Christmas & Holiday Music 2014

Every year there's an outpouring of holiday-related music spanning all genres, and while kindie's participation in holiday music is down a bit from, say, 2-3 years ago, there are still a handful of new entries.  Time's a ticking -- we're in the middle of Hanukkah and Christmas is but 4 days away, so let's jump in.



Bobs and LoloWave Your Antlers -- My favorite kindie Christmas album of 2014, this is a solid collection of pop originals ("Festive Time of Year" and the catchy-in-spite-of-all-attempts-to-stop-it "Chris Moose") and Christmas classics, including some songs you don't typically get on kids' Christmas albums (I'm looking at you "Dona Nobis Pacem").  Fans of the British Columbia duo will definitely want to pick this up, and most fans of kindie pop will find this a pleasant addition to their holiday rotation.


Farmer JasonChristmas on the Farm with Farmer Jason -- Jason Ringenberg's kids' music as Farmer Jason has often had the energy of his Jason and the Scorchers work, but totally wholesome.  Songs like "All I Want for Christmas (Is a Punk Rock Skunk)" and "Eat Your Fruitcake" blast through the stereo speakers, to be sure.  I am usually a big fan of diverse musical approaches on albums, but to me, those songs sat a little uneasily next very sincere renditions of a religious Christmas classic like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" or a Ringenberg original, "The Animals Sang."  Farmer Jason fans will probably like the album, but non-fans may want to give the album samples a few spins to see if the bifurcated approach appeals before committing to the album


Mighty Magic Pants: It Must Be Christmas -- Mike Mennard and his crew offer a mostly irreverent take on Christmas -- titles like "Santa's Stuck in the Chimney," "Rudolph on the Barbecue," and "Grandpa Ate Too Much Again This Christmas" will give you a pretty good sense of the attitude.  It's respectful irreverence, to be sure -- "Lay Down Your Drum, Little Drummer Boy" is sung from the point of view of Mary, gently pleading with the Little Drummer Boy to stop his rum-pa-bum-bum-ming so Baby Jesus can get some sleep.  There's nothing particularly memorable about the musical settings, but with short poems serving as interstitials between many songs, this is essentially an hour-long Christmas revue musical that will likely provide some chuckles of recognition.


Idina MenzelHoliday Wishes -- It's not a kindie album, but it's new this year.  No, she does not sing "Let It Go," because even though Frozen was released last Christmas, that song -- the song her obituary many years hence will no doubt reference -- has nothing to do with Christmas.  She does, however, sing a dozen Christmas-related songs in a perfectly tasteful and enjoyable way.  I could do without her duet with Michael Buble' on "Baby It's Cold Outside" (I've come to actively dislike the song for lyrical reasons), but the rest is well-chosen and produced.  If it sounds like I'm lukewarm, it's only because there's little here to distinguish it from dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of other Christmas albums from singers with beautiful voices.  I'm sure I'll listen in future years, but I doubt it'll become a treasured favorite.

Other Stuff

This year Hanukkah runs almost concurrently with Christmas, and Alison Faith Levy offers up a fun new song titled "All I Want for Chanukah is a Ukulele," strumming on a uke (natch) with fellow Bay Area musician Karla Kane from the Corner Laughers.  If only I knew eight chords on my uke.

Speaking of Hanukkah-related duets, Lisa Loeb also has one.  Hers, "Light," is a little more serious, but very pretty, and features vocals from Renee Stahl (half of Renee and Jeremy).  I can definitely see this becoming part of Chanukah-related playlists in years to come.

With "Got the Spirit," Mista Cookie Jar offers up a super-positive holiday jam (does MCJ do any other kind?) for your favorite nondenominational (or denominational or multidenominational) kid, again infusing his '50s soul with a thoroughly modern attitude.  Or is it vice versa?

Here's a Spotify playlist of kindie holiday songs from this year (including some songs referenced above (go here for link, here if you're in Spotify):

Danny Weinkauf – Wonderful Christmas Day
Farmer Jason – All I Want for Christmas (Is a Punk Rock Skunk)
Bobs & Lolo – Chris Moose
Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips – Got the Spirit
The Wanna Bees – Party On the Rooftop
The Mighty Magic Pants – Pirate's Christmas Eve
The Wanna Bees – Snow Ball Fight

Previously on Zooglobble

The Pop Ups - "Favorite Cousin"

Bobs and LoLo - "Chris Moose"

Note: I received copies of the Bobs & LoLo, Farmer Jason, and Mighty Magic Pants albums for possible review.

57th Annual Grammy Nominations for Best Children's Album


December rolls around every year -- except for those cultures without 12-month calendars, of course -- and for roughly 57 of those years, Grammy nominations have been announced, highlighting musicians' votes for their favorite and best music of the past year.

Earlier this month, the nominations for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, including the nominations for Best Children's Album.

This year's list, representing the best in 2014 music (or, technically speaking, the best in children's recordings released between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014) is a good -- and interesting -- batch of albums:

Appetite For ConstructionThe Pop Ups

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafzai): Neela Vaswani

Just Say Hi!Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could

The Perfect QuirkSecret Agent 23 Skidoo

Through The WoodsThe Okee Dokee Brothers

For those of you keeping count, that's one former Grammy winner (the Okee Dokee Brothers), two former Grammy nominees (the Pop Ups and Brady Rymer), one album of kid hip-hop (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), and one Nobel Prize winner (Malala Yousafzai, natch).

It's that last nominee that makes this category such a wild card.  The four musical nominees were each part of the top 10 family music albums of the year according to Fids and Kamily, including the top two, so, yes, it's a solid list.  But how do judges compare those albums with an audiobook?  Indeed, it's exactly the potential problem I raised 3 years ago when the Grammys switched from 2 separate categories for music and spoken word to one unified category.  Oddly enough, I proved totally wrong about what would happen as the nominations the past two years have been spoken word-free.

We shall see who voters choose to reward this year, but I think that the award is very much up for grabs.

Video: "Champion of the Spelling Bee" - Danny Weinkauf (World Premiere)

Danny Weinkauf's album No School Today is an example of kindie power-pop at its best, filled with excellent pop songcraft.  Weinkauf's released a handful of videos that are every bit as slightly quirky but nicely done, and I'm pleased to world-premiere the latest video from the album, the video for "Champion of the Spelling Bee."

Now, I'm sure that being featured on ESPN as part of their Scripps National Spelling Bee coverage with the song was probably a bigger deal, but I like to think that this cute video, featuring animation from Vanessa Appleby and vocals from Weinkauf's son son Kai, will live on long after we forget the kids we see standing at the microphone each spring.

Danny Weinkauf - "Champion of the Spelling Bee" [YouTube]

Video: "Just Not Me" - The Hipwaders

For my tastes, Bay Area band The Hipwaders ranks right up there with Recess Monkey and Caspar Babypants in having kindie's best set of videos in terms of quality, quantity, and diversity.  Their latest video for "Just Not Me," off their new album Year-Round Sounds, pulls in another animator into the Hipwaders' fold, Will Guy of Goopymart, and with just a handful of touches (the tattoo parlor, the backwards "E" in the title character's graffiti, perfectly captures the narrator's... recalcitrance to mind rules.  Much fun.

The Hipwaders - "Just Not Me" [YouTube]

Listen To This: "Crumb by Crumb" - Justin Roberts (from Hansel & Gretel)


If Justin Roberts writes music and lyrics in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?

OK, that's a bunch of nonsense.  If Justin Roberts writes music and lyrics for a musical taking place in a forest and other people sing it, is it the same thing as a Justin Roberts song?

Let's explain then -- Roberts wrote the songs for Hansel & Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat, a brand new musical aimed at young crowd that's now playing in Chicago.  You can hear one complete track, "Crumb by Crumb" -- this is the story of Hansel and Gretel, after all -- and immediately you can hear how Roberts' affinity for wordplay, narrative, and emotional truth would translate well to the (off-)Broadway stage.

If the sounds of "Crumb by Crumb" (or this sampler) intrigue you, you can pick up a copy at Roberts' website; copies will hit Amazon and iTunes in the new year.

Cast of Hansel and Gretel - "Crumb by Crumb" (music and lyrics by Justin Roberts)

Weekly Summary (11/24/14 - 12/7/14)

I'd intended to post more here over the past couple weeks, but Thanksgiving + flu = not much posting.

And while I don't have something on the site (yet), congratulations to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, The Pop Ups, and The Okee Dokee Brothers for their Grammy nominations for Best Children's Album.  They, along with the audiobook recording of "I Am Malala," will be competing for the Grammy on February 8.

Blog: Video: "Hair" - fleaBITE

Videos:  "The Number Song" - Play Date

Listen to Music:  None this week

Free Music:  "Favorite Cousin" - The Pop Ups

Kids Music ReviewsNone this week

iOS Apps:  None this week

Upcoming Releases: Constantly updating...


Kindie Week in Review:   None this week

My Other Other Gig:  None this week

Bake Sale:  None this week