First there was the idea -- pick a few artists, give 'em a title to base a song, and set 'em free to do what they do best. Then there was the picking of the title. Now, it's time for the album. It's called Green Beans Everywhere, and it features five fun songs from (in geographical order): Hullabaloo (San Diego), The Hollow Trees (Los Angeles), Charity and the JAMband (San Francisco), Matt Clark (Portland), and Johnny Bregar (Seattle). Some of the artists took a pretty simple approach (similar to what you might see at a typical songrwiting club night), some fancied it up a bit, but all the artists rose to the challenge of creating something out of the barest germ of an idea. Thanks to all the artists for participating. And, for a limited time (at least until we run out of free downloads), you can download the 5-song EP for free. Even if your kids (or you) don't like green beans, and even if one of these songs don't change their (or your) mind, you'll enjoy the album anyway.
Seattle band The Not-Its! release their third album Tag, You're It! tomorrow, June 28, and the leadoff track is everything a summertime hit should be -- it rocks, it's catchy, and by combining the game of tag with popsicles, it covers a kids' quintessential summertime experience. In short, it totally earns the band's exclamation point. Now, courtesy of the band, I'm happy to offer this track as a world premiere download in advance of tomorrow's album release. Stream it
or for a limited time download it as well, either here or in the player below. The downloading window's over, but the album's out now...
Freeze Tag - The Not-Its! by zooglobble
There to the left is the cover art for Dan Zanes' new album, Little Nut Tree, which will be released on Zanes' Festival Five Records on
September 13 now September 27. (Woo!)
As always, the album features a cavalcade of stars: Andrew Bird ("I Don't Need Sunny Skies,” a Zanes original), Sharon Jones (R&B classic “Down in the Basement”) the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (the title track, originally by the Melodians), and Joan Osborne (another Zanes original, “Everybody’s Going to be Happy”).
In addition to the big names, longtime Zanes fans will be happy to hear that in addition to his band (featuring Sonia De Los Santos, Colin Brooks, Saskia Lane and Elena Moon Park), other past collaborators such as Father Goose, Barbara Brousal, Bonga, Simon Kirke, Donald Saaf, and Tareq Abboushi will be on the album. Also appearing will Shawana Kemp AKA Shine from Shine and the Moonbeams, who is poised to make a big splash on the kids music scene in the upcoming year.
Zanes is embracing the idea that this album is a "return" to family music. (His albums after the Grammy-winning Catch That Train! weren't necessarily in that vein, with spiriturally-themed, Spanish-language, and Broadway-sourced albums made in the meantime.) He cites Smithsonian Folkways albums as an inspiration and as for its general mood, Zanes says, "Little Nut Tree is the grooviest of the Dan Zanes and Friends family series CDs although you could still nap to it if you needed to." Nap to a DZ CD? Never!
And, yes, Donald Saaf is doing the artwork, full board book style, once again for those folks like me still wedded to the physical medium for their music.
Since "Steve the Superhero" was originally co-written by the poet Kenn Nesbitt, the Eric Herman song was already fairly visual, but the new video for the song will definitely elicit a few guffaws from the kids (and slightly immature adults). The video is from Herman's forthcoming The Elephant DVD. Love the Batman reference. Eric Herman - "Steve the Superhero" [YouTube]
1. There once was a band from Seattle For whom writing reviews was a battle So consistently good That even though I should Provide insight, my same-ness would prattle. 2. So instead of writing a review The way that I normally do I took a new tack Went down a new track To talk about this distinguished crew. 3. The band, of course, is Recess Monkey A trio, a band made up of three Guys named Jack, Drew and Daron On this album they're tearin' Through more songs both peppy and funny. 4. They've released their album called FLYING! Effortless, like they're not even trying This album's their seventh It's still free of bad synth And features laughter and (appropriate) crying. 5. In time these three fine young fellows Have matured, though they've not yet quite mellowed They write short, sharp pop ditties For elementary kiddies With lyrics that quite easily flow [Ed.: Better than this, to be sure.] 6. At this point the band writes succinctly And perhaps a little distinctly There's almost no fluff Or extraneous stuff The melodies simply just hit me. 7. Tor Hyams produced this new disk And sonically the sound is quite brisk. Played piano, too Acting as the glue That kept the band sounding their best. 8. Beyond that, there are other guest stars Like Chris Wiser from Sugar Free Allstars [Ed.: "stars"? "Allstars"? that's stretching it.] Dean Jones, Chris Ballew, Justin Lansing and Tom Baisden, too A duet with Molly Ledford, and Johnny Bregar. 9. Most all of their lyrics are great Heroes big and small predominate. A kid's life is his "Day Job," "Toolbox"'s tender but odd, And "Flapjacks" spells out what's on your plate. 10. My favorite songs this time around Are "Toolbox," with lots of quaint tool sounds. "Super Stuffies" is epic "Your Favorite Book" ranks to me second "Bunk Bed" is a Phil Spector track re-found. [Ed.: "Re-found?" Really? Sigh.] 12. The ages of kids who'll think it's most great Would be between that of four and of eight. To listen to songs You won't be steered wrong By going here, don't hesitate. 13. As always I would be remiss, If the artwork I did not address. Jarrett Krosoczka's Comics make the most of The theme the album does possess. 14. So I hope that you're not too offended By how rhyming this review I've amended But Recess Monkey is fab and you prob'ly should grab FLYING!, highly recommended.
The Ketchup Report hits double digits! It's summer, time for festival season, and I think it's safe to say that until a kindie act rocks the Pitchfork Festival (and maybe even after then), DidiPop has the coolest festival gig, playing a set for families at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival at the MASS MoCA museum (yes, I know that's redundant) this upcoming weekend. Attention, good people of Chattanooga, Tennessee and environs, Dave Loftin and the Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl radio are sponsoring a show with Lunch Money on Sunday, July 10. I'm a fan of radio folks putting on concert series, so I hope this does well. Plus, the show will be ten tons of fun. More details here. I know, I'm a big fan of Kindiefest, but the Children's Music Network has been around for a long time, and if you attended Kindiefest, you might also get quite a bit out of attending their annual conference, which is in Cape Cod this year from September 16 through 18. Barry Louis Polisar, who has a lot of opinions about the current state of the genre and isn't afraid to share them, delivers the keynote. More details here.