Video: "Too Much Junk" - Elska (World Premiere!)

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Woohoo, new music from Elska!  And a sparkly new video to go along with it.

It's been more than a couple of years since the release of Middle of Nowhere, the singular debut album from Shelley Wollert's Icelandic-inspired electronica-kid-pop, and since that time Wollert and long-time collaborator Allen Farmelo have been exploring new musical avenues and themes, including via a residency at The New Victory Theater's Lab Works Artist Residency.

Wollert also's been collaborating with others, including Mikael Jorgensen, who's probably best known as the lead pianist and keyboardist for a little band you may have heard of called Wilco.

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Wollert went to Jorgensen's Brooklyn studio and over the course of a day filled out this song, "Too Much Junk," with bubbling arpeggios and other sounds.  Jorgensen recalled (humorously) that "There was a point where Shelley stopped me and, very gently, let me know that her songs were about half the length of what I was making.  From there we narrowed, and it was really great to work on such a tight production."  (No "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," evidently.)

Beyond the song itself, whose themes of reducing reliance on, and obsession with, manmade itself ("plastic stuff") and relationship with nature Wollert says are reflected in her next full-length release, the video features more scenic visuals from Iceland as well as romps through a snow-covered Christmas tree farm in New York's Hudson Valley.

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OK, enough of my talking.  I'm tickled to offer the world-premiere video for "Too Much Junk."  Enjoy!  (And if you want to grab the song for very own, head here for purchasing links.)

Elska feat. Mikael Jorgensen - "Too Much Junk" [YouTube]

Photo credits: Christopher Vetur (2015).

Radio Playlist: New Music March 2015

More! New! Music!  I skipped February (short month, gets no respect, amirite?), but if you want to catch my list from late January, you can see that playlist here.

As always, it's limited in that if an artist hasn't chosen to post a song on Spotify, I can't put it on the list, nor can I feature songs from as-yet-unreleased albums.  But I'm always keeping stuff in reserve for the next Spotify playlist.

Check out the list here or go right here if you're in Spotify.

**** New Music March 2015 (March 2015 Kindie Playlist) ****

Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips – Jelly Beans!
Jed Maheu – Cookie Recipe (feat. Joey Galvan & Sean Hoffman)
Suz Slezak – You Got Love
The Boo Hoo Crew – I Just Wanna Go Home
Big Block Singsong – Owl
Sunny Day Rainbows – Max the Giraffe
Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips – The Way We Gets Down
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – Howdy Little Newlycome / Ceildh House Polka (feat. Cherish the Ladies)
Liz, Holly, & the Jolly Lollies – Theo's Lullaby

Video: "Los Planetas" - Nathalia

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There are lots of reasons kids of various might enjoy "Los Planetas," the first video from Los Angeles-based Nathalia and the opening track on her new album Dream a Little: the self-empowerment message,  watching kids messing around with science experiments, the slight revenge plot, all done with high-quality production values.

But if I had to pick the most appealing thing about the bilingual pop song's video, it would be the offhand moments shown here -- the kids dancing, or just interacting with each other.

Nathalia - "Los Planetas" [Vimeo]

Video: "The Froggy Dance" - Alison Faith Levy

I'm looking forward to hearing Alison Faith Levy's brand new album The Start of Things, which gets a release on April 21.  While a lot of Levy's kids music (both solo and with The Sippy Cups) has a big Wall of Sound, er, sound, the first song from the new album to get a video comes from a very different musical place.

"The Froggy Dance" is based on a nonsense poem handed down through generations and set to music by Levy.  Levy turned to animator Maddie Loftesnes to bring to (visual) life the silly animals Levy sings about like the frog-bird.  It's handmade and silly and fun.

Alison Faith Levy - "The Froggy Dance" [YouTube]

Baseball Songs for Kids (2015 Update)

Spring Training starts today!  Spring Training starts today!  So I'm going to actually post something in a timely manner, and that is provide an update to list of baseball songs for kids.  For the most part, I've just repeated last year's list of baseball songs, but I've added a couple new tracks to the list, and if I've missed something, please let me know in the comments.

-- "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" (well, duh) -- try Wiggleworms Love You, from the Old Town School of Folk Music (nicely bipartisan, cheering for both the Cubs and White Sox), or also the Hold Steady's version.

-- "Baseball Dreams" -- off At the Bottom of the Sea, by Ralph's World (Cubs all the way in this one)

-- "I'm Gonna Catch You" -- off Under a Shady Tree, by Laurie Berkner (it has one relevant line -- "So I jumped into Saturday / And I had a baseball batter-day" -- yes, this one's a bit of a stretch)

-- "Pop Fly" -- off Justin Roberts' album by the same name, about a daydreaming boy playing the outfield...

-- "Centerfield" -- off Centerfield, by John Fogerty (not kids' music, but a great song anyway). See also Visqueen's rendition on the Desoto Records kidscomp Play!

-- "Talkin' Baseball -- off countless albums by Terry Cashman, who just re-recorded and updated his song every few years -- baseball history lesson in 3 minutes

-- "Big Train" -- off the RTT's Turn It Up Mommy!. About Walter "Big Train" Johnson. I'd probably disagree that he's the best pitcher ever, but that's another blog. Good song.

-- "Right Field" -- Peter, Paul and Mary.

-- "Cryin' in the Dugout" -- off Daddy-A-Go-Go's Eat Every Bean and Pea on Your Plate album. A humorous song, "Baseball Dreams" played for laughs instead of nostalgia.

-- "The Greatest" -- Kenny Rogers.

-- "Roll Around" -- Peter Himmelman, off of his My Lemonade Stand CD. A fun, rollicking song about a baseball who retires, then comes back to his true calling.

-- "Baseball Tips with Professor Buckley -- Peter Himmelman, My Green Kite, an amusing little spoken-word piece.

-- "Baseball" -- Milkshake, off Play!. Guest-starring Cal Ripkin, Jr.

-- "The Challenger Baseball Song" -- Ben Rudnick and Friends. All about the Challenger Division of Little League, for kids with mental and physical disabilities.

-- "Baseball, Baseball" -- Stephen Cohen, off Here Comes the Band.

-- "Hey! Batter!" -- Hank Cooper, from Playground Fortune Teller -- all about the language of baseball...

-- "High Five" -- They Might Be Giants (at least in part anyway, and the video features some baseball players -- and c'mon, the team sponsored a Little League baseball team...)

-- "Bruce Springstone's" version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

-- Kathy Kallick's "brilliant refashioning" of Count Basie's "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball"

-- "Bring 'Em In" -- the Deedle Deedle Dees (off their American History + Rock 'n' Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees album)

-- "I Love Baseball" -- Jim Cosgrove (off Ooey Gooey)

-- "Home Run Ronnie" -- Debbie and Friends (off More Story Songs and Sing-Alongs)

-- "Lullabye with Baseball and Trains" - Peter Himmelman (off My Trampoline)

-- "Cool Papa Bell" -- The Deedle Deedle Dees (off Strange Dees Indeed, watch an early Lloyd Miller rendition here)

-- "Tommy Got in Trouble Today" -- the Bazillions (off Rock 'n' Roll Recess)

-- "Not So Good at Baseball" -- Barry Louis Polisar (off Old Enough to Know Better)

-- "Catfish" -- off Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series. I am unfamiliar with this one. But it's Dylan.

-- "Joe DiMaggio’s Done it Again" -– Wilco and Billy Bragg, from their Mermaid Ave Vol. 2 (not "kids music," per se, but totally OK.  Great, even)

-- "A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request" –- Steve Goodman. See "Talkin' Baseball," above.

-- "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" -- Brave Combo.  It's Brave Combo, how could it not be fun?

-- "Jackie" -- Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band (from Lishy Lou and Lucky Too).

-- "My Baseball Bat" -- The Boogers (Let's Go)

-- "Jackie Robinson" -- Ellis Paul (The Hero in You)

-- "Opening Day" -- Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could (single, listen here)

-- "Monster League Baseball" -- Eric Herman (The Incredibly Spaced-Out Adventures of Jupiter Jackson)

Monday Morning Smile: "A New Wave" - Sleater-Kinney

Sleepy this Monday morning?  Need a pick-me-up?  Then might I suggest the latest video from the awesome Sleater-Kinney?  It's for "A New Wave," and features the characters from the Fox animated comedy Bob's Burgers dancing while animated versions of the trio play one of the strongest songs from their new album No Cities To Love.  (Love drummer Janet Weiss shaking her head back and forth.)

While you or your kids might not pogo up and down like Tina Belcher, this'll serve as the equivalent of a cup of coffee or can of soda.  Energy!

[Almost entirely unrelated note: I get to see Sleater-Kinney in concert this spring.  Squeeee!]

Sleater-Kinney: "A New Wave" [YouTube]