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As I type these words, I'm just hours away from boarding a plane en route to Los Angeles to work the press junket for Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK, and to attend the film's red carpet premiere at the famed El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Thanks to technology, I've set this to post while I'm cruising at 35,000 feet in the air, somewhere high above the American Midwest. In preparation for Director Jon Favreau's live-action reimagining of the 1967 animated feature (reviewed here), my mind has been loaded with earworms... those from the soundtrack of the original. The iconic music of the Sherman Brothers, along with Terry Gilkyson's "The Bare Necessities" are classic, and over the years, these timeless songs have been covered many times. With that in mind, and using the BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY version of "I Wanna Be Like You" as a jumping-off point (after all, that band and Favreau have the SWINGERS connection), I've curated a new Spotify Playlist that features nearly one hour of the best JUNGLE BOOK covers out there. You'll find FALL OUT BOY, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, THE JONAS BROTHERS, BOWLING FOR SOUP, SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, TONY BENNETT, SELENA GOMEZ and more, all putting their signature styles to the famous soundtrack. Check it out via this link, or in the embedded player below, and for coverage of 2016's THE JUNGLE BOOK, follow #JungleBookEvent on Social Media to check-in with 25 writers on the ground in L.A.!

Oklahoma City's SUGAR FREE ALLSTARS are one of my favorite bands lighting up the Kindie Scene, providing some true family-friendly funk jams that legitimately ROCK. On April 2, SFAs' Boom! (aka Chris Wiser) and Dr. Rock (aka Rob Martin) are back with a new, self-titled album of fresh jams that draw inspiration from Parliament Funkadelic, early ‘80s Prince, old-school rap, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Dixieland, and even Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem... one of the greatest bands of all-time. In fact, SUGAR FREE ALLSTARS even break out their own (stellar) version of The Electric Mayhem's "Can You Picture That?" from 1979's THE MUPPET MOVIE. For a taste of what's to come, check out the first video from the new album, "Monster Truck." Actually, this song nearly had me filing this one under Rock Father Rides...

Over the years, I've seen and heard a lot of family music albums written in foreign tongues that were unfamiliar, yet still managed to snag the interest of a young audience. Recently, news of a Ladino family music album by Sarah Aroeste hit my radar, but the first thing was that I had no idea what Ladino actually meant. Ladino is a Medieval language also known as Judaeo-Spanish - a dialect that originated by Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Along the way, this language picked up elements from neighboring vocabularies, including French, Greek, Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew and more. On March 25th, Aroeste will release Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up), perhaps the only album of original songs in Ladino that's geared directly toward children. The album was written with her own kids in mind, but to bring it to the masses, she's partnered with an animator to bring the songs to life as music videos, and has plans for board books as well. Check out the video for "Las Komidas" below...

There always seems to be a solid new crop of family music when we head into Spring, and 2016 is proving that once more. This week comes the release of the debut album from MICHAEL & THE ROCKNESS MONSTERS, a new project from Michael Napolitano, founder of the Preschool of Rock. Napolitano states that he "allowed himself more freedom with the songwriting than on his past Preschool of Rock releases. Without needing to pair each song with a specific class theme or structured activity, he was able to write music that came purely from artistic inspiration. There are no classroom walls or age restrictions here, all are welcome to this energetic party." Check out a couple of music videos below...

It's President's Day, and aside from being a day off school, possibly work, and a time to get great, limited-time savings on electronics, furniture and automobile purchases, it's also a day to remember the heritage of our Nation - The United States of America. One of my favorite cities has long-been Washington, D.C., and for their forthcoming album, ARE YOU LISTENING? Seattle kindie rockers, THE NOT-ITS! wrote a song about it. For this week only, you can grab a FREE DOWNLOAD of "Washington D.C." from the band's Soundcloud page. Stream it below...

Tuesday, February 02 2016 09:30

Kindie Scene: Watch SHARKY SHARKY "Bring the Rock!"

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Last October, I introduced you to SHARKY SHARKY, a guitar-heavy Kindie (perhaps, Kindie Metal) band out of Aberdeen, Scotland. This family-friendly offshoot of UK Power Metallers, ASCENSION is back on the attack, presenting their first-ever music video... the appropriately-titled "Bring the Rock!" I approve of this mission, and that's why I'm sharing their new video with you today. See it, and learn more of the legend of SHARKY SHARKY below!

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the season of love and friendship will soon be here, and this year it's got a brand-new soundtrack. Heart Beats: Feel Good Songs for Families is the second compilation album from Mighty Mo Productions, bringing together an impressive lineup of artists from the family-friendly kindie world - with styles ranging from indie folk and pop to surf rock and swingin' jazz. Check out the tracklisting below...

Saturday, January 23 2016 23:20

Watch & Listen: THE NOT-ITS! "Dance With Me"

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Seattle's THE NOT-ITS! have long-been one of our favorite kindie rock bands here at Rock Father HQ, and as part of The Kindiependent Collective alongside CASPAR BABYPANTS, RECESS MONKEY, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, THE HARMONICA POCKET and others, THE NOT-ITS! have been leading the charge for legit family-friendly rock. On February 19th, the band will release their sixth full-length album, with ARE YOU LISTENING? hitting the streets with 10 all-new jams. This week, the first music video from the album has arrived, a hand-animated piece by Chris Looney called "Dance With Me." Check it out...

Tuesday, December 22 2015 23:55

DEEP FRIED PICKLE PROJECT invites you to "Tatooine"

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As STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS continues to thrill audiences around the Globe, there has been yet another awakening... this time in the family music department. Michigan purveyors of Americana, the DEEP FRIED PICKLE PROJECT have unleashed their new music video - one that invites audiences to join them on a journey to a barren wasteland far, far away from Jakku, to the place where audiences first met Luke Skywalker... "Tatooine." Set to the tune of "Rocky Top" (first recorded by The Osborne Brothers, but forever endeared to me thanks to the Kenny Rogers NASCAR movie, SIX PACK),  this bluegrass-fueled jam comes from the new JUG BAND EP (iTunes), and begins "Way back in the old-timey times, in a holler over yonder..."

I do not like spiders. No matter what their place in the ecosystem, I do not like them, particularly in our house. Oddly enough, right now, this very second, there is a massive spider just outside the front door of Rock Father HQ - sleeping (I think, since she's dormant during the day), just waiting to emerge in her perfectly-spun web at night. This particular spider is MASSIVE, I think it's an Orb Weaver of some kind, but I've never seen one as big as this - probably because I've never allowed one to live this long. Thing is, this spider is just out of the way enough - and has been doing such a great job with the mosquitos and other flying critters (attracted by the porch light, I'd imagine) that I've let her continue her work... for now. Little does she know that eventually, I will "turn," and extinguish her fire... because that's what I do to eight-legged arachnid beasts. From the spider's perspective, the "monster" - the "boogeyman," if you will - is us, human beings. Heartwarming stories aside, it's totally appropriate for Halloween that we're talking spiders, and THE LAURIE BERKNER BAND lands here in my annual 31 Days of Halloween with "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," just-released on LAURIE BERKNER's FAVORITE CLASSIC KIDS' SONGS, available on Amazon or iTunes.

I always get asked about music for a Halloween Playlist, and while there's a lot of variables in the mix, I always like to sprinkle the unintentional Halloween songs with the classics. This year, the folks behind the long-running NOW series of compilations have made it easy by doing just that with the 2015 release of NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL HALLOWEEN. The 18-track collection features classics from John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and TRUE BLOOD, alongside some songs that have been featured right here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine in previous 31 Days of Halloween countdowns - tracks from Rockwell, Rob Zombie, The Specials and more. 

I'm always on the lookout for new family music with a seasonal spin, but once in awhile, it's true that what's old is new again. "Harry's Haunted Halloween Circus" is one such example, previously released on the 2006 RALPH'S WORLD album, AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, and re-emerging from the depths on the 2015 RALPH'S WORLD ROCKS & READS. There's plenty of ghoulish goodness to be had, with ghosts and winged beasts, spooky sounds and phantom acrobats. The song lands here in my annual 31 Days of Halloween, but it's also got a companion with an appropriately-timed "circus" theme...

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