Tag: kids’ music

Ja, Little Mon

On a recent drive to the beach, my kids and I glumly watched the black clouds rolling in as we all collectively whined, “Rain again?” Fortunately the CD I chose to turn on at that moment was Asheba’s totally fun calypso and world beat release, In The Kid Zone. The mood in our car changed as soon as we heard the sound of the steel drums and the artist’s joyful, smooth voice. And while I’ve never been to the Caribbean, native Trinadadian Asheba sure made me feel like I was headed that way with the authentic sound of songs...

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Music for families more into Natalie Merchant than Hannah Montana

There is no shortage of princess stuff around my two-daughter household, but that doesn’t mean their CD collection needs to full of sickly sweet commercial voices. In fact, I’m thrilled that they love listening to Mary Kaye’s Music Box, because her voice is so gorgeously rich, deep and unconventionally pretty that I’m totally jealous I can’t sing like her. I’m reminded of Natalie Merchant, but Maine’s Mary Kaye seems to be having a lot more fun singing about creatures of all types — bugs, turtles, robots, fairies — something we loved about her when we reviewed her previous kids’...

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My head isn’t banging, but I’m still loving Charlie Hope

When you hear my kids identifying a song from System of a Down, you get a pretty good idea of the the type of music I lean toward: Loud, fast and hard. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the polar opposite of hand-banging, and I offer up my love of the Charlie Hope’s I’m Me! kids’ music CD as proof. With her clear-as-glass, pitch-perfect voice which calls to mind Frances England with a dash of Elizabeth Mitchell, Charlie Hope has put together a collection of songs that are written, without a doubt, for young kids, but are sung...

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Been Caught Squealing

Back in the day, sweaty dancing to live music, singing loudly and staying up too late was a given during my annual pilgrimage to the Lollapalooza music festival. I’ve had to tone things down a bit now that my hearing is shot, my bedtime is before 10 and the kids are old enough to understand the lyrics to my music. But, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the new Kidzapalooza CD captures a lot of Lolla’s spirit and fun, minus the beer and tattooed guy who eats light bulbs. As with the live Kidzapalooza show, Mr. Lollapalooza, Perry...

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Learning disguised as catchy pop songs, cool characters, and charming illustrations.

We don’t own a lot of kids’ DVDs in my house, primarily since it’s so hard to know if we will get our money’s worth or they will be watched twice before my daughter gets bored and just wants to throw the disk around. But one completely worthwhile standby has been our Readeez DVD. (Edited to add: Now also available for immediate download to watch right on your computer or tablet) Readeez are short vignettes with original songs, nursery rhymes, poems, and more, all designed to let the words sink in. As a musician and dad himself, creator Michael...

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Take a Ride on The Sippy Cups’ Time Machine

They grow up so fast, I’ve said a million times, and while they’re still little I want to introduce them to the coolest indie-vibe kids’ music I can. Like CMP fave The Sippy Cups’ new CD The Time Machine. Mixing bits of “stop and smell the roses” wisdom with fun-loving trippy pop/rock, I wonder if the band is talking to the kids or the parents when they sing in the title track, We spend our days in search of love/And wish the time to linger on and on and on and on. Sigh. Off to go hug the kids...

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Lullaby music gets a nice 21st century update

Now that it’s still light at bedtime, my kids are bouncing off the walls when I try to tuck them under their covers at night. I need help, and I’ll take it in the form of Sunflow’s latest CD, the lullaby collection Under the Stars. It’s totally different than what I usually spin, but seeing as my CD collection is more suited for bouncing off the walls, this is a lovely alternative to me yelling go to sleep already! Sunflow’s duo Fran King and Nancy Falkow are based out of Dublin but don’t expect to hear any Irish jigs....

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The Hipwaders Prove Size Doesn’t Matter

At only 16 minutes long, The Hipwaders EP, Goodie Bag may be short but it’s still the perfect little morsel of music for a quick drive across town, or to get us moving during a speed-cleanup session before company arrives. This Bay Area threesome have a toe-tapping, jangly guitar sound and smart, quirky lyrics that remind me of They Might Be Giants and Barenaked Ladies. But it’s the minor-chords in  songs like What’s That Noise? that give the CD a very cool edge that make it sound even more grown up. My kids especially like Field Trip‘s outer space...

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The Cool Mom Picks Summer Road Trip Mix Tape

I’ve done enough seven-hour road trips with the kids to know that the right music can eliminate the fear of “are we there yet?” So before strapping the kids into their car seats, I spruce up our music collection with some new tunes for less money than we’ll spend on snacks and Tylenol. We thought it would be fun to offer up a selection of some stand-out singles from some of the newer kid-and-parent friendly CD’s that have come our way recently. Just take a listen to a sample, and if you dig it (which we think you will),...

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Happy Accidents is deliberately awesome

The fact that Billy Jonas’ Knock Knock song has taught my kids a bunch of jokes that are actually funny is alone worth the price of his new CD, Happy Accidents. But on top of that, Happy Accidents has loads of smart, humor-full and funky, world-music folk songs that still sound fresh months after we first stuck it into our CD player. The Asheville, NC based singer (no, he’s not related to the Jonas Brothers) has a way with words and plays with them in wonderfully eclectic ways, from What Kind of Dog Are You?, a play-along song that...

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No passport required for this European playground

It’s already been ten years that Putumayo’s eclectic playground series has been introducing families like mine to kid-friendly music from around the globe — from New Orleans, Brazil and even a multi-cultural Sesame Street. And now the new European Playground takes us on a spirited jaunt across the Atlantic. Even if your kids are too young to know the difference between Switzerland and Spain, they’ll still love listening to this collection of diverse family-friendly songs. Starting off with the bouncy Trampolin from the Finnish/Swedish Sas & Kopp and ending with a pretty instrumental Sandy River Belle by Sharon Shannon...

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Recess Monkey

The first time I heard Recess Monkey a few weeks back, I instantly fell in love with their unique sound and smart lyrics. This Seattle based three-man band combines kooky with clever in their new album, Field Trip, to create songs that you and your kids will be singing to long after the CD is over — at least if ours are any indication. I’m digging what sounds like everything from classic rock to grunge influences, but appreciate how they don’t sound like a tribute band, or worse, a bunch of guys who just decided they’d try to make...

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Riveting. Or is it ribbiting?

I’ve read a few reviews that liken  Ben Rudnick & Friends’ new CD, A Frog Named Sam, to a kid-friendly Grateful Dead or Phish album which I guess could be a real plus for a lot of people. For me, though, who spent one blurry weekend at a Phish show and then moved on, I feel the need to assure you that this CD does not have a single 25-minute instrumental jam. Instead, you’ll hear some amazing guitar, banjo and other strings paired with smooth harmonies from this group of Boston-area musicians. Set squarely in the “American Roots” style, I hear a lot of folksy, bluegrassy sounds...

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What do I think of Bunny Clogs? More! More! More!

I think that one of my roles as a parent is to expose my kids to music that doesn’t suck, so when I see one of them reaching to put on Bunny Clogs’ CD, More! More! More!, I breathe a little sigh of relief that they are choosing something so unique, funky and lyrically amazing. In fact this kids’ CD is so super cool, I could hear a couple of the songs playing late night in the clubs I used to frequent back in the day. Minneapolis-based Adam Levy is no stranger to the music scene himself; his main...

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Kids’ music I couldn’t wait one more minute to tell you about

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Stinkfest (hereon forward known as Kindiefest), a conference for the very cool if fairly small indie rock music for kids world. There was a running joke throughout the day about how many pitches we bloggers and writers all get with the line …and when I had kids last year, I realized there were no good family CDs… Hm, then I wonder what kinds of kids’ music we’ve all been reviewing all this time. In any case, there were so many bands I am incredibly excited for us to introduce you to...

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Robbert Bobbert and The Bubble Machine is as fun as the name implies

Robbert Bobbert, aka Robert Schneider of the very cool indie rock group The Apples In Stereo, showcases his unique voice with Beach Boy-esque backing harmonies and experimental sound combos in his new self-titled CD for kids, Robbert Bobbert and The Bubble Machine. The CD kind of reminds me of walking through a fun house: A lot of fun, kind of kooky and full of surprises. I love the chances he takes, from the booming Giant and teeny Mouse voices on “Fee Fi Fo, Fee Fi Fum”, to his use of non-traditional instruments like a cuckoo clock, toy piano and...

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Me Gusta Spanglish Sing-Along!

I know less Spanish than the average eighth grader, so I was a tad skeptical about my ability to review a CD called Spanglish Sing-Along! (Exclamation point theirs.) I shouldn’t have worried. Miami’s Spanglish Wrangler, aka Will Thomas, moves between English and Spanish effortlessly, making it possible for even this gringa and her ninos to follow along with the lyrics. Accompanied by his acoustic guitar, the Spanglish Wrangler’s lyrics take center stage. Unlike a typical “learn Spanish” CD, Spanglish Sing-Along! helps kids (and adults) remember Spanish words and phrases through music, something I totally understand as someone who grew...

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And Chicken was his name-o

My taste in music runs more in the indie vein, but in kids’ music, you’ve gotta hand it to Trout Fishing in America who have been putting out Grammy-nominated, family-friendly folksy rock for about 30 years. But this time around, they’ve created a Storybook/CD combo called My Name is Chicken Joe which is a trend we’ve been seeing lately and loving. (See previous CMP reviews of Soulville, Pete the Cat and Hip Hop Speaks to Children and see what we mean.) The story, as you might guess from the title, revolves around some creatures with unlikely names. The colorful illustrations...

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Who’s Your Mama?

I thought I knew what to expect when I saw the cover art on Mama Mac’s self-titled kids’ CD: I was sure there would be an acoustic version of Kumbaya and maybe a few 70’s folk songs. Boy, was I wrong. A veteran of the LA indie music scene, Amy Elkins, aka Mama Mac, can take a toddler-friendly song like Rocket Ship and turn it into a rocking tune that makes me want to sing along, much to my children’s chagrin. I know why my kids adore listening to Mama Mac sing: She encourages them to jump around a...

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Happily getting Dizzy

Listening to Molly, Jay and J.P. of Lunch Money sing about the stuff of childhood makes me nostalgic for the days when spinning around in a circle didn’t leave me feeling queasy. In fact, their new kids’ music album, Dizzy, is an ode to all kinds of things kids love, like the zoo, giant cookies and make-believe play. And, you have got to check out the adorably-illustrated, fold-out CD cover with artwork from CMP fave Brandon Reese. Set against a happy indie rock beat with horns, keyboards, harmonica and even whistling accompaniment, Molly’s distinctive voice is both pretty and...

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