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