Author Archives: Mike Farley

CD Review: The Sippy Cups, “The Time Machine”

61b9Xtr3TVL._SCLZZZZZZZ_[1]The Sippy Cups: The Time Machine (2009, Snacker)
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While San Francisco-based children’s band the Sippy Cups might at times remind you of the quirky and energetic B-52’s, there is no doubt that they know how to take their own experiences as parents and turn them into some of the catchiest kids’ fare you’ll ever hear. The Sippy Cups’ latest, The Time Machine, is symbolic in more ways than one, as they claim that their sound has matured right along with most of their listening audience—and they also tried to convey the message of growing up and all that goes along with growing up, and how it should be fun, to their young fans.

For example, the topics include personal experiences such as losing teeth (“Loose Tooth”), or having fun with math (“Seven is the New Fourteen”). The title track sounds like it could be the theme song for a TV show, and “Don’t Remove the Groove,” a song about making everything you do musical, is catchy and funky in a retro disco sort of way. And the crunchy guitars and sugary harmonies on “My Angry Voice” should teach kids about both keeping your anger in check, and about channeling it into a rocking song.

While The Sippy Cups might appeal to kids that are beyond toddler age, their latest is something that parents should have no trouble getting into as well. And haven’t you had enough of The Jonas Brothers anyway?

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CD Review: Tracey Singer, “Sweets ‘n’ Treats”

51RR0Pl2VkL._SL500_AA240_[1]You’d never know that kids’ music artist and singer/songwriter Tracey Singer is not a former rock musician or that he’s never dabbled in this line of work until becoming a work-at-home dad, because his debut, Sweets ‘n’ Treats, features thirteen songs that are just so darned catchy.  Singer, who has four kids under the age of nine at home, and has obviously had the chance to test his material plenty, also hired GRAMMY winning kids’ artist Buck Howdy to produce the record.

This is not music for toddlers, or at least it wasn’t for my toddler, who is not quite two.  But the melodies are above average and likely simple enough to keep the attention of any kid between the age of 3 and 10, as well as the parents of said kids.  The material is fun, though at times pokes fun at folks—especially on “Mall Mom” and the absolutely hilarious “Baggy Pants,” which pokes fun at those who like to, you know, show their butt crack.  And the two catchiest songs of all are the title track and “Christmas in July.”

There are some low points, like the grating “Nana Nana Boo Boo,” but for the most part Singer has delivered a really solid debut and could have a nice future in this field.

CD Review: Various Artists, “Putumayo Kids Presents: European Playground”

61jya5srirl_sclzzzzzzz_1After a few paragraphs of the press release for Putumayo Kids’ latest release, European Playground, there is one more simple line that says “Putumayo Kids music is ‘guaranteed to make you feel good.'”  And dangit if they aren’t right.

Putumayo’s mission is to introduce kids to great music from every part of the world, breaking down barriers and teaching youngsters about different styles of music as well as new languages. It’s been a decade since their groundbreaking World Playground was released, and European Playground features music from 16 different countries—Finland, Sweden, Belgium, England, Denmark, Hungary, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Scotland, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. And the longest track is three and a half minutes, giving you small doses of foreign fare to digest

Our son is not quite two years old and we’re gradually introducing him to some of the cool stuff we like that doesn’t revolve around Elmo or Handy Manny or the Teletubbies (or his favorite artist, yours truly..no, really!). He sometimes whines when we listen to something new, but for European Playground, Jon Jon smiled and bopped his head to the music. And what do you know? So did his parents….proof that Putumayo teaches diversity to parents as well as children.

Go check this one out, and don’t be surprised if your mood doesn’t change as if you’d just stumbled across a $100 bill.