Monday, December 31, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, January 1, 2013

If You Want a Mustache – Space Balloons
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Balloon Fest – Ozomatli
Me and My Brand New Haircut – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Make Me – Big Bang Boom
Catch My Breath – Kelly Clarkson
They're Red Hot – Randy Kaplan
Kiss You – One Direction
Stop at a Mom N' Pop – Uncle Rock     
Sleepover – Ellen & Mark

Space Cadets to the Rescue!

Tim Kubart and Matt Puckett remember being kids. In fact, they've encapsulated their memories on ANTHEMS FOR ADVENTURE, their first full-length CD as Tim and the Space Cadets.

The Brooklyn residents are already veterans of the New York kindie music scene, having played gigs around town for the past few years. The new CD shares their loves of all things small and insignificant, such as "Bumblebee" and "Rainy Days" (featuring Alison Bartlett, Gina from Sesame Street).

There are also songs that triumph the big deals in a kid's existence, whether it's the power going out ("Blackout") or making a deal with the sun to extend the weather ("Endless Summer").

The Space Cadets' big breakout was the tune "Superhero," about the longing for superpowers and larger-than-life action. The song inspired the album's theme, which comes with two separate songs, "The Anthem Part 1" and "Part 2" to start the CD.

I was kind of partial to "Second Grade Show," since I have fond (and not-so-fond) memories of many past stage performances and glories:

I gotta look good in my brown and green
And I gotta stay real still tonight 'cause next time you see me,
I'll be playing a tree in the second grade show.
My parents coming to see.
And if you're trying to fine me
I'll be shaking my leaves.

The Space Cadets remain upbeat and lively as we enter 2013. And why not? Who couldn't use a blast of positive energy and summery fun in the dark of winter. ANTHEMS FOR ADVENTURE is due for "Blast Off" (another song on the CD) at the end of January. Grab your cowl and cape and head out (the door, not the window) or to your nearest e-tailer.

Here is the video for "Superhero":

ANTHEMS FOR ADVENTURE will be available through Tim and the Space Cadets' website, Amazon, CDBABY, or iTunes.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Monday, December 31, 2012

Blue Sky – Elizabeth Mitchell
Don't Speak – Glee
The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
Little Little Baby – The Harmonica Pocket 
Is This a Joke? – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs       
Escalator – David Tobocman
Turning Tables – Adele
Young Girls – Bruno Mars      
Shake It Off! – Uncle Rock       
Worms – Dog On Fleas

Pt At Last (new podcast)

Physical therapy finally started.

Two sessions in, here are some thoughts.

I mean to talk for many 15 minutes and do another topic, but things sort of got away from me.
Hope it's all interesting.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winding Down 2012 With (Uncle) Rock

The year 2012 went out with a musical blast. First we saw Billy Kelly at the LICM. Now it was time for the gentleman music farmer from upstate, Uncle Rock at Symphony Space.

As I wrote a few weeks back, this blog is in part the result of Robert Burke Warren recording children's music and getting it played on a podcast that we began to listen to. Click here for the entire story.

An earlier start time (11 am) than Billy Kelly (1 pm) worked in our favor, as did an extra holiday train that allowed us to arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime – and Matt decided to take a rare morning nap, which made him happy and perky for most of the concert.

As Ben pointed out, the last time we saw Uncle Rock was at Symphony Space – four years ago. A lot has happened since then including the release of THE BIG PICTURE, Robert's most complete statement on the state of his career.

We arrived as Robert concluded his sound check and stumbled upon our group in the foyer. He asked Ben for any requests. Ironically, Ben had just issued an entire rundown of Uncle Rock songs, which Robert asked him to repeat, pen and paper in hand.

The Family series at Symphony Space has served us well over the years, introducing us to artists such as Dan Zanes and allowing us to see performers from around the country. San Francisco's Sippy Cups were a treat, as were South Carolina's own Lunch Money.

Robert opened with "My Favorite Things," which we've heard him cover going back to shows at Books of Wonder. Many adults chose to sing along, causing some major looks of confusion and consternation from the tykes. That was not the case with "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which got adults and kids singing along.

The hour-long set involved much audience participation, and Robert has his patter down to a science. One early toddler yowl invoked the expected Axl Rose reference, to the mystification of anyone under the age of 10.

For a year-ending show, there were not many big themes discussed ("Leave the Bees Be" and "There Is No Away" were unplayed). Robert chose to stick with his lighter tunes, "Disco Nap" and "Shake It Off" behind highlights.

"It's Hot, Don't Touch It!" became an instant favorite of Matt's. He returned home and has repeated it like a mantra many, many times. We'll see what happens when it turns up in one of Ben's playlists in the future.

Has it really been four years since we saw Uncle Rock? Apparently so. But now that Matt has met his newest uncle, we'll have to arrange another encounter in a shorter timeframe. 

You can purchase Uncle Rock's music through Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Billy Beats the Blahs at LICM

Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs, the pride of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, descended upon the Long Island Children's Museum on Thursday, December 27. Since the date fell during the winter break and Ben is a fan, we made the relatively short trek to Carle Place for the performance.

It was two-year-old Matt's first encounter with a museum – although a children's museum is vastly different from any traditional exhibition hall. For instance, the first thing the two kids did upon arrival was sit and build with Keva Planks for 10 minutes. Then we walked over and made giant bubbles for another 10 minutes. This might seem like a long time for either activity. I directed Matt to a faux beach sand area, where he happily sat down and began filling a bucket. They could have gone another 5-10 minutes at any of these attractions, but our late start meant we were already on the clock.

We headed upstairs (bypassing the tools area) and only saw about half of the second floor. It was time for Matt's destination appointment in the "Tot Spot," which Ben had enjoyed before he aged out in the mid-00s. Just writing that gives me a chill down my spine. He'll be 12 in two weeks!

The wife and Ben headed off to start lunch while I took Matt for some tot time. Having just gotten over a cold, this was his first re-exposure to a large play setting. Matt was overwhelmed at first by children running every which way, and he clung to me. But Matt dove from my arms when he saw the the "market" full of clunky fake food. Crisis averted.

Still, we were running short on time (and Matt was working on borrowed time with a nap coming imminently). After lunch, we all headed into the theater for Long Island-bred Billy Kelly and his band, the Blah Blah Blahs. The boys are prepping for the release of their fourth CD, "AGAIN," which comes out in January (look for my review). It's a peppy collection of tunes – we played it for the first time last night over dinner.

It's our first time seeing the band, but apparently Billy wears a red tie, white dress shirt, and black jacket when he plays. And here he was with just a silver bow tie and no jacket. As Billy explained, "The shirt is clean and the jacket is nicely pressed and they looked real good on the back of the bedroom door, where they still are, in Pennsylvania." Oops!

The trio worked a nice hour set that covered hallmarks of children's music performances – singalongs, questions and answers, false finishes, and even a fishbowl drawing for a t-shirt. For the finale, "Johnny Box" him/herself made an appearance and took pictures with attendees.

Ben, who seldom shows any hesitation to interact with performers, immediately began jawing with Billy from the second row. In return, Billy dedicated the next song (about his town) to Ben.

Highlights of the set included a cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" and a tune written for his wife, "You Made Me a Sock Monkey," both of which I caught on video (not very well).

For a power pop trio, the Blah Blah Blahs have a very full sound. The distaff version would be akin to the original touring version of Lunch Money (prior to the addition of a touring horn player).

Matt seemed riveted for the first half, then pitched sideways and was out cold for the remainder of the show. Oh well. A 1 pm concert start time appears to be a 2-year-old's kryptonite. Maybe things will work better with Saturday's Uncle Rock concert at Symphony Space. In any event, Billy puts on show that got many kids up and bopping and didn't appear to put any adults to sleep. The Blah Blah Blahs kept the blues away during the dog days of December.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, December 28, 2012

Lucky – Jason Mraz
no matter how far – Justin Roberts
Change My Mind – One Direction
I Found You – Caspar Babypants
Ayo – Play Date
Sacagawea – The Deedle Deedle Dees
Sing Loud – Melissa Green
eBay – Weird Al Yankovic
Ice Cream Soup – Jambo   
Skyfall – Adele

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday, December 26, 2012

Count Them As They Go – Justin Roberts
Gingerbread Man – Lunch Money
 I Like How It Feels – Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
Flat Tire – Dean Jones
Bag of Dreams – Steven Courtney
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Let's Be Friends – Jambo     
Good Time –  Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen      
Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart – Fountains Of Wayne

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sylvie – Elizabeth Mitchell
Sunspots – Bob Mould
What Will You Ever See? – Lunch Money
Easier To Do – Justin Roberts
Over Again – One Direction
Binary – The Board of Education
Worms  – Dog On Fleas
Wimoweh – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
More Than A Memory vCarly Rae Jepsen   
Hootenanny – Jambo   

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Wanna Party – Hot Wings
Generator (First Floor) – Freelance Whales
A Wild One – Justin Roberts
Same Mistakes – One Direction        
You Are My Sunshine  – Charity And The JAMband
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Celebration – They Might Be Giants
We Are All One Kind – Jambo       
Song Without A Rhyme –  Steve Songs        

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Monday, December 24, 2012

May This Be Love – Elizabeth Mitchell
Bluebird > Redbird, Redbird > Reef – The Deedle Deedle Dees
When Will You Die? – They Might Be Giants
Puzzle Pieces Within – Lunch Money
Grumpy Boy – Steve Songs     
Mammal – They Might Be Giants
Turning Tables – Adele
Don't Play With Your Food  – Jambo        
Tell Me A Lie  – One Direction       
Lose My Mind – The Wanted     

Denyin’ the Mayans (new podcast)

People who believed the world was going to end on 12-21-12 have a lot in common with climate change deniers.

I do a quick comparison.

Plus an update of my PT saga.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Hoot and a Holler From Jambo

Didya ever wonder what a Lyle Lovett album for kids would sound like?

Chances are, it would sound a lot like Jambo's new album, HOOTENANNY.

Frontman (and sideman and co-producer) Steve Pierson prepped for this gig by playing the blues around Los Angeles, prior to his daughter Lucy's birth in 2002. Turning his attention to music production for film and TV, Steve could not turn away completely from a desire to create roots-based music.

As pointed out in the Blues Brothers movie, there is both country AND western music. Steve's Jambo project creates American music that doesn't immediately make you think of slide guitar and cowboy hats.

The mashup of blues and kids music comes full-circle in "Don't Play With Your Food." You get wailing blues guitar and piano as well as childrens' vocals on the chorus:

Don't play with your food, 
Don't play with your food, if you don't want to be rude, 
Don't play with your food.

In a perfect world, you could take the family on vacation to New Orleans, walk into a honky tonk, and they'd be playing Jambo. Distancing himself from strong messaging, Pierson sticks with positive messaging for his preteen audience. "Be Yourself," "Try," and Let's Be Friends" are fairly self-explanatory track titles. Playdate excitement and a sax solo rule in "Groovy Day":

I've got a good, good feeling though my head is reeling,
It's gonna be a groovy day.
My heart is leapin', even when I'm sleeping,
It's gonna be a groovy day.

Years on the road clearly paid dividends and were instrumental in Pierson's creation of Jambo. One also must give credit to strong co-production by Grammy nominee Tor Hyams. I definitely came away from HOOTENANNY with more of an appreciation for an underutilized genre on the kindie circuit. Prepare to make some gumbo; let's Jambo.

HOOTENANNY will be available in February 2013 at Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, December 21, 2012

Jingle Bells – Renee & Jeremy
Joy to the World – Dan Zanes
The Crocodile (Wouldn't Brush His Teeth) – Boxtop Jenkins
Come To California – The Hipwaders
Too Dirty To Love – Caspar Babypants
Candy Garden – The Bazillions
Lightning – The Wanted
Live It Up – Chris Isaak
Sacagawea – The Deedle Deedle Dees
Up All Night – One Direction      
Flat Stanley – Steve Songs       

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, December 20, 2012

Summer Daze – Susanna Hoffs
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele  
Zou bisou bisou – Gillian Hills
eBay – Weird Al Yankovic 
Kindhearted Babysitter Blues – Randy Kaplan
Thank You – Dan Zanes & Friends
C'mon, C'mon – One Direction
Days That End In "Y" – Kepi Ghoulie
All In This Together (MLK) – Steve Songs   
Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Henning Ohlenbusch

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Turning Tables – Adele
Peace And Love  – Fountains Of Wayne
Pleadia – Andy Z
DeeDee Taught Me How To Count – Kepi Ghoulie
My Happiness – Chris Isaak
We Just Won't Be Defeated – The Go! Team
Wag More (Featuring Indigo Girls) – Boxtop Jenkins
Burning Coffee – They Might Be Giants
Rock MevOne Direction
Superhero You – Steve Songs   
Everytime – Glee

SteveSongs Monkeys Around With Orangutan Van

Mr. Steve is back.

For those of us who see him on a fairly regular basis as part of PBS Kids, Steve Rosionek really never goes away.

Back it's nice to have Stevesongs back with a collection of new songs, ORANGUTAN VAN.

Now a family man in his own right, Mr. Steve delivers a kid-tastic selection of tunes. From the title track to "Flat Stanley," his delivery and lyrics bring children into the musical experience, tossing in a little educational content along the way. "All in This Together (MLK)" takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King and transforms them into a danceable tune.

Guest stars include Secret Agent 23 Skidoo on "Be A Superhero," and pro basketball player Glenn "Big Baby" Davis on "Soaring With Reading." The Rosionek kids even make contributions, from singing to writing lyrics. Mrs. Steve (and related moms) even make an appearance on "Grumpy Boy."

And I have to make mention of the "Song Without a Rhyme," which we saw performed at Kindiefest this past spring.

We're gonna make a song without a rhyme so we can sing it for you.
Yeah, a song without a rhyme, that's what we're gonna...accomplish.
You know it's gonna be tricky, it's gonna take time.
To make a song without words that end with a repeated sound.

Mr. Steve has entertained kids for 15 years and spent the past five years as the face of PBS Kids through popular interstitial songs. ORANGUTAN VAN is another welcome addition to his oeuvre. Our two-year-old is in good hands (and ears) with Mr. Steve on the scene.

Here is the video from Kindiefest of "The Song Without A Rhyme":

Fresh for the holidays, click here for a free download of Steve's song, "Our World."

You can find ORANGUTAN VAN and his other CDs through SteveSongs Website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Neil Brews a Santa Song

Here's a link to Neil Brewer's new holiday song, "Sometimes Santa."

That's all. Just a quickie post. Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Here Comes The Sun – Ben Rudnick & Friends
Accentuate the Positive – NRBQ
Monkey Love (Featuring Caspar Babypants) – The Harmonica Pocket
Similes And Metaphors – The Bazillions
Twirl! Twirl! Twirl! – Mr. Leebot
Playin' On A Sunday – David Tobocman 
Mammal – They Might Be Giants
Little Things – One Direction
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Die Young – Ke$ha
Ride In My Little Red Wagon – Willie & The Wheel

Holiday Rockin' Out With Yer Uncle

A cat may only have nine lives; Robert Burke Warren will take the many lives of a musician.

From his teenage days as the bassist for RuPaul (yes, it's true) to a two-year stint with the Fleshtones to portraying Buddy Holly on London's West End, Robert has literally been around the world. And I have yet laud his ongoing gig as Uncle Rock, purveyor of fine children's music.

As the holidays roll around, it's time to dust off (or buy yourself) a copy of Robert's EXPRESS YOUR ELF collection of December tunes. We've been performances of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "My Favorite Things" in his concert sets over the years, and the recordings here are faithful and original, as far as cover songs are concerned. Listen to samples here.

Robert also includes a live version of his song, "Too Many Presents," which hit a major chord for us, coming off eight nights of Hanukkah, followed by a massive family gathering with even more bags of goodies for the kiddies.

Robert brings his Uncle Rock holiday show to Symphony Space on Saturday, December 29. We saw him there a few years ago with his band and are looking forward to introducing Matt (2 years old) to the venue for the first time.

In some measure, Robert is partially responsible for the my "career" as a children's music blogger. My wife used to work for his wife, Holly George Warren. We were early adapters when he released his first Uncle Rock CD. Robert sent out e-mail when "Rock and Roll Babysitter" got airplay on a radio show/podcast called SPARE THE ROCK. We started listening and Ben became an avid fan of the genre. I started blogging his morning playlists and was approached by PR people to write reviews. Ultimately, I was asked to do a writeup for Robert's upcoming appearance. The circle of life, people, the circle of life.

We've seen Robert at book store gigs and clubs. But we're always delighted to return to Symphony Space, a venue that routinely brings in groups from across the country and around the world. If December traveling is a little dicey, they have acts booked through the spring. Take a look and you'll be glad you did.

EXPRESS YOUR ELF can be purchased through Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

50 In April (New Podcast)

My cousin, who is six months older than me, recently turned 50.

Which means the clock is ticking for me.

A few birthday thoughts that came flashing through my head this week.

Plus a look at a couple of preconceived notions, including one that was broken.

Ben's Playlist - Monday, December 17, 2012

Valley Winter Song – Fountains Of Wayne
Heart Attack – One Direction
Little Demon – Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Caspar Babypants
Bike – Charity And The JAMband
eBay – Weird Al Yankovic
Makin' Wickey-Wackey Down in Waikiki – The Moonlighters
Turning Tables – Adele
Don't Dream It's Over  – Glee        
Cicada – Chickasaw Mudd Puppies

Ben's Playlist - Friday, December 14, 2012

Sourwood Mountain – Carolina Chocolate Drops
Are We There Yet? – Big Bang Boom
Ice Cream – Charity And The JAMband
A Road Song – Fountains Of Wayne
Change My Mind – One Direction
Wag More (Featuring Indigo Girls) – Boxtop Jenkins 
Come To California – The Hipwaders
Man Gave Names – Aaron Nigel Smith
Skyfall – Adele

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Holidays Are Here – Big Bang Boom           
Ayo – Play Date
Move On Up – Curtis Mayfield
How Will I Know – Glee
Three – The Board of Education
Sacagawea – The Deedle Deedle Dees
Wimoweh – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Call You Mom – They Might Be Giants       
No Homework – The Bazillions       
Spicy Kid – Lunch Money

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's Go – Matt & Kim
Kangaroo!  – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Peace Sign – David Tobocman
Rocketfuel – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Shrimp and Gumbo – Rebirth Brass Band
A Change Would Do You Good – Glee
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Die Young – Ke$ha      
You're Embarrassing Me – The Bazillions       

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Everybody Here is a Cloud  – Cloud Cult
Live While We're Young  – One Direction
Tomorrow Will Be Really Great  – Dan Israel
Born To Rock  – David Tobocman
Something Stupid   – Glee   
Turning Tables  – Adele
Row Row Row Your Boat  – Caspar Babypants
I Just Had an Idea  – Elska
Candy Garden  – The Bazillions       
eBay  – Weird Al Yankovic

Holiday Music a Big Bang Boom Period

Yes, I named Big Bang Boom's BECAUSE I SAID SO! my number 1 kids album of 2012.

I'm pleased to announce that the rocking trio have released five new holiday-themed songs just in time for all denominational December celebrations.

You can listen to all five songs at the band's web site: "Santa Didn't Come Last Night," "That's Just Christmas," "It's the Holiday Season," "It's Christmas Time," and "The Holidays Are Here."

Christmas time, the snow is falling.
Grab your sled, the hills are calling.
Christmas time, the bells are ringing,
Children laughing, can't stop screaming.
Christmas time, people singing.
I love Christmas time.

But how do you really feel?

If you liked their debut album, there's no reason not to stop by and hear the band's new stuff. And what the heck – they're giving it away (right now).

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Monday, December 10, 2012

Love Is A Superpower – Ben Rudnick & Friends
The Monkeys are Breaking Out  – Too Many Cookies
Mother Nature's Son – Aaron Nigel Smith
Live It Up – Chris Isaak
Worms – Dog On Fleas
The Scientist  – Glee
Celebration  – They Might Be Giants
Great To Be A Kid – The Not-Its!
Out Of The Box – The Bazillions        
Angels We Have Heard On High – Dan Zanes        

PT or Not PT (new podcast)

I finally got an MRI on my left knee and scheduled physical therapy.

More medical hijinks throughout the process.

Plus, a long bit from my college days – for the holidays, it's YOGI'S LAST XMAS!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Friday, December 7, 2012

Green Green Rocky Road – Randy Kaplan
Jingle Bells – Renee & Jeremy
Alien Girlfriend – Andy Z
Harry Elefante – Rocknoceros
Delicious – Orange Sherbert   
Clap Your Hands – The Time Outs
Three  – The Board of Education
I'm So Glad – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band
Siyahamba – Aaron Nigel Smith
Mammal – They Might Be Giants
Deck the Halls – Dan Zanes       
Similes And Metaphors – The Bazillions       

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, December 6, 2012

Silent Night – Dan Zanes 
I Walk The Line – Chris Isaak
Twirl! Twirl! Twirl! – Mr. Leebot
Summer Love – One Direction     
Sleepover – Ellen & Mark
Sunshine – Vered
Butterfly – The Nields 
Chasing Pavements – Glee
Diamonds – Rihanna     
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Wimoweh – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights

Free Holiday Music: Brady Rymer

While setting up his Christmas tree, Brady Rymer came up with an idea for a song. A pretty simple and obvious one, if you think about it.

"Untanglin' the Christmas Lights"

Want a free download? Click here.

You can also watch Brady's videos on MyKazooTV.

More holiday music is coming...

Bazillions of Reasons to Like Them

It's hard to carve a niche for yourselves in the children's music scene. You wouldn't it possible, but lots of categories are locked up: Princess Katie & Racer Steve are a premier costumed act and Dan Zanes is the gentleman folksinger.

Now the Bazillions have rightfully claimed their spot as the kids band comprised of geek rockers. Minneapolis' own Adam and Kristin Marshall used their backgrounds as educators at the Kenny School to create a curriculum of tunes for their band's second CD, HEADS OR TALES.

It's not often that you hear kids songs with titles like "Similes and Metaphors," "Triangular Triangles," "Prefix + Suffix," and "Perimeter Around the Area." But the Bazillions makes the concepts work – and the results are informative and rocking, at the same time.

The Bazillions operate on a neat concept. Take a premise that kids will relate to and don't skimp on the rock. For instance, "Out of the Box" deals with the anxiety that accompanies the opening of a desperately-wanted new birthday/holiday present:

Get it out, get it out, rip it out, tear it out, 
twist it out, I don't care, hit it with rocks.
Get it out, get it out, 'cause I'm having my doubts, 
that my new toy will ever get out of the box.

The band explores the pitfalls of parenting in "You're Embarrassing Me," the annoyance that kids feel every afternoon in "No Homework," and the frustration of bad weather in "Rainy Day Clubhouse." The Bazillions make sure to divide the CD between songs with wordplay and smarts ("Silent E") and just being a kid ("Candy Garden").

Like any band where music is quietly the "job on the side," the pitfall of the Bazillions is that it's taken two years (a long way from a bazillion) to produce another collection of songs. Take advantage while the CD is still fresh. Ben (11 years old) has not taken "Super Sonic Rocket Bike" out of his rotation since we first heard it in 2010. And heading into 2013, check out their live schedule. Now sharpen your protractor, it's time to rock out with your local lunch lady.

Here is the video to "Super Sonic Rocket Bike" from the Bazillion's first CD, ROCK-N-ROLL RECESS:

HEADS OR TALES is available from the band's website as well as CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Day – The Board of Education
In A Timeout Now – Randy Kaplan
Kangaroo – Caspar Babypants  
Water  – Ozomatli
Harry Elefante – Rocknoceros
We Just Won't Be Defeated – The Go! Team
eBay – Weird Al Yankovic
Joy to the World – Dan Zanes       
Make It Up – Astrograss
Last First Kiss – One Direction 

Christmas For Regular Folk, Courtesy of DZ

Dan Zanes carries the mantel of the gentleman folksinger as well as title of king of kindie music. His revised holiday collection, CHRISTMAS IN CONCORD, straddles that chasm.

Last year, Zanes originally released a five-song digital EP, recalled from his New England childhood. The project has expanded by two new songs, collaborations with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The due wrote "Counting the Days (Until Christmas)" during a drive back from New Hampshire to New York, based on a discussion of their fathers' military experiences.

Tracks include the traditional "Angels We Have Heard On High," "Joy to the World," and "Silent Night." There are no mind-bending guitar solos (listen for mandolins) and you will need to really listen to hear any drumming. CHRISTMAS IN CONCORD is folk with a capital F, which fits the genre, the spirit, and the mood of the season.

Running a lean 18 minutes, the EP is a pleasant sidebar to both of Zanes' career tentpoles (discounting his Del Fuegos tenure). Dan Zanes and Friends celebrate the (re)-release CHRISTMAS IN CONCORD with their second annual "Holiday Sing-A-Long" at City Winery in Manhattan on Saturday, December 8 at 11 am.

 Here is the video for "Rise Up Shepherd, And Follow":

CHRISTMAS IN CONCORD is available on Zanes' website and iTunes.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Glad You Came – The Wanted
Exactly Where I Want To Be – Grenadilla
Ride In My Little Red Wagon vWillie & The Wheel
Free To Be You And Me  – Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys
Spicy Kid – Lunch Money
I Found You – Caspar Babypants     
Sacagawea  – The Deedle Deedle Dees
Kiss You – One Direction       
Music – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band       
Worms – Dog On Fleas 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ben's Playlist - Monday, December 3, 2012

At The Zoo – Simon & Garfunkel
Blue Sky Time  – Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band 
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Yes And No – Caspar Babypants
Make Me – Big Bang Boom
The GolemvThe Deedle Deedle Dees
Playground – Astrograss
White And Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Glee      
Winter Wonderland – Renee & Jeremy

Two Years Old, Two Parties (new podcast)

Our younger son recently turned two years old.

We hosted two – count 'em – two family parties, one for each side (mine and the wife).

Two very different celebrations for a wonderful little boy.

Some thoughts about his entrance into this world in 2010 and more thoughts about the current state of the toddler.