Mighty Mo Productions – Heart Beats: Feel Good Songs for Families

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Some kind of musical artistry dances in the magic of a “mix tape.” Hand picked tunes set in just the right order to create just the right sentiment for just the right person. The result is a collection of music that is personal and intimate. A present that doesn’t need a card attached. The message is in the music.

Mix tapes have staying power. Compilation albums, albums comprised of various artists, can have the same impact when curated well.

Mighty Mo Productions, a Kansas City-based indie record label started by Jim Cosgrove and Tim Brantman are curating music with the intent of delivering the same sentiment and appreciation as a mix tape. As a follow up to their 2015 debut Smiles Ahead, Mighty Mo Productions returns with Heart Beats: Feel Good Songs for Families, an album full of songs that are primed to bring you warm fuzzies.

Heart Beats assembles some of the same artists featured on Smiles Ahead such as Caspar Babypants, Brady Rymer, Katydid, Rissi Palmer and The Verve Pipe as well as newly added Ratboy Jr., Sunshine Collective, Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, Andrew & Polly, Josh and the Jamtones and label creator, Jim Cosgrove (featuring Jazzy Ash). It’s a Who’s Who line-up of the indie kids music genre.

The 12 tracks swirl around the album’s overall theme: Love. Most tracks land solidly on the message of I Love You while The Verve Pipe’s “One Became Two” touches upon family, Brady Rymer’s “Light of Love” rallies for listeners to send joy out into the world, and Katydid’s “Love My Lovey” gets bonus points for its superhero ode to childhood “loveys.” (Perhaps a child’s most loyal love, aside from mom and dad, of course.) Joanie Leeds’ voice soars on the comfort of a goodnight hug and kiss in “Give Me A Hug,” and Ratboy Jr. gets tender with “E’s Lullaby” to cap it all off.

Music is a gift, and giving the gift of music is something really special. Heart Beats arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day, and really is worth a spin to lift the mood anytime.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the 7-year-old girl in the backseat who shouted “Turn it up!” so she and her best friend could sing along together. That, my friends, is what heart beats are made of.

Heart Beats is available for purchase through the Mighty Mo official site where you can also listen to samples of each track.

Bonus!: In celebration of the album, there will be four all-ages concerts taking place around the U.S., 3 of which are in Hallmark stores. The concert schedule is below and be sure to store locations and hours for more info.:

Saturday, January 30 at 11 amAmy’s Hallmark Shop, Manhattan Village, Manhattan Beach, CA – a morning sing-along featuring Andrew & Polly, Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove and Mista Cookie Jar (featured on Mighty Mo’s first album release, Smiles Ahead). Save 10 percent on CD purchases that day! FREE admission.

Sunday, January 31 at 11 am – McCabe’s Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA – a full-length family sing-along with Andrew & Polly, Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove and Mista Cookie Jar. Tickets: $10 each (kids under 2 free).

Saturday, February 6 at 11 am Amy’s Hallmark Shop, Airport Plaza, Farmingdale, NY. A sing-along with 2-time GRAMMY Award nominee and North Fork resident Brady Rymer, Brooklyn based kid-pop star Joanie Leeds, and Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove. Save 10 percent on CD purchases. Free admission.

Saturday, February 13 at 11 amAmy’s Hallmark Shop, Crown Center, Kansas City, MO. A sing-along with KC based artists Katydid and Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove. Save 10 percent on CD purchases. Free admission.

Top 20 Albums & Honorable Mentions

Happy New Year! I’ve been tinkering for weeks about whether to put together a “best of” list. Lists have never been my thing, but this week when I pulled up past interviews, reviews and music, I was quickly reminded that 2015 was in fact another incredible year in kids’ music. So, let’s do this thing!

The list below represents a sampling of the 20 best albums from 2015 plus one from 2014 (because I included my picks for the Fids and Kamily Awards which considers albums between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015) and a few honorable mentions. The albums are presented in no particular order, and are personal favorites of mine and those of my 7-year-old daughter Emily. They appeal to families who love music, the adventure of finding more of it, and parents who want to foster a love of music in their own kin. This, for me, is the big enchilada. It’s what I enjoy most about being a part of the industry and covering it for you.  Take 10 minutes and sample a few songs on each album. I promise you’ll find more than one to love, regardless of your age.


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Pointed Man BandFlight of the Blue Whale (Interview)

[Flight of the Blue Whale] is eccentric. There is a meticulousness in the overall composition that captured my attention, in addition to the variety of instrumentation. Waltzes serve as segues, buoyantly carrying the listener along, while nontraditional objects are used to emphasize critical pieces of the story, e.g. Drinking glasses sonically illustrating weightlessness as a baleen whale takes flight.

 


Animal-Tales-Cover_smKey Wilde & Mr. Clarke – Animal Tales (Review)

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 cleverly matched to a variety of animal personalities. Each song is rich with fun animal facts, infused with 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.

 


51TlHTX-0hL._SL500_AA280_Big Block Singsong – Greatest Hits (Interview)

The musical variety of Big Block SingSong is tremendous and the lyrics are insightful and amusing, A block with a German accent singing in euro-funk style about hair; a monkey snapping off bluegrass-y lyrics about a “Two Banana Day”; and, with a catchy indie-pop backdrop, caveman named Dave pointing out that an erupting volcano is a hot mess. These are just a few of the priceless gems you’ll find in this collection.


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Halloween Special 2015 – Get into the spirit!

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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. 

a0596386326_10“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.

Like what you hear? Grab a free download and take it with you.

download“I Am Not Afraid”Renee & Friends with Caspar Babypants and Rolfe Kent. The orchestral crescendos beautifully complement the song’s fierce declaration.

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“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.

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“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?

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“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.

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“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.

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“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!

For more Halloween music to add to the spirit of the day. Check out previous Halloween playlists posted on Kids Can Groove. 

Video: Ratboy Jr. “The Skunk and the Robot” from Hamster Pants

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Timothy Sutton (“Timmy”) and Matt Senzatimore (“Matty”) make up the Hudson Valley-based duo, Ratboy Jr.  Earlier this week, they relased their third studio album, Hamster Pants, and a video to go with it. For their single, “The Skunk and the Robot,” the guys explore the idea of whether of what might happen is a robot got sprayed by a skunk. Ratboy Jr. specializes in exploring “what if” scenarios that prompt kids to stretch their imaginations in unexpected ways. They’re wacky, which is why we like ’em. And this song is crazy catchy!

Take a listen to Hamster Pants through the CDBaby widget at Ratboy Jr. official site.

View This: “Where Do Monsters Go When It’s Not Halloween” – Ratboy Jr.

51x98urmivL._SL500_AA280_Halloween is just around the corner! In perfect timing, Ratboy Jr. just released a video for their song “Where Do Monsters Go When It’s Not Halloween?” To help them illustrate possible fallbacks and day jobs for a variety of monsters, Ratboy Jr. gets some artistic assistance from the 1st graders at the Woodstock Day School. Through drawings, each scenario is matched up to the words of the song, i.e. mummies cleaning windows in New York City and zombies driving zambonis, for example. Even Frankenstein grabs the mic on this one.

“Where Do Monsters Go When It’s Not Halloween” is from Ratboy Jr’s 2013 release, Champions of the Universe. It’s an awesome album brimming with creativity that taps into the depths of kids’ imaginations. When we first heard this song Emily, who enjoys donning a Hulk mask and shouting “HULK SMASH!,” sat straight up, eyes wide, and genuinely asked “YEAH! Where do monsters go when it’s not Halloween?” This priceless sense of wonder and curiosity is why Ratboy Jr. makes listening to music fun. When you think about it, it’s a great question, right?

Summer Songs

It’s heating up here on the West Coast and we’ve been spending alot of time in the car searching for cooler places.  As such, we have been racking up a list of some summer songs that take our minds to a better place and off the scorching introduction to summer.

Below is a Spotify playlist of just some of our favorites.  It includes old and new tunes we hope you’ll enjoy.

KidQuake! – The Not-Its! from KidQuake!
The Ground – Underbirds from Underbirds
The Seven Cs – Recess Monkey from Deep Sea Diver
Sailing – Ratboy Jr. from Champions of the Universe
A Bailar – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band from ¡fantastico!
Go! – Alphabet Rockers from Go!
Bikeride (Bonus Track) – Vered from Good Morning My Love
Lazy Raisins – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke from Pleased To Meet You
Big Wheel – The Pop Ups from Outside Voices
Bully Bully – Shine and the Moonbeams from Shine Your Shine
Sunshine Through My Window – Play Date from Imagination
We Just Wanna Have Fun – Milkshake from Got a Minute?
The Way It Goes – Grenadilla from Can’t Wait
Yes, We Have Rhythm – Lunch Money from Silly Reflection
Little Cloud (feat. Rachel Loshak) – Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights from Bandwagon
I Go – Mariana Iranzi from Hola Hello
Beautiful Mess – Kindiependent from The Happy Birthday EP
Turn Around – Cat Doorman from Songbook
Rain – Paul Spring from Home of Song

View This: “High 5 Your Shadow” – Ratboy Jr.

Ratboy-JR-TOYS-PRESS-300I 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.