacamole come by the WERS studio and they treated us to a few of their songs, including one from their new album, Houses of the Mole. First up was “Wake Up Shake Up.” This song is an energetic, morning anthem. It is recorded in a more traditional manner, however in its live execution it gets you moving with pseudo-ska upbeat matched with a rhythmic bass line that is reminiscent of Sublime at its best.
Next up was “Botanical Garden.” This song will win you over immediately by mentioning that in 1897 New York created a public park in Manhattan. The song progresses into a charming, folkish exploration of the gardens and all the plant life that reside there. It is songs like this that remind you that you are listening to Berkeley-trained musicians who know their craft well. They segue from calliope-esque melodies into an almost “Rawhide” chorus that keeps you amused and tapping your foot.
Rolie Polie Guacamole hasn’t launched a full-fledged PR campaign. Like healthy vegetables, they are relying on local organic growth to spread their music to the people. They will be touring the Northeast all summer and making a special trip out to Seattle for PEP-Sapalooza in August in addition to regular tour dates, so see if they’re coming near you soon!