Halloween is my favorite holiday. The spookiness, the pumpkin flavored everything, and the unlimited creative potential for weird and wonderful decorating fun.
Of course you can’t have Halloween without the proper soundtrack. I have always liked when artists embellish on the “go big or go home” side of this holiday. The lush orchestral arrangements, suspenseful guitar/bass plucking, creepy stringed instruments, spooky soundbites, and a crazy cackle. Even the more whimsical ones can set the right tone.
What I also like about Halloween music for kids is that in addition to grand arrangements there are thoughtful lyrics offering messages of bravery.
Today’s post features some recommended singles and videos that are just spooky enough to capture the fun without giving your little spirits too much of a fright.
“Bumps in the night” – This kindie debut is the collaborative product of Keith Wasserman aka Mr. Whirly and Patrick Hanlin of Josh and the Jamtones. “Bumps in the Night” offers a heaping spoonful of courage with a bold declaration that shines a big ole spotlight on anything that threatens to go bump in the night.
“Are you a Monster, Too?” – Harmonica Pocket. Because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Such a sweet little video for all those monsters, goblins and ghouls out there.
“Creatures Under My Bed” – Caspar Babypants. The monsters lurking in the shadows really just want to come out and play silly songs. The boogie woogie earthquake anyone?
“The Skunk and the Robot” – Ratboy Jr. With all the little skunks and robots running around on Halloween, this could be a preempitve way to get them all to get along. Even after the candy high wears off.
“It’s Only In Your Head” – Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and our imaginations get the best of us. When that happen it can really spoil a good slumber. The wonderful truth Mista Cookie Jar tells here is that sleep demons are no match for the love that surrounds kids when they are awake.
“Snowstorm on Halloween” – Turkey Andersen. The irony in this song is pretty great. While hopefully it won’t happen, it’s still very likely that it could snow on Halloween. And those holiday ornaments out on the pharmacy shelves? Yeah, those are real. So, really, that right there is like a snowstorm on Halloween. Thankfully, this song keeps the cheer of both holidays alive. Happy Snowlaween y’all!
I’ve gone through many a compilation over the years and sometimes a compilation can greatly succeed all expectations and other times, not so much. Finding that one compilation that contains stellar music, organized in just the right way, is priceless. Burnside Distribution recently released their second compilation, Kick Out the Jammies, containing 11 rockin’ tracks from kindie artists such as Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke, The Verve Pipe,Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey, The Not-Its!,The Harmonica Pocket,Cat Doorman, Miss Nina and several other wonderful artists that make our souls come alive with the sound of music.
Even better, the compilation is FREE. See, priceless!
NOTE: This is Burnside Distribution’s first compilation, released in 2011, is also full of kindie music featuring some of the same artists as mentioned above. “Plays Well Together” can be found via Amazon and is also free.
Bring your babes and get ready to ring in the weekend the right way! Don’t miss The Harmonica Pocket in Los Altos this evening!
This playful, dynamic duo will be rockin’ out at the venue Outer Space in Downtown Los Altos at 5:30 pm as part of the Downtown Lost Altos (“DTLA”) Rocks Series.
Get to know lead singer Keeth Apgar in my interview with him and then check out their sweet video montage for the song “I’m Gonna Count” from their award-winning release Apple Apple and get a glimpse into what you can expect this evening!
Show Details: FRIDAY AUGUST 23
359 State Street
Los Altos, CA 94022
Our home is constantly filled with music. It keeps us sane and often helps ease us into our days and nights. We have been listening to alot of great music lately, both old and new, and I thought I would start to share some of it with you on as much as possible.
Additionally, since naptime has become non-existent, we’ve really been trying to take some “quiet time” in the middle of the day. Music is a major part of making that happen. Chilled out music = chilled out toddler which = chilled out mommy.
So, this week I am publishing 2 playlists. The first is called October Fun Part 1 containing lots of fun jams that are useful for really anytime that is not “quiet time,” at least in our house. The second one is called October Slow Jams which is a bunch of slower songs perfect for anytime of day that calls for a little unwinding (or easing into if you haven’t had your morning pick-me-up yet).
So, without further adieu, I present to you October Fun Part 1 (the first list turned out to be really big so this month might have more than one list) and October Slow Jams. You will find a mix of songs both old and new in this playlist. Also please note that if an artist is not on Spotify, they won’t appear in the playlist. Feel free to listen to the playlists as they are ordered or on shuffle or both. Mix it up however you’d like.
I also urge you to visit each of these artists’ websites and either buy or download their music. You can do that by simply clicking on the links next to each song below.
Fall is approaching and that means beautiful colors, cozy sweaters and delicious apples. What better way to celebrate the upcoming season than with a new release from The Harmonica Pocket.
Apple Apple, the third children’s release from The Harmonica Pocket, is a melodic dream. The eloquence with which the words and instrumentation flow throughout the album leave you feeling like someone just whispered a gentle lullaby in your ear. It’s very sweet and the stories these songs tell contain simple words and familiar concepts which the wee ones should easily identify with.
The Harmonica Pocket is primarily made up of Keeth Apgar (main vocals, master songwriter, multi-instrumentalist) but also features a regular group of folks, one of which includes partner, Nala Walla, who delivers rich harmonic vocals throughout the album, as well as, fellow Seattle-based Kindiependent artists such as Johnny Bregar (banjo), Jack Foreman from Recess Monkey (bass throughout) and Caspar Babypants (vocals). The recording of this album, as well as their previous albums, took place in a solar powered studio on a tiny island in Puget Sound, Washington.
Many of the songs on Apple Apple are like poems, with each line complementing the one before it. What I particularly love about the album is how it plays with linguistics, character development and timing. The songs are multi-dimensional, containing carefully paired lyrical and musical melodies. The instruments in many of these songs are just as important as the words, often times acting as another voice with the pluck of a chord or the warm, rich tone of the saxophone at just the right time. They even serve to heighten a climatic moment within a song just by a change in time signature. A great example of this is in “Afraid of Heights,” a beautiful song about a bird who comes out of its shell and is afraid to fly. The song starts in 4/4 time and makes a transition to 3/4 time when the bird sees the sky, faces its fears and flies. It’s this simple change that evokes a feeling of exhileration that comes from overcoming your fears, just as the little bird did.
The sentiment behind Apple Apple is somewhat different than the previous, highly acclaimed “Ladybug One” as both Keeth and Nala have become parents. As a result, several of the songs, i.e. “Diaperman,” “Monkey Love,” “Reflections” and “Little Baby,” to name a few, are inspired by this new development. The songs carry a calming, chilled out vibe with some notes of folk, jazz, pop and even some reggae.
Conceptually, there is also this notion of experiencing life “naturally” and having that be the driving force behind the creative process. A great example of this is the smooth, jazzy little song “Bare Feet,” which was inspired by Apgar’s personal experience with climbing trees as a child (and somewhat occasionally as an adult). The song describes kicking off your shoes, climbing a tree with bare feet and observing the feeling of the bark, the wind blowing, as well as, looking with wonder at the birds and the leaves on the trees. I love the lyrics “Kick off my shoes/Pull myself up by my own hands/A breeze blows through/Everything moves and we slow dance/Above me only clear blue sky/So good to be outside/I forget sometimes/That I need to play/Everyday/…And all I need are my bare feet/climbing up to the top of this apple tree.”
In addition to apples, the album covers a variety of topics. There is counting in “I’m Gonna Count” which invites listeners to count stones on the beach by single digits (1, 2, 3), leaves on the trees by even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8) and stars in the sky by 5’s (5, 10, 15, 20…) and syllabic playfulness in the title track “Apple Apple” where each word is broken up and sung with one syllable. It’s a great game to play with the actual lyrics of the song, but also in making up your own words. It’s always good for a few laughs.
Em particularly gets a kick out of the baby tooting in “Little Baby” and laughs with a slight squeal after waiting for it. She knows it’s coming and waits in anticipation with a smile, repeating “just wait, it’s comin’ up, it’s comin’ up, the baby’s gonna toot!” until she hears it.
Other notable songs include one of our favorites “Monkey Love,” features Caspar Babypants as Monkey two. The song basically uses the word Monkey repetitiously to tell the tale of three monkeys who come together and become a family. “Monkey one Monkey two Monkey three/Monkey me Monkey he Monkey she/ Monkey love Monkey we Monkey be family….” “Turkey in the Straw,” one of my personal favorites, is a slowed down rendition of the original with a funky kind of groove.
Rounding out the album are some slower songs which make perfect lullabies and embody the love that Apple Apple was premised on. ‘Reflections,’ for example, was written while Keeth was out walking with his son, sometimes in the middle of the night or early in the morning, to help him fall asleep. I think most parents should either relate to or remember this very vividly.
Apgar, along with the rest of The Harmonica Pocket contingent, create a rich environment that carries the message of love, acceptance, wonder and respect for the world around us. Apple Apple is sure to be enjoyed by the 0 – 5 crowd and their grown-ups. Without a doubt one of our favorite albums of the year so far. I encourage all of you to tempt your palate and take a bite out of this record. It will absolutely satisfy your “aural” taste buds.