Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, April 29, 2016

Carry a Tune – Recess Monkey
The Bright Side Of Me – Alastair Moock & Friends
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
Hello Goodbye – Caspar Babypants
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Mama – Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips
Sing A Summer Song – Charity and the JAMBand
T.L.C. – Alison Faith Levy

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, April 28, 2016

Forever Young – Andrew & Polly
Bile Them Cabbage – Red Yarn
Archaeology – Danny Weinkauf
One After 909 – Caspar Babypants
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Washington, DC – The Not-Its!
Shine – Charity and the JAMBand
Bad Haircut – The Bazillions

Jungle Gym Jam Checks In With Lollipop Motel

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Lollipop Motel and it's located in North Wildwood, NJ. It's noted as a piece of Americana, harkening back to the 1950s and pioneer-era rock and roll. An earlier, purer, simpler time for music, just the thing for kids. And wouldn't you know it, just the thing for Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam to utilize for its iconography for their second CD, LOLLIPOP MOTEL.

It's amazing that the Jungle Gym Jam exists at all, but New Jersey is the perfect setting. A 2013 songwriting project for Jason and wife Amy Didner, their scope organically transformed when a performance opportunity beckoned. Three years later, the band is still developing its identity and honing its unique sound, while rocking out for kids and parents along the Eastern seaboard.

LOLLIPOP MOTEL could be described as the soundtrack for a summer vacation, featuring "A Day at the Beach," "Jam Packed," and their holiday anthem "Summertime Santa," wherein Saint Nick takes a sabbatical on the Jersey shore. The band is not afraid to rock out on such numbers as "Ultimate Frisbie" and "Jersey Dinosaurs" (and no, they're not singing about local stalwarts Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi). The latter even ends with the declaration, "Baby, we were born to roar."

"Restless Heart" could be the under-seven anthem version of "Born to Run," with its revved backbeat and lyrics howling, "fingerpainting inside the lines, baby that ain't me" and "I wanna bust out of this tiny chair." Indeed the spirit of New Jersey looms large over the CD, to the extent that one wonders if the shout-outs to specific shore towns are modified when the JGJ crew performs in New York, Virginia, Connecticut, and other states. Perhaps it doesn't matter when kids are too busy jumping up and down, singing along, or protesting that they're not "Too Big To Jump on the Bed."

The CD features a lineup of local musicians, including kindie artist Suzi Shelton on a rollocking album-closing version of "Free To Be...You and Me." Production duties are ably handled by Marc "Baze" Bazerman. The mix amps up the tenor sax (of Matt "Shooby" Schoenebaum) on "Little Yellow Plane" and accordion (by Andy "Squeezebox" Sandel) on the title track. LOLLIPOP MOTEL is dedicated to the memory of the band's late bassist, Lou DeMartino, who played on the CD, played a handful of shows with the group, and passed away last summer.

Could LOLLIPOP MOTEL be the kindie version of HOTEL CALIFORNIA? Let's not put any crazy notions into Jason Didner's head. For now, the Jungle Gym Jam are happy to spend some time reminding you that summer is coming and there are worse destinations than the backyard, the playground, or the beach. Will you enjoy yourself? That's a shore thing.

LOLLIPOP MOTEL is available on May 13 from Jungle Gym Jam's website, Amazon, CDBABY, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the group's song, "Too Big To Jump on the Bed":

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hello – Adele
Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Danceology – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Best Friend – In The Nick Of Time
Brain Freeze – The Not-Its!
Share Your Love – Charity and the JAMBand
Rainbow Tunnel – Alison Faith Levy

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Secret Fox – Gustafer Yellowgold
Don't Fence Me In – Andy Z
Animal Kingdom – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Jelly Beans! – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Grizzly Bear – Red Yarn
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer
Little One – Charity and the JAMBand
Favorite Book – The Bazillions

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, April 25, 2016

Rest Easy Now – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
Thank You for the Box – Andrew & Polly
Kid Of The Week – The Not-Its!
DJ All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Keep a Green Tree in Your Heart – Charity and the JAMBand
Tomorrow's People – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, April 22, 2016

Calling All the Kids to the Yard – Cat Doorman
Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer
The Start of Things – Alison Faith Levy
Toothloser – Gustafer Yellowgold
Take Me Away – Sunshine Collective
New  – Paul McCartney

Charity & JAMband Share Earth Music

Earth Day is Friday, April 22. But in reality, every day should be Earth Day. As long as an environmental crisis grips the planet, people must remain vigilant. Especially in the face of climate change deniers and politicians who fear corporate powers more than the thought of ocean levels a foot higher and a depleted ozone layer.

Charity and the JAMband commemorate the occasion with a brand-new CD, EARTH. "Every day should be Earth Day," she sings on the track with that name. Truth be told, Charity Kahn and company have always been ecologically-conscious and 100 percent bio-kindie-gradeable. From their base in San Francisco, California, their website mantra is "Music - Love - World Peace." So don't dispute the message or hate the messenger. Come for the harmonies and stay for the natural warmth in the lyrics.

While you can't fault Charity for her earnest sincerity, subtitling your CD "Songs for the Earth and All Beings" is going to set off internal alarms in less socially-conscious parents. For instance, "We Speak for the Earth" is immediately followed by "I Am the Earth." Okay, if the Earth can speak for itself, why... oh why even ask the question.

The band does deliver some less-weighty thoughts with "Sing A Summer Song" and "We Love Everybody." The former I can absolutely concur (don't ask me about the latter these days). And "Pebble Meditation Song" would not feel out of place on Kira Willey's latest yoga for kids collection. "But it's a little hippie dippy," you might blurt, finally unable to control yourself. Yeah, but this is 10 songs devoted to the singular concept that the next generation needs a gentle entrance ramp to the world of liberal arts and open-mindedness. Your world may not be perfect but we only have one planet and Charity points out that EARTH is what we all share, no matter what our differences may be.

Closing track "Little One" starts with a sonic callback to Cyndi Lauper's "All Through the Night" (at least for me) but turns into a gentle lullaby whispering "I am here forever for you." In the context of EARTH, Charity is singing about this fragile planet with the double entendré of a parent tucking in a child. But the underlying sentiment is a comforting promise we all want somebody to tell us every night of our lives, no matter how young or how old. Let sweet Charity sing your sorrows to sleep and dream about a healthier world and a sunnier EARTH for all.

EARTH is available from Charity's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes. Check the band's Facebook page next week for one free song download per day from the CD!

Here is the video for Charity and the JAMband's song, "Earth Day":

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Odd Socks – Dean Jones
Super Hero Rock Band – The Bazillions
Hymn For The Weekend – Coldplay
I Dreamed I Could Fly – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Harder To Breathe – Maroon 5
Don't Stop – 5 Seconds of Summer
Right Side of the Bed – Ratboy Jr.