I am an unabashed electronic music junkie. Not a “let’s drop ecstasy and listen to wordless rave music at the club” electronic music junkie, but someone who loves electronic music that actually includes the music part. This genre includes artists like The Bird and the Bee, Postal Service, Passion Pit, Miike Snow, Imogen Heap, Ladytron and even Madonna. I have been noticing, however, that quite a few kid-targeted acts have come on the scene with electronic-programmed beats at the core of their music. Realizing people love to put labels on music, whether to easily define it or just carve out a niche genre for their personal interest, I took it upon myself to quickly identify this subgenre as kindietronica.
Here are two efforts from artists that seem to be leading this trend toward programmable beats in the kids’ music genre. As someone who prefers beats over riffs, I am on board!
The sophomore effort from Mr. Leebot (AKA Lee Davila) is a keytar classic. This album instantly reminded me of many of the great “adult” indie bands creating throwback tunes to electro and electronic style music of the 80’s. Acts like Datarock and Chromeo fit well alongside Mr. Leebot. The album starts with the glitchy electro fun of “Robot Dance” and includes the perfect companion piece “Broken Robot” later on the album. The kiddie protest song “It’s Wasn’t Me” reminds me of the new-wave electronica that is sweeping the indie rock world. The swirling keyboards and quick beats of “Twirl! Twirl! Twirl!” make you want to do just that. Eco-messaged “Green Family” and anti-complaining song “No Whining” show why Davila is often mentioned in the same sentence as Devo. “Paper Airplane” and wear-your-helmet song “Protect Your Nog” serve as proof that a poppy kids’ song can meld with bleepy programming and actually work.
Apparently the debut release from this band, their sparse website includes minimal info on the band other than the duo’s names, Duncan and Handsome Pete. The band let their electronic flag fly with first song “It’s Elemenos Time,” a rock intro song with a pulsing beat underneath and a request to “crank up your stereo.” The theme of mixing rock and beats continues with beeping solar system song “the Planets,” the synthy 80’s throwback “Where You Are” and the hip-hop beat of “Matter, What’s a Matter.” The eLeMeNOs are also probably the first band to have a drum-and-bass song for kids with the grammar song “Do it, You’re a Verb.” A few songs go slightly unplugged, like the ballad to the demoted planet “Don’t Go Pluto” or the Spanglish homework help song “Help Me, Ayudame.” If Mr. Leebot is the kids’ Kraftwerk , one may call the eLeMeNOs a kids’ Beck.
Have a “kindietronica” act you like? Comment below and share!