I was in Seattle last week with my family and although there were a number of kids' musicians playing in the area at the time (Captain Bogg & Salty, and Eric Herman, I believe), I didn't want to turn the family vacation into a total kids' music busman's holiday. After all, we had lots of pictures of the Seattle skyline to take so when we got home we could ask ourselves why we took so many pictures that weren't cropped anywhere near tight enough. Oh, and we needed to watch people throw fish at Pike Place Market. (Not really sure about that in retrospect.)
But when loyal reader Katy mentioned that her daughters were participating in the Recess Monkey camp and said I was welcome to sit in on one of their end-of-the-day performances, I thought that it'd be a fun way to spend an hour or so. So my daughter and I joined up with them.
For those of you unfamiliar with Recess Monkey's last album, Aminal House, it was made with lots of help from kids at a similar camp last year (read more about that camp here). The basic process was the same this year, with the band coming up with some basic song structures, and the kids helping fill in some of the gaps musically and lyrically.
The result, if the 25-minute set of song highlights the trio performed on the last day of that week's camp is any indication, will be an album that will meet the high level of expectations set by Aminal House. I didn't take notes or pictures (because, let's face it, that just would have been waaaay too weird), but there was lots of cool poppy goodness in those song snippets. With studio wizardy and the promised "sick guitar licks," I think it'll be a big hit, both with kids and their parents.
The album -- "Wonderstuff" -- will be a double-CD set, which, I don't know, might be a first. The band's nicknamed it the "Yellow Album," though I'm hoping the Beatles references end there and that drummer Daron Henry doesn't walk out on the recording for a while. (If they play the roof of the Sub Pop building and break up, we'll know they've taken their Beatles idolatry too far.)
The story that loosely ties the CDs together concerns the Wonderbees who, according to guitarist Drew Holloway, "gather nectar from the magical meadows and turn it into Wonderstuff. The bees sting wonderstuff into people and creatures, providing them with dreams, good ideas, and inspiration galore. One day however, the bees travel to the meadows only to discover the grass and flowers have been replaced by an endless grey." This story will be told in part by song and in part by narration, hopefully by bassist/keyboardist Jack Forman, who delivered his narrative amusingly while, for reasons best left unexplained, dressed in a barrister's wig.
The track list (at the moment):
1. The Wonderbees
2. Busy Bees
3. My Pet Rock
4. Don't Wanna Go to Bed
5. Magical Meadows
6. Bad Ideas
7. The Rat
8. The Sun Will Shine for You
10. Best Friend
2. Come Out of Your Shell
3. The Funniest Thing I Ever Did See
4. The Grey
6. The Golden Seed
7. Hula Hoop
8. My Friend Shadow
9. Helping Hands
10. The Wonderbees #9
OK, I'm kidding on that last one. It's just a reprise.
Anyway, the CD should be out by October.