Tag Archives: Recess Monkey

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!!!

 

Good music available free and live music available free

arlington library

I went to the Arlington Heights Public Library today to drop off a few Poochamungas Cd’s they’ll be giving out for reading awards during the summer.  I always try to help out libraries as much as possible. For one they are a valuable resource in many places and secondly they always support the many kindie musicians plying their trade around the country.  The Poochamungas have definitely played more than a couple library gigs. So after dropping off CD’s I took a perusal of what kids music they had available.  Well right away you notice Disney and that kidz bob (cutesy no talent edited recycled garbage IHOP). What then struck me was the number of kindie artists available as well. Casper babypants, the Not-Its, Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey, Bari Koral, Ralph’s World and many others. They had a great selection of FREE kindie music for anyone interested in introducing their family to high quality family music. I also know the Des Plaines Public Library carries some great music as well.   If you live in either of these neighborhoods check out them out! You won’t be dissapointed.

electric dirt

As for the other free music my favorite cast of characters takes the stage at Simons tomorrow at 8:30pm as Electric Dirt.  They’ll be singing the songs that Levon Helm sang all to well and celebrating what would of been his recent 75th birhtday. This ones free as well but be sure to drop a few dollars in the hat. It’ll be worth it!

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.

 

My top ten and rejected again

WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpi Once again I sent my usual 10 page resume (not really) along with a request to be Okee-Dokee-Bros-Through-the-Woodsa judge for the Fids and Kamily Awards.  Once again I got a polite but firm denial to this exclusive club because they don’t allow kindie musicians to be part of the club…sniff, sniff.  Well even without my vote they are BY FAR the best award an artist could hope to win.  There are no fees involved and there are multiple industry, blogger and qualified people voting on the music which is not always the case with a lot of the awards out there like.  Many times only one or year_round_songstwo people are reviewing all the music AND they charge a nice bit of coin. So congrats to the Fids and Kamily winners.   Here is how I would have voted. Free of charge! My top ten CD’s of the year.  Cue the music… Top Ten Cd’s for this year

  1. Recess Monkey – WIRED  (The best CD I heard this year)
  2. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Through The Woods (Not as great as the last one but still amazing)
  3. Edie Carey & Sarah Sample – ‘Til the Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort (Caught me by surprise.  Outstanding vocals and music)
  4. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – The Perfect Quirk (Great CD with smartest written song this year)
  5. Dog on Fleas -Buy one Get One Flea (Dean Jones showing his own Genius)
  6. The Hipwaders -Year Round Sounds (Just a great music with a California feel)
  7. Brady Rymer – Just say Hi (Still the most underrated kindie artist out there with another great CD)
  8. Laura Doherty – In a Heartbeat (Lyrics for tots. Music for everyone and from Chicago!))
  9. Jon Samson – A New Kids Album (Sonically amazing)
  10. Mills Trills – Everyone Together Now (Superiors vocals and a big sound)

dog on fleas bogofThese are the my pics for the best CD’s out this year.  For me the best CD by far this year is WIRED by Recess Monkey.  Not because the others aren’t great but because this one is so musically, lyrically and sonically awesome good! I should also mention its Grammy nomination voting time.  I still have some listening to do before I make my final Grammy Picks but rest assured WIRED has already made the grade. Everyone in the kindie world who is a voting NARAS member should have this as one of their nominations. I shall leave the other 4 to you.     Lots of great music BradyRymerJustSayHiout there this year. Bands super worthy but not in my top ten include Josh and the Jamtones –  Bear Hunt (I’m not big on narration but my kids laugh a lot), Baze and His Silly FriendsThe Best Day Ever (just feel good music and my wife liked it!), Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band –  Lishy Loo and Lucky Too (Thingamajig is an amazing song!), The Not-Its! Raise Your Hand (Power Pop awesomeness) and finally Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights –  Good Egg (Good songs and music on the whole disk).  Now I still have a few Albums to check out before I vote for the other 4 Grammy nominees but you should go and check out any of these CD’s. Go support an independent artist today!

The Song and the Process. I Must Be a Genius by Dean Jones

dof

Dean Jones is busy these days recording other peoples music.  When I called he was in a session with Molly Ledford (Lunch Money) and Billy Kelly who are working on a project (they had stepped out for lunch). He also works or has worked with with Story Laurie, Recess Monkey and those two Grammy winning children’s music impostors (they’re really great folk musicians in disguise) The Okee Dokee Brothers and many others.  Dean’s really a go to guy when it comes to music production but he is also a most talented songwriter in his own right and likeable fellow as well.  There aren’t a lot of smartly written love songs in the kindie music world that I know of.  The two that come to mind are Pandas are Dangerous by The Boogers and I Must Be A Genuis by Dean Jones. While the Pandas song isdog on fleas bogof totally Punk Rock (still sentimental) this one is more charming and sweet reminiscent of the 40’s piano driven pop song.  I think Bing Crosby but I digress…  When asked where the song came from Dean said “Out of the blue. Some of the best songs are BOOM. The Phrase just came out.”  So he had the I must be a genius and the love me, love you too part so he needed music.  He went to his default chord structure.   A bunch of chords he was used to writing in (mine is E A D). Dean wasn’t always a kindie music guy.  He had a band like all those other bands out there and one day his  friend who owns a toy store told him “his songs where juvenile.  Why not write songs for kids?” So that’s what he did and Dog on Fleas was Born.  When not writing or producing music he also plays out professionally, accompanies  a puppet company plus Dad and dishwashing duties. Dean is married with two kids one of whom is already songwriting at 7 yrs old and in his (Dean) words “Writes good stuff.”  Me, I’m thinking Dean writes really cool offbeat tunes and with this song he is quite genius indeed with this shuffling drum, trombone highlighted, piano driven two minute masterpiece.  Go check out  this song on Buy One Get One Flea!  Go check out all of his work and go support an independent artist today!

The Song and the Process. Imaginary Friend by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

 

secret agent 23

Here’s a crazy fun fact! Would you believe that Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and I lived within a half block of each other in 1994? Right here in Chicago by Belmont and Clark? Well it’s true!  What is also true is the genius of this song and writing from the view of an imaginary friend who looks at the world in the belief that he’s real and the boy he hangs with is the imaginary one.   It all started with the idea for a song about imaginary friends.  Mr. Skidoo let it marinate in the brain awhile.  Like myself 23 is a big fan of comics and the idea of the parallel or multiverse.  This is where the idea of what if the Imaginary Friend had a universe of his own.  Telling the song not only from the child characters point of skidoo-photo6-lgview but making it a duet by having Pickles (the Imaginary Friend) who believes he’s real and the child he’s with imaginary contribute to the story. Two universes in one song!   So the idea is set and now he sets up Pirate/ Sea Shanty hook.  Which is how the Skidoo Process works.  IDEA – HOOK – MUSIC – LYRICS.  He tends to write when he has to. He disappeared for a month writing for this CD though he is storing ideas all the time in his phone. The ideas use to exist on scraps of paper under a stuffed monkey (which may be a song idea of its own) but with technology he may be saving a few trees. But I digress…  Because he’s now living in California and likes to record back with his crew in North Carolina there was a bit of travel involved with the CD.  For him the funky music groove he needed was where he had done his previous album in NC. The musicians do a fantastic job (I love the horns and the spooky keyboard).   He has one ending written but ends up changing it under the advice of his wife (a honest sounding board is very helpful).  Now he needs a pirate voice so he calls his pirate buddy (Of Course Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has a pirate buddy) to lay down perfect quirka vocal but… too scary.  How about Jack Forman (We’re big fans of this Recess Monkey/KPL DJ)?  Too nice.  So Skidoo is showing another vocalist what he’s looking for and bingo.  He finds that groove he’s looking for within himself.  Not too scary or nice but just right!  If you like smart songs with a funky haunted house vibe and great horn play check out this song.  Right now Secret Agent is in the middle of a National tour, finishing up a Halloween song and putting out a 7” vinyl with The Not-It’s.  Imaginary Friend can be found on The Perfect Quirk. So go listen to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and support a Kindie Artist today!

 

The Song and the Process. Coconut Radio by Recess Monkey.

RECESS-MONKEY-DESERT-ISLAND-DISC_72

I should mention here that the School Break Primates have a a new release coming out Tomorrow, June 17th!!! Their new CD WIRED is really amazing. But I’m not here to talk about WIRED.  This conversation is a long time coming.  A while back I had a Recess Monkey tune I could not get out of my head called Coconut Radio off of Desert Island disc.  Being that Drew Holloway is the primary Recess Monkey writer an inquiry was made to discuss this tune with him on The song and the Process here on the blog.  Well imagine my surprise when he sent me to talk to Jack Forman recess monkey framingas he was the author of this tune.  I did manage a great conversation with Drew which you can read here (What I Was Gonna write…) but always wanted to talk to Jack.  We have finally arrived to talk about the Gilligan’s Island ( an old TV show) inspired Coconut Radio here on The Song and the Process…  Jack Foreman and his uke found the music while hanging around playing on his front porch.  Just a series of chords that found a home.  Nothing planned it really just appeared.  He was learning the Ukulele at the time and found a little magic while banging on his instrument.  So he has this great little melody and it needs some words.  They  weren’t so easy.  That took a bit of doing but he had the Desert/ Gilligan’s Island theme to work with it. If you know the show it was always the professor who could build anything with what was at hand (and had in fact made a coconut battery).  After a few months of working out the lyrics gems like this came around…

“First take a coconut off the ground
Split it open and listen to the sound
That it makes up to your ear
Now fill it up with unspecified electric gear”

   … Two ukes, a bit of singing and they were done. That’s when Korums brother Jherek Bischoff gets a hold of the song.  Let me see what I can add he tells the boys…   It sounds like he added a full orchestral string section!  Jack assures me it was only 3 or 4 players with lots of overdubs. Violin, viola, cello and bass he tells me.  It’s just amazing. In my mind it’s a symphony.  A bit of Brian Wilson magic which the whole CD is full of but do yourself a favor. Go check out this great tune on a great disc.  Then go out and purchase WIRED tomorrow.  Then dance a lot with your family and friends because that’s what we do when listening to Recess Monkey.  GO support a kindie artist today.

WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpi