Thursday, June 09, 2011

7th CD Continues Simian Success of Recess Monkey

Fly Away With More Northwest Kindie Rock

The ever-prolific Recess Monkey trio (Daron, Jack, and Drew) is back with their unprecedented seventh CD in as many years. "Flying" renews their celebrated exploration of childhood themes, this time wrapped in a superhero motif.



Aside from the title track, the Monkey men sing about "The Bravest Kid in the World," "Invisible Friend," and "Sidekick," which gently considers how children determine just who is the hero and who is their sidekick:

We could build a motorbike, with a reinforced side car

Or design a super-copter, if we have to fly real far

The important thing is this, it just has to fit we two

And if you want to be the leader, I'll be the sidekick for you


You want guest appearances? How about a Dean Jones trombone solo? You also get Molly Ledford (from Lunch Money) for a duet on "Invisible Friend." Plus Caspar Babypants and even more.

Recess Monkey debuted after the trio met while working at the same Seattle school (they teach from Pre-K to third grade). "Welcome to Recess Monkey Town" was released in 2005 and has been followed by a succession of ever-deepening CDs: "Animal House" (2006), "Wonderstuff" (2007), "Tabby Road" (2008), "Field Trip" (2009), and "The Final Funktier" (2010).

We were introduced to Recess Monkey through Bill & Ella Child's Spare the Rock podcast. In the past year, we've managed to see them live three times. No small feat when we live across the country. First, they performed at Kindiefest 2010 in Brooklyn, where I recorded Marshmallow Farm:



We then caught them at Symphony Space over the winter. The big surprise was when they turned up at Kindiefest 2011 and joined the Verve Pipe on stage.

You Can Write A Song (featuring Recess Monkey)



Here's how I know that Ben is impressed by someone - he becomes shy. Whether it was a preschool instructor that he had a crush on, or a musician that he really likes. Not that he doesn't like some of the people he's met in person, such as Ashley and the Jimmies or Molly and Lunch Money. When Ben saw that Recess Monkey was in attendance, he grew a big smile - but he did NOT want to approach them after the show.

The Recess Monkey CDs are always in playing rotation in the car (our main source of traveling entertainment). With a baby now joining us for most trips, there is nothing more pleasing than a dose of Recess Monkey to help us pass the time on the road.

Recess Monkey know their audience and its parents. We don't want the kids over-stimulated or talked down to. The kids don't want constant commands ("Let's see you be a plane!") built into their songs. After all, do "adult" pop songs repetitively demand you "get on the dance floor..." uh, never mind... Bad comparison.

Who would ever think that a chimp would make a good role model for children? Simian puns aside, Recess Monkey appeals to all ages. A banana peel! Okay, I had to squeeze in one last reference. The male school teacher, for young children, is a rarity in our experience. And these guys have taken their day jobs and a love of music and produced a hearty selection of delightful tunes. In conclusion, get monked!
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