Ah, Recess Monkey, look what you've done now. You've proven beyond all doubt that Mayor Monkey is indeed your secret weapon. Clearly the slightly bumbling and affable nature of Hizzoner is just a front, judging by the cover of the band's upcoming release FLYING!. That's a great photo, boys. (The rest of the album art is from Jarrett Krosoczka, creator of the Lunch Lady comics). Tracklisting for the Tor Hyams-produced album, due out June 21 -- along with the listing of a gazillion guest stars -- is after the jump.
Time once again for all the news that didn't fit into a separate post due to time, interest, contractual, or legal obligations -- it's your favorite pun-titled file folder of a blog post, the Ketchup Report! Yaaay! (Cue Kermit the Frog wild arm-flailing here...) The World of Happiness single, the "We Are the World" of the kids' biz, "A World of Happiness," is here. Except your kids might actually want to listen to this new song when they become parents themselves. Sales of the single, produced by Tor Hyams and Joanie Leeds, benefit Autism Speaks. The single includes a whole host of folks besides Leeds and Hyams -- Molly Ledford (who gets the honor of leading off the track), Frances England, Ralph Covert... it just goes on and on. A bunch of the participants will be recording a concert later this month for broadcast on Sirius/XM Radio later on. Anyway, it's $1.29 well-spent right here. I could probably start a whole separate post listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. Heck, it's almost getting to the point where I could start a blog listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. I've been partial to Kickstarter, of course. The two most recent projects have been a Professor Banjo and his successful second-album project and Ryan SanAngelo and his not-one-but-two-Kickstarter-projects. But other sites do the same basic thing. Van Oodles didn't quite succeed in making a video for a song of his, but LA indie-rockers Ellen and Matt and Chicago's Laura Doherty are both looking for funds for their next disks. Should you feel so inclined, help out Ellen and Matt here and Laura for her new album Shining Like a Star in the widget there to the side. -- For a limited time, Doctor Noize's "Bananas" iWhatever app is free. Download the ever-so-slightly-educational app here. (Note: may no longer be free.) -- Finally, with Earth Day coming up, a it's time for Earth Day-related tunes. Dan Zanes has a new, original tune, "Hail the Creatures" written by Zanes for a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo. You don't need to be near Philly to enjoy the track, just near an iTunes-enabled gadget that can download this, with proceeds benefiting the Zoo. (More details on the tune and the Zoo's new exhibit here.)... Bill Harley is offering a free download of "Keep It Green" from his 1996 album Big Big World -- you can get it here... And finally, DARIA is offering a mini-CD of 6 "earth friendly" songs, free just for the price of an e-mail address (and an earth-friendly suggestion).
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.
Another collection of random bits from around the kindie-webs... -- Perpetual Grammy nominee Bill Harley is offering up another free track. This one is - gasp! - a quarter-century old. It's "I'm On My Way" from his 1986 album 50 Ways To Fool Your Mother and it's a nifty re-working of the old traditional tune... -- The long-in-the-making "We Are the World"-style jam "A World of Happiness" is finally making its way to the light of day. Joanie Leeds and Tor Hyams released a YouTube video explaining the project, which basically boils down, "a whole bunch of kindie artists lending their talents to a single song to raise money for charity." That works for me. Originally pegged as a Haiti-relief song, now the charity of choice will be picked by a vote. -- The Wales-based animation studio Planet Sunday, best known here probably for their animation work for The Hipwaders and Debbie and Friends, also helps run their Animation Academy. The Academy (now a non-profit organization, shows kids ages 8 and up how animated films are made and gives them the chance to make their own films. Their most recent workshop resulted in a music video for The Hipwaders. According to Planet Sunday founder Greg David, "The kids and parents really got a lot out of it, and it really improved the format of the day." They've got two workshops lined up this month, on the 23rd and 25th February. One band is already interested, but they're looking to get someone else on board -- i.e., another kindie band. While David says they try to keep the costs down for kids as much as possible by getting grants and other funding to cover the cost of equipment and materials, etc., if a band would like to make a donation of either money and/or goodies for the kids it'd be much appreciated. (And, I suppose, that would go for anyone, regardless of their kindie-rocking status.) If interested, drop 'em a line here. -- I normally wouldn't like this video from L.A.'s Mista Cookie Jar -- it's way too overdone for my own tastes -- but they all combine into something... else. It's probably the tune, which is earwormy, and downloadable for free (or donation) right here... Mista Cookie Jar - "Joey the Dogg" [YouTube]
I optimistically titled my first attempt at a generic roundup of Volume 1, but, hey, here's Volume 2! All the news too small for its own post, super-sized for you. -- As previously noted, Tor Hyams was developing a new podcast and the first episode of Kindiecast premiered last weekend. Thirty minutes, 8 songs -- stream or download it here. (And today the website notes that Recess Monkey has another batch of songs ready to go, but those guys write songs in their sleep, I think.) Anyways, iTunes podcasting will be happening shortly... -- Speaking of Hyams, Frances England's Mind of My Own (produced by Hyams) is released Nov. 9th and she's got a lot of new stuff associated with the release. This weekend she's got a new show on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live (check there for details), she's selling artwork, and, while I have a vague memory that Frances told me about these "Creative Family Challenges" contests, the first one is now here and embedded below: -- Speaking of upcoming albums, The Baby Grands release their new album The Baby Grands II on Nov. 16, and today only they're running a deal on Plum District's Atlanta site to get that and their debut album for just $9 plus shipping... I like the creative thinking on getting their music out in front of a wide audience... -- To complete the upcoming album trifecta, The Boogers' second album Let's Go! comes out Nov. 23rd and they're letting you have one of the energetic album's best tracks, "Otto's Orange Day," for the price of an e-mail address. Go here to grab it. -- The Deedle Deedle Dees' Lloyd Miller will be recording his November sing-a-alongs in Brooklyn for a new album to be released soon. For free. Woot! -- Gustafer Yellowgold has a blog. Yes, a blog.
Waking up for Day 2 of the 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival, I was really sore, stiff from the large amount of walking I did on Day 1. I mean, I normally walk a lot at ACL, but Friday's walking seemed... longer. Maybe it was the crowds, who knows, but that's advice number #1 for parents at ACL: stretch. Anyway, my primary goal on Day 2 at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage was to get there in time to see Elizabeth Mitchell and Frances England. We caught the very last song of the Jellydots' set, then settled in. The kids, having been fortified with Cheetos at the media area, angled for the kefir at the Lifeway Kefir booth (because for them, flavored kefir = flavored yogurt = treat). And we were eager to hear Mitchell, whom we'd never seen in concert before and who'd been a part of our family's lives since Miss Mary Mack was still crawling around on the floor. Elizabeth Mitchell's set was reasonably mellow, but not overly so. The crowd, which seemed reasonably full on Friday, was more so on Day 2 as people brought their kids on the weekend, and it brought an energy to artists' sets on the weekend. I hadn't appreciated how much Mitchell's and husband Daniel Littleton's daughter Storey is now a part of the set. She sang on most (all?) of the songs, sometime taking lead. I wouldn't call her a pro -- that's actually praise from my perspective -- but she was poised. Ella Childs joined them for the Japanese song "The Chestnut Tree," and as I looked around, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many parents were joining along with their kids on the hand motions Mitchell, Storey, and Ella led them in or how many were attempting the Spanish-language version of "John the Rabbit" Mitchell tried out. We had to miss Tom Freund's set on Friday, so after grabbing some lunch at the food court, we dashed back to see him play. He was a nice fit between Mitchell and England -- his fun Hug Trees album is a low-key disk for the most part. He was joined here in Austin by Abra Moore, who appeared with Freund on his album as well. Moore had by far the most distinctive performance outfit of the AKL stage (sorry Verve Pipe guys all wearing ties) -- leis, big glasses, and a whole bunch of purple balloons, which she sported while bouncing on a big ol' pink exercise ball. By comparison, Freund (also sporting a collared shirt and tie) looked positively restrained. There was nothing revelatory about the set, but like I said, Hug Trees is fun, and so I enjoyed getting to hear the roots-pop songs live. Next up Frances England. England (as well as Mitchell and her family) hung out a lot at the AKL stage for the weekend, seeing the other performers. In fact, generally, it was a much greater social gathering than I recall previous AKL stages being. For whatever reason, it just seemed like the performers hung out a lot more front stage (as opposed to backstage) listening to the other acts -- the Okee Dokee Brothers wanted to see Elizabeth Mitchell, for example, while Mitchell wanted to catch England's set. It was a very family vibe. England's set was a little less of a surprise for me because I'd seen her in Brooklyn and so I knew she and her band would deliver a solid indie-folk set. England's husband, bassist John Funke, got down from the stage to lead the kids in some movement activities on one of the quieter songs, and by this point there were a fair number of kids to be led. The special guest for Saturday was Peter DiStefano playing with AKL producer Tor Hyams. DiStefano was the guitarist with Perry Farrell in Porno for Pyros, and so, as he'd done in guest sets at Kidzapalooza, DiStefano and Tor played PFP's big hit "Pets" as well as "Sympathy for the Devil." While the renditions definitely rocked from an adult perspective, it's not entirely clear what kids get out of those songs -- between "Sympathy" and the School of Rock kids, sometimes it feels like the AKL stage is both the youngest and oldest stage at ACL. But they did do the undeniably cool thing of having a bunch of kids get up on stage to strum DiStefano's guitar and then hang out on stage while they were playing. It was fun to see a bit of the controlled chaos of the crowd/AKL area make it up there. The final act of the day was Sugar Free Allstars. Again, I'd seen them in Brooklyn, but of course my kids hadn't, so it was a chance for my kids (or at least Little Boy Blue) to get up and dance. Perhaps more than any other AKL act, SFA worked hard at trying to get the kids in the crowd to interact -- not that the other acts ignored the kids, just that Chris Wiser and Dr. Rock have a lot of energy on stage that they're trying to transfer to the audience. We went offsite for dinner, and the kids went back home, but I was determined to come back and see LCD Soundsystem who I also saw here back in 2007 (and who also had one of my favorite all-time quotations). I saw about 75% of James Murphy et al's set back then and the last 25% in 2010. Maybe one of these days I'll see a complete set. While his new album This Is Happening doesn't hit me quite as much as its predecessor Sound of Silver, it's still pretty darn good. And I can't stress how great they are live. After that I sampled from various acts -- Ozomatli had a party going on under the Clear 4G tent, while Matt and Kim were incredibly hyper (which I gather is normal for them in their sets). Also, I've never seen a band pander as much to the crowd the duo did -- really, it's OK, just chill a bit. Still, they were on fire -- Kim is a toddler, energy-wise, on the drums. And I wrapped it up with 3 songs from Muse (my neighbor would have been very disappointed in me if I hadn't seen just a little bit of their act). I totally get why their live show is sometimes called the best rock show in the world right now. It had lasers, a video show, bombasticity -- like U2, except if that band had a dystopian rather than utopian bent. But after another full day of music, it was time to head back home to recover and see my kids. So I made my way back through the Muse crowds, waited for what seemed way too long at 8:45 to catch the shuttle bus back to Republic Square, and headed home.