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]

Video: "Helen's Song" - The Que Pastas

Meet You By the Moon album cover

Meet You By the Moon album cover

I'm not one normally to post videos featuring user-submitted photos and videos because I don't tend to find them particularly compelling.

But this new one from The Que Pastas features lead singer/guitarist's Gene Davis' own photos and videos from, like, just about his entire life.  It gives his song, or rather, "Helen's Song," already lovely in audio form, that much more "oomph."  This one's probably more for the dads (and moms) in the audience than their kids, but the older kids looking for a soundtrack for a Father's (or Mother's) Day video could do much, much worse.  The song's from the brand new album from the Texas band, Meet You By the Moon.

The Que Pastas - "Helen's Song" [YouTube]

Video: "Black Footed Ferret" - The Whizpops

Last fall, I clued you in to a sweet animated video for "Manta Ray" by Montana kindie band The Whizpops.  The video was premiered on the SciShow Kids channel, and nearly six months later, the band's getting a second video premiere from fellow Montanan Hank Green and his merry band of YouTube educators.

The video is for "Black Footed Ferret," and I think it's an even better match of song and video than the first pairing.  In addition to the song, which veers from Billy Joel/Steely Dan jazzy piano pop to rap and back again, the video neatly complements the story the song tells about black footed ferrets' tenacious and tenuous grip on survival as a species.

Also, in addition to the animation, there are also puppets.  I am ALWAYS thinking of the puppets.

In any case, the song is from The Whizpops' forthcoming album, Ranger Rick's Trail Mix Vol. 1, due out May 20, and the band is clearly continuing down the nature-tainment path they've forged on their recent albums.  Hopefully there are a couple more videos as cute as this one on the drawing board.

The Whizpops - "Black Footed Ferret" [YouTube]

Video: "Catch That Pretzel" - Lard Dog & The Band of Shy

Life's a Real Dream cover

Life's a Real Dream cover

If a picture can be worth a thousand words, sometimes a music video can capture a band's sensibility far better than a review ever could.

It's with that in mind that I'm featuring a video from Lard Dog and The Band of Shy called "Catch That Pretzel."  The video's the first off their debut album Life's A Real Dream, and in its whimsy I think it pretty much nails the band and its album.

Choreographed drone footage, modern sculpture (from Steven Erdman AKA Lard Dog himself), and an American Gothic reference.  Oh, and pretzels of all sizes, including life-sized.  It's like Arnie the Doughnut as filmed at MassMOCA.  (Which makes it sound pretentious, which applies only to my description, not the video itself, which is properly silly.)

Lard Dog & The Band of Shy - "Catch That Pretzel" [YouTube]

Video: "Jackalope" - The Okee Dokee Brothers (World Premiere!)

Is this the mysterious jackalope?

Is this the mysterious jackalope?

After a trip down the (spiritual) heart of the country, the Mississippi River, on their Grammy-winning album Can You Canoe?, and along the Appalachian Trail spine of the East Coast for Through the Woods, it's time for The Okee Dokee Brothers to finish their Adventure Album trilogy.  On Saddle Up, the duo head west for adventures along and around the Continental Divide.

Saddle Up album cover

Saddle Up album cover

As with their previous two albums, this new one celebrates the outdoors in songs both heartfelt and (occasionally) silly.  In more the latter category (but also a little bit the former) falls "Jackalope," a tall tale about a mysterious and rarely seen animal.

For the song's video, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing recruited a couple westerners to help -- Red Yarn helps out with a familiar puppet, while Laki Karavias, known to kindie fans as one of main ringleaders of the Big World Audio Theatre, handles the cinematography.  I asked Joe and Justin what motivated them to work with the pair of Portland-based musicians, and this is what they said:

We love both of their work as family musicians as well as their work in puppetry and filming. On top of that, they're really nice people with a similar aesthetic to our brand. Justin and I aren't great with puppets, so we reached out to our favorite folk singer/kids musician/puppeteer about using one of his Deep Woods critters for this video. We had thought Andy would need to make a whole new jackalope for us, but he had the great idea of giving Bob Rabbit a makeover. He sent us some photos before they did the filming and we approved of Bob's new look. Both Laki and Andy did a great job of matching Bob's "acting" (which took place in the woods of Portland) with our jackalope hunt story (filmed in AZ during our western trip). When we got the footage back, we were all so surprised at how well everything matched up - from the lighting and setting all the way down to little plot points. It was a real pleasure working with those two.

As for the titular character, when I asked if they'd ever gone jackalope hunting when they were kids, they said:

Yes! Growing up in Colorado we would always see taxidermied jackalopes hung on walls in people's basements or in gift shops. We had some tricky uncles who convinced us that, if we waited long enough, we could catch a jackalope (along with some other strange creatures... snipes come to mind). They would teach us how to hold our gunny sacks and what calls to make in order to lure the jackalopes into our bags. I remember staying out in the woods for hours one night with Justin, whistling and chirping at the moon to no avail.  But guess what, tricky uncles: We did catch something... it might have taken 20 years of wandering around making weird noises, but we caught a song out of the deal!

Joe and Justin seem particularly flummoxed in their search for this particular jackalope, but their fans should enjoy this world premiere video from The Okee Dokee Brothers just fine.

The Okee Dokee Brothers - "Jackalope" [YouTube]

Video: "If We Were Twins" - Michal "Peanut" Karmi (World Premiere!)

Michal "Peanut" Karmi with teddy bear friend

Michal "Peanut" Karmi with teddy bear friend

I am a sucker for a cute video and a cute album title, which means that I'm a total sucker for "If We Were Twins," the first video from Michal "Peanut" Karmi's upcoming album.

The video features hand-drawn animation from Dominique Blöink, gentle and organic in craft, matching the song in tone.  Peanut's vocals give a slightly whimsical tone to the song and its ooh-la-la chorus, but it's also helped out no doubt due in part to Dean Jones, who produced it and the rest of the album, Peanut's third.

So what's that album title?

Ampersandwich.

I know, right?  Anyway, the album will be out later this year, but you can get a first taste, regardless of your sibling status, with this world premiere video.

Michal "Peanut" Karmi - "If We Were Twins" [YouTube]