Halloween Comes Early to Nugget Island!

Musical Tricks

Last Halloween, we got into the spirit early with the Nugget Island Family Halloween Hootenanny playlist for Spotify. Filled with classic family-safe scare-tracks and classic kindie treats, this playlist is a must for Halloween lovers. Add it to your Spotify playlists now to hear classic Halloween-loving musicians like John Zacherle, The Moon-Rays, Shiny Toy Guns, Spike Jones and Voltaire. Of course, no family Halloween  is complete without some kindie superstars, so we’ve invited artists like Doctor Noize, The Hipwaders, Justin Roberts, Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck, Recess Monkey, Roger Day, Trout Fishing in America and more to this All Hallow’s Eve shindig.

A Free Treat

Meanwhile, for those who want to celebrate the season of Fall – with or without Halloween – I wanted to call out a free download.  Kindie music superstar Joanie Leeds has written a new song called “Falling” – in celebration of the season – and she is giving it away as a free download here.


Two things we love in our house: Halloween and Spotify. And the two now merge as I introduce my “Family Halloween Hootenanny” mix for all to enjoy. Christmas has its own carols, so let’s not forget the musical sounds of October super-celebration All Hallow’s Eve. While adults may have the likes of G.W.A.R., Rob Zombie, and psychobilly to enjoy, we need a few G/PG-tunes for the little ones. So, click the link below, fire up Spotify, and light the pumpkin for 100 tunes to terrorize (and more to come).

Kindie artists include

Ann Ruckert
Asylum Street Spankers
Baze and His Silly Friends
Creepy Public Domain Halloween Art. Doctor Noize
Erin Lee & Marci
Janet Sirett
Marcia Louis
Marla Lewis
Mary Kaye
MC Chris
Monty Harper
Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck
Roger Day
The Hipwaders
The Sunny-Side Up Band
Trout Fishing in America

And our new favorite:

Skelly and the Punkins

Sadly missing from Spotify:
Sue Schnitzer’s Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat

And some spooky tunes from:

Bessie Smith
Cab Calloway
David Bowie
Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Eban Schletter
John Zacherle
Nightmare Before Christmas
Shiny Toy Guns
Siouxsie And The Banshees
Spike Jones
The Blanks
The Coffinshakers
The Kingston Trio
The Moon-Rays

Summer is upon us, and with it comes fresh inspiration to add new music to your mix. Here are a few well-timed family music albums to consider adding to your summer plans.

For your backyard BBQ:

Party time at your place? There’s a reason Roy Handy and the Moonshot have an exclamation point at then end of each song. This project from musical dad Gerry Stanek is not stop rock ‘n roll fun with song titles like “Socks Are Overrated!!,” “Space Kitty!!” and “Pancakes!!” Album highlight “Crayon Man!!” is a kindie rock classic that will have the little ones jumping up and down manically on that rented moon bounce or backyard trampoline. Debut album (I’m Gonna Be) Your Best Friend is a must for your all-ages summer day celebration.

Roy Handy and the Moonshot
Roy Handy and the Moonshot on Facebook

For your Sunday drive:

Does your Sunday usually involve a drive to the beach? Or perhaps just hopping in the car and seeing where the day takes you? Putumayo’s newest CD, Rock & Roll Playground, will help avoid any music battles. The king of curators have put together a fine and diverse mix for the little ones that includes everything from Rhythm Child’s Cajun-flavored “Oh Susanna” to Rosie Flores & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts’ bluesy-rock “This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’” to the power pop of Roger Day’s “Dream Big!”  Help fight backseat boredom and bickering with the included booklet about the history of rock ‘n roll and the songs on the album. Unfortunately, this album won’t be able to solve those backseat middle space turf wars.

Rock & Roll Playground
Rock & Roll Playground on Putumayo Kids Official Site

For your Sunday morning drive:

For those whose Sunday morning involves a trip to Church, Butterflyfish’s Ladybug may make excellent musical accompaniment for the drive. A progressive and non-preachy effort from Boston-area musicians Matthew Myer Boulton, Elizabeth Myer Boulton, and Zoë Krohne, this roots-style Americana music mixes spiritual (“What Jonah Learned Inside the Whale”) and non spiritual (“Lemonade”) songs. The band writes their own material while creating fresh, rootsy interpretations of well known praise songs.

Butterflyfish Official Site

For the REALLY LONG Drive:

If your drive is more than a quick trek to the local watering hole, perhaps you want to consider the album Green Golly & Her Golden Flute by Flute Sweet & Tickletoon. This album mixes storytelling and music in an update of the Rapunzel story. Flute Sweet & Tickletoon (aka Barbara Siesel and Keith Torgan) act out their own interpretation while mixing in music from well known composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Siesel’s flute playing is a great way to school the kiddos on classical music without them realizing it. And storytime is always an imaginative time killer.

Green Golly
Flute Sweet & Tickletoon Official Site

For kid-safe tailgating:

Nothing makes better tailgating music than good old classic rock ‘n roll. StarFish is the type of band made to blast from car speakers and high-power stereo systems. These guys have burst on the kindie scene with kid-safe fist-pumping rock tunes like “Here Comes Trouble,” and “Air Guitar.” (And yes, you may even recognize a few classic rock riffs in those tunes). Sure to appeal to a wide demographic of grandparents, parents and the little ones, the tunes from new CD Enter Sandbox! are made for live performances. This Maplewood, NJ quintet is on the road this summer, bringing their new stadium-style kindie rock to the mini-masses.

StarFish Official Site

For warm summer nights on the patio (or in the nursery):

I never thought it would be possible that an album could function as a both lullaby album for the little one and a late night/backyard chilling out album for my wife and me. American Laundromat Records have pulled it off though with their charity compilation album, Sing Me To Sleep – Indie Lullabies. The compilation rounds up some of my personal favorites like Tanya Donelly, Dean & Britta, The Real Tuesday Weld, Sigur Rós, Trespassers William, and Stars, to raise money for The Valerie Fund. This album mixes wondrous renditions of childhood favorites (“Rainbow Connection,”Pure Imagination,” “Edelweiss”) modern classics (“Boys Of Summer,” “The Sounds Of Silence,” “Cloudbusting”) and traditional tunes (“You Are My Sunshine,” “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”). What better way to lure the little one to sleep or read a book by candlelight than with the fine-tuned tastes of American Laundromat?

Sing Me to Sleep
Sing Me to Sleep on Facebook

For the staycation:

Plans to stay home this summer? Take a virtual trip to the moon with what is surely one of my favorite albums of the year – Recess Monkey’s Final Funktier. Their new funk and electronic-infused album is a bold success from start to finish. From opening tracks “Liftoff” and personal album fave “Moonboots” to hip-hop infused “Beat-Box-a-Robot” and the riotous groove of “Sunglasses,” the album is pure otherworldly pop pleasure. Who needs a trip to the shore/cabin/lake when Recess Monkey can rock you into outer space and back in just over a half an hour?

Recess Monkey
Recess Monkey Official Site

Just click on the links above and check out some of these albums for any sort of musical summer celebration!

Thinking of some of modern music’s best concept albums could be a fun party game. Everyone from Green Day (“American Idiot”) to David Bowie (“The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”) to Nirvana (“The Story of Simon Simopath”) has dabbled in the format. So, it makes perfect sense that a kindie artist would have a go at the idea as well.

Wikipedia‘s definition of a concept album is “an album that is ‘unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical’.” Based on that definition, the fourth release from Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winning musician Roger Day surely Gray Mattersfits the bill. Why Does Gray Matter? … And Other Brainy Songs for Kids is comprised of 14 human brain-themed tracks, focusing on both its anatomy and the importance of its use. Press materials and reviews have rightfully been pointing to its Schoolhouse Rock quality, and Roger certainly did his research on this album to make sure all science was fact-checked.

Day is already a well-known face in the family music arena, releasing his first album Rock ‘n’ Roll Rodeo in 1998. Pulling in talent like the Indigo Girls and Nanci Griffith on past albums, Roger’s music background includes studies in classical voice and years of playing college coffeehouses. Other family music cred includes a Parents’ Choice Recommended award for a family concert DVD, appearances on Public Television and heavy Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live airplay.

So does the album deliver on its wholly unique theme and entertain at the same time? After several backseat and dinnertime listens, it got the thumbs up from our end. “Left Brain/Right Brain” was an instant favorite, where the left side of the brain is a personified as a ridged classical band and the right side is a lawless punk rock band. Brilliant.

The dangers of drinking frozen drinks too quickly is given the pop-rock treatment in the instantly catchy “Brain Freeze.” “It’s A No Brainer” is a mellow ode to math – and a throwback to “Stay” (Just a Little Bit Longer)- that may help your little ones conquer their fear of numbers. Day even brought in the Chief Neuropathologist at Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey for the anatomically-correct song “The Brain Train.” This inventive tune takes listeners into the brain of musician Ringo Star. The album is also full of motivational songs (“Shake Up Your Brain,” “Use Your Noodle,” and “Get Your Brain in Gear” ) pushing the importance of using your mind to solve problems.

Why Does Gray Matter? will be released February 9, available at rogerday.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes. Use your brain and check it out.

Halloween is my holiday. As a horror movie junkie and a lover of all things creepy, crawly and spooky, I absolutely delight in a day of the year where everyone of all ages accepts a little macabre into their manor.  Sure, it has to be down-aged for the little ones, but as soon as the decorations appear in stores, I am ready to celebrate.

G-Rated Boos from Schnitzer

As my blog clearly demonstrates, I also enjoy celebrating quality and entertaining music with my daughter. So when All Hallows Eve comes around, it is an essential to find songs that match the season. As Maia is only three, I have to be somewhat selective in fright-themed tunes, but with wonderful sites like  Zooglobble.com, Kidsmusic.about.com, gooney bird kids, and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child to guide me, we can get quite the playlist going. Here are a few songs to add to your mix this season.

Kindie Blood Curdles

“Howling at the Moon” by The Hipwaders -  This California kindie trio offers a fun werewolf tale that will inspire some backseat howling.

“Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat” by Sue Schnitzer - A fun folk ditty from Sue’s full album of Halloween songs for kids.

“The Day After Halloween” by The Sippy Cups – We fell in love with this song last year, as well as its accompanying video. Another kindie superstar band, the song comes from their EP One Day Soon.

“The Edison Museum” by They Might Be Giants – This song is on their No! album. A spooky ditty  about a haunted mansion, this track will be creeping the kiddies out all year.

The Gabba gang plays dress up
Give them something good to eat

“A Monster Goes Rrraargh!” by ScribbleMonster & His Pals – This hard rocker from Chicago-area kindie quintet ScribbleMonster will have the little ones practicing their best monster growls well past the season of scares.

“Moogie Monster Man” by Kevin Kammeraad and Friends – Off Kevin’s 50+ track collection The Tomato Collection: The Big Album, this is less a Halloween song and more a celebration of make-pretend monsters.

“Monster Face” by Roger Day- Doing his best Pee-Wee Herman voice, Day demands all the kids make their best monster face and then dance, dance, freeze.

“Skeleton Song” by Mary Kaye – Maine-based Mary Kaye has created a delightfully quirky Halloween song with some fun xylophone instrumentation and mouth sound effects.

“Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” by Monty Harper – Oklahoma-based children’s performer Harper tells a (kid-safe) creepy tale of a troll who exacts revenge on a house with no candy left.

Assorted Halloween Songs from Yo Gabba Gabba – In case you missed the  Halloween-themed episode, it features some great music, both from the regular cast of characters, as well as musical guests Shiny Toy Guns and I Monster. We love these songs so much, we had to find a way to extract and save the songs from the episode after we purchased it on iTunes.

Adult Supervision Recommended

Zacherley cooks up Halloween fun in the lab

“Ghoul Bash” by Eban Schletter featuring Dave Gruber Allen – This composer/songwriter has brought a team of talent on board for his more adult-skewing album Witching Hour. Jill Sobule, Dave Foley, Paul F. Tompkins, Grant Lee Phillips and Tom Kenny (aka Spongebob Squarepants) all show up on various Halloween-themed tracks.

“Halloween Dance” by Reverend Horton Heat , “No Costume, No Candy” by The Swingin’ Neckbreakers – Both of these songs are from the Rob Zombie-produced compilation Halloween Hootenanny. While his adult efforts (both film and music) aren’t exactly family fare, these hard rocking songs are safe for your Halloween shuffle mix.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – ‘Tis the season to appreciate all things MJ.  Like most people in my age bracket, I was a bit traumatized by this video as a kid. Regardless, the song is relatively harmless, as long as the Vincent Price voice-over doesn’t unnerve any young ears.

Classic Cuts

“Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley - As a kid, these songs drove me crazy. Now, it is with tongue in cheek that I share them with my daughter..

“Which Witch is Which” from Walt Disney Record’s Halloween Songs & Sounds - Pulled f

Disney scares
Disney scares

rom a Disney novelty record, this track will entertain the Mickey lovers in the minivan.

“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas OST) – While the accompanying images from the film may be a bit too intense for younger kids, the song itself has become a seasonal classic.

“Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back)” by Harry Belafonte – The “King of Calypso” sings about the undead in one of my favorite songs from these picks.  While you are at it, pick up the whole Belafonte collection for the rest of the year.

Halloween Detox (Or,  how to “unspook” your child through the power of music)

“Under My Bed” by Recess Monkey – Seattle kindie band (and teachers by day) turn the monster-under-bed story on its side with this not-so-scary story song.

“Soaper the Scaredy-Bot” by The Jimmies – Let Ashley Albert and co. remind your little ones not to be afraid of silly things with this irresistible kids’ tune that will distract them from that evil ghoul in the closet.

“Maybe the Monster” by Justin Roberts – This song, from the popular Chicago children’s singer-songwriter, is just one of the many songs out there to help kids remember that monsters are “make pretend.”

Happy Halloween!

“Coolest Little Monster ” by John Zacherley – Many of the (quite humorous) lyrics from the song will go over heads of little ones, but any song from this TV horror host personality is a must for the season.