Tag Archives: music

Coconuts over Recess Monkey

Disclaimer: I recieved a copy of the album to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

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We had a lot going on over the summer, and between the baby and a wedding and other events, there just wasn’t a lot of time for the beach.

My mom and I took Wonder Boy down for a special trip just for him (and to make sure the property was ready for family to stay there since it had some renovations done. He had asked for a trip to the beach, so I really wanted to give him a couple of hours in the sand since he had been doing such a good job being a new big brother.

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We meditated down to the beach playing Recess Monkey’s latest, “Desert Island Disc” while thinking of the brief getaway we would be making from civilization.

Lil’ Wonder stayed with grandma away from the beach and sand. Wonder Boy’s first trip to the beach was before he could sit up by himself, and somewhere in that fistful of sand he put in his mouth he developed a love for digging and building sand castles.

Well, mostly digging.

My son loves just playing in the sand, while I go stick my toes in the cold wet sand and meditate on the waves coming in and out.

From the groovy hula motions of “Coconut Radio” (that title alone makes me think of Gilligan’s Island) to the Beach Boys-esque “Getting a Sunburn” (which could have been my little brother’s anthem growing up.

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and, there’s definitely “Island Radio Disc” to me sounds like Sargent Pepper and his famous band got stranded on a desert island just before the Beatles made their famous album.

Recess Monkey is a family favorite and I’m glad to a have two discs to play on long trips (one there, one on the way back) that doesn’t drive anyone bonkers and I don’t have to worry about my son hearing lyrics he shouldn’t.

The album was recorded with instruments that, if they were washed upon an island, would be able to play.

 ” Notes Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman, “After the electrified excitement of Deep Sea Diver, we wanted to explore the calmer side of our songs, and what better place than on a remote beach?  Desert Island Disc ended up being played with instruments only available on an island:  strange, pieced together drums, acoustic textures, and waves gently lapping on the shore.”

WHile the songs are silly, they also blend in enough with the rest of our playlists that when people come over, they can’t tell that they’re hearing kid’s music, and my son gets to enjoy the music he loves too.

I love the play on words on “Dessert Island”… who wouldn’t want to sail on a sea of fudge?

Goodness knows if I was ever abandoned on a desert isle, I’d want graham cracker crumbs instead of sand and some marshmallows to round out my banquet while looking out at a chocolate ocean.

The disc completes the saga started by Recess Monkey on their “Deep Sea Diver” album (yep, already talked about it here) and compliments it perfectly- definitely reminiscent of the same Beatles, Beach Boys, and other groovy bands, but is also a little more laid back, mellow, and perfect for hanging out in the backyard on a sunny afternoon, diggin’ in the sandbox.

If you haven’t already gotten a hold of “Deep Sea Diver” I recommend it, but you don’t need it to enjoy “Desert Island Disc”.

 

“Desert Island Disc” is available on their website, iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and other retailers on October 15.

Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook to follow along o their post-island adventures.

A Big Top for the whole family

Disclaimer: LiveNation gave me two tickets to give away. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was given.

Children should go to concerts.

And not just the concerts meant for little kids, with colorful characters acting out the songs and encouraging the kids to sing along. And not just the concerts that inevitably happen in the summer with a local concert band around the Fourth of July.

They should listen to the local rock bands and be the ones spinning in front of the girl with the acoustic guitar at the coffee shop and go to that all-day jazz festival.

Wonder Boy has gone to concerts ever since in utero, where he kicked along to a familiar song as I sat in a crowded room wondering if the noise level was too loud for his developing ears.

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He’s been held at the back of venues, staring in wonder. He’s sat on my husband’s shoulders, thrilling at the noise and shouting, “You rock!” just at that moment where everyone else stops cheering and the band starts playing the next song.

Well, I was totally impressed with I heard about the “Big Top” set of performances happening this month.

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Indie American folk band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic  Zeros are headlining an eclectic music festival under a vintage big top tent in LA.

The Big Top music festival will include a farmers market, beer garden, other musicians and circus-style acts. Marionettes, balloons, acrobats- it’s an amazing lineup.

The band toured with Mumford and Sons in 2011 and was featured in the award-winning documentary “Big Easy Express”.

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On Sunday, October 20th there will be a special family matinée as part of their weekend festival in LA State Historic Park, featuring Gwyndolyn and the Good Time Gang.

This is a great chance to take the family out for an afternoon somewhere where you can get a complete experience- music kids and adults can enjoy along with creative performances on stage and beyond. This concert is going to be amazing!

There will be an outdoor bazaar that is free to the public and will have performances on an outdoor stage, vendors and food and drink. Check out more information about the concert or free outdoor bazaar at the events Facebook page.

From  Rolling Stone:

The circus experience was created and curated by the band, and the festivities
will take place beneath a traditional big top tent and include film and art
installations leading to an intimate performance in the round by Sharpe and his
band. A farmer’s market, beer garden, and other musical performances will take
place outside the tent, rounding out the carnivalesque experience. Big Top will
also feature vaudeville comedy, contortionists, acrobats, puppetry and
interactive performance art.

Listen to Edward Sharpe and the magnetic Zeros’ song “Home”.

I love the folk genre for entire families to enjoy- most kids I know love acoustic guitar music and the songs tend to be more family friendly and easy to dance along to.

I am also lucky enough to be able to give away a pair of tickets to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ Sunday matinee performance.

Tickets for the concert under the Big Top are $50 for adults; $25 for kids 3-12 (2 and under are free) and a family 4-pack is only $100.

I can’t wait to hear about this concert, so please share pictures with me on Instagram or tweet me (both at @mrswndr) so I can experience it too.

All you have to do is enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Never used one? All you need is Facebook or a name and email address (so you can be contacted if you are the winner).

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goin’ on a Bear Hunt!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this CD to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

When I was a Girl Scout, I spent several years as an aid helping younger girls and leading songs under the big tree in front of the lodge at dear old Camp Wi-Wo-Ca, or keeping the girls in their seats and entertained by singing them all the way home from day camp.

One of the more popular songs that came up daily every year was about going on a ‘squeegee hunt’, with the kids repeating everything back and a variety of obstacles that were acted out.

Well, Josh and the Jamtones’ Bear Hunt album is just one long squeegeee hunt of their own mixed up with silly  songs and crazy adventures.

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From the “Death Valley Cornfield of Doom” to the Lightning Lake of a Thousand Sea Monsters”, each song is a step forward in the hunt for a bear (don’t forget your floaties!).

As Wonder Boy is getting older, I love that he is getting the patience to do longer activities like sitting and drawing a picture or two, and this album could be inspiration for drawing bears or maps for adventures.

This album would be awesome on longer car trips because there is a storyline interwoven among the songs of a silly bear hunt and adventures in different, silly and dangerously named places.

Here is a video of them performing one of the songs on the album (and that many people know).

You can follow Josh and the Jamtones on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

Josh and the Jamtones’ Bear Hunt! is available October 1st on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.

Recess Monkeys are seaworthy

 Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the album for review purposes. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

I got a hold of the next Recess Monkey CD before our recent trip to the beach house- a last hoorah of zoo and beach fun before staying  home with a newborn baby.

Having an ocean- themed album was perfect to ride to the beach to, and put a nautical air to our adventure before we could smell the sweet salt breeze.

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Recess Monkey was a favorite in our car before we started getting music to review, back when I actually paid to have Sirius in my car and Kids Place Live played constantly in it while I drove little Wonder Boy around on errands, glancing at his be-boppin’ head in the rear view mirror.

Their newest album “Deep Sea Diver” is a totally danceable album that is perfect for summer fun. Perfect for the preschool and younger elementary school set, the album is full of fun tracks with beats that remind me of the Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

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The songs travel under the sea and splash on the shore playing with beach balls. There’s even a song about an adventuring girl that loves maps, which my son identifies with since we’ve taught him to read maps too.

I think my personal favorite on this album is “Up Periscope” just because I love to hear my son try to song along with it. He loves the first few songs of the album, the rockin’ “Fish Sticks” which sings about an underwater music club, “Deep End” which talks about the revered part of any backyard pool, and “Beach Ball” which talks about the unpredictable and necessary summer toy.

Part of the band’s inspiration comes from new member Korum Bischoff, who grew up on a boat and wanted to share some of that experience with the band’s young audience.

The album paddles its way through an underwater adventure toward a desert island destination featured on their next album, set to be released later this year.

The Recess Monkey CD ‘Deep Sea Diver’ will be available June 18. You can preorder the CD through their website or find it in iTunes, CD Baby, or other retailers.

 

Recess Monkey would be a great act to catch live and thankfully for us SoCal people, the Seattle group will be playing two gigs in August at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles! Click on ‘shows’ and scroll for more info for the August 10th and 11th dates.

You can find Recess Monkey on Facebook and Twitter .

Want a Milkshake?

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this album to review. No compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

For the last few weeks I have the same songs playing over and over in my car. As in, even when my son isn’t around, I find myself still listening to the album and not caring that it’s kids music.

It’s just FUN.

My son and I sing like drunken pirates, hiccup, and jam with them. There’s so many songs on here that are just moments in time for any child- stargazing, dancing, and one of my son’s favorite pastimes, watching cars go by as we drive along (he always wants me to speed up to race or sllow down so he can check them out on the freeway).

For a full day of errands (which is usually just a morning of before it’s time to take someone home before he goes crazy) Milkshake’s most recent one is going to stay in my car for a long, long time. Got a Minute? has 34 tracks with songs ranging a whole spectrum of genres, themes and occasions.

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I couldn’t resist the tutu awesomeness on the cover and on the lead singer, Lisa. The Grammy-nominated band has made five albums, several of which has a target age range. Got A Minute? is an album intended to please kids toddler to tween and probably their parents as well.

For instance, the title track? So me as a kid- and also me as an adult, when my husband comes home and for a half hour I tell him all of the random events of the day while he tries to unwind.

Milkshake’s album is full of songs that clock in at two minutes or less- great to keep in the car and varied enough to keep a parent from going crazy from the same songs playing over and over.

We’ve played it enough my son has earned some of the songs by heart. Here he is with one of his favorites.

You may also recognize Milkshake from this PBS Earth Day segment that aired last year.

 

Want to try out a lil’ shake? here is a link to an internet-exclusive track.

Got a Minute? is available at milkshakemusic.com, stores and at sites like at  amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes.

You can follow Milkshake on Twitter and find them on Facebook.