Video: "Take a Bath" - Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies (World Premiere!)

Bubble Wrap album cover

Bubble Wrap album cover

Today marks the official release date for Bubble Wrap, the brand new album from Eric Herman (and his band the Thunder Puppies).  Longtime kids music listeners will not be surprised to find out that the new album contains a mix of the silly and heartfelt, and while perhaps the Washington-based Herman has strong feelings on the issue of cleanliness, the song "Take a Bath" definitely fits on the silly end of that spectrum.

The reggae-inflected song is amusing by itself, but the cartoon visuals are particularly effective, and I suspect will amuse the youngsters.  (Hey, it amused me, so that age range might be kinda broad.)

Anyway, enjoy this world premiere video!

Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies - "Take a Bath" [YouTube]

Podcast Review: The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast

Imaginary Accomplishments logo

Imaginary Accomplishments logo

Amidst the many (fine) science podcasts, Todd McHatton's latest venture, The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast, stands out.  The iTunes description -- "An imaginary NPR style rock and roll space comedy broadcast twice monthly from a red and white rocket hurtling through the Galaxy featuring friendly monsters, imaginary sports, interviews, and more" -- both captures and fails to capture its essence.

That failure to capture is contained mostly in the dry text of the words.  A couple months ago, before the podcast actually launched, McHatton described the show to me as an "all ages, family friendly mix of The Muppets, Cheech & Chong, Monty Python, and 70s rock and roll cartoon shows," and I think there's way more truth than hype in that description.  Is it as roll-on-the-floor funny as Monty Python? No, but its absurdity will definitely remind the older listeners of that show.  Every show features McHatton's friendly monster creations Larry, Marvy, and Finch, and they travel through the galaxy reporting on absurd sporting events (the "Regional Galactic Semi-Final Doughnut Races," for example).  There are made-up ads, other recurring characters (Captain Stuffy-pants, who tends not to say much more than "I say" in a gruff upper-crust British accent), and as one would hope with the talented musician McHatton at the helm, songs.  (A couple of the monsters do record reviews, where they promise to give albums the finger... a big foam finger... if they like it.  They've liked 'em all so far.)  I'd describe the humor more as silly rather than laugh-out-loud funny, but it's genial good nature carries it a long way.

The podcast is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8.  The iTunes link for the show is here, although you may be able to find it elsewhere (here's the SoundCloud page).  Episodes are generally 17-18 minutes in length, released a couple times per month.  The show is ad-free (well, except for those fake ads that get woven into the storyline).

The Imaginary Accomplishments Podcast is a variety show of sort that's pretty rare in kids podcasting.  (Only Ear Snacks remotely approaches it.)  McHatton's released five of the at least six episodes he's produced thus far.  We shall see whether it catches on with listeners and families, but with its silly sketches and crunchy power pop, I'd like to think there's some audience out there for McHatton's goofy goodness.

Itty-Bitty Review: Meet You By the Moon - The Que Pastas

Meet You By the Moon cover

Meet You By the Moon cover

The Texas-based band The Que Pastas started out as a somewhat jokier band.  (They also started out as a Colorado-based band, but that's an entirely different story.) Over time, while they haven't exactly dropped their sense of humor, chief Pastas Gene Davis and Simon Flory have added a healthy dose of heart to their songs.

Meet You By the Moon, their recently-released second full-length album, is a major step forward for the band, a solid collection of Americana with touches of the Beatles and the third grade cutup.  The band's always had a bit of Americana sound, but with producer Salim Nourallah (Old 97s, Rhett Miller, among others) at the helm, it's brought more to the fore in sound, attitude, and instrumentation.  There's the stomp of "Llama," the hint of zydeco on the reading anthem "Book Lion," and the fiddle accents on the suffused-with-heart "Saturday Morning."  And for every jokey song like "Common Denominator" (a re-recorded version of an early demo track), there's a new song like "Helen's Song," written from the perspective of a parent looking forward to future awesome events in their child's life (e.g., first corn dog at the State Fair). 

The 26-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8.  While the band's fans who grew up appreciating the band's outgoing attitude with a touch of class clown in their songs will still find songs to scratch that itch, wearing more heart on their sleeve will hopefully expand their audience further.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I received a copy of the album for possible review.

Video: "What Kind of Fruit?" - Dean Jones (World Premiere!)

In My Dreams cover art by Giselle Potter

In My Dreams cover art by Giselle Potter

Yay!  New music from Dean Jones!  Nothing like getting e-mail which says, "hey! new music in a month!"  Which is essentially how I learned about Jones' forthcoming album In My Dreams.  The latest album from the producer who seems to produce about half of every kindie album these days arrives a scant 4 weeks from now on July 1, and to kick things off we've got a laid-back video featuring Jones in a banana suit.  (Now there's a sentence I feel confident has never been written in the entire history of the world up 'til now.)  Directed by Ratboy Jr.'s Tim Sutton, the video is gently goofy and questioning and will probably lead to some requests for some apples, grapes, or bananas.  Enjoy this world premiere!

Dean Jones - "In My Dreams" [YouTube]