New Justin Roberts Video: "Stay At Home Dad" + Excellent Mustache

As we move our way through KidVid Tournament 2009, I realize that I passed over Justin Roberts' video for "Pop Fly," introduced during last year's tournament. Justin, stop doing this, 'cuz I'm gonna forget next year, too. The latest Land of Nod's Nodcast Podcast is up and it features Justin Roberts' latest video, one for "Stay At Home Dad" from Pop Fly. It features Brady Bunch-like boxes, Dave on puppet (you'll recognize him if you've seen Justin live) in the prelude/postlude, and Justin rockin' the stache as the titular dad. See the video here. (Or now here in YouTube:)

Review: Mommie - Mommie's Dearest

MommiesDearest.jpgLittle Boy Blue is very much in a "big machine" phase. Books about trucks, asking when the recycle truck is going to be here, he's generally nuts about vehicles in a way his big sister Miss Mary Mack never was. This means we also get subjected to some less-than-completely enjoyable soundtracks accompanying the big machine videos on loan from the library. Folks, I have but one simple request -- that Mommie's Dearest, the debut album from the North Carolina band Mommie, be used to score all such future videos. Of the ten songs here, seven of them deal with large vehicles. (If only I'd had this when putting together this list.) All of that would be but a minor side note were it not for two other points of interest. First, the band Mommie is brainchild of Doug MacMillan, lead singer for the Southern power-pop group the Connells, a band which was part of an inescapable background soundtrack to my college days. I still have a couple of their excellent late-80s/early-90s disks and this review should be read with that grain of salt in mind. Second, the songs here were all written by MacMilllan and his son Charlie, who was probably 3 or 4 at the time of writing the songs. So essentially this is sort of a Connells album (yay!) with lyrics by a 4-year-old (hmmmm...), a combination which usually works surprisingly well. The lyrics aren't too complex -- a lot of the songs aren't much more than a (very hummable) single line repeated and elaborated upon. "Dumptruck" is a fine pop tune with a hint of jangle, "Mama's Pajamas" is even janglier, and "Cherrypicker" features MacMillan singing the title word over a soaring chorus. Even at a spare two minutes per track, some of the songs could use lyrics, and there's little lyrically to keep the adults paying attention -- there's little of the humor suggested by the album title. ("Towtruck," however, features a classic line -- "Tow truck, tow truck, tow truck / towed my car / Tow truck, tow truck, tow truck / Took my last 85 dollars" -- that reminds me of Wilco's "Passenger Side" every time I hear it.) The album's a bit short of 23 minutes long and would probably be of most interest to kids ages 3 through 6. You can listen to samples at the album's CD Baby page or some full tracks at Mommie's myspace page. The album was actually recorded more than 5 years ago. MacMillan says that he "dropped the ball" but now with some new folks interested in resurrecting the band (and a scene far more forgiving and interested in kids music) he's doing some more writing. Based on the results in Mommie's Dearest, that's very cool news. Due to the primarily machine-focused subject matter, the album might not be everyone's exact cup of tea, but even kids and families into princesses, math, dinosaurs, or soccer will find at least a couple songs worth spinning regularly. Recommended.

KidVid Tournament 2009: Caspar Babypants vs. Gustafer Yellowgold

The final matchup of the second round of KidVid Tournament 2009 moves to the Woody Guthrie Region. In this contest we have the top seed, Chris Ballew's Caspar Babypants project and the video "The Island Hop" from his debut Here I Am! disk matched up against Gustafer Yellowgold's "Getting in a Treetop" from the new DVD/CD set Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, but the official results are based on the poll at the bottom of the page (after the jump). One vote per household, please. Votes due by midnight tonight (Tuesday) East Coast time. And, as always, play nice!

KidVid Tournament 2009: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo vs. Readeez

Our matchup in the upset-minded Pete Seeger Region for KidVid Tournament 2009 features Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's video for "Gotta Be Me" off his debut Easy against "Circle and Square" from the Readeez Volume One DVD. Comments welcome below, but the all-important official poll at the bottom is where the votes count. All votes due by midnight tonight (Tuesday) East Coast time. One vote per household, please. And, yeah, play nice. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo - "Gotta Be Me" Readeez - "Circle and Square"

Juno: No, Not the Soundtrack, the Awards

A few weeks after the Grammys, Canada's equivalent, the Juno Awards were announced this past weekend in Vancouver. Among the winners were Barenaked Ladies, who won Best Children's Album for Snacktime!. What's notable, I suppose, for the awards on the kids' side is that with the exception of BNL (whose album really was one of the year's best) all the nominees were definitely independent kids' artists. What some folks have been trying to do with the Grammys, the Junos have already accomplished. Of course, I'm surprised Nickelback didn't win that category, too.

KidVid Tournament 2009: They Might Be Giants vs. Mark Kozelek

Our day's other KidVid Tournament 2009 matchup features the Leadbelly Region in which the top seed, They Might Be Giants' "The Ballad of Davy Crockett in Outer Space," from the Disney Music Block Party collection, goes up against Mark Kozelek's "Bedtime Lullaby" (from the Yo Gabba Gabba! TV show). Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, but the official results are based on the poll at the bottom of the page. One vote per household, please. Votes due by midnight tonight (Monday) East Coast time. And play nice!