Video: "Rocketship" - Stacey Peasley (World Premiere!)

Sometimes all your kids -- or you -- need is a simple pop song with a cute video.  If that's you today, might I suggest this video for "Rocketship" from Stacey Peasley?  The song's a catchy and danceable guitar-driven number perfect for the closest kindergartener with a space obsession.  (Evidently there are a number of said kindergarteners, because Peasley reports it's the most popular track off her 2016 Marty Beller-produced album RSVP.)  When the song paired with the suuuuuupercute video from eg design based on illustrations from Jill Howarth, the whole package really, er... takes off.  [Ducks behind curtain to avoid thrown objects.]

Anyway, I'm happy to world-premiere this fun video!

Stacey Peasley - "Rocketship" [YouTube]

Video: "Baconstein" - Gustafer Yellowgold

There are many pleasing things about the word of a new Gustafer Yellowgold album, but the news from a few weeks back that the forthcoming track "Baconstein" would be getting a video was among the most pleasing.  "Baconstein" is a spiritual if not literal sequel to "Cakenstein," which, while not the most typical of Gustafer songs, is one of the funniest tracks in the Gustafer canon.  "Baconstein" tells another story of food run amok, a "Bacon Chucky Norris" with an attitude.  (As technology is for Wallace & Gromit, so food is for Gustafer Yellowgold, apparently.)

And now the video for "Baconstein" is here, so you can hear about (and see) Baconstein's six-pack abs.  And more.  Gustafer Yellowgold's Brighter Side is out Sept. 8.

Gustafer Yellowgold - "Baconstein" [YouTube]

Video: "Shine" - Alphabet Rockers (World Premiere!)

 Rise Shine #Woke album cover

Rise Shine #Woke album cover

The community of musicians making hip-hop for kids is small but dedicated. The Bay Area's Alphabet Rockers have, over the course of their career, gradually refined their sound and their audience, moving from preschool-targeted topics to a somewhat older crowd.

Just a glance at the title of their upcoming album -- Rise Shine #Woke, out this Friday, September 1 -- suggests that Kaitlin McGaw and Tommy Shepherd continue their journey as songwriters into the world at large.  (The band cites Lauryn Hill's classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as a template for the album.)   Don't get me wrong, I love me some "Shape Rap," but I'm also glad to see them tackle broader social issues as well -- Pete Seeger, after all, sang about bugs and the labor movement.

You can read as much or as little politics as you want into this new tune "Shine," but the video, with footage from a recent concert at the local Oakland Museum, features lots of beaming, dancing kids, along with lyrics celebrating kids' smiles, skin color, and self-expression, is worth pressing play.

Alphabet Rockers - "Shine" [YouTube]

 Alphabet Rockers at Oakland Museum concert

Alphabet Rockers at Oakland Museum concert

Photo credit: Marcus Salinas

A Postnoceros About the Rocknoceros Podnoceros

 Rocknoceros: Boogie Woogie Bennie, Coach Cotton, and Williebob

Rocknoceros: Boogie Woogie Bennie, Coach Cotton, and Williebob

(Pretty sure nobody's typed that before.)

I was happy to find out that DC-area kindie rockers Rocknoceros have stepped in the paths of Andrew and Polly and the Sugarcrash Kids and... hey, wait, why haven't there been more kids musicians who've tackled the podcast medium?  I know of at least one more in the works, but, still, there should be more.

So, yay for Rocknoceros, who have started their own podcast called the Rocknoceros Podnoceros.  Just one episode released so far, a celebration of all things summertime (a topic broad enough to cover both ice cream trucks and hydration and sweating).

Coach Cotton -- lead singer (usually) and the guy with the whistle in the picture above -- says that they're hoping that the podcast is a "broad platform through which [they] can find the 'thing' that excites... an audience."  He cites the enthusiasm of bandmate Boogie Woogie Bennie (their multi-instrumentalist) for podcasts as being contagious for the rest of the band.  They're hoping to educate and entertain, and hopefully read a wider audience, too.

And once you've had enough of summer, the next episode -- they hope to publish monthly -- will be a large topical shift -- it's all about Alaska!

Anyway, having listened to the first episode, I think if you've got kids between the ages of 4 and 8 -- in other words, Rockno's core audience demographic -- it's worth giving it a listen.  You can subscribe in iTunes here or listen below...

And if you just want to groove to new Rockno tunes, check out "Summertime" below...

A Massive Caspar Babypants Playlist

 Jump For Joy album cover

Jump For Joy album cover

Today marks the release of Jump For Joy!, the 13th album for kids from Caspar Babypants, AKA Chris Ballew.

Thirteen albums for any artist is a significant achievement, but the fact that Ballew has done so in basically little more than 9 years is even more amazing.

And the fact that those 13 albums are uniformly good to great -- not a stinker among them -- is the most impressive feat of them all.

Jump For Joy! is another good Caspar Babypants album, and while I'd probably pick a different album to introduce a listener to CB (More Please! or Sing Along!, to suggest a couple), it's certainly a worthwhile spin.

I have written many words about the music of Caspar Babypants -- many, many words.  Let's face it, trying to say something interesting about the latest album from some who is releasing new music every 33 or 34 weeks can get difficult.  Let's just say I think that Ballew is one of the great songwriters for preschoolers of this era or any other.

So rather than going into more detail on his latest album saying, basically, "I like this -- you should try it out," I decided to put together a playlist of my favorite Caspar Babypants songs.  And as I went through his albums one by one, I quickly realized that to do something like a 15- or even 30-song list wouldn't do Ballew justice.

I present to you, then, one hundred awesome Caspar Babypants songs, up to and including songs from Jump For Joy!, out today.  I have not tried to organize these 100 songs into the perfect Spotify playlist -- they are simply CB songs, ordered chronologically by release date.  The one exception I made was to move all the songs from Night Night!, Ballew's lullaby/nighttime album, to the very end, but even then you'll hear a few lullabies from his other works scattered throughout.  (I also tried to keep the songs I picked from Winter Party!, his Christmas/holiday album, not very... Christmas-y so that it works even in the heat of late August.)

Anyway, parents, enjoy, and Chris Ballew, thanks.

Top Kids and Family Podcasts (August 2017)

It's been about three weeks since the last time I looked at ranking podcasts for kids, and things are looking good for kids' podcasting.  (For those of you interested, here is July's list of top-ranked kids and family podcasts.)

If you're looking for a podcast for kids, you could -- and should! -- of course look at my list of podcasts for kids (now above 115!), but if that's a bit overwhelming, try the podcasts listed below.   Popularity isn't always synonymous with quality, but you could do much worse than dipping into the shows ranked below to start out.

August's ranked list is one less than July's list -- 16 ranked shows -- and 3 down from the all-time high of 19 in June.  (That means 16 shows that appeared in the top 100 of both the iTunes and Stitcher "kids and family" charts.)  The total number of podcasts listed below is 36, however, up 1 from last month and a new record.  A total of 4 podcasts below hit the overall iTunes Top 200 (same as July's total), while in the Top 200 Kids & Family chart on iTunes, the total of 45 was up 6 (!) from July and beat June's record by 3 shows.  The Stitcher total of 21 is down (6) from last month, however.

As always: this is a blunt instrument, combining pure rankings from two fairly opaque charts, and for a variety of reasons has only marginal value as a measure of quality.  (Results compiled from Top 100 podcasts on United States iTunes and Stitcher "kids and family" charts on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Podcasts that appear on both charts are ranked below; remaining podcasts only appeared on one list.  Of special note: Dream Big appeared on iTunes' overall Top 200 and is #1 on the Kids and Family chart, but not at all on Stitcher's family list, so for that podcast at least, this list certainly underplays its popularity.)  Anyway: grain of salt noted.

Two other reminders:

1.  If you're looking for a list that has most (or all) of these podcasts, check out my comprehensive list of podcasts for kids.

2. If you're interested in the future of podcasts for kids, you might be interested in Kids Listen, a grassroots organization of podcasters and folks like me interested in helping high-quality audio for children thrive.  We're looking for other interested folks -- producers or otherwise -- to join in!

With that out of the way, let's get to the chart.

1. Wow in the World

2. Brains On!

3.  Stories Podcast

4. Storynory

5. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

6. Story Pirates

7. Story Time

8.  (tie)  The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

8. (tie) Tumble

10. Eleanor Amplified

11.  But Why?

12. Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child

13. Peace Out

14. Ear Snacks

15.  Short and Curly

16.  What If World

Others (listed alphabetically): 1001 Classic Short Stories & Tales, Activated Stories, Biddy the Duck's Bedtime Stories, Children Stories and Joyful Podcast, The Children's Corner, Children's Fun Storytime Podcast, Disney Story Central, Dream Big, Family Folk Tales, Little Stories for Tiny People, Official Adventures in Odyssey, The Past and the Curious, Podcast Kid, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, Road Trip Radio, Saturday Morning Theatre, Sparkle Stories, The Story Home, That Story Show, The Cramazingly Incredifun Sugarcrash Kids