The Band
The Pop Ups

A Brooklyn music duo is getting an overwhelming positive response from the family music community  and after checking out The Pop Ups’ debut album, it is clear why. The Pop Ups started their project with demos sent to friends, and the response they got from them was eventually echoed in the public excitement around their first full length CD, Outside Voices.

The Pop Ups is the creation of Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz. Stein earned his indie cred as the creator behind Tribeca’s break out Bim Bom Musicfest while entertaining kids with various musical projects including a Hanukkah puppet musical and an all-ages Klezmer act. Rabinowitz’s  indie rock credits include sharing the stage with acts like Regina Spektor, The National, Rilo Kiley, Ra Ra Riot, and I’m From Barcelona and fronting the band The Bloodsugars. His kid-friendly efforts include three albums and a live show for the Little Maestros.

I knew The Pop Ups’ album was going to strike a chord with young parents and their kiddos straight from track 1. “Outside Inside” is an epic- indie rock style tune, straight out of the Arcade Fire or Coldplay playbook, with a chanting background chorus and all. The song itself is equally delightful for the little ones, with a playful lesson around indoor and outdoor voices. Next up is a visit to the “Subway Train,” a synth-rock dance tune straight off of college radio, but with the added fun of various animal noises. You will be having a total 90’s flashback with the reggae dancehall number “Balloon,” while your little ones have fun singing about a runaway inflatable.

Outside Voices
Outside Voices

With each song on this album, the band mixes the sounds you hear buzzing up the adult music blogosphere and modern rock radio charts with kid- apropos lyrics. Take “Apes with Shapes,” a song reminiscent of another primate–themed effort: the dubby sound of the Gorillaz. “Big Wheel”  is a Hot Chip-style dance tune that goes straight for the dance floor with an ode to the big wheel. There is even a rockabilly-style music and movement song based on the concept of an “Air Band” (when an air guitar alone just won’t do).

Outside Voices is the type of effort that is made for Generation X/Generation Y parents. We are generation of music lovers used to switching genres per track and expect only top-notch releases with no album filler.

The Pop Ups also recently had a limited run of their debut musical called PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical, named after their Motown-throwback song from Outside Voices. The show features puppet characters created by Julianna Parr and Ingrid Crepeaux (Muppet Show, Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Dinosaur Rock), and has the band and their felt-friends trying to find ingredients to make the best pasta. While the limited run is over, we hope to see them take this unique show to a few more stops.

In the meantime, go out and buy Outside Voices any way you can. (They are even giving away a sample song to get listeners excited).  It’s up to us music lovers to support a great indie band so they can go ahead and keep delivering original and outstanding releases.

Interview Bonus! We had a chance to interview Jacob from The Pop Ups. Here’s his response to a few questions we threw at him.

Nugget Island: How did The Pop Us project start?

Jacob Stein: We were both playing kids’ music for other people’s projects, and one week we asked ourselves what our own kids’ project would look like. Thus, the Pop Ups were born.

NI: Your album spans multiple genres: indie pop, electronic, reggae, etc. What artists influenced the sound on this album?

JS: We were listening to everything from 80’s synth (Prince, Depeche Mode), to Stax/Volt soul (Otis Redding). Indie bands (Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Animal Collective), and even current dance music like (The Ting Tings and Architecture in Helsinki)…and much more of course…

NI: In the family music space, are there any artists you admire?

JS: We are big fans of Dinosaur Rock, Cathy and Marcy, Agent 23 Skidoo, vintage Sesame Street and old Pete Seeger (Beans in My Ears). There are a lot of new kindie bands we’re just getting to know like Mr. Leebot, Joanie Leeds, and The Not-Its.

NI: What are some of your other favorite kids’ entertainment projects?

JS: Living in Brooklyn, there’s a lot of public art works that are kid friendly. I’m thinking specifically of David Byrne’s project where he turned the Building on the Battery into a giant piano. And anything involving puppets.

NI:What type of reception have you received from the press and the fans?

JS: We took the Pop Ups from the home studio into the world because our friends with kids were really into the project. And, we’ve been really happy that the reviewers who have taken a listen to the C.D. seem to get what we’re going for.

Buy Outside Voices on or on  iTunes.

Pop Ups and Puppets
The Pop Ups and their puppet friends

A while back, we sang praises about the Bari Koral Family Rock Band’s music-and-movement friendly album Rock and Roll Garden. Well, Bari and co. have just released a video for the “The Backpack Song.” Check it out below!