Video: "Dame una A" - 123 Andres

123AndresArribaAbajo.jpg

It's Cinco de Mayo as I type this, and while 123 Andres' new album Arriba Abajo gets its official release a month from now, this is as a good a week as any to release a brand new Spanish-language kids music video.

The video is for "Dame una A" ("Give Me an A") and its simple celebration of vowels ("vocales") is well-served by an incredibly cute quartet of animated animals, characters, and, er, vowels.  I'm guessing this is not the last we will see of them.

123 Andres - "Dame una A" [YouTube]

Video: "Chocolate" - Sonia de Los Santos

Mi Viaje album cover

Mi Viaje album cover

After the ubiquitous "De Colores," I'd guess that the traditional Mexican children's tune "Chocolate" is the Spanish-language song that appears most often in our kids music collection.  Simple enough for preschoolers of any language + sugar = generations of children's music longevity!

Sonia de Los Santos included a nice rendition of the song on her album Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island, and now it's got an simple but artfully crafted video to match.  The illustration is from Mexican-born illustrator Rafael Lopez, and if you and your family enjoyed de Los Santos' album, or Dan Zanes' music and overall family music aesthetic, y'all will dig this.

Sonia de Los Santos - "Chocolate" [YouTube]

Video: "You Were Meant To Be" - Renee Stahl and Glen Phillips (World Premiere!)

(from left to right) Rich Jacques, Glen Phillips, Renee Stahl

(from left to right) Rich Jacques, Glen Phillips, Renee Stahl

I suppose it's always time for songs of unconditional love and acceptanace around these parts, but with Mother's Day coming up this weekend, it's especially that sort of time.  So this brand new video for "You Were Meant To Be" from Renee and Friends' Simpatico album seems very timely.

That album included duets with a number of Renee Stahl's friends and acquaintances, and "You Were Meant To Be" features vocals from Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket.  (That's Phillips with Stahl in the picture to the left, along with producer Rich Jacques.)  Stahl was a long time fan of Phillips in addition to being a friend of his.  Phillips said he and Stahl wrote the song, whose message is one of welcoming and belong in good times and bad, at a time of personal transition for him -- "it was wonderful to take some of that uncertainty and view it through the lens on a parent/child relationship."  For me, the result is one of the album's highlights.

Glen Phillips recording

Glen Phillips recording

The animation for the new video is from Jon Izen, whose line art of bird-like humans (or human-like birds) and amuted color palette also graced Renee and Jeremy videos for "Share" and "Yellow."  I loved his work on those videos, and the retro vibe and art direction for this new song is another excellent fit.

So, regardless of whether you're a mother, a father, or neither -- like, for example, a kid -- I think you'll enjoy this world premiere.

Renee Stahl & Glen Phillips - "You Were Meant To Be" [Vimeo]

Photo credit: Renee Stahl Dektor

Radio Playlist: New Music April 2016

I know that new music season must be approaching its peak, because there's quite a bit of music I've received I just haven't had a chance to choose the best from, and still this list is a half-hour of great stuff.  (If you want to catch my list from March, another full list, 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 right here in you're in Spotify).

**** New Music April 2016 (April 2016 Kindie Playlist) ****

"Wake Up" - Red Yarn (w/ Morgan Taylor)

"Animal Tracks" - Laura Doherty

"All The Things I Found" - Frances England

"One Verse Song" - Sugar Free Allstars

"O pato" - Paulinho Garcia

"Chugga Chugga" - The Singing Lizard

"One" (feat. Dub Tonic Cru & Tommy Shepherd) - Aaron Nigel Smith

"Kelp!" - Two of a Kind

"Obla Dobla De" - The Que Pastas

"Sing a Summer Song" - Charity and the JAMband

Podcast Review: Ear Snacks

Ear Snacks logo cover

Ear Snacks logo cover

Well, with this the plural in "Podcast Reviews Are Now a Thing Here" is in fact true.

The Los Angeles-based kindie duo Andrew and Polly first became known to the kids music world for their melodic and occasionally quirky music, but it's their podcast Ear Snacks that is, I think, their most forward-thinking creative effort for audiences of kids.

They call it a "radical new podcast for kids," and while I tend not to believe most descriptions that try to hype the individuality of the product, in this case I think the phrase fits.  Each episode is loosely structured around a single theme -- the most recent one, Episode 9, is "Rain," but they've also covered beeps, pairs, disguises, balls, and more.  The duo (married, with a kid of their own) tackle the topic by talking with one another, playing audio clips of kids talking about it, talking with adult experts, and playing music.  The adults they talk with are sometimes scientists, but sometimes they're just people with a hobbyist's interest (like Polly's father or a friend who just really digs seahorses).  The music, well, as you'd expect, it's really good.  (The song at the end of the "Rain" podcast is one of the best kids' songs you'll hear this year.)  And all of this is wrapped into a single, well-edited whole.

The podcast is most appropriate for kids ages 3 through 7.  The iTunes link for the show is here (you can find it elsewhere, of course, including at the podcast's main page above).  Episodes are roughly 15-20 minutes in length, and are released roughly monthly.  (Sometimes there are much shorter bonus episodes released in between the main releases.)  Aside from a suggestion of supporting the show, perhaps by buying a t-shirt, the show is ad-free.

I recently called Ear Snacks a half-absurdist podcast for kids, and I stand by that assessment.  Yes, it features kids, and curious ones at that, and that's nothing new, but its blend of music and its deemphasis on straight-forward storytelling is certainly unique for the emerging genre.  It's a hoot.

Video: "Beautiful Day" - Red Yarn

Wake Up and Sing cover

Wake Up and Sing cover

Today is the release day for Red Yarn's new album, his third, titled Wake Up & Sing.  I can think of no better way to celebrate new music from the Portland musician and puppet impresario than to feature the first video from the album.  It's for the leadoff track, "Beautiful Day," and it features a whole host of puppet friends.  Don't let the horse drive the bus! (Or car.)  A beautiful day, indeed.

Red Yarn - "Beautiful Day" [YouTube]