Monkeynauts take heed! Recess Monkey just released the first video from their upcoming album, Deep Sea Diver. I would say that the album is highly anticipated but I think, in general, any album from this enthusiastic troupe is typically highly anticipated.
In “Tambourine Submarine,” the Seattle trio takes to the deep blue in a blinged out u-boat powered by rhythm and propelled by a spinning tambourine. Although I hesitate to use the word “cute” to describe what the guys refer to as a “mean green rhythm machine,” I cant help but want to sling one on my keychain and jingle jangle it all ’round my hood.
“Tambourine Submarine” is a fantastic voyage filled with creativity and humor. Check it out!
Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, singer-songwriter Paul Spring makes his family music debut with the comforting sounds of Home of Song. Produced by Dean Jones and Joe Mailander (half of the Grammy winning duo, The Okee Dokee Brothers), Home of Song is a highly singable collection of songs will inspire a sense of imagination and adventure for listeners of all ages.
The most appealing aspect about Home of Song is Spring’s talent as a songwriter. With passion and enthusiasm, Spring delivers meaningful lyrics with much depth. Whether he is singing about the pouring rain, a beloved story or the cycles of the moon, Spring’s soulful voice shines with sincerity.
In addition to Spring’s ability to write illustrative lyrics, there is an undercurrent of love and appreciation for family that is woven into the fabric of this album. Although I typically don’t like to compare artists in terms of musicality, I find the sentiment behind Home of Song similar to Elizabeth Mitchell’s approach of incorporating family members and friends into her own music making process. Much like Mitchell, Spring is also accompanied by family members and friends who collectively add depth, dimension and meaning to the album’s makeup. Underscoring this point is the metaphorical title track, “Home of Song.” The lyrics, “Oh how often I think that melody was my mother/ rhythm my father/ keeping my steps in line/ and my brothers and sisters filled in the notes between us/ making a harmony to hold through time,” symbolize family unity in a beautiful way.
Spring invites listeners on a humorous stroll down memory lane as he sings about a washed up van from his childhood in “Sloppy Jaloppy.” While kids may not necessarily understand lyrics like “We’ll be going up and down like the Dow Jones and NASDAQ,” adult listeners are certain to smirk in acknowledgment of what feels like an inside joke. I can’t help but recall my own, similar childhood experience in which our old car broke down in the middle of a well traveled highway, interrupting our journey to the beach. As I hear Spring’s words, images from that time flash through my mind like pastel painted Polaroids.
Another lovely aspect of Home of Song is the celebration of nature. Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi provides fodder for songs like the sea-faring “Red Sky at Morning,” which taught us what a crow’s nest is. “Rain,” a refreshing tune that welcomes the pouring rain on a hot summer’s eve, is one that gets heavy rotation in our home. I particularly love the chord progression in the beginning of the song and the delicate accents of the piano as it mimics the sounds of droplets of water. There is also “Mississippi River,” a spelling game that honors the beauty of the river itself. The song has a nice tempo, smoothed out and slow enough for kids to follow along as Spring spells Mississippi letter by letter. Spelling Mississippi is a fun game for my 4 yr old and actually makes her feel quite accomplished as she continues to proudly spell it long after the song is over.
As a bookworm and someone who wanted to be Nancy Drew growing up, I thoroughly enjoy the way Spring enlivens classic works such as Peter Pan, Don Quixote and Sherlock Holmes, highlighting the love, heroism and camaraderie in each. The lyrics “What I read in my books/ I believe is true,” from the song “Don Quixote,” nicely reinforces the value of reading and the excitement it brings.
As much as I’d enjoy it, being the parent of a young child means that I don’t get to sit on the banks of a river, meditate on the beauty of nature or sit and read an exciting story while the afternoon drifts away. Thankfully, my daughter and I have Home of Song, an album that captures the essence of those feelings in a very real and harmonious way. They say home is where the heart is. In Paul Spring’s case, so is song. Highly recommended.
You can listen to samples from Home of Song through SoundCloud widget below. Purchases can be made through Paul Spring’s Official site, CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes. Make sure to check out the very entertaining video for “Peter Pan,” a groovy song which is a tribute to the kid in all of us. The song features Spring, The Okee Dokee Brothers and the Lost Boys.
I recently attended Kindiefest, an annual family music conference that took place in Brooklyn, NY. The conference sought to provide helpful information about the industry while showcasing some amazing talent. I am going to write a separate post that provides a little more detail about what went on at the conference but one thing I clearly remember hearing about is that collaboration can be extremely useful.
One fine example of how collaboration can produce something pretty spectacular is the Underbirds.
The Underbirds consists of Morgan Taylor from Gustafer Yellowgold and Todd McHatton, who not only has released some wonderful kindie albums of his own, but is also the creator of Marvy Monstone’s Mysterious Fun Time Dream Band, and the wildly popular single “I Think I’m a Bunny.” Together their music sounds like a mix of the Flaming Lips, the Beatles and a little bit o’ Queen.
TheUnderbirds had their official world premiere live performance/release party at Symphony Space in New York City on Saturday, April 27, 2013 as part of Symphony Space’s Just Kidding series. I was more than lucky enough to catch it. Although it meant leaving the Kindiefest conference for a bit, it was an easy trade-off as these guys are at the top of our list when it comes to quality music and performances!
Standing in front of a screen with projected images of the outdoors, Taylor and McHatton sang original songs from their self-titled debut, which were filled with warm, joyful harmonies that reflected upon the beauty of nature and companionship. The duo also premiered a few new songs and each played a single from their own kindie catalogue. Taylor sang one of our favorite Gustafer songs, “Wisconsin Poncho” and McHatton brought his daughter, Hazel, up for “I think I’m a Bunny.” Seeing her sing live was so fun. She’s a natural just like her Dad!
It really was a treat for both grown-ups and kids. And for a world premiere performance, it didn’t take very long before everyone in the audience started to sing along.
I’ve spoken of the wonderful sounds coming from these two highly talented kindie artists before, but seeing these two sing together in a live setting was a real gift.
Underbirds – “Trail of Hearts” live at Symphony Space via YouTube
Underbirds – “Brilliance” live at Symphony Space via YouTube
I still remember the first time I introduced my daughter to her shadow. It was on the swings and I told her that her shadow is swinging just as high as she is. She thought it was the most amazing thing and her shadow continues to be part of our pack today.
Tim Sutton, frontman for Ratboy Jr., was inspired in the same way when he wrote “High 5 Your Shadow.” Upon seeing his own son giving a high five to his shadow on the wall, the song was born.
“High 5 Your Shadow” hits the nail on the head with the lyrics, “your shadow/ is your friend/ and your friends are friends with your shadow,” because whether it’s real friends or a wooden dog that my daughter pulls on a string, everyone has a shadow and we can all dance together.
From their most recent release, Champions of the Universe, Ratboy Jr. presents the video for “High 5 Your Shadow,” which so accurately conveys the joys of shadow play. There’s even a little science wedged in their for extra credit.
Check it out and then go find your shadow. Or make one of your own.
One of the first songs I heard when my daughter was just an infant was “Bongo Bong” by Manu Chao. This was during a super hip music class where all the babies got to bang on bongos, naturally. I instantly fell in love with the song and saw my daughter immediately respond to it as well. It has since been one of our favorite songs.
Northern Michigan singer/songwriter Jeff Krebs, aka Papa Crow, just released his version of “Bongo Bong,” which is played entirely on the ukulele. The delicate sounds of the ukulele make for a sweet alternative while Krebs’ voice naturally retains the rhythmic bounce of the original song. A perfect pairing all around. “Bongo Bong” is the first hint of what to expect from Papa Crow’s upcoming mini album, Monkeylele (songs about monkeys performed on the ukulele).
This is one you’ll want to put on repeat, folks.
When you hear the words “let me hit you with some brilliance” you can’t help but tune in. And with good reason. Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold and Todd McHatton, creator of the highly popular “I Think I’m A Bunny,” have joined forces to become Underbirds.
Taylor and Mchatton complement each other really nicely which have earned them a place in my heart as vocal soulmates. I am very much looking forward to hearing more from these guys. In the meantime, enjoy their first single, “Brilliance,” which is a great indicator of what is yet to come.