Listen To This - "Live in Monophonorama" - Coal Train Railroad

Fresh off starting a Kickstarter campaign, the fine folks at Coal Train Railroad clearly didn't get the memo that the winter holidays are a time for peaceful reflection, as they've now released a digital EP, Live in Monophonorama. It's a collection of tunes from their fun 6-episode podcast aired over the summer. It's a nice little way to tide you over until the next CTRR album. Jeff over at OWTK has an exclusive coupon code that'll let you download it for just $4.

Best Kids Music 2010: Top 10 Album Packages

My first entry in my list of the best kids music of 2010 is something I've pondered for awhile, and that's album packaging. I know that Jeff over at Out With the Kids has already posted a similar list, but his is as much about album cover art as the whole packaging. I love that Pop Ups cover art, but there's not much to the packaging beyond that. (Except, of course, for the music itself, which is awesome.) While I wouldn't call my entry into the digital world as "being dragged kicking and screaming," any long-term reader here would recognize I still have a 20th-century predilection for the physical object. And my kids still listen to musical using CDs, not iPods. So consider these ten albums as examples why your iPhone and iPod and iPad can't replace your CD collection just yet. And if you're looking for something more than a download code to put into someone's stocking or birthday pile, these will do nicely. TheKidsAreAllId_lowres.jpgRandy Kaplan - The Kids Are All Id: I tend to prefer lyrics in my liner notes, but with notes as offbeat (yet illuminating) as Kaplan's, I'm willing to make an exception. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous, with some silly illustrations to keep the kids amused.

Best Kids Music 2010: An Introduction

What's that? It's almost December? Then it must be time to start putting together lists of the year's best. In past years, I've put together lists of best albums and best songs, but this year I'm adding a couple more categories. 2010 was another great year for family music, and for me personally, I can't think of a clearer indication of that than the fact that some of the music I'll be discussing here in the next few days I didn't even get around to reviewing properly on the site. I reviewed roughly 50 albums (plus DVDs and concerts and more) this year -- the equivalent to one a week -- and I still didn't get to all that I thought merited a mention. It's a sign of a healthy genre -- it's not just the superstars. As always, my year meets the definition of the Fids and Kamily year -- November 1, 2009 through October 31, 2010. I'll be updating this post with links to the relevant subject posts as they go up. Top 20 Albums Top 10 Debuts Top 20 Songs Top 10 Album Packages Big Ideas Starting next week I'm planning on things being a little quieter around here through the start of the new year. I've got some projects -- some kids music-related, some not -- that need some extra attention and I'm gonna have to scale back a bit here while I focus on those. But the site won't be completely dark -- expect some interviews and other holiday-related stuff. Thanks as always for reading -- hope 2011 is a super year for you and yours.

Video: "Happy Sad Silly Mad" - Jeremy Plays Guitar

Two complaints about "Happy Sad Silly Mad," the new video from Jeremy Plays Guitar's album Use Your Words: 1) the order of the emotions in the song is "happy, sad, mad, silly," not "happy, sad, silly, mad." Sheesh. 2) Also, the "mad" kids are, like, the least mad kids ever. Other than that, I'm cool with it. "Doo, doo doo"s make everything cool. Jeremy Plays Guitar - "Happy Sad Silly Mad" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "Here Is My Co-Pilot" - Holly Throsby

OK, "smile" might be overstating it a bit, but this video, for "Here Is My Co-Pilot" by Holly Throsby has a hypnotic allure due in no small part to the nifty song itself, which is off Throsby's forthcoming album Team. It's the choreography-in-a-racquetball-court, though, that leads me to post this here. Not at all kid-related, but safe for all. (Oh, and have you checked out the review of Holly Throsby's See!? You really should -- that one is kid-related, and also safe for all.) Holly Throsby - "Here Is My Co-Pilot" [YouTube]

Thanksgiving Feast, Family Music-Style

First you'll need to get to where you're going. Jim Cosgrove is offering up a free download of his song "Gobble Across the USA" here (enter "gobble" as the checkout code). As Cosgrove notes, it's not really a Thanksgiving song, but it features a lot of gobbling and a lot of food, which seems appropriate enough for me. Then, once you get there, the prayer, courtesy of Bill Harley. His poem is called "Thanksgiving Prayer" and regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), I think you'll appreciate it. [And here's a second blessing of sorts, this one coming from the Harmonica Pocket -- it's called "Give Thanks" and you can download it here.]