Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, November 30, 2015

The Bright Side Of Me – Alastair Moock & Friends
Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
Archaeology – Danny Weinkauf
Sons and Daughters  – The Bazillions
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
The Word – Caspar Babypants

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, November 27, 2015

Mayim – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Another Good Year – Lori Henriques
Hey Jude – Caspar Babypants
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones
This Little Light Of Mine – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
My Favorite Sneakers – In The Nick Of Time
Say Hey!  – Mil's Trills
Stuff – The Pop Ups
Flannel Jammies – The Not-Its!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ben's Thanksgiving Playlist - Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don't Fence Me In – Andy Z
All In A Day– Alastair Moock & Friends
Ground Food– Ratboy Jr.
If I Could Fly– Riff Rockit
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
Bad Haircut – The Bazillions
The Start of Things  – Alison Faith Levy

Vered Targets Newborns (Never Fear, It's All Good)

I don't want to say that Vered Benhorin has never been on our radar. Her first CD for newborns, GOOD MORNING MY LOVE, happened to reach our ears just after our younger son, Matthew, had "aged out" of her listening audience. Her latest CD, HELLO MY BABY, renews her enthusiasm for engaging the parent/new child connection via music therapy.

As Vered explains, "Research in developmental psychology shows that the first two years of life are critical for a baby’s emotional and social development. How ‘in tune’ we are with our babies can predict the child’s ability to regulate emotions, cope with stressors, and create fulfill."

Reading her Baby In Tune website, followers come off as disciples or converts. Vered has developed a methodology and her CDs allow parents-in-training to bring her program into their homes. The concepts are simple – "Grandparents," "Cooking," and "Peekaboo," just to name a few. The title track is NOT to be confused with the famed Michigan J. Frog number. The title track is "Hello," not the Adele song. And you can even enlist Vered (for a fee) to personalize the song for a specific child.

I don't want to suggest that Vered can be bought, literally. But it's important to buy into the concepts that she's expressing. And she's got a whole lot of top-shelf support staff on her side, led by uber-producer Dean Jones. HELLO MY BABY brings together an Okee-Dokee Brother (Justin Lansing) and a Nightlight (Joanie Leeds). Not to give anyone short shrift, Jon Samson and Rachel Loshak's names also jumped out at me.

Vered knows that parents want. In the closer, she sings "All I want is to sleep seven hours." Hey, my younger son just turned FIVE. That's about how many hours a night that I average with my eyes closed (luckily he chose to nap yesterday, so we all collapsed for a wee bit). Singing along with Vered takes on a larger meaning for some parents – these songs are meant to be sung TO children, to inspire them to song along and to sing back. For music-loving adults, there can be no greater joy than those small moments. On those occasions, a dad really does want to say "Hello my baby, you've arrived."

HELLO MY BABY is available from Vered's website, Amazon, iTunes, and CDBABY.

Here is the video for "Something Other Than a Mother":

Rocknoceros Hits Home for Holidays

Everybody tends to lose focus during the holidays, when they need to gather their thoughts the most. You have friends, family, responsibilities, and oh yes, what will you be doing for Christmas Eve, or the first night of Hanukkah – wait, it's in a week and a half!?!

Soothing your mood is essential. Try some Rocknoceros. That's right, Rocknoceros has a new CD frothing with spirit, HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ROCKNOCEROS. The Virgina-based power trio delivers a snappy nine-song candy dish of traditional favorites, topped with a mashup of Prince Buster (by way of the Specials) "Auld Lang Syne (Enjoy Yourself)."

There's no Kwanzaa tune but a faithful version of "The Dreidel Song." And an organ-sizzling "Wenceslas." And "Up On The Rooftop" bops and rocks your littler ones. Rocknoceros actually start waltzing with "This Thanksgiving," but I give them props for beginning the disk with "Halloween Masquerade," for those who treasure the opportunity to get free candy more than getting an itchy sweater.

Rocknoceros rounds out the year by pausing their "state songs" project after this summer's PLYMOUTH ROCKERS. Producing more than 20 songs this year definitely gives the group a merit badge for productivity. They delivered quality as well as quantity in 2015. With more state songs on the horizon, Rocknoceros should be stuffing stockings for quite some time.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ROCKNOCEROS is available from Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

This video shows the subversive side of Rocknoceros. It's Santas and crying infants galore, during a merry reading of "The Night Before Christmas":

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bile Them Cabbage – Red Yarn
Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer
New – Paul McCartney
Poofy – Ratboy Jr.
Slow – Trout Fishing In America
Caught in the Screen – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ben's Matthew's 5th Birthday Playlist - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Every Day's A Holiday – Alastair Moock & Friends
All the Pretty Horses – Cat Doorman
Favorite Book – The Bazillions
Tomorrow's People – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Hello Goodbye – Caspar Babypants
Mystery – Dean Jones
20 More Dollars – Chibi Kodama

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday Crafternoon (Featuring Drue Davis) – Tim Kubart
Music is Everywhere –  Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Nose In A Book – The Not-Its!0
Great Pretenders Club (feat. HAERTS)  – The Pop Ups
LA Christmas – Andrew & Polly & Mista Cookie Jar
Paper Airplane – Recess Monkey

Friday, November 20, 2015

Andrew & Polly & Mista Cookie Jar Delight in LA Xmas

First Jason Didner concocted "Surfin' Santa."

Then the Salamanders delivered "Pirate Santa."

Earlier and earlier creepeth the holiday music. Discounted Halloween candy lies in giant piles just past the supermarket checkout (always an odd location for items for purchase). And now cometh the festive times and with them, a bevy of holiday tunes.

Andrew and Polly have gifted us with OTHER DAYS, a four-song sampler that includes the peppy "LA Christmas." Featuring West Coast kindie hip-hopper Mista Cookie Jar, the accompanying video shows the trio ironically putting lights on a palm tree and running on the beach in snappy sweaters.

If you like the song (shut your eyes during the video and it's just like radio), there are three more A&P originals on the EP. It's just over $5 (cheap, as MAD Magazine used to say). And if you're fed up with "more of the same" for your holiday offerings, then you've come to the right place. There, not here, I mean.

The title track celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, but can't wait for the new year and all the promise it brings. "Thank You For the Box" is the tale of frustration that every parent feels when a child is indifferent to a gift but delighted by the packaging – and the hours of imagination play that come with it.

Hey I'm no Grinch. I just put in a request to receive more holiday music to write about. Yes, there is more holiday music coming – and not down my chimney but in my mailbox. Ahahahaaaa!! Forget Festivus, this is music for the rest of us.

OTHER DAYS is available from Amazon and iTunes.