Time again to update the Zooglobble radio station, covering assorted tracks collected in the first couple months or so of 2012. (You can see my January 2012 playlist here.) This playlist airs in the mid-afternoons (West Coast time), but if you can't listen in the afternoon, the tracks are scattered throughout the day, too. The listing below is in alphabetical order; the on-air play order is totally random (due to Internet music restrictions). Whoa Jack! - Andrew Queen (Grow) Gravity - AudraRox (La Bella Stella) Kick Drum Heart - Bari Koral Family Rock Band (Anna And The Cupcakes) Raccoon's Got A Bushy Tail - Ben Bowen (The Bumblebee EP) Why Is Dad So Mad? (Single) - The Board of Education (Why Is Dad So Mad? (Single)) Peanut Butter & Jelly - The Boogers (10 Great Songs About Food) Capybara - Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies (Born To Wiggle) Augustus Jackson - Ellis Paul (The Hero In You) Rocks 'n Sand - Essence (A Dog Named MOO... And His Friend ROO) The Moose Lives Where? - Farmer Jason and Jo Nesbo and Todd Snider (Nature Jams) Everybody Sing - Imagination Movers (Rock-O-Matic) Muscle And Bone - Katherine Dines (Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta Hits) States And Capitals - Macho Nacho And Mouth Trumpet (Musical Stew) Syeeda's ABCs (Syeeda's Song Flute) - Matt Wilson (WeBop: A Family Jazz Party) Rollerskate Banana Peel - Mo Phillips (Monster Suit) What Would You Do with a Grumpy Sailor? - Rick Huddle (Arrrr! Pirates Have Feelings Too) Sandbox - Riff Rockit (Riff Rockit) La Familia (The Family) - Sing With Senor (Uno Dos - Songs for Learning Spanish) Nightlight - Spaghetti Eddie! (Spaghetti Eddie! and Other Children's Songs Vol. 2) Se A Alegria Existe - Teresa Cristina (Brazilian Playground) Coconut Trees - Two Of A Kind (Sing Me Your Story)
It took me a little while to appreciate the Imagination Movers -- in their early, pre-Disney years, I didn't hear anything particularly special in their music. Not bad, by any means, just nothing... noteworthy. But writing songs for your TV show -- constantly -- and playing live shows -- constantly -- will hone your songwriting chops, and their new, post-Disney album Rock-O-Matic bears the fruit of all that hard work. There are some kids musicians who attempt to map out the interior life of a child. The Imagination Movers are not those musicians. They instead write silly songs about goofy dance moves ("Dance Kung Fu," the album opener) or shiny pop-rockers about going to outer space ("Blast Off"). Or perhaps they write songs that will sound good when they play in front of audiences of 1,500 people or more (the dancehall of "Everybody Sing" or the Queen stomp of the title track). There are plenty of songs here that sound pretty good coming out of the minivan speakers and will sound even better in concert. (A couple more favorites: "Rain Rain," which neatly weaves "Rain rain go away" into a Movers original tune, and "Little Red Wagon".) For the most part the 43-minute album will resonate with kids ages 4 through 7 (though a couple songs, like "Buckle Me In" aim at a younger crowd). In addition to the CD, the album also comes packaged with a 30-minute DVD that mixes silly comedic interludes (a la Monty Python or The Muppet Show, though nowhere near as brilliant) in between videos, some of which ("Little Red Wagon," "Blast Off") are very, very good. Longtime Imagination Movers fans will certainly not be disappointed by Rock-O-Matic, the band's best album yet. But even families who spend their kids music time in independent waters should find quite a bit to enjoy on the disk. The Movers have earned their success with a keen eye (and ear) toward pleasing family audiences of all ages and Rock-O-Matic offers willing listeners a generous portion of kid-pop confections. Recommended. Disclosure: I received a copy of the album for possible review. I also was asked to World Premiere the band's video for "Everybody Sing."
Picking my favorite kids music videos gets harder every year. I've picked 25 here, but featured at least 3 times that number on the site (a figure which itself is a culling of many more videos). There are another half-dozen videos that easily could have made this list were I to make it, say, tomorrow. You'll find lots of old standbys here, but also videos from new bands and bands who don't spend nearly as much time with their video editor. Here, then, are my 25 favorite kids music videos from 2011 (2011 defined roughly as March 1, 2011 - February 29, 2012 -- I'm just assuming nothing else definitively worthy gets released in the next couple days or so). I'm offering up my (ranked) 10 favorite videos, with another 15 (unranked) honorable mentions. [The complete playlist can be viewed at the end of this post.] 1. Caspar Babypants - "Mister Rabbit" [YouTube] Don't get me wrong -- I love's Chris Ballew's DIY videos, finding them models of the form. But his occasional (and ongoing) collaboration with New Zealand's Mukpuddy Animation has already produced a couple fine videos, including this, my favorite of the year. 2. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band - "Blue Bear" [YouTube] Another near-perfect melding of song and visual style. 3. - "Career Day" [YouTube] The Minneapolis band hasn't produced a bad video yet. 4. Elizabeth Mitchell - "Ong Tal Sam" [YouTube] Dreamy, oh so dreamy. 5. Dog on Fleas - "Do You Wanna Know My New Dance Step?" [YouTube] You might be forgiven for wondering if I was ever going to pick a live-action video for this list. Well, here's the first of many.
Doctor Noize is a busy guy. Not only has he just released The Return of Phineas McBoof, his second album about the title character, and he coaches his daughters' soccer team, but on March 4, he's releasing Grammaropolis, an album about, ummmm... grammar? Yes, it's Jane Jacobs meets "Weird Al" Yankovic meets the inevitable Schoolhouse Rock reference. Except that, I think it's safe to say, none of those made Flock of Seagullls reference. OK, maybe Al. Doctor Noize - "Noun Town" [YouTube]
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers originally released "Me and Paul Revere" as a single for the 4th of July 2011 -- an apropos date given the song's subject -- Paul Revere's ride told from the perspective of his horse. The song is a model of historical storytelling through song. This video from Rolling Stone feels a little odd, watching Brooklyn twenty-somethings nod appreciatively as Martin and the band hurtle appropriately through the story, but there's a definite energy to the performance that makes it worth watching. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers - "Me and Paul Revere" [Rolling Stone]
Not sure why, but these Kickstarter kids music projects come in clumps. Another fine batch of kindie projects from Kickstarter and its kin, so let's hop to it. First up is the Kickstarter project from New York's Shine and the Moonbeams. Anyone who saw them at Kindiefest last year knows just how awesome this album could be. Yes, it's a debut album, but with folks like Dan Zanes and Tor Hyams lending their support, it's gonna be pro all the way. Baltimore's Milkshake's concept for their Kickstarter project features a bunch of music one minute (or so) in length. Alex and the Kaleidoscope Band's Kickstarter project doesn't officially launch until Friday, but you can watch the preview video now. [And here it is!]Rather than raising money for the album itself (I'm So Glad! comes out April 3), Alex Mitnick and crew are raising money for videos for the album. As someone who likes videos, I say, woot! Kickstarter doesn't have a monopoly on kids' music projects -- Athens, GA band Like Totally! are pitching their project on IndieGoGo. I've actually been following the band for a little while now and I'm curious to see what a focused producer does with their Elephant-Six-meets-The-Polyphonic-Spree-meets-Sesame-Street vibe. Now, in the category of "just lettin' ya know," Ralph Covert, aka Ralph's World launched and successfully funded his Kickstarter project to film a pilot for a new TV show called Time Machine Guitar, which features, er, a guitar that allows Ralph to travel Back. In. Ti-ime. Also, there will be puppets. The whole project looks pretty cool, with some top-notch talent backing Ralph up to make the pilot really cool. So keep your eyes out for that.