I could take a lot of time talking specifically about Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock, the fourth Gustafer Yellowgold DVD/CD set from musician/illustrator Morgan Taylor -- how it's another collection of mellow pop-rock tunes, alternately humorous and wistful, accompanying the slightly surreal adventures of our yellow friend from the sun, Gustafer Yellowgold. Or maybe how it features an honest-to-goodness narrative from start to finish. But what I'd rather do is spend a few words about what Taylor has done with Gustafer, and that's nothing less than create a totally immersive world of characters that Taylor could easily spend another ten, twenty, or thirty years exploring. Just as Dan Zanes has crafted his own niche of family music that never really delves into the specific lives of kids, with Gustafer Yellowgold Taylor has written "kids music" that has (seemingly) nothing to do with the specific lives of kids. After all, on this adventure (featuring Gustafer trying to find the toe-end of the titular sock), Gustafer visits a beehive to see an amazing bee-band ("Beehive") or visits an all-cheese clothing store (the very funny "Wisconsin Poncho"). These are not concerns of your typical 5-year-old. What this story and all the Gustafer Yellowgold stories are is Children's Literature, Fanciful and Fantastic Division. Gustafer is just as much the descendent of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are as it is the descendent of Harry Nilsson's The Point. Which isn't to say that kids might not learn lessons here (the interconnectivity of life, inherent value of all beings, the need to explore), but they're born out of Taylor's basic philosophy, not forced upon the watcher or listener, and they assume that kids are smarter than we often give them credit for. (Which is a pretty good assumption.) This DVD/CD set is appropriate for kids ages 4 through 10. You can watch video clips from the half-hour story here. Visually the DVD, as always, looks great -- minimally animated but distinctive. (The bonus features, including a mockumentary and guitar and drawing lessons, aren't essential but nice to watch at least once.) Current Gustafer Yellowgold fans will enjoy Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock no less than the previous DVDs, and for the rest of you, this is as good a place as any to start. Like the best kids' lit, your kids could still be buying new Gustafer Yellowgold DVDs when they become parents themselves. Definitely recommended. Disclosure: I received a copy of the DVD/CD set for possible review.
Hopefully this isn't news three years from now, but for the moment, every recognition of kindie music by the public at large (or in this case the market at large) is still news. So, yeah, it's a big deal that Amazon picked "Slim Gets In 'Em" from the latest Gustafer Yellowgold album Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock as a free download. Given how rarely family music makes it onto Amazon's list of free mp3s, I think it's a Good Thing. Anyway, no need to feel down about it, grab the free song here. And, hey, why not watch the video, too? Gustafer Yellowgold - "Slim Gets in 'Em" [YouTube]
I see a lot of stuff. I don't always have time for a separate post. Here, then, is a collection of random pieces of information -- videos, downloads, news -- that never made it into its own neatly-titled post. -- Aaron Nigel Smith is offering up a free mp3 of his song "In a Book," a slow reggae jam not featured on his forthcoming Let's Pretend album. Pick it up here. -- I'd read somewhere -- probably a comment on its Facebook page -- that there was going to be a Kidzapalooza in Chile this year. That struck me as odd, but sure enough, yes, there is. April 2nd and 3rd, while Lollapalooza entertains a whole bunch of folks in Santiago, acts such as Achú, Cuchara, Fractal + Joe Vanconcellos, Los Pulentos, Los Plumabits, and Magictwins will be rocking the Kidza stage (though in the case of the Magictwins, I'm not sure "rock" is the word, even though they rock... magically). Kidzapalooza co-founder Tor Hyams reports he is indeed making the trek down to South America to produce the stage, a trek which makes the cross-country flights folks like Hyams and myself will make for Kindiefest seem like small potatoes. And, Tor, please see what you can do about bringing Los Plumabits -- featured on a Chilean kids' TV show which seems to be somewhat analagous to Yo Gabba Gabba! -- to the States. Los Plumabits - "Disco Laser" [YouTube] More -- much more -- after the jump.
Yay, it's here! What's that, you say? Why, the Gustafer Yellowgold Infinity Sock World Premiere Video Week. Hopefully you caught yesterday's world premiere of "Slim Gets In 'Em" at the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl, but even if you didn't, you can still enjoy today's world premiere right here for "Infinity." It's a mellow horn-accented song that sets up the central plot question of the whole video quite nicely. Tomorrow's track, "Beehive," will be premiered at Out With the Kids. (Also, make sure to catch Jeff Giles' interview with Morgan Taylor, which I liked even more than my interview with Taylor.) Gustafer Yellowgold's Infinity Sock is out March 1, but you can pre-order it at a discount here or also order it from Amazon. The window has closed... you'll have to wait for the release to see it again... but here's a 1-minute taste... Gustafer Yellowgold - "Infinity" (excerpt) [YouTube]
It's not quite as lengthy as the trip he takes in his forthcoming DVD/CD set Gustafer Yellowgold's Inifinity Sock, but Gustafer Yellowgold will be making a number of appearances next month at many family music sites. Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock World Premiere Video Week will feature seven videos (in order) from the March 1 release, but unlike the sock whose origin Gustafer seeks out in the album, the length of time you'll have to see each of the videos is very finite -- only about 24 hours. So you'll want to make sure not to miss each site each day. The schedule is below - see you here on February 2nd. Tuesday, Feb. 1: The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl - “Slim Gets In ‘Em” Wednesday, Feb. 2: Zooglobble (that's right here!) - “Infinity” Thursday, Feb. 3: Out with the Kids - “Beehive” Friday, Feb. 4: Gooney Bird Kids - “Snake Proms” Saturday, Feb. 5: Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child - “Cheddar” Sunday, Feb. 6: Ages 3 and Up! - “Wisconsin Poncho” (I know it's Sunday, folks, but make sure you don't miss this one) Monday: Feb. 7: Boston Children’s Music – “Question Marks”
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...