Bidding a Greasy Adieu to Greasy Kid Stuff

Greasy Kid Stuff logo by Rodney Alan Greenblat

Greasy Kid Stuff logo by Rodney Alan Greenblat

I saw on Twitter yesterday that the radio show Greasy Kid Stuff was coming to an end this weekend, and I thought it was important to publicly celebrate the show before it permanently went off the air.

Longtime readers are probably familiar with GKS, but if you’re not, the show was started 22 (!) years ago by Belinda Miller and Hova Najarian, airing on legendary New York station WFMU long before the couple became parents.  From the beginning, Belinda and Hova -- it was always Belinda and Hova, their last names have mostly been an afterthought -- were less interested in “kids music” as much as they wanted to play weird music they thought kids would enjoy as adults.  They weren’t the only kids music show (and they probably would issue with the idea that it was mostly for kids, but they were definitely the oddest, a mix of Dr. Demento, Sesame Street, and 120 Minutes.  And as kids music moved into a more kindie direction, they certainly shined a spotlight on artists that fit their somewhat off-center sensibility, but never fully embraced the full-on conventional kids music world.

That was, in my view, to their credit and benefit.  As I noted in my review of their third and final compilation of music (yep, they released three albums in total, all worth tracking down), I think kids music embraced Belinda and Hova’s approach as much as Belinda and Hova embraced kids music.  They weren’t the only radio outlet that took that view, but on the whole I think they did it longer than anyone else.

After moving across the country to Portland, Oregon in 2004 (and also becoming parents), Belinda and Hova eventually moved their show to 94.7 FM in Portland and more recently XRAY.FM.  (Why am I noting those links?  Because you can still find playlists, at least for WFMU and XRAY.FM, online if you want to see how unique those playlists are.)  But after 22 years, they’ve decided to hang up their headphones and microphones.  As they put it in a Facebook announcement earlier this month, they have “decided we’d like to see what it’s like to have regular weekends.”

I can’t say I blame them.  Twenty-two years is a long time to work on anything, and they have earned the right to break out the bedazzler and make some art (Belinda’s goal).  But the kids music community owes Belinda and Hova a big round of thanks for the many years of playing their music and for supporting the idea that kids can embrace music outside of the mainstream.

Greasy Kid Stuff logo by Musho Rodney Alan Greenblat

Radio Playlist: New Music June 2017

Summer is here -- today! -- and there's no stopping the kids music playlists.  A dozen songs, three dozen minutes, and if you want more, feel free to check out the May list here.

As always, these Spotify playlists are limited in that if an artist hasn't chosen to post a song on Spotify, I can't put it on the list, nor can I feature songs from as-yet-unreleased albums.  But I'm always keeping stuff in reserve for the next Spotify playlist.

Check out the list here (or right here in you're in Spotify).

**** New Music June 2017 (June 2017 Kindie Playlist) ****

"Tilt-A-Whirl" - Trapper Schoepp

"Dance party avec un hérisson" - Dana & the Petit Punks

"Sunshine Sunny Sun Sunshine Day" - Danny Weinkauf

"Gozar" - Mister G

"Elephants" - Uncle Dox

"Superhero 2017 Remix (feat. Carly Ciarrocchi)" - Tim Kubart

"Go Out and Play" - Zigzag and the Astronauts

"I'm a Bear Now" - Will Parker

"Toss the Toys Blues" - Brenda Kahn

"Mozartistic (feat. Orion Weiss & Marley Carroll)" - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

"Subway" - Joanie Leeds and the Nighlights

"Captain Brown Beard" - Mr. Dave

Summer Road Trip Playlist!

Swing Set album cover

Swing Set album cover

Beth Blenz-Clucas, proprietor of Sugar Mountain PR, has, for a number of years, compiled a summer road trip playlist featuring tracks from her clients.  This summer is no different, and there's a bunch of new and excellent tracks for your listening pleasure, including music from as-yet-unreleased albums from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Danny Weinkauf, and Jazzy Ash, whose album Swing Set comes out July 21.  That's the very playful cover art over there.  (There's also music from artists like Lisa Loeb, Justin Roberts, and more.  Peep the list below.)

And while there's nothing definitively "road-trip-y" about the set (only Jazzy Ash's "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" and Weinkauf's "Transportation") specifically suggest travel, it's an entertaining set nonetheless.  For the next week you can download it for free, but you can listen to it all summer.

Monday Morning Smile: "I Was Born" - Hanson

Just a great pop song from the band Hanson, a song that in its celebration of individuality and the need to be, well, you, could easily be a kindie song.  A video that features a bunch of kids (11 of the trio's 12 kids) -- this could easily be a kindie video.  The song isn't quite as good as the twenty-years-old "MMMBop," but what song is?  The fact that this new song is in the same ballpark speaks volumes about the earworm-y nature of the track.

Hanson - "I Was Born" [YouTube]

Video: "Mr. Pickle" - Michael and the Rockness Monsters

Let's face it, the era of silly novelty songs is pretty much over -- really, the presence of the occasional "What Does the Fox Say?" is a case of the exception proving the rule.  The only outlet at this point is Dr. Demento who continues to produce a weekly online radio show featuring, no doubt, plenty of songs that are silly but not necessarily solely comedic in intent.

So I sort of think that Michael and the Rockness Monsters' "Mr. Pickle" (off Funny Faces) would be an excellent addition to an upcoming Dr. Demento playlist.  The song features the nasally ramblings of the titular character and his musings on his way to leading the pickle parade.  And that's about it.  No homilies about changing the world, or feeling good about yourself, or standing up to bullies.  Just a song about a talking pickle.  And now, a video that gives visual life to those silly lyrics.  Bless 'em, we need a few more songs like that.  And maybe Dr. Demento back on the radio.

Michael and the Rockness Monsters - "Mr. Pickle" [YouTube]