Sunday, April 15, 2012

Several years ago I stopped doing smALL AGES. Then it had become too hard with a little one and a burgeoning business. In it's original incarnation smALL AGES was primarily about music that kids enjoyed that didn't annoy the parents. I was a new Mom and couldn't stand the stuff being passed off as kid's music. But also the blog was about my daughter and our burgeoning relationship and her own burgeoning relationship to music. So if you keep going backwards from this point in the blog you will find posts about those such things, you will read about my daughter in her toddler years and you will find lots of dead links to music. Doesn't mean those links can't inspire you to seek out that very same music, you simply can't hear that stuff on my blog any longer.

Flash forward to now: As I write this my daughter is now in 5th grade and has only a slightly different relationship to music than she did so many years ago. And she's every more opinionated on it, well about everything. And that is I guess what inspired me to come back here and begin again. This time though, she's not just along for the ride, but an active participant. Be forewarned though: while she has a killer point of view, a sense of humor that transcends her years and quirkiness to spare, the kid can't spell at all. It's her Father's curse.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Posi-mood inducing nightmares

My daughter woke up before dawn calling out my name. It's been a long time since she's done that. Mostly she doesn't call out because she's getting older and doesn't need to anymore. But also it's because when she does need something these days, she calls out for her father. I view this with an alternate mix of wistful joy, exhausted relief and complete jealousy. Turns out this time she awoke because she'd had a nightmare that I was gone. I went in her room, hugged her tightly and she went back to sleep like that. And me, sadly I found some joy in her frightening dream. Her wide eyes that softened with relief when she saw me, and that tight-tight hug, well I've been in a great mood all day.

I haven't written here in so long. I can't believe people still come by, but I know they do. I get stats, I get emails. I wish I still had the push inside of me that made me want to reach out most days and write and post songs. I still have great songs, still hear new ones all the time that I think, "Oh, I should post that" but then I don't. So much going on, too much on my mind. Like for instance, my daughter's school, the one some of you probably read about on this very blog, that I agonized over whether to send her to, it abruptly and unexpectedly closed a few weeks ago. Weeks before school was officially over for the year. But that's a long and involved story and I suspect much good will come out of it in the end.

Or maybe I've just been lazy. But I'm thinking of posting a few mixes that I've shared with my friends over the last few years. So many of you are my friends, or pretty darn close, so I'm gonna share them with you too-- next week, maybe? They're mostly from the first few months of this here blog. But now onto my latest batch of random songs:

Got this from Heather's great blog I believe. You can't go wrong with the classics. Hold Steady are big baseball fans. I'm a big Hold Steady fan. Ergo...

">The Hold Steady,"Take Me Out To The Ballgame"

Get your dance groove on. It's just silly, mindless and totally dance-able. I don't have a ton of tolerance for too much of this stuff, but c'mon, this is fun for the kids. They can totally do air drumming and weird robot dancing to this. Little fishies in my ice cream?

Prinzhorn Dance School, "Up! Up! Up!"

Another classic. Got this from who killed the mixtape? They did a great mixtape that featured another one of my selections here, the last one. I had forgotten what a great tune this is for the kiddles. I didn't have it in mp3 form, only a 7 inch. I need to record some of my 7 inches. Whose doing this these days? How? Mine always sound so distant when I do it with Audio Hijack and cord connecting computer to receiver.

The Dixie Cups, "Iko Iko"

The latest Shrek soundtrack was a bit disappointing. But this song is great. The Eels never fail to bring the love to the ogre flicks. The level is a bit low on this, don't know why.

Eels, "Royal Pain"

We've played this CD over and over and over at our house since we got it on the day it came out. This is the song that stuck out to Tuesday. She sings along, pointing out that Jeff Tweedy switches it up in the chorus from what light to white light to one light. It's got a nice sentiment too, this song, about being yourself so I think it's glorious that she's taken a liking to this one. Sky Blue Sky is lovely and I know, I don't think Wilco can do anything wrong, but it's just fantastic for the impending lazy days.

Wilco, "What Light"

Whoo-eee. This is one of those songs that I can't get enough of. I played it when I DJ'd my husband and his partner's AIGA event and someone came up and frantically asked me what it was. They thought it was old. Nope, brand new.

Lucky Soul,"Get Outta Town"

I remember listening to this over and over on my pink Panasonic cassette deck with the mint green buttons. We heard it on one of the kid movies we've seen lately and then I saw it on blog. Tuesday immediately took to it. Of course she did. She's my daughter.

Katrina and the Waves, "Walking on Sunshine"

And then this: it's been everywhere but in case you haven't seen it, here it is again. Tuesday loves this video and our friend says his 3-year old daughter has watched it so many times that she can do all the dance moves along with Feist and her colorful accompanists. So much better than the Wiggles, no?

More info on Lucky Soul :: Wilco :: Eels :: Hold Steady :: Shrek the 3rd Soundtrack :: Prinzhorn Dance School

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Wanna Count My Sprinkles?

I don't often write about videos here. Mostly because the focus has always been music and also because we don't watch a lot of videos. Although we recently instituted Saturday Movie Night at our house complete with big-screen feature attraction and popcorn. So far the big hits have been the old Pink Panther movies. It's crazy how well the physical comedy of Peter Sellers translates to a 5 year old. And the sexy stuff goes right over her head.

But recently we have another hit — a little Scholastic video that isn't a movie at all. We have this favorite book in our house, it's called Arnie the Doughnut, by Laurie Keller. If you haven't read it you're missing out. She also wrote Scrambled States of America and the Open Wide book that is probably very dog-eared at your dentists' office. Her books are brilliant -- she illustrates them and fills the pictures with tons of hilariously wry little asides. They make Tuesday laugh out loud and frankly us too.

One of the hard working PR people that sends me tons of emails that I usually ignore sent me one telling me that they had turned Arnie, the story of a doughnut who doesn't want to be eaten, into one of those Scholastic Video Series DVDs. In case you're not familiar with them, they are fairly low-fi vids that take popular books and sort of animate them... sort of. I mean, this is not the kind of animation the kids today are used to, it's more in line with what we watched as kids. They move the eyes a bit, maybe make the mouth move along to the spoken words. And that's why I LOVE them. I mean, they are quaint. And this story is fantastic. Lenny or Squiggy narrates, I get them mixed up. Coupled with five other books that are sort of animated, it makes for about a 40 minute video (Tuesday's other favorite? "The New Animal.") Perfect for a Saturday Movie Night, low-fi style.

Pick it up here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

There are songs in here somewhere

Yeah it's been forever and ever. In part it's due to being busy with so many other things but I have to say it's also because my daughter has been stuck on pretty much one CD.

We went to Kokua Fest on Oahu and in anticipation of seeing Jack Johnson that's all she wanted to hear and since seeing him, that's all she wants to hear. To say she loved it would be an understatement. She beamed, she rocked out, she shook her body, she pressed herself far beyond the limits of your average five year old and stayed up way, way too late but slept in the next day -- a first for us! Seriously, she doesn't understand the concept of going to bed late / sleeping in, but she finally got it on vacation this year.

And don't tell me that I dictate the taste of my five year old because I don't. I think the Jack is nice sure, pleasant yes, but what I listen to? Nope, never actually. Ditto for my husband. But hey, she can sing along, she understands a lot of the lyrics, they're mild and gentile, so hey, I cannot complain.

But with her not even willing to listen to new songs, it's hard to write a new post. So I've been focusing my limited blogging attentions to my Getting Over The Dork blog, which is a blog of break-up songs of all sorts, that I readied in anticipation of the February 2008 release of my tenth book, 30 Days To Getting Over the Dork You Used To Call Your Boyfriend (Delacorte). Not exactly the most compatible blog with this one, but still, fun and music-filled.

So a few things have happened since I wrote last that I should definitely mention:

Play, the compilation CD, is claiming to be the first cool CD of cool music for kids. Well, we know that isn't true, they aren't the first. But it is pretty darn cool, mostly. Featuring songs from bands like the Young Fresh Fellow, Supersuckers, Mudhoney, Mary Timony, Mirah and Visqueen (and other bands I wasn't familiar with like The Cassettes and Georgie Fame.) Some are covers or re-interpretations, some are originals. I'm especially fond of the song by the band Soccer Team, which turns out is two people who work at Dischord. Their song, "I'll Never Fear Ghosts Again" is my hands-down fave from the CD. Um, let's see other thoughts-- I don't think "Nellie the Elephant" should have been covered-- it's a weak version and the original is so darn awesome for kids and adults alike. I got Tuesday to listen to this CD once and she dug the Mudhoney song, "I Like To Make Noise" for it's plaintive sentiment. Overall, it is worth the price of admission and if you buy it from Pokey Pup they will donate some proceeds to Cal Robbins, the young son of J. Robbins who was in Jawbox and here on this CD in the band the Channels. Cal Robbins was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Good CD, good cause.

Buy it here from Pokey Pup!

Soccer Team, "I'll Never Fear Ghosts Again"

Because of my laziness and non-blogging I missed out telling you about the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls Online Auction which ends, um, today! But that doesn't mean I can't tell you that they are currently accepting apps for summer camp. It's happening in Brooklyn in August and here is their little PR spiel: The camp is a non-profit educational summer arts program serving girls ages 8-18 in New York City. At Rock Camp, girls learn to play musical instruments, form bands, write songs, rock out, and perform. Camp also offers a variety of workshops, from sound engineering and songwriting to self-defense and band art. Campers sign up for drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals, or DJ/turntables. No musical experience necessary. Instruments provided. All genres of music welcome. Sliding scale tuition.

Download an application here, at their website.


Putumayo Kids, the people who bring us world beat albums for our children, are spearheading an "Animal Playground" Tour and it starts in my hometown, at our world-famous zoo. The artist is a Trinidad gentleman who goes by Asheba and while I know nothing about him, we will check this out and see what's it's like. May 18th he's at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and May 19th he's at the SD Zoo. For more dates, hit Putumayo's website here.


They Might Be Giants are out and about touring and are making it to SD in a few weeks, but with their "adult" show (not to imply they have burlesque dancers or anything, but you know, they are playing bars, not all ages shows.) Got me thinking I really don't write about them too much considering how much we do listen to the TMBG machine. So here is one to hear, and don't forget them when you're purchasing music for your kids, your friends kids, etc. and etc. This one is educational and catchy.

They Might Be Giants, "Why Does The Sun Shine?"


The XM Kids Traveling Road Show has embarked. This has been going on for a week now and has a couple more weeks. Bus + radio show + live bands + Children's Miracle Network hospitals. Small Ages faves Lunch Money will participate May 12th in Charlotte, NC. It's a great idea, raising money, awareness and spirits at the kids' hospitals, although I would have preferred a different sponsor than Wal-Mart (not a fan) but hey, whatever works. Check out the dates and see if they are coming to your town.


Anything else? How about this song about the innocent joys of a bicycle (which by the by, the aformentioned Lunch Money has a great song about too!) This one is by the Jellydots, which are an Austin, Texas band who switch up their styles a bit from song to song (which is weird to me, but okay) and they make music for kids that isn't too kid-like (which is not weird to me and definitely okay.) Oh just see for yourself.

Jellydots, "Bicycle"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Contrast Podcast Does Kid Tunes

Tim bugged me. He saved me a space. He reminded me. And yet, I failed to deliver. I'm talking about his Contrast Podcast #51 Cool Choones for Children. No matter, he didn't need my contribution-- it's wildly cool without me. There are few bands/tunes we've featured here, like the Innocence Mission, Dan Zanes, Medeski, Martin & Wood and The Real Tuesday Weld, but there are also some great suggestions that I've yet to mention or even, dare I say, think of! So head on over and check it out and grab your kiddles and pull 'em close to the computer and they can listen old-school to the "radio" with you.

Tim has listed the contents of the Podcast on his site, so you can search out the tunes you like, and the blogs they came from, afterward. Go and listen and leave him a comment that you heard it from me so he doesn't think I'm a total loser.

Contrast Podcast #51

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Sidewalk Soon Will Launch You

When I yearn for a pretty voice, and sometimes I do, there is one in particular that always hits the right place for me: Karen Perris of the Innocence Mission. It has an other-worldly tinge to it that doesn't distract from the sheer beauty of it one bit. I suppose it's her accent, but no matter. I feel it in my gut somewhere, the ache in her voice translates to one in my body.

There is a new CD from the Innocence Mission, out this week, entitled We Walk in Song. I can't say I've heard much off of it, only two songs (haven't made it out to our local store yet this week) but what I have heard is more of the same glorious, gorgeous stuff that would make for the most ideal soothing lullaby for children of any age. This isn't a children's CD, like their 04 CD Now the Day is Over, but really, that just means the subject matter isn't all candy and slumber.

Here is one of the songs I've heard. It has the sound of early morning indeed. I love love love the background boy ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba's.

The Innocence Mission, "Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning"

Buy the Innocence Mission CD
:: Visit their site

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Bunch of Music

Here's the latest round-up of what we're listening to. Course, my daughter's still obsessed with listening to "Walk Like An Egyptian," the theme to Mystic Force Power Rangers (over and over and over) and REM, particularly "We Walk." The Pipettes are still big in our house, as are the Beatles, but they should always be present, no? Now what's new to us?

Despite the adorable cover (at top) and the sweetums title, this new CD from Super Furry Animals' frontman Gruff Rhys, was not intended for the kiddles. And that's usually how I like my music. The tinkling sounds and weird little musical dippin dots make it especially fun for the kids (that, and he keeps repeating the word "candy.") I've heard a few off of this CD and I like 'em all.

Gruff Rhys, "Candylion"

My daughter thought this song only "okay." But she didn't yell for it to be removed from the playlist so who knows, perhaps it will grow on her. I still don't know anything about a Luscious Jackson kid record but bassist Jill Cuniff's latest solo project features this uplifting, girl-positive dance-a-thon. It's not innovative or brilliant, but it's fun and super for a slumber party shake-up.

Jill Cuniff, "Happy Warriors"

This is the latest song to take my daughter's ears by storm, courtesy of the band The Chalets. She loves the girl's voice and the catchy sing-along bits. And she loves the guitar. Oh and the beat. Seeing as it's called "Red High Heels" it may not be lyrically appropriate but I can't tell, I can't make out much more than "uh-oh, uh-oh." And neither can she.

The Chalets, "Red High Heels"

This song just keeps growing on me. From the Little Monster label, Gustafer Yellowgold is a whole multimedia thing, but you know, you can strip it of the visual hoopla and it's still delightful and lovely music. It's a nice summer's day, a picnic of a song. Their publicist would like me to tell you that the whole CD Wide Wild World, is coming out at the end of March. She's nice, and I like this tune, so I'm gonna.

Gustafer Yellowgold, "I'm from the Sun"

That's it for the new recordings, now on to some tracks from days gone by. Rainy Day, the album and I guess sort of "the band," came out back in 1984 on Rough Trade. I got the record a few years later and then a few years after that found the CD in a bargain bin for $4. They obviously didn't know what it was! Susannah Hoffs (the Bangles), Kendra Smith (Dream Syndicate; Opal), David Roback and Will Glenn (Rain Parade; Opal; Mazzy Star) and Michael Quercio (Three O'Clock; Game Theory), and a few others, got together and recorded this nine-song LP of covers - they do a beautiful version of "I'll Be Your Mirror." But it's this Dylan-penned song that I most yearn for -- it is gorgeous, just a beauty of a song and features Susannah on vocals. My daughter loves it, you can just see her posture melt into a pool of relaxation and comfort, she inevitably comes and hugs me -- and ain't that what the song is about? A must for any new-parent lullaby mix CDs you may make in the future.

Rainy Day, "I'll Keep It With Mine"

Fun from the Five By Five EP, circa 1994. All the Pizzicato 5 rings true in our house. It's just fun dance music and my daughter loves to pretend she can speak Japanese.

Pizzicato Five, "Twiggy vs. James Bond"

Lastly, I bring you a taste of exotica. I must have heard this on the Re/Search comp "Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 1." It's also on one of the Ultra Lounge comps, I think the Space Capades one. Someone referred to the shuffling toots in this recording as "synthesized farts." Kids love fart noises! A fun instrumental. Till next time...

Dean Elliot & His Big Band, "Lonesome Road"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've Always Wanted To Taste a Cloud

We've had a great week. Kindergarten went to the San Diego Symphony and saw a terrific program: the orchestra played soundtrack hits from Harry Potter, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars. They did this bit, too, where they invited a movie composer, whose name I have forgotten, on stage. He showed a clip from a Christian Slater film with no music on the big screen. And then the orchestra played two different pieces of music live to the film clip. The first was all upbeat and the second sort of sinister, the idea being that the music played can change how you feel about a character or the scene or whatever is happening on screen. I thought it'd be over their heads (they were the youngest in a crowd that went up to 5th grade) but when we got home, my daughter explained it to my husband pretty accurately, so hey. Very cool. Then this past weekend, my daughter tried skiing for the first time. And she did pretty well, or so I am told, I missed the whole damn thing.

"Star Warms Opening Theme"
"Star Warms Imperial Walk Theme"

I know many of you have really dug the Soft Lightes that we've played here. You should know, the new CD "Say No to Being Cool , Say Yes to Being Happy " will be released today, February 13th on Modular records. Buy it! It is gonna be fabulous for the whole family and they are nice people, too.

SoftLightes, "Heart Made of Sound"

And since I haven't posted in awhile, here are just some random yet magically delicious songs that you may like. The Billy Bragg / Wilco track is one of our most favorites from the Mermaid Avenue CD (the first one) of Woody Guthrie words. I found the Hanky and Panky on some Swedish blog, it's very weird, but silly. And Aretha needs no intro.

Aretha Franklin, "Mockingbird"
Hanky and Panky,
"Ha Ha Ha Ha!"
Billy Bragg and Wilco,
"Hoo Doo Voo Doo"

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hey Mister

My daughter has been walking around going, "Hey Mister, you're fired" in this weird New Jersey accent. We're unsure of where both the accent and the phrase came from as we are fairly certain she hasn't been watching The Apprentice. Here are some Mister songs, many I have posted before, but still.

Optigonally Yours, "Mr. Wilson"
Such a good song for the kids, this is one of Rob Crow's previous bands.

Asylum Street Spankers, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"
A great cover of a great song, no matter the season. FYI, the Spankers are holding a contest, asking fans to create a video for their latest CD. Winner takes a $1000.

The Kinks, "Mr. Songbird"
One of my favorite bands, ever. Top 5 for sure. You can't beat this jolly upbeat 2 and a half minutes of sweetness.

The Mr. T Experience, "Spiderman"
Now is the time to take another look at this 80s era punk band since singer Frank Portman has written the best "young adult" book of 2006, King Dork. (Oh crap, one of my favorite books, young adult or not, I highly recommend!)

Styx, "Mr. Roboto"
Domo arigato. My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain IBM. Man they makes me giggle.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Walking like an Egyptian While Riding a Bike to the Zoo Where it's all About Poo


My daughter has become obsessed with Egypt. We're not sure where it started, but I thought I would feed it so recently I taped hours upon hours of Travel Channel Egypt specials and she can't get enough of it. She actually said, "I could watch this all day" and if you know my daughter that's saying something-- she's not a big TV kid. Lounging in front of the TV for her - thankfully - is reserved for when you feel sick. But the Sphinx and King Tut and dead people, it's all just too fascinating. ("It's just so intsteresting" she says.) So what does an intelligent Mom do when faced with such an interest? Probably get her a good book. What I did, not being the most intelligent Mom on the block, is get her hooked on this cheesy song.

The Bangles, "Walk Like an Egyptian"

I wrote about the band The Bicycles and posted one of their fabulous songs before. Here's another. Their CD, The Good, The Bad, And the Cuddly is fun stuff. This is adorable pop from Toronto. I read an article that compared them to comic bands of my youth (like Josie and the Pussycats or the Banana Splits) and I say hooray!

The Bicycles, "B-B-B-Bicycles"

Belle and Sebastian put together that collection of hipster bands doing kid songs at the end of last year called Colours Are Brighter complete with the Brit spelling of Colours, which I love. In fact, I like the spelling of Colours better than I like this song. But hey, it's not awful, it's just that I had higher expectations. The chorus is enjoyable, but the rest of it has a Saturday morning PBS pre-school gloss I could do without. But hey that's just me.

Belle and Sebastian, "The Monkeys Are Breaking Out Of the Zoo"

Finally, I know this is mildly inappropriate, but what kid doesn't like a good song about Poo? I had never ever watched Scrubs until, ironically, I was in the hospital getting that tomato taken out of my chest. It's in syndication rounds like mad and you can see it at any time of the day on any number of channels and there I sat in my hospital bed watching it and you know, I found it surprisingly funny. My husband thinks it was the juxtaposition of being in the grimy hospital myself while watching a surreal and sanitized version that made me laugh so and perhaps he was right but now, on occasion, when I find myself up at night, I watch it. And I laugh. So, we taped the "musical" episode and there it was: a song about poo. And here it is for you and yours.

Zach Braff & Donald Faison (from Scrubs), "Everything Comes Down to Poo"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Medeski, Martin & Wood

Many of you have probably come across this Little Monster record label (a subsidiary of the rumored-to-be money-troubled V2) if you traverse Stefan's Zooglobble or Amy's Mrs. Davis sites. They have a roster that is already a handful of artists deep, including the weird and not entirely pleasing to me "house band" of sorts that did that Beatles cover record, albeit with some mighty fine guest stars (Bangles, Rachel Yamagata, Marshall Crenshaw, Grandaddy.) Anywho, they also have the upcoming children's CD from jazz modernists Medeski, Martin & Wood and what do you know, I dig the first song they've posted quite a bit, the second is alright. The first is just a stop-start instrumental with a kid wondering out loud where the music has gone. And the latter is a conventional kids tune, although it does have a slight Shel Silverstein-esque story about pirates to offer us. It's enjoyable enough, and it's download-able on their site and well, here, below.

Medeski, Martin & Wood, "Where's the Music?"
Medeski, Martin & Wood, "Pirates Don't Take Baths"

Also download-able on their site: two Robbert Bobbert songs (that's Robert Schnieder of Apples of in Stereo), a few of those Beatles covers (see for yourself, tell me what you think), a few soul covers by I assume the same house band (and it's regrettable if you ask me) and something by the mysterious Ralph & Ralph. I can only hope it's Ralph Stanley and well, Ralph Stanley. Wait, is he dead? Oh, lastly there is the loopy Gustafer Yellowson, which I believe is more a full-scale visual and aural assault when on tour, but the music ain't bad. I'm definitely curious enough...

Medeski, Martin & Wood CD is due in April, as is the Gustafer Y DVD.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I thought about giving it all up. Chalk it up to a heaping helping of burn out, mixed with a heavy dose of the holidays and a whole lotta actual real live and mostly paying work. I still cannot see myself posting here like I did last year, which was at least 4 days a week, if not more. But like beer, I just can't seem to give it up. Here are some things I've been doing or digging over the last few weeks:

* I heart Mark Ronson. It's true, he's often seen with trampy looking women or dressed in clothes that are probably more expensive that my mortgage payment yet look like they came from a thrift store, but... I... as of late last year, well I heart him. There was his cover of Radiohead's "Just" (featuring Alex Greenwald) and his remix of Lily Allen's Smile with the awesome song snippet from Bobby and Jimmy Purify's "I'm Your Puppet" (but that has some frank language, to put it nicely, right up front, so don't play that one for the kiddles) and now Ronson's getting ready to release an album of covers in April. You can go to his MySpace page and stream his lush and fantastically fun horn version of Coldplay's "God Put A Smile." And below, you can hear his take on Brit's "Toxic" which you may find questionable for the littlest ones seeing what the song is about but damn, I love it and it's certainly ok for the older kids who may have at some time or another, been Britney fans. Maybe if I get to it, I'll rip the Coldplay track and post that. And did you know his step dad is Mick Jones from Foreigner??!!

Mark Ronson, "Toxic"

* There are a couple of old songs that inexplicably cause me to cry. Many of my old friends find this hilarious and enjoy blindsiding me with one of these tunes. Yes, Barry Manilow's "Mandy" falls into this category. And so does Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." Now with my daughter dancing around sweetly (but dramatically) to it, it lends a whole 'nother dimension to the tears.

Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"

I pretty much think the Swedish band, I'm From Barcelona and their CD Let Me Introduce My Friends, is great listening for the whole family. There are a ton of handclaps (which is this year's new black.) But also some fun layered vocals, happy rhythms and such. That's their picture I put up at top of this here post. Check it,

I'm From Barcelona, "This Boy"

Our whole family digs Apples in Stereo. The new CD, New Magnetic Wonder comes out next month. Below, you'll find a track from it. If you haven't yet seen Robert Schnieder on the Colbert Report as part of the Decemberists Vs. Colbert Guitarmageddon, you should. His ode to Stephen is terrific and even my daughter giggled lots. And Schneider plays children's music under the name Robert Bobbert & The Bubble Machine. You can check out a couple of those tracks on "Bobbert's" My Space Page.

Apples In Stereo, "Same Old Drag"

* I even played my daughter some Joanna Newsom over the holidays. I thought, like most people's reactions to the high-pitched harp player's voice, she would either love it or hate. I was right, sort of. At first she thought it was so pretty and delicate and she began to dance around on her tippy toes and flutter her fingers. But after a minute of that she declared it "terrible." Ha ha. Moving on. Josh Ritter is on Letterman tonight, and the Islands are on Craig Ferguson. Looking forward to both of those. Heard Islands yet? This song is lovely, it has a little Built to Spill-ness to it with the "Lost in a Supermarket" melody running through it. Not intensely original perhaps, but enjoyable. My daughter doesn't ask for this one, but she doesn't object either when it comes on the stereo (and trust me, she objects to a whole lot a what comes on the stereo.)

Islands, "Rough Gem"

* I sold a new book, to Delacorte. It's called 30 Days To Getting Over the Dork You USED To Call a Boyfriend. It's for teens and is chock full of song references and posi activities masquerading as girly silliness. I've started a blog for it (I had to, didn't I?) that is featuring a break-up song of some sort every week day or so (you know me, I'm never consistent.) I've just started so there are only a couple handful of tunes up, but since the book doesn't come out for some time (we're editing now!) I've got time to post tons.

That's it for now and probably for a little while. But perhaps we coax back our other posters to joining in the fun. Here's to a swell and happy new year.