Category: Kids’ Music That’s Actually Good

Gustafer Yellowgold’s musical tour through the holidays is a trip worth taking

Yes, the years are going by so fast, though I’ve never had one whiz by in 28.4 minutes, thank goodness. But if anyone can make that happen in a way that will put a smile on your face, it’s the musical, yellow-hued cartoon Gustafer Yellowgold, whose latest release takes us through a year of holidays, seen from the point of view of an outer-space creature who came here from the sun in 2005. Yeah, it’s a bit weird, but a whole lot of awesome. As with Gustafer Yellowgold’s previous releases, Year in the Day is a combo DVD/CD. I love the combo concept...

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Celebrating Woody Guthrie with 2 perfect CDs

This would have been folk-music legend Woody Guthrie’s centennial year. And so we celebrate the truly amazing legacy he left behind. Within the 3,000 song lyrics (wow!) that he wrote, there lies a powerful children’s music catalog that speaks directly to the energy and creativity of those ever-expanding minds. There’s a whole lot more to Woody Guthrie than This Land Is Your Land, is what we’re saying. Here, two important new albums that offer families a new twist on some familiar tunes. We know that you will dig these CDs as much as we do. First up is the...

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Recess Monkey’s eighth CD is as fun as a barrel full of you-know-whats

With seven solid releases to their credit (you can read about their last one here), I was pretty certain that we’d love Recess Monkey’s eighth offering to the world of kindie music. But what I enjoy most about this trio of enthusiastic educators from Seattle is that they don’t just churn out the same music time after time. Instead, they find just the perfect way to capture those moments of childhood musically in new and unique ways.  {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy!} And their latest, In Tents, carries on their upbeat sound with sixteen sweet...

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Ragtime for Rugrats

Randy Kaplan is such a talented kids’ rocker; the kind of performer who really engages his audience. He doesn’t just sing, he tells stories. And we listen. We are all huge fans of Kaplan’s incredibly cool, listenable (even for adults) CDs, but this newest, which makes some of the greatest Country, Blues and Ragtime numbers family-friendly, is his most ambitious yet. Duke Ellington’s Satin Doll isn’t exactly as innocent as an American Girl, yet, Kaplan does a great job bringing this and more to life for kids in Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie. You’ll also find that he adds his...

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Every family has a spicy kid…or two.

Molly Ledford and her band of merry Lunch Money mates are just such supreme goodness. We are big fans of theirs here at Cool Mom Picks, but this new CD, Spicy Kid, just might take the cake. Er, peanut butter sandwich.  This CD is a combination of sweet fun and silliness for the kid folk, but Molly sneaks in a most unbelievable tribute to parenting with “Basket of Flowers.“ I listened to that song on repeat and saw my children as little babies flash before me in a sort of slideshow of the mind. Yes, it was that deep....

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Can I get a witness? Sugar Free Allstars latest CD will make you a believer in their funky sound

If I had to pick a CD to take with my family onto a desert island this summer, it’d be the Sugar Free Allstars’ latest release. The ten tracks pack a whole lot of funky deliciousness into 36 minutes, with lyrics that always perk us up and make us smile—which would come in handy as we look for coconuts and leave messages in bottles. {keep reading for a chance to win a copy!} All on a Sunday Afternoon’s title may sound like music created for hammock swinging, but it’s better suited for a playful backyard cookout or post-bath dance party. And...

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How do you get girls excited about science? Try music.

My oldest daughter is about to enter sixth grade and if statistics are correct, her current love of science will likely wane as society subtly spreads the message that science and engineering studies are “not for girls.” But, I’m going to do everything I can to help change that perception with loads of science kits and talk about everyone from Marie Curie to Sally Ride.  And we’ll be playing a lot of a new CD whose mission is to empower girls to explore science and engineering fields their entire lives.  Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and...

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Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s new Make Believers is keeping it real

Once my kids had outgrown toddler-pop songs and quiet lullabies, they were ready for music that was a bit more grown up, though not of the he did me wrong/I partied all night long genre. Fortunately, elementary-school kids like mine have a friend in Secret Agent 23 Skidoo who keeps churning out fantastic, age-appropriate, kid-hop CD’s that sound cool-enough for our cool-enough kids, but with lyrics that will keep their heads in the right place.  {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy!} Though my kids have no idea what “street cred” is, I think one of the reasons...

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Kindie music’s Walden: The Okee Dokee Brothers take on the Mississippi

When I wrote about the first Okee Dokee Brothers CD back in ’08, I called them “equal parts hillbilly, seven-year-old boy and your favorite teacher”…heavy on the 7 year old boy. Now on their third release, it’s as if the two jokers with the goofy sense of humor have grown up a bit as they recount their month spent on the Mississippi with some mighty fine music and plenty of good times. Here’s one you’ll definitely want before you head out this summer. Kicking off with the title song, Can You Canoe? is one long love letter to the great...

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What? We’re recommending a cover album for kids? Why yes indeedy!

We are not generally fans of albums of popular music covered by band that dumb down the music for kids–or worse, have kids sing the music. I’ll take my Beatles sung by the Beatles, thanks very much. That said, I was nervous when I heard about LA duo Renee & Jeremy‘s CD of cover songs, especially since it included picks from REM and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now there is no question in my mind that few voices in kids’ music sound more perfect together than these two, with their gorgeous harmonies that are ideal for those times when...

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The one Potluck where everything is tasty

Since returning home from this year’s Kindiefest, I’ve been listening to loads of great kids’ music I can’t wait to share, like this brand-new release from one of our kindie favorites, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Their latest collection of songs is a like a wonderful smorgasbord of treats for your family to love. {Keep reading for your chance to win this new release!} Sandwiched between the spoken word pieces Morning and Night, A Potluck is filled with a meaty middle of catchy, pop-y tunes. Lucky Diaz’s voice is cool and mellow which I love best when it...

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Hot Dog! Caspar Babypants is back

When Caspar Babypants burst onto the kindie music scene, I remember thinking it was cool that this Presidents of the United States of America lead singer had dipped his toe into the kindie pool with this little side project. Now, four years and five CD’s later, it’s pretty clear that he’s going to swim in this pool for a while. Lucky us! {read on to see how you can get an autographed copy of his latest CD} Caspar Babypants’ latest Hot Dog! is another jam-packed collection of happy tunes for little kids and their parents to sing, dance, clap...

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Maurice Sendak lives, through some of the best books ever

Live your life. Live your life. Live your life. That quote is from Maurice Sendak’s last interview on NPR. We’re so sad that the great curmudgeon, writer, and artist has passed away, but his books will live on in our hearts–and bookshelves–forever. In fact, we’ve all been reminiscing about our favorite books, pages, illustrations or lines from the brilliant author/illustrator. Here are our very favorites that Sendak both wrote and illustrated. We fondly remember them all today. Where the Wild Things AreArguably Sendak’s greatest masterpiece, every single page of this Caldecott-winner comes to life before you’ve even read a word....

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Welcome to the Radio Jungle

The first time I saw the Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups perform live, I fell for their sound as well as their bouncy-kid goofiness and ad-libbing fun, which had the entire audience grinning from ear to ear. With their latest release, they do a great job channeling the playfulness from their live shows and putting it into music you’ll want to hear coming through your speakers. Oh, and the kids will dig it too. {keep reading for your chance to win their brand-new CD} The Pop Ups second release, Radio Jungle, has ten dance-in-your-car-seat tunes which are full of fresh beats,...

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Dan Zanes honors Black History Month with music

We have always loved the versatility of Dan Zanes’ music and the multicultural sound of so many of his songs, whether they’re in his collaborations with the children of South Africa’s Agape Orphanage in singing Zulu folk songs, or in a duet with newcomer Shine (of Shine and the Moonbeams) to belt out a little soul in Wake Up Baby!  So while he has the mic this weekend on his Sirius XM radio show, he’s going to use it to expose our kids–and many of us adults–to a wide range of music created and sung by black musicians and singers....

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It’s time to raise the curtain on the coolest Muppets items

We headed off to see The Muppets this past weekend, both for the nostalgia and to introduce my kids to the beloved characters of my younger years. And while I believe that much of this movie would be lost on kids younger than grade school, my older kids were delighted with the music and characters and are now infected with Muppet Mania. But before you head out and get bombarded with all the licensed merchandise this movie will spawn, take a look at some of the coolest Muppet items we’ve found. –Christina The iconic Adidas sneaker (also featured in...

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Fids and Kamily and the top kids albums of 2011

As much as I love listening to the awesome music that comes my way as part of being CMP’s primary kids’ music reviewer, I find picking my favorites to be one of the harder tasks I have to do. It’s like deciding if I like salted caramel better than mocha fudge better than crunchy toffee: You want me to choose? But choose I’ve done for the 2011 Fids and Kamily Awards along with other journalists, producers, bloggers and radio show hosts. The results are in! Many congratulations to Recess Monkey for their most-awesome FLYING! which captures the top spot...

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Alastair Moock bring American folk music to friends of all sizes

Like singer Laura Veirs, Massachusetts musician Alastair Moock has had a long and successful career playing American folk music for grown ups. And similarly, both musicians started making kids’ music after the birth of their children, but in a way that keeps true to their folksy musical roots. But while Laura Veirs’ voice is of the more ethereal, take-your-breath-away variety, Alastair Moock’s is more gritty and down to earth, with lyrics full of winks and knee slaps. Which makes his new album great fun. {keep reading to find out how you can win a copy!} Within a minute, Alastair’s...

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Mike Park’s ska-flavored kids’ CD will make you jump and smile

Dad-of-two Mike Park knows a thing or two about the music biz: He was once the energetic lead in the big ’90s ska/punk band Skankin’ Pickle, touring with the likes of Rancid, Primus, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He’s also the founder of Asian Man Records. And now, like so many rockers-turned-parents, he’s turned his attentions to putting out an amazing kids’ album. {keep reading for a chance to win a copy of this CD!} In his newest kid-friendly venture, Smile, he’s toned things down a bit to appeal to kids who are still sounding out the word s-k-a....

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Take a musical spin through the decades with Laura Veirs and Tumble Bee

The good ol’ days sort of lose their luster for me when I think about a life without indoor plumbing, internet access and Starbucks. But, I will give them one thing: Their folk songs sure were beautiful as evidenced in this lovely and playful collection of tunes by American singer-songwriter Laura Veirs. Laura Veirs’ Tumble Bee may be packaged as a children’s CD, but I could listen to this on a quiet afternoon when my usual “loud and fast” fare is too much. Even my older-than-preschool kids are charmed and not begging me to change to the nearest pop-music...

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Web Coolness – Halloween treats, Four Seasons’ getaway, and a Dan Zanes download

Here are some things we’ve liked reading around the web this week. We hope you will too. How cute is this roundup of not-too-spooky Halloween treats? Kristen is (understandably) gaga over Muppets smart phone cases! And, get this: a Pigs In Space ringtone. Liz shares her favorite children’s books with Apartment Therapy’s Ohdeedoh. Are they yours too? Have you ever seen pumpkin trees? Perfect for this time of the year. We love this giveaway from Ciao Bambino – a chance to win one of three amazing Four Seasons family getaways. Meet Sesame Street’s newest special character during a special...

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We’ve waited five years for this: New music from Dan Zanes and Friends

My kids and I know that our lives are made even more awesome because of all the friends who join us on our adventures, something I couldn’t help but think about while listening to Dan Zanes and Friends latest release. One that happens to be heavy on the “and Friends”. It’s as if his musical buddies heard he was releasing another CD—his first in five years!—and lined up at the studio door to join in the fun. And unlike my friends who I wouldn’t trust in a karaoke duet, the all-star crew on this CD can all carry one...

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Not ready for your kids to listen to Katy Perry? Try The Jimmies’ Practically Ridiculous.

One day the kids are happily singing along to Yo Gabba Gabba; the next, they’ve somehow learned lyrics to a Katy Perry song that makes me blush. Ugh, they cross that bridge so fast. I suggest you slow your older kids down a bit with The Jimmies, whose sound off their latest release has grown up a bit from their much-heralded 2009 CD, Make Your Own Someday. But, no worries, even while the tunes are MTV-ready, their lyrics are still as awesome, clever, and goofy as always–and you won’t have to worry about one single double entendre. {don’t miss...

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Look what these kindie bands did this summer, Part Two

Did I mention that there were a lot kids’ music releases this summer? If you saw Part One in our review of great kindie releases yesterday, you’ve read—and hopefully heard–of new stuff from Caspar Babypants, Belle & Sebastian and The Hipwaders. Now, even more great releases of this summer that you’ll want to add to your collection of kids’ music. –Christina Indie-pop music loving parents with fond memories of jumping around a dark sweaty club while a band rocks out on stage will have a blast pogo-ing around the playroom to egg’s Hard-boiled. Lots of guitar and drums, LA’s...

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Look what these kindie bands did this summer, Part One

While I was busy applying yet another layer of SPF 50 to my fair children, some of our favorite kindie musicians, and one newbie to the genre, were putting out great music to get us through the next few months. Thankfully, unlike my fading tan, their tunes are just as fresh now as they were when they first came out, so keep reading to find out which CD’s and downloads are must-haves for your family. -Christina Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America fame, is back with his fourth release, Sing Along! He...

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It’s time to raise the curtain…

Last month, cool-tee-site Threadless held a Muppet design contest to jump on the excitement many of us feel about the new Muppets movie coming out this fall. (New Muppets! Whee!) Threadless invited anyone to submit a Muppets tee-shirt design and promised to make the winning design into a tee all of us could buy for ourselves. Out of a whole bunch of submissions, the winner was chosen, and we love it. The colorful Together Again was picked as the winning tee—how quickly can you name the characters? If you love more than the tee, a special Muppets bundle also includes an exclusive poster and...

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Teaching kids to read just gets more and more fun.

When my kids were younger, I used to leave the Closed Captioning up on the television so they could get familiar with the words coming out of the mouths of their favorite cartoon characters. Taking this idea one step further and more effectively, in my opinion, are the Readeez series of DVD’s and downloads that we’ve featured both here and on Cool Mom Tech. Now, there’s a new one out that’s totally worth a look for parents whose kids are just learning to read. {keep reading for a great giveaway and a special discount on anything in the Readeez...

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3 amazing new family friendly CDs, just in time for summer road trips

What would summer be without kids music to keep you busy on those long road trips–one we hope includes no traffic jams, dirty rest areas or too many Are we there yet’s.  Before you pack up the vehicle, check out this trio of great CD’s that you can pop into the CD player or download before you hit the road. They are all way better than another verse of The Ants Go Marching One By One, no matter how good your singing voice is. –Christina {after the jump, catch a great 3-CD music giveaway!} The brand new Flying from CMP...

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Oh Lucky Day! A new cd from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

I’ve been looking forward to a new, full-length release by Lucky Diaz since I got a little sample of their sound on the EP Luckiest Adventure. C’mon, the band that created the infectiously fun Blue Bear? I knew they’d be able to put together something worthwhile.Oh Lucky Day!, the first full-length CD from LA’s Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band proves that this trio is ready to jump into the kindie music scene with both feet. Kicking off with Say What? a hugely fun scat-fest featuring a perplexed (and adorable-sounding) daughter of Lucky Diaz, Oh Lucky Day! then slides...

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Let disco save your sanity with this groovy Baby Loves Disco CD

When the late-afternoon crankies hit all three of my kids, my quick-thinking remedy has always been to put on some fun, danceable music to give us just enough of a mood boost to make it to dinnertime. And with a new kid-friendly disco CD by longtime Cool Mom Picks favorite, Baby Loves Disco, a whole group of new mamas can discover the magical power of a little disco to turn those frowns upside down.  We’ve been to a few Baby Loves Disco live club dance parties, and my favorite thing about them is that it feels like an authentic dance...

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