A playlist of cool things for cool kids!

Kids rock! There's no question about it. They are simply much cooler than you and me. This playlist is for those of us just trying to keep up with these mod toddlers and hip preschoolers. It's about promoting children's books, music, and other media that rock just as much as our kids do. Check out something cool for your cool kid.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rocking Alphabet Books

Some rocking ABC books for back to (pre) school...

The Love Police keep kicking out the jams with their latest alphabet books for Punk and Country Western. Future discerning rock critics take note: "G" is not for G.G. Allin, but it is for Gram Parsons.

Check it out at the Love Police. They have some pretty sweet t-shirts too.

Once your kids have mastered the classics, they might be ready to get hip to the new sounds of An Indie Rock Alphabet Book from the folks at Paste Magazine.

"A" is for Animal Collective, do you need to hear any more?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Composer Is Dead

A murder mystery for the kids!  It should come as no surprise that the diabolical Lemony Snicket is involved.   The Composer Is Dead, but the inspector is on the case, interrogating the entire orchestra to get to the bottom of this hideous crime.  For all its wicked humor (the composer is "decomposing"), this book has a lot to teach children about the workings of the orchestra.  It comes with a wonderful narrated symphony recording of the story with music by Nathaniel Stookey.  The old-timey illustrations by Carson Ellis are pitch-perfect as always (Carson Ellis is responsible for so much of the amazing artwork for The Decemberists).

It would be a crime not to share this with your kids.  

For more on the book and to hear some of the music, check out the video below: 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with Robbert Bobbert

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine's amazing new record for kids.  Robbert (aka: Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo) was kind enough to take time out from recording to answer a few questions from Posterband.  Bubble Machine had no comment. 

So when I first heard you were making a record for kids, I was really excited, but equally curious: what inspired you to bring your pure pop jams to the young people?  

Little kids need good music more than anyone. Their developing ears cannot defend themselves against music of poor quality. I feel it's very important to do something special for kids. I put as  much into the Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine CD as I do with any project. Music for kids is the ultimate form of psychedelic pop... You can include all of the fun and colorful and odd sounds as you want. In fact, it is your duty to put them in there. It's like making a colorful little clock or music box where all of the parts work together in a musical system.  I tried to make each song a self-contained little box of toys and sound effects that kids will find fun to play with.

Are you a cool dad?  Or a cooler uncle?  An eternal child?  

All of the above! I really do try to be a cool big brother to my little brothers, and a cool uncle to my nieces and nephew, and a good dad to my son Max, who is 8. I am not so much worried with being a cool dad, as just a good dad. I think being cool is both not really part of the "dad" job description, and also, there is no way my son is going to think I am cool as he grows up, no matter how hip I am. I recorded some of the tracks for my Robbert Bobbert album about 15 years ago when I was 21, and my brothers were little. I would give them cassettes of children's songs for their birthdays. Lately, I've written songs inspired by my son. The song "Gravity" was written for the science fair at my son's school. I did a physics presentation for 1st and 2nd graders, and had the kids sing and clap along.
My four year old loves the new Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine record, but he's also been known to rock out to his dad's Apples in Stereo records on occasion.  There's a lot of great "grown-up" music out there for kids to explore. I'm curious what records (for kids or grown-ups) were important to you when you were a little one?

That is awesome that your kid loves pop music! I loved the Beach Boys and listened to Endless Summer over and over again when I was a kid. I also loved those little vinyl 45s for children, that came with storybooks, and always loved old kids records from the 1950's through the '70s. Their used to be so many great, creative, fun records for kids in the old days, before I was born. Those records for children had all sorts of fun sound effects, characteers and storytelling. I collect old vinyl children's LP's, and really wanted my Robbert Bobbert to have the same timeless, crazy, good-time feeling as those records.  

By the way, the Beach Boys are still my favorite band. Also I love the Beatles, who are Max's favorite band. Actually, lately he has been really into "The Final Countdown" by Europe-- I bought him a 7" single of the song, for him to play on his turntable, so it is sort of the soundtrack around our house right now.

Thanks, Robbert!  

Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine is out now from super-hip indie kid's label Little Monster Records.  

You can check out more on Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine at www.robbertbobbert.com.  

And be sure to check out other great kid's artists at www.littlemonsterrecords.com.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Captain Bogg & Salty

Pirate rock! Avast! Captain Bogg & Salty's Emphatical Piratical is a real treasure for the kids. There's lots to enjoy here - from silly sailor jigs like "Don't Drink the Sea Water" to surf-rock rave-ups like "The Plank-Walker." A couple tracks - like "Waltz of the Waves" and "Who's at Captain's Table" - even call to mind fellow nautically-disposed Portlanders, the Decemberists.

Check out this rocking clip of "Never Smile at a Crocodile."  

These guys get the kids dancing! See for yourself - Captain Bogg & Salty set sail for Symphony Space this Saturday, March 28th, at 11:00am. For more information visit: www.symphonyspace.org/series/77 or visit the crew at www.eatalime.com.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Baby Be of Use" Board Books

There's not much to say about these board books.  They are exactly what you would think.  And they are hilarious.   From those lovable, daffy folks at McSweeney's.  Personally, I would love to see McSweeney's seriously explore its preschool tendencies.  They could do some brilliant kids publishing if they set their mind to it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Robbert Bobbert and the Bubble Machine

Robert Schneider, the mad scientist behind the beloved Apples in Stereo, has released an amazing new record for kids under his cartoon alter ego: Robbert Bobbert.  It's just good science, kids.  Like the Apples in Stereo records, this one is jam-packed with hooks, harmony, and kaleidoscopic sound design.  There are songs about clocks, physics, superheroes and a bunch of animals.  Oh, and there is a mouse who raps which is reason enough to own this record.  Awesome fun.

Check it out:  

Robbert Bobbert and his Bubble Machine rocked Brooklyn's Bell House this weekend.  Robbert brought the high-energy song and dance as well as some exceedingly curious (and hilarious) science.  Bubble Machine brought the bubbles.  The kids had a total blast and so did the parents.  Check out photos below.        

Thanks for great show, Dr. Bobbert!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Andrew Bird on Jack's Big Music Show

Andrew Bird performs a little music and magic with the puppets in this clip from Jack's Big Music Show.   

Andrew has a great new record out. File this one under: "music for parents that kids will like too." Noble Beast has lots of whistling and looping violins. And it will do wonders for your child's vocabulary. Nomenclature! As a chorus!

Also, you should check out the earlier records if you haven't already. Armchair Apocrypha and The Mysterious Production of Eggs are both shiny gems and good places to start.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009 Caldecott Winners

2009 Caldecott Medal

It should come as no surprise that I think librarians totally rock. I mean, did you see the FOOT show at the Windsor Terrace library? And I'm happy to see that folks like the New York Times are finally taking notice.  

Anyway, this week's picture book suggestions come courtesy of the librarians.   The ALA announced the 2009 Caldecott winners.  You won't need any further recommendation from me. The House in the Dark, a beautiful book, took top honors, but congratulations to all!  Shiny stickers all around.  

Check them out:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Whole World of Widgets + Robot Garden

My good friends at Whole World of Widgets developed this really cool animated video of Robot Garden, one of the Posterband picture books.   

Whole World of Widgets is doing some really creative educational kids programming and they have a very interesting blog that covers kids media issues. Check out their site at www.WWWandME.tv. And you should totally be their friend on Facebook.

Tip:  If you have the sweet broadband action, the video looks really nice in high quality view on the Whole World of Widgets YouTube channel.

And after you've seen the film, be sure to read the book to impress all your friends. Get the Robot Garden book!

Or download the Robot Garden song for free to jam out on your iPod while carpooling the kids.

Thanks for checking it out.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

Too Many Toys

Just in time for that post-holiday toy hangover, David Shannon returns with a fantastic new book.   Perhaps only an artist of David Shannon's freakish talent is up to the challenge of cataloguing the dizzying abundance of a modern kid's toy box.  To look into that roiling cauldron of consumerism and not despair utterly, takes a brave, brave heart and a sense of humor born of peerless compassion.  Which is to say, I'm feeling a little guilty about all the toys under the tree this year.  But this book was one of best gifts.  And Mr. Shannon deserves a special thank you note.  

Maybe you have some toys to donate to a good cause?