Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Monday, November 1, 2010

White Light - Wilco
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Crash - Primitives
I Can't Let Go - The Hollies
Everybody's Got Their Underwear On - Billy Kelly
It Makes You Feel Good - Renee & Jeremy
Tommy Got In Trouble - The Bazillions
Lemonade - Butterflyfish
Mind of My Own - Frances England
Happy Place - Milkshake
Nun Gimmel Heh Shin - The LeeVees

Old favorites day on Monday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Put On Your Dancing Babypants

Caspar the Friendly Children's Musician, Returns

When hair bands faded out in the early 90s, they were replaced by grunge acts from Seattle (who were then replaced by etc., etc., I've made my point). Anyhow, I loved those early grunge bands - Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots among the better known.

One of the latter day bands, The Presidents of the United States, is still going. And founding member Chris Ballew has turned his pursuits to the pleasures of childrens music. "I was drawn to make simple silly acoustic songs and realized they were kids' songs after I made them," Chris says. He began to write songs to accompany wife Kate Endle's art. "Suddenly a volcano of songs came out, and here I am!" he adds.

Back to the grunge - Seattle native Ballew has managed to work little traces of the city's past into his latest release as Caspar Babypants (This Is Fun!). Krist Novoselic plays bass on a kiddified version of Nirvana's "Sliver," featuring a chorus of "Grandma, take me home." And Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard in quoted in the press materials. Okay, I'm easy. You had me at Pearl Jam.

Ballew has produced his third CD of gentle, goofy tunes for kids. There isn't anything terribly deeper than "It's Gonna Rain" or "Look At All These Elepants" (the latter a favorite for my son, who claims elephants are his second-favorite animals after zebras).

With three albums in less than two years, Ballew is creating quite a body of work. I appreciated the simplicity of the arrangements and absence of heavy messaging. With support from Elizabeth Mitchell and Charlie Hope, I can only imagine that his best is yet to come.

It's a relief that Caspar Babypants exists. Otherwise, Weird Al Yankovic would have stabbed himself in the eyes a long time ago. It's true, I read the quote on Caspar's Web site.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 29, 2010

The Dance From Outer Space - Billy Kelly
Unicorn - Dr. Dog
Glad All Over - Dave Clark Five
Muppets/Mahna Mahna - Primate Fiasco
Tiny Cool - Princess Katie and Racer Steve
Your House - Dre Towey
Villa Villekula Hula - Monty Harper
Don't Dream It's Over - Sixpence None the Richer
Spooky Song - Lazytown
Walkin' the Cow - fIREHOSE

Here Come the Holidays

Rudnick & Friends Welcome Santa

The one word that strikes fear into the hearts of most "kindie" families is "traditional." As in, traditional arrangement. Most kindie musicians try to put their own spin on themes, even if it comes across as yet another derivative of "The Wheels On the Bus."

Ben Rudnick & Friends tackle that challenge with their new 2010 holiday EP, "It's Santa Claus!" Of the eight songs, only the title track is a new composition. The remaining tunes range from traditional (Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman) to the truly ancient (Auld Lang Syne, Greensleeves).

It's admirable for a recognized kindie figure like Ben Rudnick to roll the ball up the hill and put his spin on these songs. Then again, it's also a wise commercial marketing move - as any retailer will tell you, holiday music is a "perennial." People are still purchasing the Wilson Phillips Christmas CD!

After all that prologue, does the disc deliver holiday cheer? Well, it's not even Thanskgiving. But don't think me a Scrooge. I've spent the better part of my life avoiding the majority of holiday music. As a Jew, I've found that only a fraction of holiday music is aimed at my peeps. And most of that is done so in a tongue in cheek fashion.

With all that being said, I am a fan of Ben Rudnick. My son (also named Ben) enjoys the Ben Rudnick CDs we already have. And he learned "Frosty" a few years back for a school concert and has launched into the chorus at unexpected times year-round in the time since. He's even heard the Allan Sherman version of "Greensleeves," called "Sir Greenbaum's Madrigal."

So I wish Ben Rudnick & Friends well with their new release. And I also wish them happy holidays! Perhaps someone will give them a CD of festive music to celebrate the season... something like... well, you get the idea.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, October 28, 2010

Driver Education - Indigo Girls
All Around the Kitchen - Pete Seeger
Scared By My Own Costume - Deedle Deedle Dees
Brand New Haircut - Billy Kelly
Pulling Mussels (From The Shell) - Squeeze
Rubber Biscuit - Supersuckers
Shake It Loud - Monkey Monkey Music
Pedal Power - Recess Monkey
Even Numbers - They Might Be Giants
Kugel - The LeeVees
Colors - John & Mark
Blue Bear - Lucky Diaz

A mix o' mellow for Thursday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Greensleeves - Ben Rudnick & Friends
Baby's Getting Up - Casper Babypants
Walk Don't Run - The Ventures
How Much Is That Doggy in the Window - Primate Fiasco
California - Luna
Superhero - School for the Dead
Science Is Real - They Might Be Giants
Opposite Day - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Pluto - Baby Grands
Spitting Seeds - Under the Tree Music
Tripping Down the Freeway - Weezer

New Ben Rudnick today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frosty the Snowman - Ben Rudnick & Friends
Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
Bicycle - Frances England
Mind Over Matter - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Chocolate Ice Cream - King Pajama
Bits And Pieces - Dave Clark Five
Si Se Puede - Deedle Deedle Dees
My Brother The Ape - They Might Be Giants
This Old Man - Lucky Diaz
Big Kite - Flannery Brothers
Funplex - The B-52s
Band-Aid - Matt Clark

For the second day, Ben visits his inner child (except for Amy Winehouse).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 26, 2010

Where Does The Sun Go At Night? - Dorothy Collins
White Light - Wilco
Browns Ferry Blues - Robbie Fulks
cleaning_windows - Van Morrison
One Day Soon - The Sippy Cups
Sunglasses - Recess Monkey
Never Stop Asking - Secret Agent 23
Cowabunga - Didi Pop
My Doorbell - The White Stripes
Burris the Bat - Matt Clark
Hideaway - Ralph's World

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Keller: Kids Are Music People, Too

Keller Williams Keeps Perspective From A Kid's View

Bluegrass anarchist Keller Williams returns to childrens' music this month with his 16th release, Kids. The (relatively) short CD zips through a host of kids' concerns and kids' interests and kids' amusements. And he makes the young animals on the cover immediate guests at the party with the first song, "My Neighbor Is Happy Again," with the refrain

So I had to dig a moat to keep in my goat

and I had to buy a boat because my goat didn't float

but my neighbor is happy again.

Songs stay strictly for the toddling set, such as "Car Seat," "Because I Said So," "Taking A Bath," and "Keep It On the Paper." And for people who always wanted a rational explanation of farting set to music, Keller presents "Mama Tooted."

It can sound like a duck

It can sound like a frog

It can sound like an elephant or a sigh

I am gonna blame it on Mama alright

Keller is currently touring with the Yo Gabba Gabba stage show as a "super music friend" and I can't see how he wouldn't be a hit with that age bracket. In the meantime, spend 30 minutes with Keller and your tots will relax. As he writes in the jacket notes, "So if this music makes you [kids] happy, then try and use your happiness to make someone else happy, too."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 22, 2010

Kapalua Bay - Didi Pop
I Shall Sing - Grenadilla
The Addams Family - Addams Family
Dance This Mess Around - The B-52s
Bohemian Rhadpsody - The Muppets
Lucy and Tighty - Okee-Dokee Brothers
Periodically Double Or Triple - Yo La Tengo
Starman - Golden Smog
The Final Countdown - Europe

Mix of kids and parents rock today.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cocoanut Candy - Didi Pop
Dream of You - Alan Wolpert
My Name Is Jonas - Weezer
Are You Gonna Eat That? - Keith Munslow
A Fire Burns For Freedom - Ziggy Marley
Solartopia - Pete Seeger
Jealous Guy - John Lennon
Lucy Lawcy - Keller Williams
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
Chocolate Ice Cream - King Pajama

New DidiPop and Keller Williams make the playlist this AM.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gravity - John Mayer
Counting On A Friend - The Bazillions
Psycho Theme - Bernard Hermann
Antmusic - Adam & the Ants
Sometimes I'll Be There - Naked Brothers Band
Is This A Joke? - Billy Kelly
Ponzi's Flowers - Firewater
Because I Said So - Keller Williams
Use Your Words - Jeremy Plays Guitar
Mister Rabbit - Casper Babypants
Hang On - Weezer

Six new song selections for Wednesday AM!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Driver Education - Indigo Girls
Rise and Shine - Board of Education
Superhero - Tim and the Space Cadets
Mind of My Own - Frances England
It Don't Come Easy - Ringo Starr
Nonagon - They Might Be Giants
Bluegrass for Breakfast - Okee-Dokee Brothers
Mama Tooted - Keller Williams
Home - Dreyer Family Band
Best Day Ever - Spongebob Squarepants
Goody Two Shoes - Adam & the Ants
Fort - Recess Monkey

With an average time of less than 2:30 per song, Ben was able to choose a lot of music for Tuesday morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 18, 2010

It Makes You Feel Good - Renee & Jeremy
White Light - Wilco
Air Guitar - Monkey Monkey Music
New Haircut - Justin Roberts
Growl Growl - Deedle Deedle Dees
Things Change - Hullabaloo
I'm Your Moon - Jonathan Coulton
Science Is Real - They Might Be Giants
Moonshot - Roy Handy & the Moonshot
Arabella Angelique - Grenadilla
Ivan The Terrible - The SqueeGees
If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out - Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem

Monday, Wilco, the world is right again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 15, 2010

Shine - Holmes Brothers
Don't Squish That Bug - Bramble Jam
Raspberry Beret - Hindu Love Gods
Roam - The B-52s
Stay-At-Home Dad - Justin Roberts
Tube Sox - Princess Katie and Racer Steve
Look Both Ways - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Even Numbers - They Might Be Giants
Kansas City Octopus - Clementown
My Name Is No - Starfish

So I was sorting through my records last week and realized I did not have the Hindu Love Gods on vinyl anymore. And it drove me crazy that I could not remember what I did with it. So I bought it online, ripped some songs to our iTunes, and Ben immediately picked one for this AM.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Me For Who I Am - Brady Rymer
First Dance (Feat. Usher) - Justin Bieber
All Around the Kitchen - Pete Seeger
With My Own Two Hands - Ben Harper
Super Sonic Rocket Bike - The Bazillions
Wonderful World - Daddy A Go Go
Crow - Joe's Backyard Band
All My Friends Are Different - The Salteens
Shpilkas - Bunny Clogs
cleaning windows - Van Morrison

Bieber returns.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Not Fast Cheetah - Recess Monkey
Your House - Dre Towey
Shake It Loud - Monkey Monkey Music
Jump So High - Jeremy Plays Guitar
Spider-Man - Chris McKhool
Some More S'mores - Charity and the JAMband
Dishes - Joe's Backyard Band
Muppets/Mahna Mahna - Primate Fiasco
Cardboard Box - Justin Roberts
I Can't Let Go - The Hollies
Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra

A jump from the 70s to the 00s this AM.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hi 5 Dance - Flannery Brothers
Headphonese - Michael Franti & Spearhead
Chocolate Ice Creame - King Pajama
Give It Awaye - Dog on Fleas
Superballe - Magic Kids
Three Little Birdse - Bob Marley
Every Day is a Summer Daye - Keith Munslow
Beautiful Daye - Ziggy Marley
I Just Want to Have Fune - Of Montreal
Starmane - Killian Mansfield

Between Marleys (father and son) and Franti (Michael), Ben brought the funk this AM.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 11, 2010

C'mon - Renee & Jeremy
White Light - Wilco
Whistle For Willie - Randy Kaplan
Hey Hey Hey - Michael Franti & Spearhead
De Colores - Pete Seeger
Check It Out - Casper Babypants
Neighbors - Okee-Dokee Brothers
The King Of Calibar - Bill Harley
Sunglasses - Recess Monkey
Si Se Puede - Deedle Deedle Dees
Opposite Day - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

If it's Monday, it must be Wilco.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 8, 2010

Best Day Ever - Spongebob Squarepants
I Shall Sing - Grenadilla
Somebody To Love - Justin Bieber
My Darling Clementine - The Submarines
Airplanes (Feat. Hayley Williams) - B.o.B
When We Was Fab - George Harrison
The Eeny Weeny Beeny Ghost - Bill Harley
Tiny Cool - Princess Katie and Racer Steve
Invisible Man - The Breeders

Spongebob, B.o.B, and Bieber.

A Bazillion Reasons To Rock Out

Twin Cities Produces More than Prince

Use your imagination.

That's the idea behind the Bazillions' "Rock-n-Roll Recess."

"You won't believe how far we'll go," singer/songwriter Adam Marshall intones on "Super Sonic Rocket Bike." And that's a concept that kids of all ages can grasp as they race downhill...and they don't have to be 44 inches tall!

"Tommy Got In Trouble" points out that actions have consequences - balls hitting lamps and fish bowls, etc. "

Don't you know he's a good kid,

But sometimes things just seem to go astray.

Twin Cities parents Adam and Kristin Marshall started writing songs for kids when they joined the Kenny School in Minneapolis. Joined by indie pop band The Humbugs (Matt Baccoli, Tim Formanek, and Mike Senkovich), they rebranded themselves as the Bazillions and released their first CD earlier this year.

Perhaps a little too "hard" for toddlers, the Bazillions work well for the active kid set. The protagonist of "It's a Mess" brags "I'm a big success/at making a big mess."

There is a rich trove of kindie artists across the country who are currently making fresh, non-"babyish" rock music that works in the car and the home. From Recess Monkey in the Pacific Northwest to the Bazillions in the heartland and AudraRox in Red Hook, Brooklyn, you don't have to throw a ball - and get in trouble - to find music to rock out to with your children. The Bazillions are a welcome addition to Ben's expanding CD rack of contemporary kindie rockers.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream - King Pajama
Love Plus One - Nick Heyward
It's Sunny When You Share - Mighty Weaklings
Calendar Girl - Neil Sedaka
Purple - Laura Freeman
Li'l Things - Strange Kidz
Baby (Feat. Ludacris) - Justin Bieber
Time Flies - Weezer
Watch the Sunshine - Big Star
Wait Your Turn - Mr. Ray

Weezer, Bieber, and Strange Kidz indeed.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bens Playlist - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Good People - Jack Johnson
Band-Aid - Matt Clark
(There's a) Party In The Playroom - Einstein's Monkey
Raise the Brain - Miz B
Stop At a Mom n'n Pop - Uncle Rock
One Day Soon - The Sippy Cups
Freedom Highway - Mavis Staples
Rough and Tumble - The Fuzzy Lemons
The Channukah Medley - Gwendolyn and the Goodtime Gang
My Lucky Day - Eric Herman
Caboose - Lunch Money

Long day.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why Go Up There? - Tom Glazer & Dottie Evans
Baby Lee - Teenage Fanclub
How Do You Spell Chunnukkahh? - The LeeVees
Africa Land - Ziggy Marley
Jumpin' Jive - Joe Jackson
My Name Is Jonas - Weezer
Obsessed By Trucks - Justin Roberts
Hologram World - Tiny Masters of Today
New Game - Tim and the Space Cadets
Cities With Seagulls - Joe's Backyard Band

New Ziggy Marley today.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 4, 2010

It Makes You Feel Good - Renee & Jeremy
White Light - Wilco
Shake It - Michael Franti & Spearhead Feat. Lady Saw
Jump Up and Down - Flannery Brothers
Superhero - School for the Dead
You've Got a Friend In me - Bonerama
Secret Handshake - Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Do The Turnout - Deedle Deedle Dees
What's On Your Shirt? - The Jimmies
Baby Kangaroo - Joe McDermott
Every Day is a Summer Day - Keith Munslow

New Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Michael Franti! Represent!