Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kindie Quick Hits: Gee Whizpops For Nature, New Eric Herman Video, and Bears and Lions!

One of the occasional pleasures of being a children's music blogger is that people find me (it's also one of the nuisances but that's the Internet for you). Without the World Wide Web, how would acts from Montana find me? And I'm not talking about The Salamanders – I'm talking about The Whizpops. Yes, there are two high-quality acts from Missoula, so you can book both for your kid's party.

At their nucleus, the Whizpops are powered by elementary school teachers Kevin Cashman and Casey Schaefer (hey, aren't those Recess Monkey guys also educators, speaking of upcoming releases and also guest stars on this disc). The new CD, RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1, is produced with the backing of the National Wildlife Federation. Again, like their second CD, SEA BLUE SEA, it's all about the animals. Well, and also about power-ballad guitar solos ("It's All About the Mustache (Walrus Song") and Eagles-style harmonies ("California Condor").

Released on National Endangered Species Day, the Whizpops are emphatically putting their microphones where their mouths are, to urgently sound a clarion call to the ominous, precarious, disastrous situation befalling a stunning number of non-Homo Sapiens. Joining them on RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX are Bill Harley, Danny Weinkauf, Aaron Nigel Smith, the Pop-Ups and many more. It's a big world, we're not alone, and if we were, the human race wouldn't be here for long before we became extinct. And as the Whizpops are quick to anthem-ize, "Extinction Really Stinks" – the album-closer tune mixes Kansas, Toto, and the National Parks Service.

The National Parks Service commissioned their own CD (SONGS FOR JUNIOR RANGERS) a few years back. While that disc focused on the many facets of public service in the field, the Whizpops have turned their attention to the decidedly non-human denizens of the woods and waters. There's no Yogi Bear but a '70s vibing "Polar Bear" and a New Age-y "Bison." RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1 promises more editions. Cross your fingers that all the creatures commemorated are still with us when the time comes for VOLUME 2.

RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1 is available from the Whizpops' website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the band's song, "Black Footed Ferret":



Bubble wrap. That insidious plastic protective material that entrances children of all ages. The perfect subject for a song, yet kept at arm's length for so long. Finally, yes finally, an artist has dared to take it on. And that group is Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies. The title track of his brand new CD, BUBBLE WRAP also receives its own video! The album is coming June 10, but you can see the video below:



Bears and Lions, oh my! They duo (who dress like the erstwhile creatures) have a brand new EP of two songs, "Sleepyhead" and "Depot Park." If you like Wilco but wished they skewed more for kids, you get the general idea of their sound. Still, they make a funky pair. Bears and Lions should be natural enemies, yet they have banded together to make a band.

Bears and Lions claim they have made the greatest club in the woods, where all the animals can get along and not eat each other or be attacked by evil tourists. And what's a club without a theme song, or singalongs, or hot dogs? But I digress.

"Sleepyhead" is a parent's plea for a child "with a long, long life ahead" to get moving and start their day. "Depot Park" is a victory song about an actual depot building in their native Gainesville, Florida that was bulldozed and turned into a public playground. Yippee!!

This single seems to be a stopgap until Bears and Lions reproduce (not with each other) more music or videos for their YouTube channel. But we should all heed their call and stay vigilant. Be a "Sleepyhead" no more, they roar.

Hear them at Bears and Lions' website, Rebervnation, and iTunes.

Watch the video for the band's song, "Pancakes":

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