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Each generation grapples with its own self-image and ideas of coolness as it gets older, begins to procreate, and wonders how to stay hip while pushing a baby stroller. And the current iteration of that endless cycle has, in these self-conscious and media-saturated times, begotten countless trend pieces on "hipster parents" and how the newest crop of thirtysomethings is finding new and exciting ways to be the coolest moms and dads ever and raise their kids to have the best taste in music and everything else. The long-term effects of widespread indie-rock parenting remain to be seen, although it seems doubtful that today's newborns will miraculously become the first generation in history that embraces all the music their parents force on them. But for better or worse, there's now a whole budding culture of books, music, and concerts geared toward the hipster parent, like this past Saturday's Rock-n-Romp event, at the 2640 Space in St. John's United Methodist Church, featuring music by the Baltimore shoegaze quartet

and a reading by

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author

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.

Having not experienced the joys or coolness-impairing trials of parenthood yet, we checked out the show primarily for the novelty of seeing a favorite local band play in a church at 11 a.m. And a couple of friends who were going to bring their 8-month-old had to bail at the last minute, so we got to be one of those awkward lone adults at a family-oriented event.

The

series of kid-friendly daytime concerts started in Washington but has more recently started springing up in Baltimore and other cities, with regular events at 2640. When we arrived, Pollack had just taken the podium to begin speaking with a red bull's eye adorning his forehead, apparently having already partaken in some of the face-painting offered at the event. Pollack is one of those shticky writers who runs in

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McSweeney's

circles, and he largely made his name by facetiously referring to himself as "The Greatest Living American Writer." More recently, though, he took a break from satire to author one of the many tomes on hipster parenting,

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.

Reading mainly from the book, as well as blog entries from his companion

, Pollack didn't exactly appear to be brimming with insightful or hilarious anecdotes from his adventures in parenting. In fact, a large chunk of his readings--which were peppered with four-letter words and included a drug-fueled trip to Amsterdam--had more to do with his career, openly referring to the "shtick" he previously gained notice for, than with parenting. And even the best story he recounted that was actually about parenting and music, which detailed his son's affinity for disco hits such as "Jungle Boogie" and "Play That Funky Music," didn't really have much of a hip, alternative angle to it. We may have just not been the ideal audience, as nonparents, but the kids certainly didn't appear to be paying much attention, and only a small subset of the parents not preoccupied with their tykes appeared to be enthralled.

Thankfully, Pollack's underwhelming spiel was broken up by two short sets by Thrushes, whose woozy reverb rock may or may not be ideal children's entertainment, but suited us just fine for a mellow morning concert. Ostensibly, one of the tenets of Rock-n-Romp is that the volume is a little lower than at a regular club show, for the benefit of sensitive younger eardrums, and guitarist Casey Harvey indicated that the band's upcoming show at the Ottobar would be louder. But Thrushes were never an ear-splitting shoegaze band of the My Bloody Valentine variety to begin with, and didn't sound significantly quieter on Saturday than they were the last time we saw the band.

Still, drummer Ryan Sterner, who joined the band a few months ago, spent much of the set playing with brushes and mallets. And regardless of whether that's the new drummer's normal setup or not, Sterner's light touch fit the band remarkably well. The calm heart at the center of a flurry of guitars is what Thrushes did best on their 2007 debut,

Sun Come Undone

, and hopefully the lesson they took away from this show was that the stillness and beauty of their songs isn't diminished even when they have to turn their amps down a couple notches.

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