Artist: Mo Phillips
Album: Occasional Yogurt
Age Range: 3 through 8
Description: Idiosyncratic as ever, Mo Phillips' music on Occasional Yogurt, his fourth family album, fits in perfectly with Portland, Oregon's anything-goes-as-long-as-it's-true-to-you philosophy.
I'd call the music here "ramshackle," but that's a negative connotation I'm not really seeking. It's rough around the edges, deliberately so, with a crackly sound that suggests a vinyl record sixty years old. It kicks off with "Talkin' About Teamwork," a sprightly song featuring guest vocals from fellow Portland musician Aaron Nigel Smith. I didn't like all of the songs -- now that I've reviewed the album, I don't intend to listen to "The Runner" again -- but that just puts the excellent songs in that much sharper relief. "Electric (Don't Even Try)" is an outtake from a B-52s album (or should be, at any rate) guaranteed to rev up your kids, and "A Little More Sleep," on which Phillips sings with Little Sue and Lincoln Crockett, is a tender alt-country lullaby/plea for sleep from the parents' perspective.
You can listen to the 44-minute album here. Fans of Phillips' previous work will lap this up (and I suspect songs like "The Runner" work pretty well live). While idiosyncratic albums rarely achieve mass popularity, eventually they find their fans -- might your be family be one of them? You'll never know if you don't try. Recommended.
Note: I was given a copy of the album for possible review.