Crunchy Leaves and Cool New Kindie

Although I am still in denial, the dreaded F word is upon us. I know some celebrate the season of Fall, but give me hot sweltering weather any day. (Though I do LIKE “I Will Go Slightly Out of My Way To Step On A Crunchy-Looking Leaf” on Facebook. ) Weather preferences aside, in anticipation of the new season, let’s do an iPod refresh and check out some new options for your library.

Lucky Diaz – Luckiest Adventure

After checking out the amazing album artwork for Lucky Diaz’s family music EP, Luckiest Adventure, I knew I was in for an original project. Lucky Diaz delivers an excellent 5-track contribution to the family music scene, full of finely-crafted acoustic pop tunes. Whether bringing a fresh take on a tired standard, “This Old Man,” or introducing his own originals like “Fire Fighter Girl,” Diaz is a promising new artist on the scene.

Todd McHatton – Sundays at the Rocket Park

Todd McHatton’s Christmas E.P. put him on our radar last year. His new full length release further showcases his sunshiney pop-rock sound. Full of harmonious and quirky songs about animals, superheroes and a guy who enjoys eating clothes, McHatton’s latest is one of those rare releases that you can play from start to finish without hitting the skip button.

The Rattles – Rattle On

Sure, a band fronted by cartoon characters can be gimmicky. But what if the band made music that was actually interesting? Gorillaz for kids, perhaps? Fronted by cartoon animals Gus, Kitty, Hal and Sal, The Rattles put cartoon bands like The Archies to shame. Think quality kindie pop music represented by a kid-friendly, TV pilot-ready quartet.

Dream Jam Band – Leave it in the Soup

I will admit, the album cover had me worried that I was about to hear some Aqua-style Euro Pop. I was quite wrong. The Dream Jam Band is actually four music teachers making high-energy music for kids that spans multiple genres from surf rock to bluegrass to classical. Their Children’s Music Award and Sirius chart success is well-deserved as they know their audience well and make interactive, high-energy music that is sure to satisfy.

The Okee Dokee Brothers – Take It Outside

I love any band that expands both my music horizons and my daughter’s at the same time. Before kindie music entered our household, bluegrass was a dirty word. But bands like The Okee Dokee Brothers have changed that. Take It Outside is the latest effort from this Twin Cities duo, mixing a twangy sound with bits of rock, funk, pop and country. Bringing their sense of humor and high energy to each song, The Okee Dokee dudes deserve all the praise this album has received.

The Bazillions – Rock-n-Roll Recess

Speaking of the Twin Cities, The Bazillions is another act making waves in this city and beyond. While their pop-rock sound is reminiscent of Justin Roberts, their vocals are their own and finely tuned thanks to their work with their own indie-rock band, The Humbugs. This band, created by parents/educators/singer-songwriters Adam and Kristin Marshall, knows how to write a memorable, catchy tune that will stand out in the iPod mix.

The Not-Its – Time Out to Rock

Yes! Our beloved Seattle kindie rock group is back again. Fronted by 90’s indie pop it-girl Sarah Shannon, The Not-Its matches their cool clothes and images with a kindie rock sound widely lauded by fans. This time they are rocking even harder with stand out tracks like “Welcome to Our School” and title track “Time Out to Rock.”

Monkey Monkey Music with Meredith LeVandeWhat Are the Odds?

Meredith brings on music and movement in this album that is pure preschool gold. This is the album to bring to your child’s preschool teacher who is stuck playing that factory-bred toddler tune album. Instead, share Meredith’s sweet voice and original mix of acoustic, funk and pop-style tunes. Or, enjoy the album at home and have fun interacting with each song or enjoying Meredith’s wordplay.

The Sweet ColleensThe Monkey Dance

Mixing up Americana, rock, Celtic and even some Caribbean, The Sweet Colleens are clearly a seasoned bunch of musicians, fronted by a vocalist who stands out from the kindie rock pack. With classic-rock vocals, he adds something extra to kid-ready songs about poopy diapers, monkeys, and road trips. The Sweet Colleens even do a standout take of Woodie Guthrie’s classic “Who’s My Pretty Baby.”

Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump BandPlay

Swedberg created Play to encourage families to pick up and play the ukulele. But even if you are not a musically-inclined family, Play is still pure listening pleasure. A stripped down, refreshing album full of standard tunes, Swedberg has timeless, inimitable vocals. In between all the kindie rocking, it is nice to sit back, relax and hear some top-notch ukulele playing from a talent who has been strumming away since the ripe age of five.

Bill HarleyThe Best Candy in the Whole World

The godfather of children’s music has a new album out this week. On his latest release, Harley’s trademark narrative-filled, folksy tunes are interspersed with his captive storytelling. Harley has been entertaining kids for years with his imaginative songs and stories, and his new album won’t disappoint all the listeners in the minivan.

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