Some (Really Really Really) Brief Reviews

May 04

So for part of the trip to and from KindieFest, I finally listened to some records all in a row — these days, I do a lot more sampling than full-record-listens.  So, a few thoughts on some recent releases below.  I like all three of the ones up today a lot — they’re fairly different from each other, but each does exactly what I think the artists were trying to do.

A note: When I’m listening to music for airplay consideration, I write down all of the track numbers I would be up for playing at some point, and circle those numbers of songs I really like.  (And then a few will get arrows or exclamation points.  It’s complex.)  So I’ll note the tracks I circled below too.

Recess MonkeyFlying! First off, great illustrations from local hero Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and a terrific overall concept and theme.  And Drew totally rocks the shiny tights.  Produced by Tor Hyams (who is, full disclosure, one of my business partners in KindieFest), it’s a great-sounding record with the reliably insanely catchy pop songs.  Circled tracks: “Day Job,” “Covered in Band Aids,” “My Valentine,” “Your Favorite Book,” and “Invisible Friend” (which features Molly Ledford in a guest appearance that does sound of a piece with the song, something I talked about on my collaboration panel).

Billy KellyThe Family Garden.  More than his earlier stuff, this sounds more like a band (which I guess makes sense, since I don’t think he had a band as such last time around).  Eclectic in themes, goofy as all get-out, and utterly authentic and sincere (but not treacly).  Circled tracks: “The Family Garden,” “Why Is the Moon Following Me?,” “We Could Be Pen Pals” (another Molly Ledford visit, this one maybe a little less perfectly integrated but still lovely), “Scootdootdoodlydoo,” “It’s Close Enough,” “The Happy Happy Whistling Song” (my notes here remind me to play it next to an Andrew Bird song), and “The Invention of the Straw.”

Brady RymerLove Me For Who I Am.  I so like three of the first four songs on this record that I found the second half a little bit of a letdown, at least on the first listen.  But boy, those first four — especially “I Don’t Like Change” — I like a lot. (That one got an arrow next to it.)  Rootsy, performed in a way that feels somehow simultaneously impeccably performed and loose.  I was surprised then to hear that the drums on the record are pre-recorded loops (read more about his decision to use them at Dadnabbit, a site you should be reading constantly, incidentally).  Technology!  Plastics!  Whatever, it works here.  Circled songs: “Love Me For Who I Am,” “Picky Eater,” the aforementioned “I Don’t Like Change,” and “Soft Things” (featuring Laurie Berkner in a smart guest spot).

I’ve got some more CDs I listened to ready — including ScribbleMonster‘s insane genius Look Both Ways, but they’re all at the studio and I’m at home.  So I’ll try to write a little about those soon, and to do this a little more regularly, since, at least for now, I’m not doing any other family music writing.

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