Listen To This: "Cats & Dogs" - Best Coast

 Best Coast - "Best Kids" cover

Best Coast - "Best Kids" cover

I know, I know record labels are (mostly) dead [waves "Hi" at Bill], but I do appreciate that Amazon Music is using some of its bazillions of dollars not just to give away free bananas but fund the creation of some kids music that probably wouldn't happen otherwise.

The latest such album is the forthcoming album Best Kids from crunchy garage pop-rockers Best Coast.  The duo of singer/guitarist Bethany Consentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, took 11 songs, a mixture of classics like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Rainbow Connection" and originals, and gave them their own Best Coast spin.  (There is, unsurprisingly, no banjo on their revved-up version of "Rainbow Connection.")

You can hear the whole thing exclusively on Amazon Music on June 22 (preorder it here), but you can listen to one of the originals, the friendship-celebrating "Cats & Dogs, RIGHT. HERE. NOW.

Video: "Like Father Like Son" - Like Father Like Son (World Premiere!)

 Sun Is a Star album cover

Sun Is a Star album cover

I've become a little more idiosyncratic in my selections of videos to feature here on the site, which is probably partially a function of the diminished visibility of kids' music videos generally.  There's so much content out there that musicians may as well just make the videos that entertain themselves.

While the duo Like Father Like Son might be new, the two musicians comprising the duo are not.  Both father Lou Gallo (solo) and son Frank Gallo (in his band Rolie Polie Guacamole) have been making music for kids for a number of years, and now they've joined forces.  Their new album Sun Is a Star comes out this week, and features Brady Rymer, Katie Ha Ha Ha, and Dean Jones, who also produces the album.

Not only do they share the songwriting burden on this new album, they share a love of running, which is borne out in this new video for "Like Father Like Son."  While I doubt the video will "wow" anyone, I just really responded to the enjoyment the Gallos clearly share in running through various locales.  Father and son are planning on running the New York City Marathon together in 2019, so perhaps it's a little preview.  I really dig the gentle folk-rocker -- and their clear good-natured attitude within.

Like Father Like Son - "Like Father Like Son" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "Little Changes" - Frank Turner

I have Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child to thank for me becoming a Frank Turner fan.  It's a fanhood that stretches back maybe seven years or more, and it's provided me with a good deal of joy since then.  Turner puts on a great live show, which from my perspective is a result of infectious life-affirming singalong choruses.  (He also offers up a nice dose of self-deprecating humor.)

Turner's just released his latest album, Be More Kind, and while the arrangements are a little poppier than some of his past, punkier work, Turner's songwriting gifts are just as sharp.  Some of the tracks on the album are more political in nature.  This one, "Little Changes," is political, too, but let's call it "small 'p' political" -- nothing that an 8-year-old wouldn't understand (though they might wonder what "the Underground" is if they're not from London).  And the video features Turner embracing more of that self-deprecating humor he deploys in concert, albeit with far fancier footwork here.

Frank Turner - "Little Changes" [YouTube]

Video: "10,000 Pancakes" - Gunnar Madsen (World Premiere!)

 I Am Your Food album cover

I Am Your Food album cover

It's been a decade since Gunnar Madsen released an album for kids (2008's I'm Growing!), but the drought is at an end with the release next month of I Am Your Food.

Perhaps unsurprisingly based on the album title and cover art, it's an album featuring nothing but food-related tracks, with guest artists like Bill Harley, Frances England, and Justin Roberts also part of the menu.  (OK, promise -- that's the only food pun I'll make in this post.)

This song, "10,000 Pancakes," features the title repeated many times at nearly shouting levels of volume.  And if you're anything like me, the phrase "Ten thousand pancakes!" will randomly pop up in your head for at least a week after hearing the track.

The video will just help reinforce that hijacking of your brain.  It features animation from Madsen himself and while the animation isn't Pixar-quality ("I can sometimes draw a cute little cartoon," says Madsen, "but the results are hit-or-miss -- mostly miss"), the angry pancakes in particular capture the energy of the song.  I like it.

I Am Your Food is out June 15 (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Bandcamp).

Gunnar Madsen - "10,000 Pancakes" [YouTube]

Video: "Blue" - Ants Ants Ants (World Premiere!)

 Why Why Why? album cover

Why Why Why? album cover

Yay for new bands making a splash!  The band in question is Ants Ants Ants, and even before the release of their debut album Why Why Why? next month, I'm already tickled pink by one of their brand new videos.  It's for the song "Blue," about blue whales, inspired in part by a conversation which one half of the duo Johnny Clay had with his daughter -- “On the way to school one morning, my 7 year old asked what the biggest animal on earth was - I told her it was a blue whale and we looked it up together when we got to school. We found out they can be 80 feet long!”

For the gentle, hummable song about blue whales, the Portland, Oregon duo of Johnny Clay and Dave Gulick turned to animator Chris Purdin.   The animation from Purdin (who also did the album art) is a perfect fit for the music, friendly and warm.  I'm happy to world-premiere the video.  And while Why Why Why? isn't available until May 20th, if you pre-order it at all the places you preorder music these days, you can get "Blue" as an instant download.  So go forth and, er, dive in!  [Slinks away slowly...]

Ants Ants Ants - "Blue" [YouTube]

Listen To This: "Waiting for the Elevator" - Laurie Berkner (World Premiere!)

 Laurie Berkner Waiting for the Elevator cover

Laurie Berkner Waiting for the Elevator cover

It's always nice to see new music from Laurie Berkner cross my desk, so when her latest single, "Waiting for the Elevator," popped in my e-mail inbox, I clicked "play" without reading anything about it.  It starts out simply, as Berkner songs often do, with an ear-wormy melody, Berkner's clear voice, and lyrics about riding up in an elevator.  Aside from the fact that she sings about riding up to the first floor (are we in Europe now?), it seemed like it was an appealing, albeit fairly conventional, song.

And then it got a little strange.

Not Inception strange, or in any way inappropriately, but what I'm saying is, listen to the whole thing.  (Your preschoolers will make you, anyway.)  I'm happy to be world premiering the track today right here, but you can also listen at your other favorite places (iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify).

Laurie Berkner - "Waiting for the Elevator" [YouTube]