Thursday, June 03, 2010

Don't Monkey With the Funk

Recess Monkey Grooves With "Final Funktier"

When I think of Seattle, I think of Recess Monkey. Pre-1990, the first thing that came to mind was rain. For the next decade, I thought about grunge (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, STP). Now that I have a child, I equate Seattle with their foremost childrens music group, Recess Monkey.

The Monkeymen (Jack Forman, Daron Henry, and Andrew Holloway) release their sixth album, The Final Funktier on June 15. It took a lot of rare tracks and live recordings for Nirvana to hit the six album mark. And they've shown growth and maturity over the past several albums.

"Final Funktier" takes the form of a space mission, from launch to exploration of new dimensions (such as "The Galax Sea"). But it still addresses the themes that mean the most to children: sibling rivalry, messy rooms, and getting older. "Booster Seat" uses the space concept as a metaphor for auto travel:

I'm out in space. Blast from the Earth without a trace.
Right off our driveway up to a star
I know someday I'm going far.

The Recess trio know their audience well - as teachers, they met while working at a Seattle school and turned a grad school project into the band's first album "Welcome to Recess Monkey Town" (2005). Over the past half-decade, they have continued to produce melodic and well-reviewed CDs that have built a solid nationwide following through the Internet, word of mouth, SiriusXM Kids Place, and radio shows.

"Final Funktier" features a host of guest performers from the Seattle kids music scene - the Not-Its, Harmonica Pocket, Chris Ballew (Caspar Babypants), Eric Ode, and Johnny Bregar, as well as Chris Wiser from the Sugar Free Allstars, Gustafer Yellowgold, and more. You get a CD that's also a festival.

The band delves into some interesting concepts with their funk. "Ukulalien" introduces the ukulele to hip beats. And "Beat-Box-a-Robot" is kind of self-explanatory. And the CD ends with the uplifting "One Tiny Light:"

You spring to life so easily,
You are the seed of the galaxy,
and you shine light inside of me, shine right into me.

How about that? An interplanetary lullaby. Works for me.
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