It all started the day Anthony Babino walked into his younger brother’s room and simply said: “Here is a bass and here is a setlist—we have a gig Friday.” Up until then, the brothers had been lifelong musicians, playing and singing harmony with their father—a professional jazz musician—but had yet to find their music. Anthony had a weekly residency doing mostly covers, and Steven hadn’t even figured out what instrument best suited him. The Babino brothers were far away from the distinctive and diversely accomplished musicians they have become.
Today, Anthony and Steven are New York-based touring and recording artist,
Rebel Kicks, a rock-leaning, indie-pop band with an electronic twist. Since forming in 2018, Rebel Kicks has released a full length album, A Portrait of Man: Part 1; a live EP; and a string of singles, several of which have been featured on MTV and Showtime. Live, the band augments its lineup with longtime bandmates, Daniel Bradley (drums) and Dorian Lake (keys/vocals). Rebel Kicks has shared bills with artists such as Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Mac Miller, Iggy Azalea, Incubus, and more. The brothers will be issuing a fleet of new singles in 2023, starting with the irresistibly energetic single, “Silhouette,” out February 10th.
“We grew up listening to so many genres—jazz, classic rock, Motown, R&B—and with Rebel Kicks we have finally found a project where we can explore our full range,” Anthony says. Steven adds: “It may sound cliché to say this, but life is a journey, and we finally hit upon a sound that reflects our journey.”
Rebel Kicks craft anthemic alternative pop refreshingly infused with social commentary and powerful personal revelation. Signature to the band’s musicality are bold electronic soundscapes, melodic basslines, arena-ready guitar riffs, soaring hooks, the brother’s harmony interlace, and emotive lead vocals. Rebel Kicks invite comparisons to modern alt-rock acts such as Grouplove, Portugal. The Man, The Killers, and Kings Of Leon.
The brothers are musically self-contained. Anthony and Steven are gifted multi-instrumentalists who often write, record, produce, and play all the instruments on their songs. The duo also welcome collaboration, and have worked with some of the best producers and songwriters in the biz. Rebel Kicks has collaborated with Abe Dertner (Walk The Moon, MAX), Jeff Blue (Macy Gray, Hoobastank, Korn, Linkin Park), Jason Pennock (2pac, Polyenso, The Pussycat Dolls), Russ DeSalvo (Lou Reed, Celine Dion, Lionel Richie), and Jimmy Greco (Paramore, Santana). “Silhouette” was written and recorded with Jackson Hoffman (Young Rising Sons, Micky James) and Ryder Stuart (CANNON).
The Babino brothers’ earliest musical memories are tagging along with their working musician father to his big band gigs, and soaking in The Great American Songbook. Dad was also a huge Paul McCartney fan, and the boys heard Paul’s solo records and Wings albums even before hearing the Beatles.
From a very young age, Anthony and Steven gigged professionally, either filling out the ranks in their father’s jazz ensembles or performing in various configurations at weddings, corporate gigs, and private events. Eventually, the brothers began performing and recording together as sidemen, and working on original music together. While hired guns in St. Petersburg, Florida with an outside producer, the brothers had an epiphany about the music they wanted to make, opening the door to the more experimental pop-based sound of Rebel Kicks.
Rebel Kicks latest single, “Silhouette," bursts with explosive pop-rock hooks, dreamy crooning, moody atmospheric ambience, adventurous basslines, ear-worm guitar riffs, and it even features a synth solo. “Silhouette” was recorded as it was being written, lending the recording a fresh-off-the-skillet immediacy. The song contrasts upbeat musicality with playfully downtrodden lyrics for a goosebump-inducing experience that recalls the emotive, pop-rock musicality of Kings Of Leon and The Killers. “ “The song is about wishing you could go back to when you first met someone—wishing you knew someone less,” Steven says with a good-natured laugh.
Other highlights in the band’s catalog include the strutting and boldly electronic-textured single, “Fall of the American Dream”; the futuristic, stadium rocker “It’s You,” which appeared in the season 10 finale of Showtime’s comedy drama Shameless; and the neo, new wave-flavored “We Should Go Missing.”
For Anthony and Steven, Rebel Kicks represents the culmination of a wonderfully winding adventure in music. The band also offers an opportunity for the Babino brothers to do what they love together. “We are a very close family, and it’s been amazing for us to share in making the music that has always lived in us,” Anthony says. Steven adds: “We are best friends, and it’s not lost on me how lucky we are to make a living writing and performing together.”