Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
LA Christmas – Andrew & Polly & Mista Cookie Jar
Sweetest Devotion – Adele
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Hamsterdam – Ratboy Jr.
Wind in Our Sail – Weezer
Everybody Out There – Paul McCartney

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
Washington, DC – The Not-Its!
The Word – Caspar Babypants
My Teacher's An Alien – The Bazillions
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer
California Kids – Weezer
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones

123 Andrés Es Para Todos Los Niños

Charm will open a lot of doors. And 123 Andrés is certainly charming. But don't be fooled. Latin music artist Andrés Salguero is cultivated as well – he's got a doctorate in music to prove it. With his second bilingual children's CD, ARRIBA ABAJO (Top to Bottom), Andrés teaches vowels, the musical scales, counting (with birds), and the wonders of nature.

The first 10 tracks are mostly in Spanish, with English versions following. Music continues to be the universal language. Matthew (5) can't speak more than 2-3 words of Spanish, yet went around the house repeating "Dame una A" after watching the animated video on Andrés' YouTube channel. I didn't have the heart to play the English version ("Give Me An A") that follows later on the disc. His first CD, ¡UNO, DES, TRES, received a nomination for a Latin Grammy award. Andrés now seeks to follow up by widening his base across both cultures.

I am by far not the ideal candidate to promote multi-cultural diversity. While I advocate for equal rights and self-expression, I grew up in a neighborhood that was decidedly middle class (and mostly white). When the racial climate in our Jersey suburb not-so-subtly shifted (and I became the target of bullying from some of those migrating elements), my family took flight to Long Island. That was decades ago but there are still lingering memories. However it's not the fault of the music or the arts. And I wholeheartedly endorse the values and sentiments of the talented artists who appear on this and other multi-ethnic CDs. {So much for full disclosure}

The music is part of a larger mission, as Andrés will release an accompanying "learning guide" later next month to explore Spanish/English concepts more in depth. ARRIBA ABAJO (top to bottom) indeed, as Andrés delivers an educational, entertaining message for very young listeners. Music is a subliminal teaching instrument – children who flee from a traditional classroom setting find inspiration and amusement in the auditorium or the band room. Andrés puts finicky learners directly in his melodic crosshairs – his persuasive percussion most effective on tracks such as "Diez Pajaritos (Ten Birds)" featuring Colombia's Nathalia Palis. Whether in English or Spanish, Andrés makes a sincere effort to charm your kids. Muy bien, Andrés. And gracias.

ARRIBA ABAJO is available June 10 from Andrés website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is Andrés'  video for "Dame una A":

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 23, 2016

River Lea – Adele
Go Jump in the Water – Keith Munslow
Cheese World  – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Turned Out – Paul McCartney
Thank You (feat. R. City) – Meghan Trainor
This Love –  Maroon 5

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chibi Kodama: Girls Just Wanna Make Music

Girl power is all about entitlement and freedom from societal shaming.

Chibi Kodama's John Cullimore is girl-overpowered. His band features himself, songs co-written by wife Yvonne, and four of their five daughters (Aletheia, Adaryn, Chasah, and Saoirse). The Cullimore house, one surmises, may have permanently-nailed-down toilet seats.

The band's new CD, STARDUST, has 15 new tracks (as well as acoustic versions of two older tunes). Chibi Kodama delivers nearly one hour of power-pop pitched from a child's perspective. The album kicks off (literally) with the '90s grunge of "Boredinary," buzzsaws into "Walk Like Me" and catches its breath with "Daydreamer," with the refrain "I was made to be me." That seems to be the over-riding theme, parboiled down from "free to be...you and me."

Much like the Spice Girls were all about girl power, Chibi Kodama is all about kid power. "Different Like Me," "More Than Just..." and "Crazy Idea" promote the notion that all children are created equally to have fun, do their own thing, and not be stigmatized for thinking outside the box. With hands-on, 24x7 online support from Mom and Dad all the way down the line, Chibi Kodama is the prototype new millennium family band.  And the band walks the walk, talks the talk, and rocks the rock. The title track delivers a hint of the Cullimore family's spiritual side:

We are made of stardust
We are made of light
Filled to the brim with the energy
Of the maker of the day and night.

My dad was in the software business, and when my employment options went through a wormhole 25 years ago, I wound up (as a writer/editor) in the software business. John makes music and one hopes that as his girls continue to mature and evolve, that they will determine their own paths. But he (and Yvonne) have given them a large footprint of how to proceed. How many non-Disney performing kids can Google their own discography back to their preteen years? Whether the band made the kids or the kids made the band, Chibi Kodama is an ongoing adventure and you can peer in through their YouTube channel. Watch and listen and learn and decide for yourself. It's only rock and roll but they like it, at any age.

STARDUST is available from the band's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the group's song, "Moonlight Dance," produced by 13-year-old Aletheia:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 20, 2016

Sourwood Mountain – Red Yarn
Forever Young – Andrew & Polly
Hold on to Your Dreams –  Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Loving & Kind – Aaron Nigel Smith
Tomorrow's People – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Mom (feat. Kelli Trainor) – Meghan Trainor
Hello – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Kindie Quick Hits: Free Summer Music, Pop-Ups and Brady Rymer in Concert

Need a quick hit of summer?

Sugar Mountain PR has released a FREE "summr road trip" playlist of songs from its roster of artists. Not to give anyone short shrift, but you get tunes from Frances England, Aaron Nigel Smith, Charity and the JAMBand, the Suger-Free AllStars, The Not-Its, Brady Rymer, the Whizpops, and more. See, I've shrifted most of them.

But hurry – the playlist will only be public through Wednesday, May 25!

The Pop-Ups are going to perform their latest CD, THE GREAT PRETENDERS CLUB at New York's City Winery on Sunday, May 22 at 11 am. Tickets are available at the low, low price of $15 per ticket.

Speaking of City Winery, you can also book tickets for Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could's next CD, PRESS PLAY! on Sunday, June 12 (also $15)! CD review will follow (after we finish playing it).

Here is their latest video from the Pop-Ups, for the song "We Live in An Orchestra":

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Bright Side Of Me – Alastair Moock & Friends
Bile Them Cabbage  – Red Yarn
Hey Everybody! – 5 Seconds Of Summer
Super Hero Rock Band – The Bazillions
Uh Huh – Dean Jones
Dance Like Yo Daddy – Meghan Trainor
That Guy – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thank You for the Box – Andrew & Polly
Bad Haircut – The Bazillions
Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Amazing Day – Coldplay
I Won't Let You Down – Meghan Trainor
Fun Times – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies