Video: "Froggie Went a Courtin'" - Laurie Berkner

Many moon moon moons ago, Laurie Berkner was on a TV show (Jack's Big Music Show) that aired music videos featuring her (and other artists).  Now, Berkner's been devoting her energy to making videos for airing on YouTube, and while the audience might be a little smaller, in the long run, I'm guessing more folks have watched (or at least will watch) her videos there than on cable.

With the impending release of her new album Laurie Berkner's Favorite Classic Kids' Songs on October 23 (it's a huge album, 57 songs in all), I'm guessing we're going to see quite a few videos for the album in the next few months.  The first video specifically tied to the album is for "Froggie Went a Courtin'," and since it features cute young kids acting out the song, it should definitely draw your favorite preschooler's attention.  (And Berkner's pleading for you to subscribe to her YouTube channel is worth sticking around to the very end.)

Laurie Berkner - "Froggie Went a Courtin'" [YouTube]

Itty-Bitty Review: On the Bright Side - The Bazillions

The Bazillions - On the Bright Side album cover

The Bazillions - On the Bright Side album cover

Minneapolis band The Bazillions have an ear for power-pop hooks.  Or, like, 23 ears, because each album of theirs has more hooks than one ear could possibly handle -- even one of those punks' ears with safety pins all over.

Their third album, the recently-released On the Bright Side, does not stint on the hooks.  "Superhero Rock Band," which kicks off the album, is like one of those movie pitches ("They're superheroes from DC and Marvel... but they play in a band!") that is so high-concept that song quality would scarcely seem to matter, but luckily for the power-pop enthusiast in the family, it's got crunchy guitars and a catchy singalong chorus, too.  That's followed by "Family Tree," a roots-pop song celebrating, well, family -- along with the album closer "Sons and Daughters," it's the first I've really heard the band try for something more emotional.

Of course, at this point, it wouldn't be a Bazillions album without several educational songs, including the jangly "Use a Contraction," the shimmering "Ed (Been There, Done That)," and their first science-related tune, "Water Cycle."  Longtime readers will know my general antipathy towards songs that have such an explicit educational bias unless the melodies and lyrics are really tight, but listen to the chorus for "Favorite Book," which is really just a reading-positive song, and tell me it isn't precisely constructed for maximum earworm.

The 37-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 10; you can hear three of the tracks from the album here.  As with their previous albums, On the Bright Side includes a number of power-pop and jangle-pop melodies that stand up to repeated spins, regardless of whether you need to learn some 2nd grade concept.  Whatever educational value they have (and is enhanced by their catchiness) is just a nice bonus.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I received a copy of the album for possible review.

Jazzy Ash Goes NPR

Jazzy Ash - Bon Voyage album cover

Jazzy Ash - Bon Voyage album cover

"Where y'at?"  This is, according to several sources, a New Orleans way of saying "hello."  So a big "Where y'at?" to all of you who've found your way to this website looking for information on Jazzy Ash, AKA Ashli Christoval, and her new album of New Orleans-inspired music Bon Voyage in the wake of hearing my review on NPR's All Things Considered.  (While I've been to New Orleans a couple times, I claim no expertise in N'Awlins language and will stop forthwith.)

You can -- and should -- listen to that review on NPR, but if you'd like, you can read my original review (similar in many ways to the NPR review) as well as read some thoughts from Christoval herself on those two Ellas I talk about in my review -- Ella Jenkins and Ella Fitzgerald.

Regardless of you're a new listener or longtime reader, thanks for stopping by! 

Video: "I Made a Mess" - They Might Be Giants

The unstoppable march towards They Might Be Giants' new kids album Why? continues.  ("Time... is marching on...")  Today's TMBG Dial-A-Song treat is "I Made a Mess" and while as with many TMBG songs, its thematically ambiguous lyrics could fit on an album for kids or adults, lines like "No matter how much I wash / It looks even messier than / It did before / I'm making it worse / By trying to clean it up" sure sound like kids' album to me.

The only thing that gives me pause is that the video is filled with public-domain video clips and while it's cute and totally worth your kids' time (and yours), the band has tended to commission brand new animation and film for its kids DVDs.  Maybe this is a song that won't make the final cut for Why?, which means we're in for one fine time...

They Might Be Giants - "I Made a Mess" [YouTube]

Video: "Q and U" - The Bazillions

Quick - I have a question for you.

Has there ever been a band quite as educationally questioning as the Bazillions?

Y'know? Because this is a new video for "Q and U," off their album On The Bright Side?  Get it?

Forget this, then.  I'm quitting.

The Bazillions - "Q and U" [YouTube]