The Ketchup Report, Vol. 3

Another Ketchup Report, slathering kids music news all across the internet with all-natural ingredients. -- Bill Harley channels a little Dylan and Guthrie on his song "Enough Is a Feast," which he's now offering as a free download here through Thanksgiving. (If you want to contribute to or volunteer at a food bank at this time of year when food is maybe even more important than it usually is, Harley suggests finding one here.) -- I'm a longtime fan of the Tricycle Music Fest, even after its cross-country move to San Francisco. Check out the videos from last month's edition here, including "Tricycle," of course, from Frances England and other videos from Charity Kahn and the Time Outs. -- Twin Cities folks, heads up, Clementown, the Okee Dokee Brothers, and Adam Levy are playing a benefit show on Saturday, December 4 for friends of Clementown's, Krista and Terry, who've both been diagnosed with cancer. Great lineup, good cause. More details here. -- I'm also a fan of the "Listen To Your Buds" campaign encouraging kids not to turn up their speakers (or headphones) to 11. This fall's performers? Oran Etkin, who's performing in Philadelphia public schools this week and Brady Rymer. -- Gustafer Yellowgold, back on (off-)Broadway! Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock will have a run of Saturday performances (11 AM and 1 PM) at the DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St. New York City, from February 26 through April 2. It apparently will include the song "Wisconsin Poncho," which is "set in an all-cheese clothing store." This, friends, is why I love kids music. -- The Kindiependent concert at the Seattle Public Library some of you may have heard about? 1,500 people, folks. Strength in numbers, that's what it's about. The group's got a couple new concert series coming up in the Seattle area starting this fall, too...

Video: "What We Got" (Live) - The Okee Dokee Brothers with Bunny Clogs

As noted before, the Twin Cities' Okee Dokee Brothers have a new album coming out in early August -- Take It Outside -- and so they're starting to road-test the material, most recently at this weekend's Bunny Clogs concert. Adam Levy helps 'em out here on a soulful, organ-drenched track called "What We Got." And by "organ-drenched," I don't mean there were Hammond B-3's falling from the sky. 'Cause that would probably hurt. This, though, is nice. The Okee Dokee Brothers - "What We Got" (Live) [YouTube]

Interview: Adam Levy (Bunny Clogs)

Bunny_Clogs_AdamLevy.jpgThe Twin Cities' Adam Levy's got a lot going on -- still working with his main band The Honeydogs and a side project with a name he hesitates to use on a kids music site (it's OK, Adam, I mentioned it anyway), he's also got a kid-friendly side project called Bunny Clogs. He released More! More! More! earlier this year -- it's definitely one of the most interesting kids' CDs of the year, but it's also got some of the most entertaining tracks of the year, too. (Here's the review.) Adam recently answered a few questions about the project -- read on for how the album's like an old De La Soul disk, the unique aspects of playing for kids, and his defense and critique of contemporary pop music (in other words, arguments for and against Miley Cyrus). Zooglobble: What music did you listen to growing up? Adam Levy: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. KISS. The Beatles. Sly and the Family Stone. Hendrix. Dylan. I'd have to say the diversity of '70's radio was the biggest impact in my early childhood -- you heard elements of everything in pop radio from that era: British pop, soul, funk, country, classical, disco, prog, hard rock, blues. I also remember an explosion of interesting children's music in that Sesame Street era -- Free To Be You and Me, Carole King's Really Rosie, Harry Nilsson's The Point. When did you first know you wanted to make music for a living? When I was 12... You've been writing some of the Bunny Clogs songs for a while now -- how did you get into writing these songs?

Bunny Clogs Live! Film At 11. Or, Er, On 11.

Local TV morning shows aren't typically a kids' music hotbed, but every now and then it sneaks on between the recipes and weather. Witness the clip below from the Twin Cities' "Showcase Minnesota" show on Channel 11, which features the Bunny Clogs, or at least Adam Levy and his daughters on backup vocals singing the appealing "Midtown Greenway" from the fine More! More! More! disk. (Hat tip: this nice review of their Cedar Cultural Center record release show, replete with pictures, from the City Pages.)

Review: More! More! More! - Bunny Clogs

MoreMoreMore.jpgIt seems like kids music is the new "side project" for an increasing number of musicians. What better way to deflate expectations and clear out a little creative room than by deciding to create music for the elementary school set? I don't mean that negatively at all -- in fact, it's that "anything goes" approach that helps to make the genre vibrant. It's in that spirit that I'm calling Bunny Clogs, the kids music project from the Honeydogs' Adam Levy, a "side project" in the best sense. Now, Levy already has a side project -- the I-never-thought-I'd-be-typing-this-name-in-this-blog band "Hookers $ Blow" -- but Bunny Clogs' first album More! More! More! has been 5 years in the making, recorded with Levy's two daughters and a host of guests (and featuring some pretty cool album art from his son). So it reflects a fair amount of thought and craft. At its best, the album recalls the family-friendly community-celebrating vibe of Dan Zanes, such as on the midtempo "Midtown Greenway," which extols riding a bike through town and features Semisonic's John Munson on bass. "Song For Powderhorn" celebrates another part of Minneapolis (and benefits the local V.O.I.C.E. Music Saves Lives program doing work in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood). There are a lot of songs about food, with very little in the way of lessons (though there are some snuck in there). Sometimes the album is plain silly -- "Velveeta Girl and Squatsy" is a bunch of (danceable) nonsense while "3 Dogs and a Pancake" is a bunch of (not-entirely-danceable) nonsense. And sometimes the album marries the old (Woody Guthrie's "Car Car") into a new, strutting hand-clappable classic -- "Are We There Yet?," the best song on the album. Not every track is perfect -- I can't say that I ever need to hear the drum machine-aided "Butter" more than once a year at the most -- but Levy's use of a whole bunch of different styles and instrumentation (check out the middle eastern touches on "Pharaoh Pharouk's Phyrst Phood Phyramid") makes even less compelling songs more fun to listen than most kids songs. The album is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 10. You can hear tracks at Bunny Clogs' Myspace page, or also pick it up at eMusic or Lala. More! More! More! is clearly a labor of love for Adam Levy. It wasn't recorded to cash in on the kids music scene, it was created for the fun of it. Families who listen to the album with the same sense of joy that went into making it will get a kick out of this. Definitely recommended.

New Music From Bunny Clogs (Adam Levy from the Honeydogs)

MoreMoreMore.jpgOK, without even listening to the album, this album cover is one of my favorites of the year, and the band name wins "Best New Band Name," too. The name makes a little more sense when you realize that it's the brainchild of Adam Levy, mainstay of the long-running Twin Cities band The Honeydogs (just repeat one band name after another). Anyways, for this side project, Levy recorded music at home with his kids (his daughters sing and his son did the art work for the record) and finished it with students at the music school at which he he teaches, the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis. (Levy also recorded a couple tracks for that Down By The Riverside Twin Cities kids-comp released a couple years back.) The result is More! More! More!. Oh, yeah, "Best Album Name," definitely. You can hear six whole tracks at the band's Myspace page. I particularly like "Velveeta Girl and Squatsy," but all of the tracks have a definite slightly-skewed vibe to them, a la Mr. David or Me3 or Kimya Dawson. Electronica, lullaby, horns, even a little Prince, I think. Anyway, the album will get a big push in the new year when it's formally released, along with a new Honeydogs album, but if you're an eMusic subscriber, you can get it right now... Here's the tracklisting...