Kids music is not exactly short on shimmery, shiny pop with a hint of crunch.
But good shimmery, shiny pop for kids and families, that's a little more rare.
Lucky for familial connoisseurs of said music, Danny Weinkauf is pretty good at it, and his debut family music album No School Today has a handful of excellent, singable power-pop songs for the very young.
Weinkauf is not a stranger to the world of kids music -- he's played bass for a little band called They Might Be Giants, and his handful of songwriting credits for the band include "I Am a Paleontologist" -- so he's not coming to this cold. At its best, No School Today has that same spirit of "anything goes" that animates much of TMBG's work for both adults and kids. The heart of the album -- "Ice Cream," "No School Today," "The Moon Is Made of Cheese," "Whipped Cream" -- features songs that are a little hyper, a little silly, and with little in educational value. In fact, while the songs with a modicum of educational value -- the (appropriately) bouncy "Marsupial" or "Archaeology" -- are fun and poppy, too, I think Weinkauf shines when he's most goofy and least educational. (Though he does have a sweet side as well, shown to best effect on his duet with Laurie Berkner, "Our Love Fits.") There's room for more of that purely silly stuff in modern kids' music, and I suspect that Weinkauf has more of those nuggets in store. I'd also note that the album does have a very synthesizer-y sheen to match its power-pop sound, so those of you looking for a more organic sound may not be interested.
The album's going to be more appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9. You don't have to be a They Might Be Giants fan to appreciate this album (though TMBG fans are most likely to go nuts for this), just a fan of nicely-crafted, occasionally goofy, kid-pop. Which probably includes a lot of you. Definitely recommended.