Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, June 1, 2015

The Ballad of Ben – Danny Weinkauf
Beach House – The Good Ms Padgett
Duck Ellington – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Foolish Father – Weezer
Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
My Heart Is Open – Maroon 5 Feat. Gwen Stefani
Mystery – Dean Jones
Now Let's Dance – Elizabeth Mitchell & Dan Zanes
Slow – Trout Fishing In America

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 29, 2015

Cheese World – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Don't Stop – 5 Seconds of Summer
Follow The Drinking Gourd – Lloyd H. Miller
Groove – Lori Henriques
Loving Cup – Cat Doorman
Mama Don't Allow – In The Nick Of Time
Nose In A Book – The Not-Its!
We All Shine – Play Date

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 28, 2015

All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
Alligator – Paul McCartney
DJ All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Junior's Farm – Steve Miller
Ninja Pajamas (feat. P.O.S.) – Play Date
Tacky – Weird Al Yankovic
Up In Cat's Room – David Heatley

Kindie Quick Hits: Make a Play Date; Alastair Moock's New Video

What does childhood sound like? The duo behind Play Date think they've cracked the code. Of course, being a child, living like a child, and thinking like a child are vastly different animals. But Play Date believe they've tamed all said beasts, with the lyrical tale of "Stevie the Fox" kicking off their second CD, WE ALL SHINE.

Mike Park's Fun Fun Records has cultivated a treasure trove of performers, including Kepi Ghoulie to Koo Koo Kangaroo. But Play Date remains the most accessible, boisterous, and engaging act on its roster. The title track and chorus simply state the message that Greg Attonito and Shanti Wintergate seek to convey:

We are all a part of a great humanity
Working all together to make life for you and me
Planet Earth is our home in this great big galaxy
We all shine, we all shine, like the stars

What act other than Play Date is going to intersperse public service announcements for broccoli, bananas, carrots, and apples in the middle of their CD? Rapper P.O.S. shows up to funk out on "Ninja Pajamas" and hail the power of imagination (also the title of the band's first CD).

Former punker Attonito has pivoted from punk to youth music. His band The Bouncing Souls hail from New Brunswick, New Jersey, a stone's throw from my childhood nabe in Somerset. His partner in merriment, Shanti Wintergate has a lengthy performance career that includes three separate runs on the Vans Warped Tours (2004, 2006, and 2008). Together, they have delivered 40-plus minutes of gentle "get up, here we go" guitar-based rock for the smaller set.

WE ALL SHINE is available on July 24 from the band's website, Fun Fun Records, iTunes, and Amazon.

Alastair Moock has gotten over cancer. Well, his daughter is in remission and he has moved to greener (and happier) pastures with his upcoming CD, ALL KINDS OF YOU AND ME. It's a tribute of sorts to the epic and much-loved landmark 1972 album FREE TO BE...YOU AND ME. “Free To Be was a huge album for me and so many other kids of the 70s," Moock says. "Forty years later, it felt like the right time both to pay tribute to that amazing project and to try to push beyond some of the limitations of its era.”

For a special video preview of what's to come, visit his YouTube channel. And here's a look at "It Takes All Kinds," the first song from the album, coming June 19.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amnesia – 5 Seconds of Summer
Coral Reef – The Whizpops!
The Girl With the Squirrel in Her Hat – Caspar Babypants
Maps – Maroon 5
My Own Detective – Tom Chapin
No More Lonely Nights – The Airborne Toxic Event
The Start of Things  – Alison Faith Levy
Stay in the Pool – Jason Didner And The Jungle Gym Jam

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baldy – Lloyd H. Miller
Early Days – Paul McCartney
Lightning Bolt – Pearl Jam
Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor
No School Today – Danny Weinkauf
Odd Socks – Dean Jones
Opposite People – Nigeria
Wake Up – The Neville Brothers

Friday, May 22, 2015

Racing All Around This World: Africa

I got a lot done at work this week and I credit ALL AROUND THIS WORLD: AFRICA. There's nothing that gets your blood racing and your spirits soaring then tribal drum beats, catchy rhythms, and clapping hands.

I've never been a big proponent of world music. My attitude is it's there, I know it's there, and I'm fine with it being there. Just don't put it right in my face. But due to a series of escalated work deadlines, I looked past my own musical limitations and played the 32 tracks (on two CDs) all the way through, then started again. Then I brought it home for the kids, who were being pokey at dinner, and played it for them. And they zipped through the rest of the meal.

The music travels in all directions (Africa is a big continent), from Cape Verde to Madagascar, including Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, the Congo and South Africa. Going beyond the music, there's a new "Explore Everywhere" curriculum that weaves the songs with videos, maps, cultural information, and activity ideas that can be utilized for classrooms. The program runs through June 21 – incidentally the release date for the CDs to consumers.

The project was co-produced by Brooklyn's own Amon Drum, whose Hook Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, describes itself as, “Purveyors of fine sound from Brooklyn to Bamako and Beyond.” How appropriate that such a collection required a steadying hand from half a world away.

ALL AROUND THIS WORLD: AFRICA is available through their web site on June 21.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 22, 2015

All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
Animal Kingdom – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Bonsai – Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs
Gloria – Van Morrison & Them
Little Things – One Direction
National Hiccup Day – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Smile in My Heart – Suzi Shelton
Snaggletooth – Dean Jones
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 21, 2015

Da Vinci – Weezer
Extraordinary – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
It Suits You – Gustafer Yellowgold
Life In Color – OneRepublic
Rainbow Tunnel – Alison Faith Levy
She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Size Of The Problem – Tom Chapin
Together We Can Fly –  Danny Weinkauf

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Coming Back For You – Maroon 5
Domino – Van Morrison
Free Ride Everyday – Lori Henriques
I Can Still Say I Love You –  Keith Munslow
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Iko Iko (feat. Josh and the Jamtones & Little Goose) – Father Goose
Jet – Robin Zander & Rick Nielsen
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Upside Down – Ratboy Jr.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

All the Pretty Horses – Cat Doorman
Danceology – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Domino Town  – Dean Jones
Germs – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights
I Got This! – Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Right Now – Rihanna Feat. David Guetta
This Little Light Of Mine – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Unwind – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 18, 2015

Farewell – Rihanna
Go Jump in the Water – Keith Munslow
Lightning Bolt – Pearl Jam
Mothership – Mr. Saxophone
My Own Detective – Tom Chapin
Tunneling To Paradise – Pointed Man Band
Uh Huh – Dean Jones
You Can Do This – Hullabaloo

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 15, 2015

Boo! – Trout Fishing In America
Duck Ellington – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Fountain of Youth – Brady Rymer
H-U-L-L-A-B-A-L-O-O – Hullabaloo
I've Had It Up To Here – Weezer
Mama – Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips
Me Time – Chibi Kodama
Sing – Ed Sheeran
Wake up – Cat Doorman

Kindie Quick Hits: Here Comes Trouble, Pop-Ups Videos, Mista Cookie Jar

In the style of Hope Harris and Lizza Connor, Here Comes Trouble is a poppy ensemble from Gaithersburg, Maryland that espouse a mixture of pop, jazz, and hip hop. Their debut CD, GOO ON MY SHOE, tells you what you need to know – what's going on? Is it funky and fun? Is it relatable for kids?

Kelly Donohue and Jon Babu have been together since 1991 although Here Comes Trouble only surfaced in 2010. Their kids had no knowledge of their extensive musical pasts (joint degree programs at Tufts University and New England Conservatory, to start with). Establishing an ensemble and investing in music they could share with their family and community was a way to reach out and reach in at the same time.

Small fry will like selections such as "I Want Dessert" and "Watermelon Felon." Adults will appreciate the sudden launch into a reworded "It's Raining Men" during the title track. It seemed a little incongruous as we sat listening at the family dinner table, but since our kids possibly have never heard (or know the meaning) of the original tune, it went over fine.

GOO ON MY SHOE is available June 9 from CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.

Brooklyn's own The Pop-Ups have launched a video webcast series on their YouTube channel! See animated versions of such songs as "Robot Dance," Magic Glove," and the self-explanatory "What's That Smell?"

The spirited duo (Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein) have been bubbling with energy and creativity since 2010 (what is it about that year?). Their entertaining and fast-paced tunes bristle with positive vibes and messages that thankfully don't make parents bristle.

Here's the aforementioned "Robot Dance":

Finally, where does the time go? I meant to drop a mention of Mista Cookie Jar's latest song of the month BEFORE Mother's Day but did not get around to it. Apologies. But in some cultures, every day is Mother's Day, so let's take solace in that empty mea culpa.

For May, CJ (Mista Jar to you) has released "Mama," an ode to, well, his mom. It's the story of how his parents migrated from the Philippines to America. "Mama" features dueling classical and 12 string guitars and is a delightful cultural hodgepodge straight from the heart. As with his past songs, the tune features CJ as emcee, peppering the lyrics with turns of phrase and upbeat delivery.

You can find "Mama," well, CJ's "Mama" anyway, as well as his seven other songs of the month, on his Bandcamp page.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Good Year – Lori Henriques
Best Friend – In The Nick Of Time
Big Green Party Machin – David Heatley
Blink Of An Eye – Frances England
Don't Stop – 5 Seconds of Summer
Everybody Out There –  Paul McCartney
I Lived – OneRepublic
Lighter Feathers – Dean Jones
Wander 'Round the World – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 14, 2015

Alligator – Paul McCartney
Beneath The Water – Caspar Babypants
Foolish Father – Weezer
Loving Cup – Cat Doorman
Odd Socks – Dean Jones
Raise Your Hand – The Not-Its!
Red Fox – Pointed Man Band
Something I Need – OneRepublic

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alligator Get-Together – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Banana Pudding – Sugar Free Allstars
Best Friends Forever – Hullabaloo
Calling All the Kids to the Yard – Cat Doorman
H.B.D., Dude!  – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Space Kid And Banana – Ratboy Jr.
Tomorrow's People  –  Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
A Who? (feat. Joanie Leeds) – Father Goose
You Are My Sunshine – The Harmonica Pocket

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 11, 2015

Cheese World – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Future Days – Pearl Jam
I Love the Beach – Keith Munslow
I'm My Own Grandpa (Featuring Riders in the Sky) – Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
Sundrops – The Harmonica Pocket
T.L.C. – Alison Faith Levy
A World Alone – Lorde

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 8, 2105

Brick By Brick – Recess Monkey
Like I'm Gonna Lose You – Meghan Trainor Feat. John Legend
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Mama Don't Allow – In The Nick Of Time
My Heart Is Open – Maroon 5 Feat. Gwen Stefani
She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Sing in the Sun – The Harmonica Pocket
Snaggletooth – Dean Jones
Sunglasses – The Que Pastas

Here Comes Sundrops from Harmonica Pocket

Those wacky kids, The Harmonica Pocket, are back with some nice mellow Earth-loving music for other kids with their third CD, SUNDROPS.

Even though Earth Day has come and gone, Keeth Apgar and partner Nala Walla are raising their son with lots of outdoor time. And you know what that means – no, not bug spray and sunburn. Uplifting, empowering songs about the positivity of nature! And if you can't get down with that, well then you just woke up on the wrong side of the planet. And it was recorded with solar power, to boot!

Produced by Apgar and Johnny Bregar and mixed by the omnipresent Dean Jones, SUNDROPS runs the gamut from "Sing in the Sun" to "Sun Song" to "You Are My Sunshine" to the title track. Catching on to the theme? On the other hand, there's also "Raindrops, "It's Gotta Rain (If You Want a Rainbow)," and "I Love Ukeleles." Wait a minute, what do ukeleles have to do with the rain? Well, have you ever seen somebody upset playing a uke in the rain? There you go.

SUNDROPS is stuffed with appearances from other children's artists such as Chris Ballew (Caspar Babypants), Marcy Marxer (of Cathy & Marcy), Alex Mitnick (of the Kaleidoscope Band), and more. Bottom line, rain or shine, the Harmonica Pocket wants to hit your child's musical sweet spot and put a summery song in their ear.

SUNDROPS is available May 19 from the band's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the band's song, "Diaperman."

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 7, 2015

Animal Kingdom – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Dad Is Takin' a Nap – Keith Munslow
Diamonds – Rihanna
I'm a Shark (I Rock, I Swim) – ScribbleMonster
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Metaphor  – The Alphabeticians
Size Of The Problem – Tom Chapin
The Start of Things  – Alison Faith Levy
Turned Out – Paul McCartney

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Animals – Maroon 5
Don't Stop – 5 Seconds of Summer
Everybody Out There – Paul McCartney
Ghost Riders in the Sky – Andy Z
Gratitude  – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Tacky – Weird Al Yankovic
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Toothloser – Gustafer Yellowgold

Monday, May 04, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Fence Me In – Andy Z
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
In The Group – Tom Chapin
Nobody's Business – Rihanna Feat. Chris Brown
NOW That's What I Call Polka! – Weird Al Yankovic
Robots From The 4th Dimension – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Slow – Trout Fishing In America
Together We Can Fly – Danny Weinkauf

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 4, 2015

Always On The Run – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights
The Girl With the Squirrel in Her Hat – Caspar Babypants
Gloria – Van Morrison & Them
If I Lose Myself – Alesso Vs. OneRepublic
Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor
Motorcycle Mom – The Not-Its!
Raised by Trolls – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Shake My Sillies Out – Andy Z
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer