As summer is winding down and we start gearing up for school to begin next week, I think it’s time to take a look at some of the great new music we’ve been listening to these past few months, because there’s some cool stuff out there that you won’t want to miss. All of these albums were sent to me in advance for free, and if you want to come over, I will let you listen to any of them! Otherwise you will have to wait for most of them to be officially released!
“Odds & Ends” – Andrew & Polly
Welcome to your new favorite album. Out of everything we have listened to this summer (and we have listened to a lot), this is what my kids keep asking for more of. Andrew and Polly are musicians of a whimsical caliber, having worked on shows for Nickelodeon and done music for various commercials and films, and they know how to have fun. Imagine your favorite indie band sitting down in a classroom and making music, not just for the children, but with the children, and you will have some sense of the joy and fun that is contained in these 10 tracks. Imaginative covers, catchy original tunes, and mischievous energy that will keep you hitting “repeat,” this album is out September 25th.
1) Fruitphabet – Could there be a sillier and more fun way to recite the alphabet? The duo starts off reading off fruits for every letter, but start getting confused as early as “C” and are fully off the rails by “F,” much to my children’s (and my) amusement!
2) Grapes – This is it. Our number one track of the summer. Everyone in our family has been singing it non-stop since we first heard it. Anytime we don’t want to do anything, our new code phrase is “I’m gonna go home, and I’m gonna eat some grapes.” One listen and you’ll be singing it too.
3) Ghostbusters – Yes, you read that right. They do an amazing cover of Ghostbusters, complete with accordion, kazoo, and updated language. Why call them? The question, really, is “Who ya gonna text?!”
“Up to Something Good” – Sunshine Collective
But maybe you have gotten tired of listening to songs explain counting and the alphabet to you. Have you thought, “These are fine songs, but I am an adult. I just want to listen to whatever is in now, like retro-pop-rock-60’s-70’s-synth-euphoria! But my kids don’t like my music!?” Well, worry no more. Sunshine Collective is one group that is is going to make the entire family get up and dance. “Up to Something Good” releases on September 18th, or if you want to come over to my house before that, we will definitely be blasting some of these tracks!
4) Up to Something Good – The story of a female superhero with the amazing power to brighten people’s days, this is a song that I want my daughter (and son) to fall in love with. Luckily they didn’t need any persuasion from me, as this bright, pure, pop creation soars out of the speakers and gets us all feeling a little super, and like doing some good in this world.
5) Take Me Away – A song of play and pretending, this song starts out soft with a slow burning energy that continues to take you places right up until the crash of the final chord. I can’t wait to find out where they’re taking me.
6) Somebody Somewhere – Good luck getting this chorus out of your head. What is the message of this song? That our actions have consequences? That growing up is too fast? That love and play and fun are waiting right around the corner for us? All of these things? Who cares?! I just can’t stop singing it!
“ROCKSTEADY” – Josh & the Jamtones
Yes, the album title is in all caps. Josh & the Jamtones is an all-caps kind of band. Funk-reggae-ska-punk, they are all energy and no subtlety. I think they may be aimed at a slightly older audience than my 5-and-8-year-olds. With their faux-radio-call-in tracks that reminded me a bit of a kid version of Crank Yankers, and fast and furious jokes and banter, this album is not something to listen to before bedtime. But for a dance party in the living room? It’s all on. “ROCKSTEADY” is available on Friday! August 21st!
7) ROCKSTEADY – Yeah, the song is in all caps too. One listen and you will understand why. The thumping starts and it doesn’t stop until you are all shouting along.
8) Sloop John B – No, I don’t know why the crew now has to fight a giant kraken-octobot, and no, I wasn’t at all convinced that my children’s first experience of this classic Beach Boys tune ought to be this modern version. On the other hand, I want my children to like the song, and if they only know “I’m a Believer” because of Smashmouth, maybe that’s okay. And it’s also okay to listen to Josh & the Jamtones blast through this classic Brian Wilson arrangement. In fact, it’s a lot of fun.
9) Race U – J & the Js are at their best when their subject matter suits their style, and no song better fits their sound than this song about racing. The music is racing, your heart will be racing, and suddenly you’ve found your next great driving song. Zoom zoom.
“Now That We’re Friends” – Mil’s Trills
Don’t you just love a concept album that works? “Now That We’re Friends,” releasing September 23rd, is a conversation with the audience about friendship, and it is a success. I guess we all became friends on the last album and, now that we are, it’s time to examine what that really means. And what that means is skipping, bouncing, big-band-influenced, world-music-inspired tunes that get to heart of community. From the opening track about greeting people on the street, to the closing track that tells us “Life is better when you’ve got good people around you,” so be kind, it’s a lesson that doesn’t feel like a lesson.
10) Say Hey – This is the opening track, and it starts out with a vamp that will get you moving as it crescendos into the big orchestra hits of the chorus, all the while suggesting that you “say Hey” to people once in a while. Come on! We’re friends! All of us!
11) Special – You can’t get more than 2 seconds into this track without having the tune permanently imprinted onto your brain. And if it reminds us that we all have something different to offer, so much the better.
12) Y.A.Y. – “Daddy,” my daughter asked cautiously, “Why is this song called Y.A.Y.? Why isn’t it called Go & Stop?” Good point. I believe that Y.A.Y. stands for “you are you,” but the g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-go and stop is so omnipresent on this ska number that she can be forgiven for wondering how it managed to stay out of the title. Come for the backbeats, stay for the silly sounds. One of the best tracks on the album.
Okay, I’m out of space and time for today, but rest assured we have already started adding even more great music to the rotating list that I started at the beginning of the summer, and we’ll be back another time to let you know what songs you won’t want to miss out on! And if you have songs that your kids love, and that you think my kids will love too, send along some suggestions! If we love them as much as you do, they may end up in a future edition of The Latest 35 Mix For Kids!