Category: Kids’ Music That’s Actually Good

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

I consider myself fairly tuned in to my kids’ emotional health but I must confess, I don’t really know what to say to an angry six-year-old in the heat of the moment other than Stop hitting that! Which is why I’m glad some other moms have come to the rescue and developed an intelligent, age-appropriate and truly fun DVD that helps kids understand the why’s behind what they feel. Plus it gives them tools for dealing with their feelings, and makes them realize that they aren’t alone. All in one beautifully produced package. {keep reading for a great give...

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Stretch your imagination with Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock

Though “infinity sock” sounds like what I face when I’m matching up pairs in another endless load of laundry, it’s actually the name of the fourth DVD/CD combo in the amazing Gustafer Yellowgold series by illustrator and songwriter Morgan Taylor. For those of your who already know and love Gustafer Yellowgold, I have a feeling you don’t need to know much more to make you want to grab this newest release—yes, the music is that consistently good. {don’t miss the giveaway after the jump!} Like the previous DVD/CD releases, the much-loved Mello Fever, Have You Never Been Yellow and...

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Get yourself a one-way ticket to la-la land

When my kids were babies, I used to daydream about sleep. Oh, sweet sleep, how I’d never take it for granted again. If only I could get two hours in a row. If only I had some magic spell to make them slumber peacefully. I still don’t have any magic spell, but this new lullaby CD? It casts such a powerful spell that I would love to shoot back in time and dare my then-babies to resist.   {tired mamas, don’t miss the giveaway after the jump!} Putumayo Kids’ latest release Acoustic Dreamland is a warm bath, footsie pajamas...

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Make friends with Lunch Money’s latest CD

Along with standing and getting out of diapers, one of my favorite so-called “developmental milestones” was when my kids grabbed another’s pudgy little hand and declared this person their “fwend.” Capturing these moments of first love makes Lunch Money’s newest kindie-pop release so poignantly perfect for all kids who are just discovering the joys, and sometimes heartache, of friendship. [don’t miss a great giveaway after the jump!] The follow up to one of my all-time favorites Dizzy, Lunch Money’s Original Friend makes me yearn for the days when my friends were just a bike ride away. Lead singer/songwriter Molly Ledford...

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Some new free holiday tunes for download with some Jimmies on top

While I’m finishing up my wrapping/baking/eggnogging extravaganza I’m going to enjoy some great new holiday tunes. If you’re tired of the same old same old, you can too.  As a little holiday gift to you, two downloadable EP’s have been released in the nick of time (pun intended) from one of our favorite retailers, and from one of our favorite kindie bands. Best of all? They are both totally free and totally awesome. {We have a cool giveaway for all you vinyl lovers after the jump} Target’s brand new Christmas Gig 2010 downloadable album is a super-cool blend of...

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6 great kindie music CDs for Christmas

I was fretting to my sister that I didn’t know what to get her kids, my sweet little niece and nephew, who seemingly have everything. Her response: Don’t you review kids’ music for Cool Mom Picks? Just get them some cool new tunes!   Funny how the most obvious choice can be right under your nose.   So for all of those who are wondering what the heck to get those kids who have almost everything–or you’re just looking for some cool stocking stuffers that don’t end up in a landfill by Christmas 2011–here is a handful of really...

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Add this Dan Zanes’ song to your Hanukkah playlist

Although everyone from Rod Stewart to The Black Eyed Peas seems to put out Christmas albums, it’s pretty rare for anyone besides Adam Sandler to do something new and interesting with Hanukkah music.  New and interesting is something Dan Zanes knows well and his brand-new, just-in-time version of the traditional Hanukkah song Ner Li is a perfect addition to our holiday.  I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with this song, but it’s really lovely. You’ll recognize his famous Spanish-guitar vibe (which makes sense, since one of his collaborators is Sonia De Los Santos). Dan sings the first verse in Hebrew...

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The best kids music of 2010, if we do say so ourselves

What’s your beat? asked someone recently when I told them I write for Cool Mom Picks. Confused momentarily by the lingo, I recovered and replied, kids music. And, what a great beat it is, especially in 2010, when the music put out by kids’ musicians was so amazingly eclectic and fun, tender and danceable. I somehow managed to narrow my favorite CDs of the year down to ten votes for the annual Fids and Kamily Music Poll. Nearly thirty industry movers and shakers—journalists, producers, bloggers and radio show hosts—participated, and our collective favorites made the official list of the Top 10 Kids CD’s...

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Caspar Babypants’ new CD is a little bit of kindie nirvana

In my last review of a Caspar Babypants CD, I mentioned that Weird Al Yankovic had called him “one of the few children’s recording artists I can listen to without wanting to stab myself in the eyes,” which is my single favorite endorsement ever. But if you need another reason why Caspar Babypants is the bomb-diggity, you’ve gotta hear track # 11 on his latest release which has none other than a member of Nirvana strumming the familiar bass line. {don’t miss a cool giveaway after the jump!} Of course one song–even one with Krist Novoselic–does not a CD...

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A Sunny Day with Elizabeth Mitchell

This is the time of the year when the anticipation of holiday craziness, my kids’ frenetic schedule, and the darker, drearier day conspire to really bum us all out. On these days we really need a big dose of lovely to touch us and make us feel sunny all over.  So thank you, Elizabeth Mitchell, for coming out with a new beautiful collection of songs that is like a bouquet of fresh flowers in every room. But less messy. [see the giveaway after the jump!] Bright, beautiful and sweet, Elizabeth Mitchell’s brand new CD Sunny Day brings together American folk,...

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An “amuse bouche” of tunes from Lucky Diaz

After watching a few seasons of Top Chef, I now know what an amuse bouche is: a bite-size appetizer that is supposed to give you an idea of the chef’s approach–and hopefully make you hungry for more. And though Lucky Diaz’s 15 minute debut EP is more than a single “bite” of songs, this short collection of excellent music has us all eager for what he’ll put together next. Lucky Diaz’s downloadable EP, Luckiest Adventure, kicks offf with a retro bass line in the danceable Blue Bear, a song about a big ol’ bear who is soooooo hunnnngry. The bear’s empty-belly pleas weave...

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Indie lullabies? That would be a yes.

Going back a few years, I held fast to the belief that if I was going to be stuck out of my bed in the middle of the night rocking an infant, I deserved to play a little night music that would be awesome and make us both (oh please, oh please) fall asleep. So when a bunch of indie musicians got together to make a compilation lullaby CD, I took notice on behalf of those you who will soon find yourself rocking, rocking, rocking the night away. The result is Sing Me To Sleep – Indie Lullabies which brings together...

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Gimme an oi! for punk music for kids from Candy Band

The next person who simpers that kids’ music is just too watered down to really rock is getting locked inside my minivan with the Candy Band’s new CD — cranked up to 11 until they cry uncle. Because there is nothing wishy washy about these four motor-city mamas whose ability to perform punk for kids is so much fun, I’d lock myself in the minivan willingly. High Five is Candy Band’s fifth CD, and it makes clear that this foursome is still rocking as hard as their last CD, 2007’s Calling All Kids. I love that I can play the kind of aggressive...

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Randy Kaplan is the thinking kids’ musician

Super storyteller/singer Randy Kaplan is no ordinary kids’ music performer. Oh, sure, he may sing about monkeys, bears and queen bees, but on his latest CD he also has my kids asking me to explain Freud, the definition of Hebrew terms, and even why someone might be happier with no money.  In other words, if you’ve got a precocious, question-everything kid, meet the perfect CD to get them thinking while they sing along.  (see the giveaway after the jump!)   Following up his much-beloved Loquat Rooftop, The Kids Are All Id kicks off with the bouncy banjo-y My Little...

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Velocity Girl – all grown up but no less rocking.

When Seattle’s The Not-Its! blasted onto the kids music scene last year with their debut We Are The Not-Its!, I took a lot of notice. It wasn’t just that the songs were great indie rock tunes. It was that their sound was so tight and authentic, they sounded like a band that had been together for ages.  It’s now another year, my kids are each a few inches taller, and The Not-Its! are ready to rock our minivan again. (see the giveaway after the jump!) I loved Sarah Shannon’s pretty vocals which she led the 90’s indie band Velocity Girl,...

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The Okee Dokee Brothers take us along for the ride

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of super-fun kids’ musicians The Okee Dokee Brothers: I gave their debut CD Kids with Beards a gushing review, and it’s still one of my kids’ most-played CDs two years later.  And now they have a brand new kids’ music CD, and they even put me on it! [don’t miss a giveaway after the jump!] Take It Outside features a baker’s dozen of stick-in-your head (in a good way) songs. As with Kids with Beards, I hear loads of banjo and fiddle, playful harmonies that blend together perfectly, and plenty of...

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Rock around the clock, or at least until bedtime

It has been a long time since I’ve willingly rocked around the clock, but I still love me some good ol’ rock-n-roll during the daylight hours. Thanks to Putumayo Kids, I now have some of our favorite kiddie rockers assembled in one place to help us shake, rattle and roll with songs that are perfect for the half pints. (check out the hilarious contest after the jump!)   Putumayo Kids Presents Rock & Roll Playground features some of our favorite songs from big names in kids’ music like Dan Zanes, Brady Rymer and Charity and the JAMband.  You may recognize...

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Laurie Berkner puts out a “Best of” album and car trips get that much easier.

I will always have a soft spot for Laurie Berkner, the first children’s singer to transfix my oldest daughter on Nick Jr., and then, years later, charm my youngest son with Rocketship Run. For those of us with older kids, I’m sure we can sing the chorus of at least a couple of her best-known songs. And tend to do so when we’re in the company of other adults, right? Whether your kids are Laurie Berkner diehards or if you are brand new to kids’ music, you can now have twenty of her top tracks all together in one place. ...

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These dads really rock

My kids have a dad who rocks, but not a dad who “rocks.” (Guitar Hero doesn’t count.) But a lot of kids do, considering there are some very cool dads who have put out fantastic CD’s in the recent past. We thought that Father’s Day would be a great time to celebrate their contributions to kids’ music, with singing that doesn’t need to be confined to the shower. –Christina [see the giveaway after the jump!] Change the lyrics from stories about riding a Bike and being told to take a Time Out, and much of the second CD from...

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Recess Monkey’s new CD is really, really out of this world (insert groan here)

I know it’s not just my kids who turn every box into a spaceship or seem to have their heads in the clouds. And I’m certain that they won’t be the only ones for whom Recess Monkey’s new kids’ music CD The Final Funktier is like rocket fuel for their dancing shoes and their imagination. Kicking off with a boppy-yet-silly rocket-launch countdown that leads into a groovy Moon Boots, the three Seattle teachers that make up Recess Monkey have put together one of our must-have kids’ CD’s each year much like their last CD, Field Trip, a Cool Mom Picks...

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Come hang out on Justin Roberts’ new Jungle Gym

Though we have stacks of kids’ music CD’s—one of the perks of reviewing kids’ music for Cool Mom Picks–I know that I’ll always hear something from Justin Roberts coming through our stereo’s speakers every few days. It’s a powerful testament to the many infectious, wanna-hear-again songs he’s put out over the past twelve years that end up on all our playlists. Now we have another album to add to our mix: Jungle Gym, a family-friendly CD packed with a dozen instant kindie classics that brilliantly capture so many of the themes and ideas that float around my kids’ heads. ...

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Check out the kids’ music spilling out of Pandora

I’m not always on the cutting edge of technology, something that was evident when I said to my husband, hey, you should check out this Pandora web site! It streams music to your computer or iphone, and it’s really cool!, and he looked at me with pity. Seems all the cool kids have known about Pandora for the past decade while I was getting the hang of breastfeeding and drawing happy faces on the peanut butter crackers. But now I hold a little bit of news about Pandora that maybe even the cool kids don’t know: Pandora now has...

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Charlie Hope’s latest CD puts us to sleep

I thought I was past the whole need-for-a-lullaby thing until my five year old started whispering I’m Scared into my ear every night at 2AM. Now, I think he needs a little Charlie Hope crooning into his ear from her World of Dreams CD, to help chill him out at night. Charlie’s voice is perfect for lullabies: Soft, gentle and warm like a mama’s hand stroking her little guy’s face. That is, if that mama wasn’t already downstairs trying to clean up the dinner dishes. I’ve tried lying down and listening to it with him, but her lullabies affect me...

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Princess Katie & Racer Steve could’ve named their new CD, Super-Gigantic-Amazingly Cool

There are days when I feel like a constant killjoy to my kids, but just as our day is flushing down the proverbial toilet, I try to remember one thing that can usually turn things around: Fun music that knocks our socks off. Our latest mood-changer is the ever-peppy, totally entertaining offering from Princess Katie & Racer Steve, Tiny Cool. We at CMP have been fans of Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s first CD and then the second CD, and Tiny Cool gives us more to love from this ready-for-their-own-cartoon, husband-and-wife pair Steve Borne and Katie O’Sullian. Part dance party, part...

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Sugar Free Allstars do, in fact, rock awesome

I know some purists who think kids’ music education should focus only on the “classics,” and, thanks to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, we’ve got that down. But, you don’t need to hear my 7 year-old warbling Barracuda to know that there is something great about real rockin’ music with clever lyrics written just for kids. Enter, the new, kid-friendly Sugar Free Allstars’ release Funky Fresh and Sugar Free which has me thinking of tossing my piano out the door and finding me a Hammond B3 Organ like the one on these tracks. There is just no funkier-sounding instrument out there (besides maybe...

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Two new family CD’s by groups who usually play for us old folks

I’ve come across two CDs from musicians who usually perform for adults, but have recently turned their collective talent toward the music for the younger set. Using distinct voices, a whole slew of instruments and music grounded in folk, country and Americana styles, I can only hope Rani Arbo and Earthworm Ensemble decide to put out more music for kids in the future. Earthworm Ensemble has taken a detour from their alt-Americana band alter egos, I See Hawks in LA, to put out this self-titled CD.This collaborative effort presents the world from a kid’s point of view, but after listening to...

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Earth Day Pick – Because music makes the world go ’round

One of the best ways I’ve found to get a message to stick with my kids is through music, and the new CD My Changing Planet has us appreciating the specialness of our planet a little more this Earth Day. Like a save-the-earth version of Free to Be You and Me, My Changing Planet features two dozen performers who were brought together by four determined moms wanting to create a CD that both parents and kids could learn from and enjoy. Plus, 100% of the net profits go to one of our favorite charities, The Nature Conservancy. With so much variety...

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Taking a look at The Big Picture with Uncle Rock

More predictable kids’ music CD’s throw in a few songs about cuddly toys, naptime and making friends. Kindie-rock darling Uncle Rock croons instead about his friend Bigfoot, staying up the night the lights went out, and a big garbage barge on his new CD, The Big Picture. If you’ve been reading Cool Mom Picks for a while, you know that we go w-a-y back to 2006 in our praise for Uncle Rock’s brand of good ol’ rock-n-roll with deep earthy bass lines, jangly acoustic guitar and a voice that can go all Elvis-y or Buddy Holly on a moments notice....

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Putumayo Kids’ Jazz Playground wants kids to love jazz, but it worked on me too

I’ve never been much of a jazz fan, maybe because it conjures up images of being stuck in a smokey bar during an endless amatuer improv-and-scat sessions. But, I have to admit that when packaged into bite-sized, three-minutes-and-under portions on Putumayo Kids’ new Jazz Playground, I kind of dig it. What really holds my interest in Jazz Playground is the wide variety of jazz forms presented. There is the cool Latin jazz of Cumbamba from US/Cuban Jose Conde as well as the horn-full jazz of Australia’s Kinderjazz in Gazooba. And even though I don’t understand a word of Dutch,...

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2009 was such a good year for kids’ music, we’re not done with it yet

2009 may not have been the best year for home mortgages or Tiger Woods, but for those of us with kids, it was a great time to be listening to music. It was so terrific, in fact, that I still have a few ear-worthy CD’s that you should consider for your collection. (And psst, stick with me to the end since I’m giving one of them away.) I’m betting Caspar Babypants will be a household name soon enough, especially with his second CD following on the heels of his much-loved debut, Here I Am! His latest CD called, aptly,...

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