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Dad rock: Parents with puppets play science-inspired songs

Brooklyn Paper
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They’ve got this music thing down to a science!

A Brooklyn duo of dads will debut a family-friendly album of indie-rock that celebrates scientific innovation with a puppet-filled rock show at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg on May 20. The papas behind the Pop Ups say that their fifth record of children’s music, “Giants of Science,” was partly inspired by the president’s dismissal of climate science — a political aspect that parents might appreciate, even if the kids do not, according to one half of the duo.

“It’s an album about scientific truths, and as much as making a science album is a political act now, then it’s political,” said Jason Rabinowitz, who lives down the block from musical partner Jacob Stein in Park Slope.

For this show, the Pop Ups will play with a five-piece band for the first time, in addition to its usual collection of puppet pals. The new indie rock and electro-pop songs explore the phenomena of light and sound and laud astronauts and astronomers, paying homage to the people and field of study that make the world go round, Stein said.

“We wanted to make an album that really celebrated science and experiment­ation,” he said.

The dad duo was inspired to create an album of scientific and technical tunes after being tapped to write the theme song for the National Public Radio children’s science podcast “Wow in the World,” which evolved into the new song “How Do We Know,” said Rabinowitz.

“We took that theme song and extrapolated it into a whole song — how do we know anything? Scientists do experiments and we accept the conclusions of multiple experiments,” he said.

The pair also followed their own interests in meteors and music to make an album that can also be interesting for listening parents.

“We looked at ideas that were interesting to us — we’re not just interested in finding things that kids would like, we think about things that would seem wild to us,” said Stein.

And an elaborate stage show will keep the concert full of surprises, he added.

“It’s based around visuals — it has puppetry, live drawings, props, and visual storytelli­ng,” said Stein. “We’re always looking for that sense of wonder, where you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

The Pop Ups at Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave. at N. 12th Street in Williamsburg, www.brooklynbowl.com). May 20 at 12:30 pm. $12.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Musical experiment: The Pop Ups will launch its fifth family-friendly album, “Giants of Science,” at Brooklyn Bowl on May 20.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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