As you should all know by now, I'll be attending (and moderating a panel at) Kindiefest this weekend. The events Friday and Saturday are attendee-only affairs, though I hope to provide some updates via Facebook and Twitter. Having said that, Sunday's concert is a public affair, with crazy-cheap tickets and a great lineup. Elizabeth Mitchell, the Verve Pipe, Heidi Swedberg, Oran Etkin, and more. Tickets are just $12 in advance, $15 at the door, infants free. Tickets are here. Conference attendees looking for an after-show Saturday night could do much worse than seeing Deedle Deedle Dees quasi-alter ego band the Red Hook Ramblers play the Floating Kabarette at Galapagos. Definitely not a kids show. More details here. Of course, there are always more local musicians playing this weekend, but you've got a chance to see some folks whose presence on the East Coast is not as consistent. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, all the way out from LA, are playing Sunday at 12:30 at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Tickets are $10. Finally, Recess Monkey will be playing 2 shows, one Saturday at 1 pm at the Brooklyn Central Library, and one Sunday at 11 am at the 92Y Tribeca. It's a good weekend to be a New York parent -- hope you can take advantage of even more great family music than you usually get to.
I get literally hundreds of disks every year. Some are great, some are awful, and a whole bunch of 'em are somewhere in between. Most of these disks in this large, last category have something to recommend them, someone to be recommended to. But for many reasons -- they didn't grab me upon first (or second) listen, too many other reviews at the time, "real life" getting in the way -- I don't review them. I review 50-60 disks a year, but when you get maybe 5 or 6 times that amount, a lot of albums that would appeal to at least some segment of my audience just don't get a review. So consider this list of 27 "disks I missed" a jumping-off point for exploration. I've mentioned many of these artists here in one way or another (videos, radio airplay, free music), so regular readers won't be surprised by many of these names. They're all disks that at one point I thought, "I could definitely review this." (How did I not get around to that Barry Lou Polisar tribute disk?, for example.) They are all disks for which news of a follow-up would definitely intrigue me. And I would guess that most of them have reviews elsewhere on the Internet. So go forth and explore. [Edit: I should note that these disks are essentially from the first 10-11 months of 2010. And I probably missed a few, like Yosi's Super Kids Rock!. So there's probably more out there that will make me slap my forehead when I realize it's not listed here...] The Baby Grands - The Baby Grands II The Boogers - Let's Go! Cake For Dinner - s/t Jim Cosgrove - Swimming in Noodles The Dirty Sock Funtime Band - Sock-A-Delic The Dream Jam Band - Leave It in the Soup Hilary Field & Patrice O'Neill - Cantilena The Flannery Brothers - The New Explorers Club Paul Greaver - Guitar Lullabies Grenadilla - s/t Roy Handy & the Moonshot - (I'm Gonna Be) Your Best Friend Charlie Hope - I'm Me! Hullabaloo - A Mighty Good Day Jeremy Plays Guitar - Use Your Words Todd McHatton - Sundays at the Rocket Park The Monkey Bunch - Power 2 the Little People Alastair Moock - A Cow Says Moock Maria Muldaur - Maria Muldaur's Barnyard Dance - Jug Band Music for Kids The Primate Fiasco - The Wheels on the Bus Ratboy Jr. - Smorgasbord Rhythm Child - Eat a Bowl of Cherries Rock Order of Chords and Keys - Punk Rock One Sock Tim and the Space Cadets - The Greatest Party Ever EP David Tobocman - Lemonade School Yosi - Super Kids Rock! V/A - Music for Little People: Love & Peace V/A - Music for Little People: Pickin' & Grinnin' V/A - We're Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar
If it's spring, it must be the runup to a new Recess Monkey album. Like clockwork, the Seattle trio turns out a new album each year, and on June 21st their latest album, FLYING!, hits the shelves (or servers, if you're a digital family). I had a chance to chat with bassist Jack Forman and drummer Daron Henry recently about a whole host of Recess Monkey-related stuff, including why a superhero-themed album, bringing in a producer, and Mayor Monkey's continued empire-building. Zooglobble: You have a ton of different things going on -- do you have more ideas than time to implement them? Jack Forman: Definitely. In the past year or so, we've had to prioritize. We'll still do anything, but we're OK turning down the $200 gig. Daron Henry: We've met a lot of others who've inspired us. We've gotten a creative spark that we didn't have a year ago. Jack: In business, they call it scope creep. So what is your mission? Jack: Hm. We haven't written it out, but it's definitely kid-centric. We're family-focused, but the energy comes from the kids in the audience or class. A 6- or 7-year-old hears a knock-knock joke for the first time, that's what we're about. We've written jingles, like for cellphones. but it has nothing to do with the band. Daron: I believe in the kid focus, in being joyous. Life is hard, but there's joy too. We hope kids aren't passive consumers all the time, but can also create. The best part is when a kid tells us they're taking drum lessons or brings a uke to a show. That's awesome to me. Jack: We're gonna work today on a video for "Sidekick" featuring Mayor Monkey in a Barbie Corvette. The DIY thing is key to what we do even with pro tools.
It's been awhile since I've run a contest 'round here, but I think you'll agree that this contest is worth the wait. Today's contest is from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, who release their anticipated debut full-length album Oh Lucky Day! on May 10. And they're offering you, or at least one of you, a chance to win the full-length. But, wait, there's more. They're hitting NYC this weekend to play some shows and gab with some folks at Kindiefest, and they're offering you, or at least one of you (along with a guest), a chance to hear and see them live in concert on Sunday, May 1 at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. (Doors at noon, show at 12:30.) But, wait, there's more.
I suppose the fact that it's taken me more than six months to post an interview with Elizabeth Mitchell is an indication of just how much is going on in the family music world. Luckily, like Mitchell's music, most of the information herein is timeless. I conducted this interview backstage at the 2010 ACL Festival, where Mitchell performed with her band (including her husband, Daniel Littleton, and daughter Storey). Backstage, where we were both waiting for Frances England to perform, and over the happy music-making noises of kids at the drum circle, Mitchell and I chatted about early musical memories (think classic rock, not nursery rhymes), the jadedness of adult rock show audiences, and how she chooses which songs to sing. Also, she gives us a sneak peek into a couple of her forthcoming albums. Zooglobble: What are your earliest musical memories? Elizabeth Mitchell: I guess singing to myself a lot. To myself, by myself, along with the clock radio, or not. Did you make up songs? I think I did, I think I was just always singing. We listened to a lot of music in my home -- there wasn't a lot of playing music. I studied piano, but nobody really played. It was the '70s, so my mom loved Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Carole King. And then there were also great singers like Ella Fitzgerald -- that's my mom's favorite singer, so we listened to her a lot. And my parents both also loved classic Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady and West Side Story, so we listened to that. And I would sing along with all of it. Even A Chorus Line, which has some very questionable lyrics in those songs, and I would sing along having no idea what I was singing along with. Also, the Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man." I loved that song. It was one of my favorite songs as kid. I had no idea what a "ramblin' man" was, though when I think about it, looking back, I can remember the first time I was in a motel room, by a highway, and I heard the sounds of cars and trucks going by at night. So I think there was something about "Ramblin' Man" that was resonating with me even though I had no idea what the song was about. It's a great melodic line, though. It's great. It's a great song. I love the Allman Brothers. We actually did a recording of the Allman Brothers song "Blue Sky" recently. I'm a sucker for '70s classic rock, I love classic rock.
A year ago, Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz, the duo better known as The Pop Ups, were attending Kindiefest and handing out copies of their debut album for kids Outside Voices. The rest is history. Now as they get ready to play Kindiefest this weekend, they've finished their first video. It's for "Balloon," a story told via reggae and in video form, unsurprisingly, by puppets and cardboard. It's lo-fi in just the right way. We're happy to world-premiere it for you today. The Pop Ups - "Balloon" [YouTube]