New Family Music for February

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but here in Ohio, this February has been pretty mild and warm. However, I know that as soon as I hit “publish” on this post, a massive winter storm will sweep in and I’ll be cursing the moment I commented on the easy weather we’ve been having.

I’m not too afraid though, because I have some great new family music releases to listen to that will warm me up, keep me calm and get me rocking hard when I get cabin fever. I’m sure it will give you and your family those warm and fuzzy feelings this Valentine’s day as well!

New Family Music for February

Heart BeatsFirst up, Mighty Mo Productions is back after their last album, Smiles Ahead, with Heart Beats: Feel Good Songs for Families, a collection of 12 lovely love songs from some of the best children’s music artists, including some of my personal favorites.

I guarantee you’ll be eager to spread love and joy to your loved ones after listening to this album. It includes a wide variety of wonderful voices in offerings of zydeco (in “Light of Love” by Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could, perfect for Mardi Gras day!), rockabilly (Katydid’s “Love My Lovely” by), lullabies (“E’s Lullaby” by Ratboy Jr.) and quirky, boppy tunes like “Because I Love You” by Caspar Babypants.

The album opens with a charming and infectious song you’ll be singing all day, “Litta Bitta” You by Andrew & Polly. The softly sweet “When One Became Two,” about a growing family, is one of my favorite tunes by the Verve Pipe, and I was delighted to hear it on this album. Jim Cosgrove, Mighty Mo’s “Chief Groove Officer” also appears on the album with Jazzy Ash in the adordable rockabilly-swing “Love Comes Back.”

Heart Beats: Feel Good Songs for Families by Mighty Mo Productions is available on their website.

 

If you’re snowed in and need something to get your body up and moving, The Not-Its! Are You Listening? can take care of that for you.

The-Not-Its-Are-You-ListeningThis Seattle band’s sixth studio album is set to release February 19th, and it’s an album that this punk rock-infused band says is inspired by their daily family life.

Drums and guitars drive this album to rock, and rock hard. What I love about The Not-Its is their commitment to creating music that is accessible to young ears without compromising their distinctly edgy sound.

Are You Listening? opens with “Dance with Me,” reminding me of Tony Basil circa “Mickey.” “Done with the Science Fair” is a song that will sound familiar to both parents and kids who have suffered the woes of a school science fair project.

“Don’t Fear the Dentist” reassures young listeners that there’s nothing to worry about when getting your teeth checked, in serious punk-rock fashion. “Washington DC” is my favorite track on the album. I love how the track starts with a tourist attraction slant, but turns halfway through the song to the importance of democracy and getting your voice heard.

My only criticism is that most of the songs on the album have roughly the same tempo, and I would have loved to hear  tackle a semi-ballad.

“Traffic Jam” provides respite from the driving music of rest of album with a lilting harmony and endearing canon of voices towards the end of the track.

The Not-Its’ Are You Listening? will be available February 19th.

 

Once you’ve rocked your hearts out and need to feel grounded, you could pop in Kira Willey’s  latest album, Mindful Moments for Kids.

mindful-momentsA yoga instructor and children’s musician, Kira Willey (also known for the enchanting tune “Colors”) has released an album that includes 30 short guided mindfulness exercises to help children manage stress, find calm moments and use mindfulness to focus their energy.

While it’s geared towards children, I have to admit that I’ve been sneaking this CD when I’m alone in the car on stressful mornings. The breathing exercises and self-awareness principles are beneficial to anyone of any age.

The album is divided in to five distinct sections: Calm, Focus, Inspire, Energize and De-stress. Each exercise is backed by music that is upbeat without being distracting, setting a intentioned mood.

Willey’s exercises encourage listeners to become aware of their breath, get in a positive mindset and let go of tension in their body through fun and imaginative imagery. The album also includes two bonus tracks: “Just Be” about relaxing and being content with yourself; and “Dance for the Sun,” in which Willey showcases the strength and pliancy of her voice as she sings through yoga sun salutations.

Kira Willey’s Mindful Moments for Kids is available on iTunes, Amazon and her website.

 

Finally, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you might want to check out Raffi’s newest album, Owl Singalong.

Raffi-OwlSingalong_CVR_RGBIf you’re reading this blog because you are the parent of young children, you’ve probably heard Raffi as a child yourself. With a career that spans over four decades, and most known for “Baby Beluga,” Raffi paved the way for children’s music, and he continues to leave his mark on the industry with his newest album.

A mix of both original tunes and cover songs, Owl Singalong weaves animal and environmental themes with Raffi’s unmistakable melodic vocals.

Young listeners will recognize songs like the classic “The More We Sing Together,” and delight in the fun animal spins to standards like the Hokey Pokey (in “Lion Pokey”) and The Wheels on the Bus (in “The Dog on the Bus”).

Two standouts on the album are “Who Hoo Could I Be” (with moments that nod to the vocals of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan) and the charming French song “Dans La Forêt Lointaine.”

Raffi’s Owl Singalong is available on iTunesAmazon and his website.

 

Disclosures: I was provided a copy of these products for review purposes. All opinions are 100% completely my own. Full Of It is a participant in the iTunes Affiliate Program. If you click on some of the product links above, I will receive a small commission which in turn helps run this site. Don’t fear, I only recommend tunes that I think you’ll love!

Sound Bites for July

I don’t know about you, but this summer feels like it’s flying by. It’s been jam packed with swimming, camps, travels, popsicles, and binge-watching Orange Is the New Black.

And the field of family music is just as full this July! So, since I have a lot to introduce you to, let’s just dive right in.

July Sound Bites

The Jolly Pops is a great little band founded by three musicians/fathers: Ryan Ecklund, Billy Hartong, and Angus Clark. Their newest CD, I Didn’t Do It clearly shows that these are fathers who know what kids like. If your kids favor musicians like The Imagination Movers or Suzi Shelton, they’ll love The Jolly Pops.

The Jolly PopsTheir sound is a wonderful mix of rock and pop with solid vocals, driving guitars and kickin’ drum beats. It’s a sound that adults can identify with, but contain lyrics that showcase the band’s ability to “get” kids.

For instance, fun songs like “Popsicles” and “Chicken Nuggets” will appeal to young ears and appetites. “Alligator Dance” is a bright new-wave song that brings back memories of me dancing to “Safety Dance” in my teens. “I’m Mad” and “Feelings” teaches kids it’s okay to feel a range of emotions. And “Mama’s Not a Monkey Bar” falls in to the camp of things you never thought you’d say as a parent.

With appearances by the lovely Suzi Shelton and others, The Jolly Pops might just be that missing piece to your family’s music collection.

You can find The Jolly Pops I Didn’t Do It on their site and CD Baby.

Roses for PanjoSomewhere Beautiful by Roses For Panjo is one of those albums that I listen to and can’t get enough of.
From the first few notes, I fell in love with Tanya Leah’s crystal clear and spellbinding voice. Created for her father after he suffered a stroke to help soothe him, Somewhere Beautiful is a mellow album that you’ll want to put on repeat.

While not designed as children’s album, it is great as a family album, and something you could put on while reading books or getting ready for bed. Tanya Leah’s sound is a similar flavor to Shawn Colvin or Norah Jones, and shines on her latest album.

Standout songs on the album include the uplifting title track “Somewhere Beautiful”, the upbeat “Signs of Spring” and her dreamy rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”

Roses for Panjo’s Somewhere Beautiful is available on their site and iTunes.

Australian_Playground_Cover_WEBPutumayo Kids has a knack for transporting me to another world, and they’re back with their latest collection to sweep me away to the land down under with Putumayo Kids Presents Australian Playground. With songs by Australian singer-songrwriters and Aboriginal groups, and mentions of kangaroos, vegemite and kookaburras, I can’t help but feel a bit Aussie. Don’t worry, though, this isn’t The Wiggles.

I am amazed by the variety on the album, and the tunes are vastly different but feel like a coherent group. There’s a bit of pop and folk (Bob Brown’s “Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees,” Joe Hall and The Treehouse Band’s “Loose Change,” Don Spencer’s “Kangaroo,” and the beguiling voice of Rosie Burgess on “Random Acts”), to  island music similar to Carribbean music (The Neo and Garrangali’s “Let’s Go” and Garrangali’s “Mirri”), to what we classify as more “world music” (Kamerung’s “Seisia” and Seaman Dan’s “Mango Rain”).

And what Australian album would be complete without a rendition of “Waltzing Matilda”? Lazy Harry provides a lovely version of the best-known Australian tune.

A percentage of proceeds benefit the Australian Children’s Music Foundation which provides music programs to the disadvantaged. Liner notes provide insight about each musician and song, making the album a complete educational experience. And as a bonus, it also includes a kid-friendly Australian recipe for damper bread.

Putumayo Kids Presents Australian Playground is available from Putumayo Kids’ site,  iTunes, and Amazon.

RYH_CoverSeattle band The Not-Its‘ distinct sound sets them apart from many other children’s musicians. Being veteran punk rockers, there is some seriously rockin’ music back behind those kid-friendly lyrics, sung with gratifyingly edgy voices. And now, they’re back with their fifth album (and the follow up to KidQuake!) Raise Your Hand.

Parents, brace yourselves. You may find yourself listening to this when your kids aren’t around.

The Not-Its understand what kids go through. Their struggles (“Funniest Cat Video,” “When I Fell (The Scab Song),” and “Waiting List”) and preferences (“Flannel Jammies”) get some attention through lively harmonies. Summer-appropriate songs of insects (“Mosquito Eater”, and “Bee’s Knees”, a save-the-bees/save-the-planet anthem) and outdoor activities (“We’re Gonna Hike”) demonstrate The Not-Its humor and fun.

And there are some goodies for the parents too. “Motorcycle Mom” paints a picture of a biker mom who tears up the PTA. And “Hey 80’s’ had me nodding my head at every reference. (If you’re a child of the 80’s, it would be fun to go through this song and explain every line.)

“Love is Love” may be one of my favorites on the album, and speaks to the idea that while the definition of family is changing, the foundation of love is the same.

Other great tunes include the title track “Raise Your Hand,” “Haircut,” and “Nose In a Book.”

And check out the video for “Haircut”!

 

The Not-Its’ Raise Your Hand is available July 15th on their site.

Remember “Baby Beluga”? Or what about “Down by the Bay”? And I think I played “Bananaphone” for my son as a toddler more than I thought humanly possible.

If you know what I’m talking about, then you surely know Raffi.

It’s been twelve years since he’s released an album of children’s songs, but he’s back with Love Bug, an album that was certainly worth the wait.

Raffi_LoveBug_LGRaffi still has the ability to capture your attention, creating catchy tunes and heartwarming lyrics. The 16 tracks on Love Bug feel like a treasure chest, filled with all sorts of gems sure to appeal to every taste. It’s a journey through love, the magic of childhood, and the majesty of nature, accompanied by Raffi’s melodic strengths and alluring voice.

“Seeing the Heart” glistens on the album, and is my new favorite love song, reminding me of the purity of a child’s heart. “Magic Wand” feels like a wish list from every parent of a new baby for what they hope the world would be for them. Raffi infuses this hope for a better world and a healthy planet, filled with love, in songs like “Blue White Planet” and “Turn this World Around.”

But he hasn’t lost his aptitude for creating catchy and entertaining tunes such as “Mama Loves It” and “Doggone Woods.” “Cool Down Reggae” is a slow-paced tune that makes me want to swing on a hammock with my kids and chillax. If they’d let me, that is. And the instrumental tracks like “Wind Chimes” and “Pete’s Banjo” adds just the right amount of sprinkles to this delicious treat of an album

Raffi’s Love Bug will be available July 15th on his site, iTunes, and Amazon.

The Not-Its “KidQuake!” on Kid Tune Tuesday…

Kidquake_Digipack

Last week the The Not-Its released their 4th album KidQuake!, one of which I was very excited for.   I’ve featured a tune from the Not-Its before, their rockingly adorable “Puppy Dog.”  Which, now as I type it, I can’t get out of my head.

I’m drawn to children’s music like this.  The kind that has an edge to it, that reminds me of the sounds I used to listen to in my youth.  No wonder songs like “I Want Candy” are still hits with kids (who, thankfully, can’t discern the double entendres).  Who doesn’t like a strong, driving beat with fun, relatable lyrics?

The Not-Its’ sound recalls those punky pop bands I grew up with, ranging from Sonic Youth to The Go-Go’s to Siouxie & The Banshees.  But for kids. I can only imagine how fun this Seattle-based band is to see live.

It’s no surprise The Not-Its have the musical chops and street cred to pull this sound off.  Lead singer Sarah Shannon was a member of the 90’s Sub Pop band Velocity Girl, and Michael Welke was the former drummer of Harvey Danger.  Rounding out the band are Danny Adamson (rhythm guitar), Tom Baisden (lead guitar) and Jennie Helman (bass player).

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Their music is infectious.  Short songs that pack a lot of punch.  That stay with you.  Like a hearty stew that leaves you so full you don’t go looking for dessert.

KidQuake! taps in to some universal experiences of parents and kids, making it hard for every member of your family to find something they can’t relate to.

The album starts off rocking with the title track “KidQuake!”, a sophisticated song musically and lyrically, yet easily accessible to any audience.  Insert adult lyrics and you’d still like this tune, with its punchy guitars and driving drums.

It’s an empowering song for kids, acknowledging that their energy is their power.   They may be small, but they are strong.  Ask any parent of a 4 year-old on a second consecutive snow day and you’ll get confirmation of that seismic activity.

“Busy” is certainly my favorite, perhaps because it’s the story of my morning.  Fantastic horns set the ska tone early in this song from a mom’s perspective as she rushes to get the family somewhere.  “Grab your backpack! Where are my keys? Who’s gotta pee?” All of this frenetic scheduling could, and should, be smoothed over by slowing down every now and then.

While the album is heavy on the rock tunes, there are a few songs that provide some slower tempo and polished melodies.  “Operation Cooperation” tackles that awkward but necessary aspect of teaming up and working together on school projects.  “Participation Trophy” is a pretty smooth track that laments the accolades of getting awards even when you lose.

The album is a great mix of issues that relate to all age groups.  “Temper Tantrum” could have been written by my oldest kid.  Presented from an older sibling’s point of view, it’s a song that deals with the frustration and fallout of a younger sibling’s outbursts.  And “Full Tilt” would describe my kids during an afternoon at Dave & Busters, trying to stretch out their coinage to play everything.  “Rock Paper Scissors” is an homage to the universal transportable game/decision-making method of choice for children.

It’s not often that you come across a children’s album that can appeal to every kid in your family, but KidQuake! from The Not-Its could certainly satisfy that need.  Check it out today!  It’s available on Amazon, iTunes and through their website.

Or you can preview songs on Bandmate’s nifty widget!

Full of it… was provided one or more copies of the products mentioned above for free evaluation purposes. I received this product at no charge to me and I am free to keep it for my own personal use without obligation to return it. All opinions are 100% completely my own.

The Not-Its on Kid Tune Tuesday…


Okay, I’ve fallen off the posting wagon again.  And even worse, I’ve let this Kid Tune Tuesday thing go in to the witness relocation program.  That list bit, though, isn’t because I’m being lazy.  It appears that Mr. B has lost his interest in kid music.  He has found the light of house party and dance music, and doesn’t want to turn back.  And Miss P has happily joined him in Tween Music Land.  I’m not really thrilled to come in here and post about their love for One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful, The Wanted’s Glad You Came, or their new-found appreciation of anything by Rihanna (RiRi, you really should do a guest spot on Yo Gabba Gabba).  And there’s not much of the kid-music stuff that my kids agree on.  If Mr. B thinks it too childish, he will vehemently put his foot down and request a station change.  And Miss P, by default of her age, can’t get an argument in either way, and is resigned to listening to Kids Place Live when Mr. B is not in the car with us.  So this might be the last of these posts for a while. 

But today I bring to you one of my favorite songs that gets played on Kids Place Live.  The Not-Its are a great little band from Seattle.  Puppy Dog is by far my favorite song of theirs, though you really should check out their whole album.  And it’s got the right mix of kindie rock whimsy and rockin’ guitar riffs and drums to make it appealing to my little rock stars.  And the dog at the beginning and end?  Makes my kids long for a furry monster of their own.  Thankfully, we have Bubble Boy (a.k.a. a very allergic Daddy) to rule that out.

Unfortunately, I can’t find video of this ditty, but I highly recommend clicking on the song title link and listening to it on iTunes.

And now for the results:

MR B:  I rock out to the rockin’ part…   
MISS P:  Aw, that doggie is so cute!  I want one…