Friday, August 31, 2007

***Mr. David***

Aaaah, I see, so this is how it's gonna work: Musicians from beloved bands of our pasts will slowly take over the kindierock world, until children's music becomes the only current genre that anyone actually listens to or pays for... Ya see, Chris Molla, former member of Camper Van Beethoven, has already released a couple of CDs for kids (Roll Along: Fingerpaint, 1999; Jump Up: Fingerpaint, 2004), and now his CVB bandmate Greg Lisher is a contributing guitarist on Mr. David's latest masterpiece, Jump In the Jumpy House.

On this eagerly awaited follow up to 2006's The Great Adventures of Mr. David, David Alexandrou channels the Velvet Underground for the roaring title tune, appropriates the sound of Desire-era Dylan on "The Stars are Grains of Sugar", takes us back to the Kinks' late-60s pastoral rock with "She's a Good Dog", and turns in a pretty damn good tribute to Johnny Cash with "Them Devils". And when the first song on the album fades out with "John Paul George and Ringo" being chanted over and over again, you know you're in for a funky, funny, far out musical trip.

If you're going to pull a song off this album as a single, "Hey! It's Lunchtime!" would be it. Bubbly, infectious, and silly, it'll make a great live tune, as will "The Stars are Grains of Sugar", its speed up/shakin' ... slow down/floating sections guaranteeing audience participation. And "Miss Pila" may sound at first to be a simple, Ranchero-influenced ditty about food, but listen more closely; dig the chord changes and countermelody!

Jump in the Jumpy House was produced and mixed incredibly well (just check out the bass guitar throughout the CD!) by contributing multi-instrumentalist Rich Ajlouny, giving the songs a very rich, deep, analog sound. And if you wanted to get old school, you could divide the album into sides: Loud & Silly ("Crocodiles are Hungry" through "She's a Good Dog", and Quiet & Introspective ("Ragtime Honey" through "Cabin Blues"), with "Exit Zoo" acting as a "Crocodiles" reprise. Plus, Tawnya Lancaster and Alexandrou designed and illustrated a wonderful CD package, full of playful drawings and song lyrics.

Another awesome CD from a kids' performer who's not afraid to stretch out in the words and music departments, and one can only imagine what's in the future for this guy if his albums keep getting this much better every time out. John, Paul, George, and Ringo would be proud.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gustafer Yellowgold live at Donnell !!!

Morgan Taylor brought the glorious story of Gustafer Yellowgold to the Donnell Central Children's Room this afternoon, with help from his wife, Rachel Loshak. Morgan thoroughly entertained the kids and their grownups with his multimedia presentation, and had 'em swayin' from the beginning of "I'm From the Sun" to the end of "New Blue Star". A highlight was seeing and hearing "The Mustard Slugs", a song from the upcoming second volume of Gustafer's adventures. This song, I swear, was somehow left off one of those Schoolhouse Rock albums and mystically channelled into Morgan's brain: It's the funniest song about math you'll ever see/hear.

I'm tellin' ya, go see Morgan live. These pictures just don't do him justice.