Video: "Blue" - Ants Ants Ants (World Premiere!)

Why Why Why? album cover

Why Why Why? album cover

Yay for new bands making a splash!  The band in question is Ants Ants Ants, and even before the release of their debut album Why Why Why? next month, I'm already tickled pink by one of their brand new videos.  It's for the song "Blue," about blue whales, inspired in part by a conversation which one half of the duo Johnny Clay had with his daughter -- “On the way to school one morning, my 7 year old asked what the biggest animal on earth was - I told her it was a blue whale and we looked it up together when we got to school. We found out they can be 80 feet long!”

For the gentle, hummable song about blue whales, the Portland, Oregon duo of Johnny Clay and Dave Gulick turned to animator Chris Purdin.   The animation from Purdin (who also did the album art) is a perfect fit for the music, friendly and warm.  I'm happy to world-premiere the video.  And while Why Why Why? isn't available until May 20th, if you pre-order it at all the places you preorder music these days, you can get "Blue" as an instant download.  So go forth and, er, dive in!  [Slinks away slowly...]

Ants Ants Ants - "Blue" [YouTube]

Video: "Constellation Jig" - Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer (World Premiere!)

Zoom a Little Zoom cover

Zoom a Little Zoom cover

While I think one of the things I've appreciated most about kids music over the past decade plus is the genre's expansion into new sounds, it's a little sad that there isn't as much history, so to speak, aside from the many traditional folk songs that reinterpreted many times over.

So I was glad to hear that Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, key players in the kids music field for many years, were honoring some of their forebears with their forthcoming album Zoom a Little Zoom! A Ride Through Science.  The new album takes songs from the classic set of albums called Ballads for the Age of Science.  Those albums, also known as the Singing Science Records, featured songs by lyricist Hy Zaret and composer Lou Singer, performed by Dorothy Collins, Smithsonian Folkways artist Tom Glazer, and more.  They Might Be Giants covered a couple songs off the album, so it's not totally unfamiliar, but as songs that essentially beat Schoolhouse Rock by a full decade, they're important in the history of American kids music.

Fink and Marxer don't cover every song off the albums, but the ones they do, including this one, "Constellation Jig," (very Irish, natch) get contemporary arrangements commissioned by Zaret's son Robert. The accompanying video is lovely, with lots of detailed animations (including, of course, the constellations themselves) to accompany the lyrics.  I'm happy to world-premiere the video below.  And if you want to pick up the album, which comes out this Friday, March 30, feel free to check out iTunes or Amazon.

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer - "Constellation Jig" [YouTube]

Video: "The Starlighter" - Shawn Colvin

The Starlighter cover

The Starlighter cover

I don't want to say that I squealed aloud when news came across my desk that Shawn Colvin was doing an album for kids and families... but I sure squealed silently to myself.  Like many others of a certain age, I was a big fan of her 1996 album A Few Small Repairs, and I have a good feeling about her ability to bring tenderness and understanding to an album geared at a younger crowd.

The singer-songwriter announced this week that her next album would be The Starlighter, released exclusively through Amazon Music early next year.

On the album, Colvin returns to Lullabies and Night Songs, a 1960s-era book which featured composer Alec Wilder's arrangements of traditional and children's songs and artwork from Maurice Sendak.  Colvin already dipped into the book once for her 1998 holiday album Holiday Songs and Lullabies, and for this new album, she pulls 14 songs from the book.

The leadoff video for the album is for the title track, a hypnotic ballad whose video, based on Victorian paper theatres, matches its dreamlike quality.  The layered illustrations and motion design come courtesy of WeFail.  It's a lovely work of art, and leads me to high expectations for what's to come.

You can preorder the album here.  The Starlighter is released on February 23.

Shawn Colvin - "The Starlighter" [YouTube]

Video: "The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock" - Mista Cookie Jar (World Premiere!)

Mista Cookie Jar on bed

Mista Cookie Jar on bed

It's a new video for Black Friday from Mista Cookie Jar!  Now, I can hear you thinking, "Why would a song about a missing sock be the basis for a Black Friday-themed video?"  Well, that's because the song got its first life as a premiere on K. Bell Socks.  And not that I'm going to shill for socks, but socks are both stocking stuffers and stockings, so there is a certain seasonal appropriateness to the subject.

More importantly, like most of MCJ's work, it's great fun to listen to and dance to.  And, in the case of this World Premiere, watch... to.  Or something like that.  Enjoy!

Mista Cookie Jar - "The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock" [YouTube]

Video: "New Accordions" - Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could (World Premiere!)

While I can't agree with Disneyland and Target, who start decorating for Christmas, Hanukkah, and the rest of the December holidays while Halloween is barely in the rear view mirror (if at all), I'm willing to occasionally make an exception here to my "no celebrating Christmas 'til after Thanksgiving" rule if the song or video is fun enough.

Consider this an exception.  It's the world-premiere of a brand new song from Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could.  The song's called "New Accordions," and it's from Revvin' Up the Reindeer, Rymer's first holiday album, and in particular the song features a whole bunch of accordion work from not one but two of the Little Band That Could, Claudia Mussen and Seth Farber.  

The video is every bit as energetic as the song, bright colors, fast movement, and the briefest of holiday medleys.  (Side note: accordions are guaranteed party generators.  I still remember an Oktoberfest party many years ago where a coworker brought her accordion and played, much to the delight of the youngsters and oldsters in attendance.)  It's a holiday song that won't make you tired of holiday songs, and I'm happy to be world-premiering it.

AAAAANNNDDDD make sure to scroll past the video itself for some comments about life with an accordion from Claudia Mussen herself!

Video: "Little Baby Born Today" - Red Yarn

It was another stellar year for Andy Furgeson, AKA Red Yarn.  Born in the Deep Woods was one of my favorite albums from 2017, and it wrapped up the "Deep Woods Trilogy" with another set of modern takes on old folk tunes, which took as its inspiration in part the subject of parenthood.

Appropriately so, because Furgeson and his wife Jessie Eller-Isaacs got to enjoy the first year of their second child, a daughter.  And it's that daughter, who celebrates her first birthday this month, who stars in a new video for a song off Born in the Deep Woods titled "Little Baby Born Today."  She was a lot younger at the time Furgeson, Eller-Isaacs, and director Laki Karavias shot the video, but given the impending birthday, now felt like a good time to release it, says Furgeson.

As with the album itself, the video is about parenthood as much as it is childhood, so it may be just as interesting to the parents as the kids, but pretty shots of nature and appearances of hand-crafted puppets should be enough to keep the kids tuned in.

Incidentally, Furgeson notes that the entire trilogy has been reprinted with new, unified packaging (available here), and that he's already hard at work in the studio for the next album, tentatively titled Red Yarn's Old Barn.

But until then, you'll have to make do with the video, which I'm happy to world-premiere today.

Red Yarn - "Little Baby Born Today" [YouTube]