Category Archives: CD reviews

Unexpected Sonic Joy in the Car. Hello My Baby by Vered

 

CoverHello

Getting in my car this morning after a long work shift my plan was to stop at the farmers market for some freshly made donuts and grab some vegetables. Opening the tailgate I placed my duffel bag in and noticed a box of my CD’s. What caught my eye was a couple other CD’s in the box one of which is Hello My Baby : Songs to Bond You and Your Baby by Vered.  Always willing to hear new artists and especially people I’ve met I pop in into the CD player.  The title is a bit wordy in my opinion but that would be the only flaw in an otherwise perfect sonic journey. The blend of harmonies, horns, strings and joy make it one of the best sounding CD’s I have heard this year.  I haven’t written here since pre-kindiecomm and that’s where I obtained this CD.  I saw and heard lots of great stuff at Kindiecomm. Lucy Kalantari, LARD Dog, The Sugar Free Allstars, The Boogers and may others to which I have been slacking about reporting here on the blog.  But  I gotta tell you that upon hearing this CD I felt obligated to write about it. To spread the word.  The shame of great albums like this is that many folks dismiss what’s been recorded as soon as they hear kids or children’s music. This isn’t a sing song sing along hope to forget it barney experience.  This is excellence in music regardless of genre. Do yourself a favor if your looking for something to listen with your baby, child or just in the mood for some great music. I should mention that once again that guy Dean Jones (Grammy award winner)produced this stellar album. Go buy this and support an independent artist today.

Best of 2015 kindie music

I haven’t been writing much here lately as life’s other obligations have gotten in the way. But I have listened to a whole lot of kindie music this year.  This years top ten is only a top 7 because these are the ones I remember without effort. It seems after 46 years the memory just went.  If I remember a CD later I’ll just amend this list These are ones that have spun in the car and in the house. The ones that my children still request and dance and sing along too.

7. We All Shine – Playdate. Good CD and they stole my publicist and photographer! I’m not bitter at all. You can read the review HERE

Photo by David Kindler

Photo by David Kindler

 

6. Hamster Pants –  Ratboy Jr.  This CD got a lot of play in the car this year as well. There silly pop philosophical  musings of hamsters in pants, barbarian librarians and skunk and robot relationships kept us entertained for hours on the road.  page-photo-26507

5. Hot Air – Recess Monkey.  Them boys have really hit their rocking stride in their last two CD’s with the John Vanderslice guy recording all analog and funky.RECESSMONKEY61.300

4. Trees – Billy Kelly and Molly Ledford.   If ya told me you were going to make a CD about Trees I would of laughed at you.  Well this is the second CD on that subject to prove me wrong (Underbirds was the first) and this one went and got a Grammy nomination. Strong songs by two fine song crafters. billy molly

3. Rocksteady – Josh and the Jamtones.  I gave Josh and Pat a bit of a hard time over the narration on there last CD  Bear Hunt but loved the music. My kids dug both.  Well we all agreed this year that this CD was rocking right beginning to end narration and all. No one rocks as hard as these guys and they include horns! Really a great CD. Josh Jamtones

2. How Great Can This Day Be – Lori Henriques.  On my post earlier this year I described this CD as pure joy.  Any other year it probably would of been #1 on my list. This also received a well earned grammy nomination and you should should check it out. lori henriques pic

1. Deep Woods Revival – Red Yarn.   On a  two week road trip with my kids to Colorado  this became our soundtrack and we as a family never tired of it. Along with Big Audio Dynamite, John Mayer and Bob Seger this one was constantly requested by the wife and kids.  It is also this years Rymer Award Winner for the CD that should of been nominated for a grammy but didn’t get there. It’s folk music, opera, story telling and a full audio experience. Andy Furgeson gets better with every CD he puts out and this one is my favorite this year.Red-Yarn-Bob-Rabbit-photo-by-Aaron-Hewitt-495x400

That’s all for now folks. See you in 2016!!!

 

Don’t call it “kiddie music”… It’s rock n’ roll to me!

ROcksteady Josh and the Jamtones

Nobody rocks harder than Josh and the Jamtones. Period.  Other bands are equal too but nobody surpasses the kinetic energy this band brings to shows and CD’s. Once they get moving this Jam is hard to stop!  I’d class them sharing the most energetic kindie band title with The Not-Its (one of our favorites and awesome live shows!).  These are bands that can rock out with anyone.  Don’t just call it “kiddie music.” There is a whole lot going on here for the whole family!  On their upcoming release Rocksteady, Josh and the Jamtones folk Josh Jamtonesbring all that power once again. Not only that but I think this is their most cohesive effort to date. Don’t misunderstand me. The music is always infectious, horn powered and rocking!  While I loved the music I found the narration on their  last effort  Bear Hunt a little distracting. However my kids found it hilarious. So-what-do-I-know???  On this one the whole clan is in agreement and Rocksteady has been sharing space in the much vaunted car CD player with Red Yarn’s upcoming release (review next week). The groves and vibes are so good on this CD it’d make Pooh forget about honey, Snow White forget about that poison apple and Scrooge a good tipper!  Rocksteady is a infectious, skatastic driven, old school, original  horn powered reggae music festival of kinetic joy!  When it comes out GO BUY IT!  The CD releases on August 21st and will be available at the Jamtones page plus iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.  Go support an independent artist today!!!  Check out the first video from the new CD Rocksteady below!!!

Play Date made a good CD and stole my photographer!

we all shine play date

Last year I had the privilege of playing a couple of my songs at Lollapalooza on the Kidzapalooza stage. Along with the gig I received a free artist guest pass which I gave to my friend and excellent photographer David Kindler. David caught my show and then we went and explored Lolla.  We slipped backstage, hung out at the artists lounge and listened to all the great music. It was a lot of fun. Another kindie band playing on the same stage as I that day was the band Play Date. When David geeked out a bit at seeing them play he quickly pointed out to me that Greg Attonito is the Lead vocalist for the punk band Bouncing Souls (good stuff). I had never heard of them as my punk music knowledge has

Photo by David Kindler

Photo by David T. Kindler

come later in life. Introductions were made. Shanti (Wintergate) and Greg are really nice folks and play some solid kids music as a duo.  We then went our separate Lolla ways.  That is till David got hired as a photographer at Riot Fest a month later and who should happen to be playing… Bouncing Souls. Who should he run into… Greg and Shanti. There’s a story there but I shall leave David to tell it.  Anyway earlier this year I got a text message from my friend David and how he had just finished a secret Ninja Pajama photo shoot with Play Date.  They stole my photographer!  Then in the mail I received an advanced copy of the new Play Date CD from MY publicist and amazing human being Elizabeth Waldman Frazier (Recess Monkey, Laurie Berkner, Laura Doherty). They stole her too!  The humanity!!! Well in all my rage and anger I did manage to listen to the WE ALL SHINE CD and it’s pretty darn good.  Stevie the Fox opens with a happy pop vibe and cool rhythm. Ninja Pajamas is a quirky, rap, one of a kind lullaby but not really. It’s pretty cool.  My favorite song is the total rock out over the top Ruin Your Appetite which totally hearkens to Greg’s punk rock roots. Did I forget to mentions Shanti’s stellar vocals? She really shines on the closing song Goodnight. This is a good listen for the whole family as my kids can attest to. What can I say? It’s hard to stay mad when folks hire quality folks and put out quality product.  Buy this CD and support an independent artist today! I also posted a video below from a previous CD.

Something caught my ear. Future Hits

future hits

It’s funny when life comes full circle.  Last year the first time I heard of a band called Future Hits is when they were co-billing with Little Miss Ann at the Hideout.  I was unable to attend that show and around that same time I found out that there was a music teacher in my kids school teaching songwriting. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were in fact the same person.  Matt Baron.  I discovered this at my kids school when they were hosting a parents night.  We had a nice conversation about the school, networking and music in general. I then ran into Matt again at KindieComm which was a great time (Thanks again Kathy and Robert!). There I acquired a copy of the new CD Today is Forever which is really quite good, bilingual and like nothing else in the kindie world. I would describe it as Bryn Ferry meets The Cure with hints of Elvis Costello. It’s full of moods and pianos and heavy drum beats and bass with electric guitars twanging about. It’s a whole lot of rocking fun.  Then all the songs repeat in Spanish.  So not only do the kids get super cool songs they get a bilingual experience as well.  We tend to play either the English half or the Spanish Half. That’s up to you. Future Hits has a album you should get. Go buy this CD and support an independent artist today!

Ratboy Jr? Better late…

ratboy jrBack when I had Sirius/Xm Radio.  Back before they ended my subscription without a warning or email or letter or carrier pigeon.  Back when we were loyal listeners to Kids Place Live (we still love you Mindy, Jack and Kenny). We were up to date on a lot of kids music and How to Eat a Cloud by said above band was a pretty cool song. Smart, thoughtful, quirky and fun. I had seen them perform at the last Kindiefest and they were quite good as well. So today we are going through some of the CD’s we acquired from KindieComm  (which was great! Review forthcoming) and Ratboy Jr. got the CD slot and both son and I are in agreement. It’s pretty darn good! Smart, thoughtful, quirky and fun describes the whole disk. Any CD that makes a reference to Chewbacca is a winner in our home. My son loves Pretends Your Hand’s a Puppet and Backyard Camping. It was also recorded at that fun factory in New York run by that Dean Jones guy called No Parking Studios.  I know the review is 3 years late but I just got my copy and better late than never! I look forward to their next disc.  Go find a copy of this CD and support an independent artist today!

This Years Rymer Recipient

It’s with a bit of irony that the man who I named the award for best Children’s Album that should of been nominated for a Grammy but wasn’t is himself nominated for a Grammy this year. Brady Rymer.  He latest effort Just Say HI!BradyRymerJustSayHi is pretty darn good.  Almost as brilliant as the one I started this award about (Love Me For Who I Am) and another excellent effort. A big congrats too getting the Grammy Nomination this year as he is an artist well deserving of it.  So are his fellow nominees Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Pop Ups and previous winners The Okee Dokee Brothers.  The fifth spot is filled not by a musical artist but by the book reading of the inspiring story and Nobel Peace prize winning – I Am Malala.  I have already spoken on how I think this has been placed in the wrong category in a previous post (Comparing Apples to Steak…).  No the guys whom I thought put out the Best of the Best musically this year for “Children” this year did it all analog. I am referring to those guys from Seattle – The School Break Primates. Better known to the public at large as Recess Monkey! The put out one smoking hot CD  called WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpiWIRED which filled my number one spot this year on my top ten  (and my amended top ten). In fact all the nominees except for the book reading were in my top ten!  So please go check out WIRED as it is a superior product as well as the rest of the nominees as they are well worth the listen. Go support an independent artist today.

 

Comparing Apples to Steak. Poor decision by the Grammy’s.

'Appetite_For_Construction'_Album_Cover

A few years ago the Grammy’s made a decision to eliminate and combine some categories in efforts to streamline the awards.  One of those affected by this change was the Children’s category and this year you can see it was a bad idea.  Okee-Dokee-Bros-Through-the-WoodsFour of the five nominees are albums of music. The fifth is a spoken word CD which used to be a separate Children’s spoken word category and for good reason.  It’s like comparing apples to steak. Other than both being recorded works any similarity ends there.  You have 4 great albums of terrific music from Brady Rymer, The Pop Ups, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and The Okee Dokee Brothers. The 5th entry is I am Malala. The amazingly inspiring story of a young girl who stood BradyRymerJustSayHiup to the Taliban, was shot and nearly killed in her pursuit of education. For her actions she deservedly just won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.  It’s a book worth listening too or reading.  What I don’t understand is why this recording is not in the Spoken Word Category and instead in the Children’s category. I am reading the story and it is not just a children’s book. It is a worthwhile story for all ages.  Just because it’s written from a child’s point of view does not inherently make it a children’s book. It is a read for everyone and thus should be in the spoken word category or NARAS should bring back the Children’s Spoken Word category. I am disappointed the academy allowed this perfect quirkentry in this category.  Either way if you’re a voter go listen to the 4 great kindie artists and give them proper consideration. Also go read or listen to Malala’s story as it is truly inspiring.  Go support a kindie artist today!

malala

How Great Can This Day Be?

lori-henriques-photo

It’s a really great day anytime Lori Henriques gets around to making another CD. This time unlike her previous two solo efforts Lori has brought the whole band to join her and it only makes her music more awesome. Piano driven jazz is Lori’s avenue of music and this time bass, drums, horns, saw (Yes an actual saw!), flutes, percussion, clarinet and more horns join her on this rambunctious outing.  I love the opening of How Great can This day Be and how positive and cool it makes you feel just listening to it. I Say Woo is my sons Favorites with a funky organ joining in on the grove and finally Another Good Year which closes out a really great CD with a great trumpet solo. Lori’s stellar vocals once again shine throughout the entirety of the disc.  If you haven’t bought a Lori Henriques CD yet this one is well worth the purchase. It would make a great gift for family, friends, neighbors and classmates as it it is the season….  I hope she submits this gem of an album for the Grammy’s next year as she already has my vote. I’d add it to my top ten-ish this year but it’s gonna have to wait till next year. But don’t wait to purchase it!  Go support an independent artist and buy this music today! Be sure to check out the title track video below.

This CD was sent to me for reviewing purposes but the opinion stated is my very own.

The song I wish I had written. Kalamazoo Star by Gerald Dowd.

homenow

The best written song I have heard this year is the non-kindie type written by all things a drummer in a kindie band. A DRUMMER! Yes though I am not as shocked and amazed as you might think. The song is Kalamazoo Star and it’s written by one Gerald Dowd.  Most of the time you find him behind his kit backing one of the many fine bands he plays and sings with (Justin Roberts, Robbie Fulks, Frisbie, Kelly HoganElectric Dirt, etc) but, on this occasion he has released a CD of his own material.  Home Now is a great example of American Music and Kalamazoo Star is as good a song as one can ever hope to write. A superior CD with filled with great American music.  Props to Liam Davis stars-in-the-night-sky(producer), John Abbey (engineer) and the many wonderful musicians and singers (too many to list) behind the music. As good as the CD is this tune stands apart.  The magic of the song is its positive message in the face of and mournful and sad occasion. Add in the fact the band itself sounds like they could be playing on your front porch, barn, campfire etc. It’s a celebration of life in the face of death and it’s all done in a single take (They saved the best take for last!).  “There’s another star in the Kalamazoo Sky tonight. Same old sky but it feels brand new”. Someone special has passed on and even in death they are looking over family and friends. It’s poignant, sweet and smart. Anyone who ever penned a song wishes they could write songs like this. Thanks for this one Gerald. I’ll be looking for that star next time I’m in Michigan.  So where can you get this CD.  Head on over to www.geralddowd.com and he’s supposed to have it available by Friday.  You can also catch him in the street or a concert venue near you. I’m sure he’ll gladly sell you a copy or two. I intend to buy a bunch as Christmas gifts this year. Go and support an independent music artist today!