Itty-Bitty Review: Galactic Champions of Joy - Todd McHatton

GalacticChampionsOfJoy.jpgKids' music often resides in the realm of the real -- the concrete here and now. Music from Southern California's Todd McHatton doesn't follow that formula, especially on his latest disk, Galactic Champions of Joy. Sure, there's a song about going to the pool -- "Tommy Had a Super Towel," which kicks off the album -- but it's much more about the towel and Tommy's imaginative (and perhaps literal) flights of fancy with it. One "Little Money Man" and "Say Hello to My Hippo," McHatton sings consecutive songs about flatulence; in the former, money appears when the title character "cuts the cheese." And on the final track, the surreal and genius (and totally justified hit) "I Think I'm a Bunny," McHatton takes the role of a monster who thinks he's, well, a bunny, while the young girl he duets with has to convince him that he is, yes, indeed, a purple monster. (I would be disappointed if the song doesn't turn into a picture book at some point.) The music here is mostly swirling psychedelic power-pop that could have been released at any point in the past 35 years (say hello to the Beatles, or McHatton's hero Harry Nilsson, or Matthew Sweet). It can be gorgeous at times, and it's rarely simple. (This is Exhibit A in the argument against the notion that music for kids need only be bland.) Kids ages 5 through 9 will most appreciate the music (and lyrics) here. You can stream the 47-minute album here. If parts of Galactic Champions of Joy feel a little bit like a daydream, that's entirely appropriate. The imaginative life of a child can be every bit as important as the concrete day-to-day details, maybe more so, so an album that dives deep into those ideas should be valued. Most families will enjoy at least part of it, but some families will probably find this to be one of their most beloved albums. Recommended.

Video: "Say Hello to My Hippo" - Todd McHatton

I don't want to say too much about this psychedlic animated video for "Say Hello to My Hippo," the first video from Todd McHatton's Galactic Champions of Joy so as not to ruin it for you if you've never heard the song. Suffice it to say, I think if Justin Roberts' imaginary rhino were to run into Todd McHatton's hippo at a party, I think he (the rhino) might soon find himself looking at his cellphone and making up imaginary text messages from an imaginary friend in an imaginary emergency and head for the door. Todd McHatton - "Say Hello to My Hippo" [YouTube]

Share: Free Halloween Tunes from Ratboy Jr., Todd McHatton, and Mr. Ray

OK, really, it's two free songs and one free...ish song. Halloween songs for 2011 trickled out slowly for awhile -- there was Roy Handy back in July, then there was Skelly and the Punkins late last month. But now, like a group of zombies running down the street to catch the bus, three Halloween tunes were released within 24 hours of each other. Let's start with the "free...ish" song. It's called "Perfect Pumpkins," and it's from California psychedlic kid-popster Todd McHatton. It's a very sunshine-y tune that the Linus (or Matthew Sweet) fan in your family will appreciate. It'll cost ya 50 cents, but it's free for a limited time with a download of McHatton's new album Galactic Champions of Joy. Spin it below... Moving on to upstate New York, Ratboy Jr. offer up a free track called "Where Do Monsters Go?" It features the duo's signature lo-fi sound and a rap from Frankenstein. You heard me -- Frankenstein raps. (And if the player below doesn't show up for some weird reason, just go here.) DoYouBelieveInMonsters.jpgFinally, if that song frightened your little one -- unlikely, I know -- New Jersey's Mr. Ray offers up a more confidence-building pop song, "Do You Believe in Monsters?," which might help encourage the more timid of trick-or-treaters to overcome basic monster fears. You can download the track for free here, or learn more about a video contest he's running here.

The Ketchup Report, Vol. 12

Time for the Ketchup Report, kids' music favorite collection of news bits and videos I couldn't figure out how to write about on its own or didn't have the time to do so! (Yay, adequacy!) But I feel confident that at least one of these items will be of note to you... GalacticChampionsOfJoy.jpgTomorrow, Todd McHatton will be guest-hosting Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which, well, y'know, wouldn't be something I'd normally note. But in honor of the guest spot, McHatton's also donating 100% of profits raised this week from his new album Galactic Champions of Joy to the Haitian People's Support Project, the beneficiary of Spare the Rock Records' excellent Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti compilation. Go here, name your price (at least a buck), and get a download of the album and benefit a worthy charity. The offer ends tomorrow, October 8th. So tarry not. -- Jim "Mr. Stinky Feet" Cosgrove has done the crowd-funding thing, now he's doing the crowd-sourcing thing, looking for fans to produce his next video. He's encouraging everyone -- including families -- to give it a shot for one of four songs from his most recent album Swimming in Noodles. And in addition to "fame, glory, [and] warm-fuzzy feelings," Cosgrove is also offering cash prizes for the top three videos. Finished videos are due November 14th. All the details are at the link above. A video and a very long-form video after the jump...

Share: "Happy Birthday Harry" - Todd McHatton

Todd McHatton's new album Sundays at the Rocket Park comes out July 21, but there's always free music where Todd's concerned. Jeff already gave you the scoop on that album's opening track. Some of the album is like that tune, and a lot of rocks quite a bit harder. You can go to McHatton's website for lots of other downloads, some of rough versions of tunes from the new album, some from McHatton's next album. Below is McHatton's tribute to the musician McHatton most obviously idolizes, Harry Nilsson, whose kids album The Point is the ur-type for an album made for families by a musician who typically just records for adults. (It's also, er, good.) Nilsson's birthday is June 15th, so why not write a song for Nilsson in Nilssonian style? Download away... <a href="">Happy Birthday Harry by Todd McHatton</a>