Video: "Penguinese" - Recess Monkey

Hot Air album cover

Hot Air album cover

Spring: like clockwork, the arrival of spring means that regular season baseball, cherry blossoms in DC, and new Recess Monkey music are all on their way.

Yes, in the kindie world's least surprising (albeit very pleasant) news, the Seattle trio have announced a release date for their forthcoming album Hot Air.  It'll take flight (see what I did there?) June 16, and on top of the music (produced once again by band muse John Vanderslice), it'll also include a DVD with accompanying videos that tell their own story, including, to be sure, the video below for "Penguinese."  Yep, there's a new kid in town and he's a fancy dresser...

Recess Monkey - "Penguinese" [YouTube]

Video: "Thinking Machine" - They Might Be Giants

Thinking Machine

Thinking Machine

I don't think I've ever thought of them this way until now, but They Might Be Giants are models for me.  Yes, I've listened to them for nearly 30 years now, and they remain one of my favorite bands, but what I'm talking about is something different from artistic merit or affinity.

Rather, it's how they've managed to keep a musical career going, and not just going, but spinning off into new and challenging ways long after the expiration date of most rock bands.  There's the kids music, of course -- we'll get to that in a minute -- but there's the work-for-hire, the Instant Fan Club, Dial-A-Song Direct (a reboot of a 30-year-old idea featuring new songs and videos released weekly), and lots more, to say nothing of their artistic evolution.

I guess what I'm saying is that as someone hitting middle age (or who is there already), their constant evolution -- and artistic and what I'm presuming is some level of commercial success -- serves as some inspiration for how I should continue to approach my own life.

Having said all that, with the impending release of their new album Glean next week, they're turning their attention to their next 2015 album, which is reportedly a kids' album.  (The band is definitely releasing a kids' album this year, it's only the timing that is not yet publicly known.)  I've heard it rumored to be a sequel to No!, the freeform first kids music album from TMBG, as opposed to a sequel to any of the "Here Comes..." albums that followed.  (Alas, no sign that Here Comes Political Science is becoming reality.)

We don't know much more -- and really, we don't know much at all -- but there is speculation/hope on the Dial-A-Song Direct page for the download and the YouTube page for the video that this track might be from the forthcoming kids' album.  It wouldn't surprise me if that's the case.  I don't want to spoil the song by describing it too much, but it features vocal interplay between John Flansburgh and John Linnell that I really only hear in their kids' stuff.  Lyrically, it'll amuse older kids.  And the glitchy, kid-friendly -- even the dog peeing is kid-friendly -- video for the song is directed by David Cowles and Jeremy Galante, who've co-directed other kids' videos (and non-kids videos) for the band.

Basically, we shouldn't assume that this is from the upcoming kids' album, but we shouldn't not assume that, either.  Either way, fun stuff.

They Might Be Giants - "Thinking Machine" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "Princess" - Big Block Singsong

Yeah, I know that Monday Morning Smiles are usually not kids' music, but I'm pretty sure you don't need to be a princess, female, or wear pink to get a kick (in the rear) out of "Princess," one of the most awesome songs from the fairly awesome folks at Big Block Singsong.  (Really, they've got a CD and a DVD worth checking out.)  This video features a heavy beat, awesome vocals from Stacey Kay, and a dragon pulling a wagon.  What, exactly, is not to love?

Big Block Singsong - "Princess" [YouTube]

Video: "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" - Dino O'Dell (World Premiere!)

If you haven't noticed, more and more kids' musicians are dipping their toes (or jumping in wholeheartedly) into the children's book pond.  One of the newest dippers is Kansas City's Dino O'Dell, who's coming out with a children's book based on his song "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" later this year in July.

I'm over the moon (and stars) to present the world premiere of the video for the book.  O'Dell notes that this weekend is the anniversary of the first human space flight, by Yuri Gargarin 54 years ago on Sunday, so that's as good a time as any to premiere this video (directed by Santiago Germano) about the first time O'Dell met the friendly alien Zar.  It's a fun song that speeds up slightly as it goes along, and if that doesn't amuse the kids, I'm pretty sure the turtle at the turntable will.  (It did me, at any rate.)  If you want to pick up the mp3, you can do so at iTunes and CD Baby.

Dino O'Dell - "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" [YouTube]

My Annual Post (Again) About "Felt Around the World"


Three years ago, on April 1, 2012, I published one of my favorite all-time posts here on the site, the world premiere of "Felt Around the World," which was "We Are the World" for a new (puppet) generation.

Last year I reported that the world's greatest song performed by Fabricated Americans has generated more than $2,200 for St. Jude's.   Contributions keep trickling in, and you can still purchase the track at CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. Thanks to Recess Monkey, who coordinated the video and the musical contributions from our puppet friends, and folks who purchased the track and played it on radio both terrestrial and satellite.

This still makes me smile - hope it does for you, too.

Hand Aid - "Felt Around the World" [YouTube]

Video: "The National Tree of England" - Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly


Spring has sprung, and that means it's time for the release of Trees, the brand new album from Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly.

[Commence celebration.]

I encourage you to read my interview with the duo, and listen to the whole darn album, but before, after, or during (maybe not during) doing so, you can also watch a Brand New Video animated by Mr. Kelly himself.

[Commence celebration.]

I really love this song.

Molly Ledford & Billy Kelly - "The National Tree of England" [YouTube]