Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's Good to Be Back!

After a short stint at another media outlet, I'm back at good ol' Kids Music That Rocks. I'll be digging deeper into stuff I like: kindiependent bands and performers, obscure oldies, grownup music that kids might like, and weird tunes that probably appeal to nobody but me.

If you have music you'd like me to check out, please feel free to send me a message at my new email listed over there in the left-hand column. Can't wait to hear what you've created!

It's good to be back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

***Dean Jones***

I've been a die-hard follower of Dog On Fleas since I found Cranberry Sauce Flotilla over four years ago. Became a bigger fan after getting to see them live at the Donnell Central Children's Room when I worked there. Got to the point of obsessive stalkerism when Dean Jones released Napper's Delight in 2007. Now Jones has upped the ante on his second solo disc by getting The Felice Brothers involved, resulting in one of the best family albums of 2010.

Check out a full review of Dean Jones' Rock Paper Scissors over at About.com!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

***Roy Handy and The Moonshot***

Ever wonder what it would sound like if Neil Young and Crazy Horse made a kids' album? Think on it no more, music lovers, Roy Handy and The Moonshot are here! The "group" is actually Gerry Stanek doin' the solo thing, and his debut CD, (I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend, borrows heavily from the loud, loping sound created by Young and his legendary backing band.

Stanek says that the entire album was conceived and recorded in a mere three weeks. This, and the fact that half the songs are under two minutes long gives the album an immediate, shambolic, but not messy, sound and feel ... kinda like your uncle's band playing in the garage. Amusing side note: all the song titles are followed by three exclamation points, except, of course, the lone tender-hearted (but still pretty loud) tune "Sometimes You Need to Be Cuddled."

The album kicks off with a song from the canine's point of view, "I Am a Dog!!!" complete with guitar solo and howls, followed by the Who-like chordfest, and second single from (I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend, "Crayon Man!!!" And the loping "That's a Great Idea!!!" which includes a few suggestions that are sarcastically categorized as "great," would give Atlanta kindie rocker Daddy A Go Go a run for his money.

Stanek dips into Jason and The Scorchers' amped-up version of country rock to declare that "Socks are Overrated!!!" while the Crazy Horse influence resurfaces on Stanek's ode to his comforting "Blanket!!!" Some big ol' chunky chords, a la Bachman Turner Overdrive, describe the awesomeness of the "Playground!!!" and a great T. Rex boogie celebrates the "Hotdog!!!"

The lighter-hoisting "Sometimes You Need to Be Cuddled" slows down the pace a little with some Teenage Fanclub-inspired chord changes and the admission that we all need a hug every once in a while. But then the breakneck speed of "Pancakes!!!" wakes everyone up again, highlighted by a ridiculous solo that'll have yer budding juke box heroes air guitaring all over the living room.

The straight-ahead rocker "Shopping List!!!" details a trip to the grocery store, while "Space Kitty!!!" the first single from the album, would be a perfect theme song for a Saturday morning cartoon. The album ends with "Moonshot!!!" a raging tribute to space travel that would make Alabama garage rockers The Quadrajets proud. If you dig the rowdy, grungy, guitar-driven rock and roll of, say, Ragged Glory or Rust Never Sleeps, Roy Handy is right down your alley. Play this one LOUD!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

***Heidi Swedberg***

Gotta admit, this CD had three things going against it from the start: kids' music by a famous person (Swedberg played George's fiance on Seinfeld), children's voices in the songs (tends to make tunes too cutesy), and venturing into classic folk territory (beloved material often gets too modernized or shined up to within an inch of its life). Not so with Heidi Swedberg's PLAY!

Swedberg and The Sukey Jump Band run through a veritable greatest hits of classic folk tunes on the L.A.-based ukulele teacher/enthusiast's debut album PLAY! From long-lost classics like "Paw Paw Patch," "Japanese Umbrella Song," and "Cricket's Lullaby" to well-known tunes like "Muffin Man," "Buckeye Jim," and "Dream a Little Dream," Swedberg infuses each song on PLAY! with warmth, joy, playfulness, and, most importantly, ukuleles!

PLAY! includes a couple of medleys: "Skip to My Shoo" joins "Skip to My Lou" and "Shoo Fly," while "Train Medley" ties together folk favorites "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "Rock Island Line," and "Freight Train." Swedberg also performs a nice cover Chubby Parker's version of "Froggy Went A-Courtin'" (remember that "King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O" refrain?).

The most unique tune on PLAY!, though, has to be the Frank Zappa-meets-Spike Jones and His City Slickers version of "Pop Goes the Weasel," as a simple ukulele verse of the familiar rhyme is followed by a discordant, percussion-filled middle section.

Don't forget to check out the booklet insert, where you'll find a short background story for each song, as well as ukulele chords and finger placements. If you're a fan of Laura Doherty or Elizabeth Mitchell, you'll dig Heidi's quiet but fun-loving, sweet but not syrupy style on PLAY!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Top 10 Best Sesame Street Songs

It wasn't that difficult to come up with my Top 10 Sesame Street songs of all time. In fact, most of them instantly popped into my head...then were stuck there for the next few days!

Check out my faves over at KidsMusic.About.com, and let me know what you would include on your list of best Sesame Street songs.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

***Wayne Potash***

Already one of my faves of 2010...a rock opera about a typical kid's day from sunup to sundown! Wayne Potash's A Day in the Life takes musical cues from classic rock and country, but maintains a cohesive sound throughout.

Read a full review of A Day in the Life over at KidsMusic.About.com, and make sure to check out the tunes "Snack Time," "I Wanna Take a Nap," and "After My Bath," just to name a few.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday, PAC-MAN!

Know what's awesome? Wasting time playing PAC-MAN on Google! The game is 30 years old today, so celebrate by dropping a few quarters in your PC and listening to Buckner & Garcia's re-recorded version of "PAC-MAN Fever" on your Walkman.