It’s that time again! Last week was a crazy week which prevented me from posting my weekly Rock Band Land story. As a bonus, this feature also includes a corresponding song by Rainbow Beast and the Rock Band Land band the Serpent Swimmers.
Today’s story and song seems fitting, especially for those who were greeted by Old Man Winter this week.
Artist(s): Rainbow Beast and the Rock Band Land band the Serpent Swimmers.
Title: “Ice Girl”
What’s it all about? A superheroine! Ice cream! Lava!
“Ice Girl” tells the tale of a young girl is trapped under a frozen lake for many years, and emerges with an amazing superpower. She commits her life to helping others and her power evolves.
Ready for the song? Be prepared to be rocked with sounds reminiscent of The Kinks, the Small Faces and the Animals. This song surrounds simple pop styling with copious amounts of fuzz and plenty of riffs.
“Ice Girl” is featured on Rainbow Beast’s debut children’s album Tales from the Monstrosity Scrolls. All the songs on the album were written in collaboration with elementary-school aged kids. You listen to clips, as well as purchase the album through Bandcamp.
To learn more about Rainbow Beast and Rock Band Land, check out this interview with Brian Gorman, founder and co-director of Rock Band Land.
It’s Friday! Why not send you off into the weekend with an excellent new video by Caspar Babypants? “The Creatures Under My Bed” is from the Caspar’s most recent album, Rise and Shine.
For this video, Chris Ballew, Caspar’s main man, enlisted the help of New Zealand animators, Mukpuddy (“Mister Rabbit,” “My Flea Has Dogs“) again. The whimsical animation paired with this catchy little tune makes the idea of having creatures under your bed pretty fantastic.
As I said in my original post for “Mister Rabbit,” really anything by Caspar Babypants needs to be heard and seen.
You can listen to samples, and download Rise and Shine at Caspar Babypants’ official site.
42 years ago, the album Free to Be…You and Me was created by actress Marlo Thomas and released into the world based on the notion that children, regardless of gender, should be free to feel and express their feelings, and grow up to be whomever they think they ought to be. It was, in many ways, a benchmark in support of a more gender neutral society. The album was so popular that it’s concept was expanded into a book and later a TV special. Many of the songs on the album touched upon progressive topics for their time (1972), i.e a girl could choose to be a doctor, and a boy could hone his paternal instincts by playing with a (baby) doll. The latter, found in the song “William Wants a Doll” was especially profound. I have never heard or seen anything encouraging boys to play with dolls. It seems so natural to encourage this based on the long-term benefit it could have on them later in life. A provocative assertion, maybe, but quite astounding when I think about it now as a parent. As a whole, the entire album really opened my eyes to how much progress we have made and yet how much more there is to go.
Didner felt the same way about the song when he revisited it recently and shared his thoughts: “Today, 42 years after the song’s original debut, it holds new meaning, celebrating the fact that women have become astronauts and CEO’s, and men have become stay-at-home dads and nurses since then. On a personal level, I celebrate the upbringing I had where I learned that I get to define my manhood on my own terms and that I don’t have to fear anyone’s judgment for painting my daughter’s nails and being a nurturing daddy.”
Didner continues, “When I reconnected with this song, I felt the pull to learn the song and sing it acoustically. The inspiration came quickly that I should record the song with the band and bring on a special guest singer — one whose voice radiates warmth and happiness (ed note: SO TRUE!) – I reached out to Suzi Shelton to sing this as a duet with me. It was only natural to also connect with Suzi’s producer Marc “Baze” Bazerman, a friend of mine from NJ’s kindie scene.“
You can hear the original Free to Be…You and Me here through the Spotify widget below followed by the updated single.
You can hear and purchase (name your price!) the “Free to Be…You and Me” single by Jason Didner and Suzy Shelton through the Soundcloud widget below:
Do you remember this song? Has this song influenced you in any way throughout your upbringing or even now as a parent?
Today is a special day! 45 years ago the very first Sesame Street episode aired, launching a revolutionary change in educational television programming. Throughout the week I will bring you various treats in honor of this occasion starting with today’s FREE DOWNLOAD by The Hipwaders. Fans of the beloved show will absolutely enjoy singing along with one of the most well-known TV themes. Grab a copy of the “Sesame Street Theme” below.
Welcome to the Kingdom of Animalia! Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke (KWMC) are back and this time they have a whole new cast of animal characters for you to meet. Animal Tales is the duo’s fourth album and one that you should expect to spend a lot of time with because it’s just that good. We have had it on repeat for over a month now and I still learn something new with every spin. Em liked it so much that she illustrated her own book featuring every animal from the album. Now that’s love! She even insisted on contributing her own thoughts “for other kids!” which is featured at the end of this review.
As always, the brilliance of KWMC’s work can be found within the fine-tuned details. Whether it’s Wilde’s gorgeous illustration that graces the album’s cover or the skillful way each song is constructed, it’s clear that this talented duo puts a ton of thought into their work. Imagine if you were to open a National Geographic Kids or Ranger Rick magazine and there was music playing on each page. Animal Tales takes the pages of these beloved magazines and brings them to life with soundtracks that are cleverly matched to a variety of animal personalities. The songs are rich with fun animal facts that also include the the artists’ lovable sense of humor and clever ability to play with words and phrases, making it one of the most listenable and entertaining albums out there. “The Buck Stops Here,” is a prime example of these guys totally nailing it.
“I heard that the buck stops here/ They tell me that the buck stops here/ But I’ve been here for a year/ And I Ain’t seen a single deer/ Gotta move on it’s time to roam/ But I’ll wait until the cows come home/ Heard that the buck stops here/ …/I’m waiting ’til the cows to come home/ But the cows may never come home/ It’s a waste of time and I’ll tell you why/ Cows will come home when pigs can fly… /Some say pigs can fly/ Others say it’s just a lie/ Never seen a pig in the sky/ But the doctor says pigs can fly/ Doctor said it so it must be true/ Doctor said “Swine flu.”
“Larry the Lobster” also includes a brief quip which gets me smiling every time. When Herman the Hermit Crab moves to a new shell, he bids his anemone friends farewell by saying, “With friends like me who needs anemones?“
While most of the 13 tracks on the album relate to animal stories, there is also support for wildlife conservation, reminding us of the challenges animal’s face whether it’s due to population decline, habitat changes or environmental challenges. “The Bear Song,” one of our favorite songs, teaches about 8 species of bears throughout the world.There’s even a shout out for the sugary kind. Do you know the color of a Polar Bear’s skin or which bear sings her cubs to sleep? The song and its accompanying video were created in collaboration with the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, a non-profilt wildlife rehabilitation facility dedicated to the care and release of orphaned and injured wildlife. Emily loves this song so much that she actually said to me “mama, be quiet and listen to the facts.” I mean, that’s for real.
Animals have always been a central theme with this duo. Animal Tales, in particular, was largely inspired by Wilde’s interest in animals from his own childhood and the intrigue they brought him. He explains,
“As a child I was constantly drawing pictures of animals. I loved reading about animals and observing them whenever possible. To me, each species expressed its own character and personality. Music was another big obsession and I suppose I made this record because I would have loved it when I was a kid.”
Animal tales is truly an album for families to share. Listeners will be treated to a musical expedition accompanied by a bountiful supply of fresh tracks that both educate and entertain. You’re always taken on a wild adventure with this dynamic duo which is exactly why we love them.
Emily’s Take: They always know what to do about soaring things in the sky and on land. Bears, birds and bees, squirrels and frogs. Things you don’t know about animals you get to learn! They make children laugh. It’s kind of funny when you think about a cat named Beastapuss. Animal facts are fun.
- Animal Tales was produced by Grammy-winning producer Dean Jones
- Favorite songs: The Bear Song, Alligator Get-Together, Beastapuss
- Key Wilde has done artwork for Avanti Greeting Cards, the Central Park Conservancy and the Woodlands Wildelife Refuge which was featured in a book called Broke Leg Bear, a true story about a badly injured cub who was rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Learn more and purchase the book here.
- KWMC’s “Animal Alphabet” video has reached over 660,000 views! The song is also featured in a Mibblio app along with Wilde’s beautiful artwork.
Meet Armando Armadillo from last week’s video release and grab a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song.
It’s story-time with Rock Band Land again, folks!
Title: Alone At Home with A Bus
What’s It All About?: Brothers and sisters are home alone for the first time when a bus crashes into their house. The kids remove the bus with an ingenious invention, but must explain the domestic destruction to their parents. Below will find the story and the song.
Why is there a story and a song? The story was written in Rock Band Land, a creativity program for elementary-aged kids. The kids come together, form a band and collaborate ideas that form a story. Once the story is written, it is turned into a song and the kids participate by lending their voices for a rockstar recording produced by members of the band Rainbow Beast (who are also Rock Band Land teachers). Learn more about this incredible program by clicking on the Rock Band Land links above. Hear more from Rainbow Beast here.