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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...

PBS KIDS VIP - Very Involved ParentThree years ago, PBS KIDS ROCKS! was released as a 15-track collection of tunes for the whole family. Now, PBS KIDS ROCKS! has been reissued as an expanded, 28-track collection featuring songs from Grammy Award-winners Old Crow Medicine Show, Ozomatli, Los Lobos, They Might Be Giants, The Weepies, Best Coast and two-time Parent’s Choice Gold Award-winner SteveSongs, known as Mr. Steve on PBS KIDS. Available now on Amazon and iTunes, each of the songs helps kids explore topics related to literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and social-emotional learning. Bilingual tunes are also included. Check out some streams and info below!

Wednesday, October 14 2015 08:44

Kindie Metal: SHARKY SHARKY - "Jake the Jellyfish"

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I've covered a ton of family music here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine over the past few years, and in all of its various forms, it's been Kindie (Kids + Indie Rock) that's generally been the best of the bunch. I'd actually mentioned the possibility of creating a "Kindie Metal" project on a few occasions, but last night (thanks to my friend Demetri) I found out that someone has gone ahead and done it. SHARKY SHARKY is a guitar-heavy Kindie Metal band out of Aberdeen, Scotland. Rumor has it, they may or may not have something to do with UK Power Metallers, ASCENSION, and their new lyric video for "Jake the Jellyfish" has just been released. I'm telling you right now - Kindie Metal is the future of family music, and something that I look forward to seeing more of - a new genre that I will champion. Check it out below...

One of this year's most unexpected Halloween songs comes from RENEE & FRIENDS' SIMPATICO - a collaborative album that finds Renee Stahl (RENEE & JEREMY) and producer Rich Jacques teaming-up with an impressive cast of guest players. There's LISA LOEB, former SNL cast member MAYA RUDOLPH, COLIN HAY (MEN AT WORK), TOAD THE WET SPROCKET's GLEN PHILLIPS, and an appearance by CASPAR BABYPANTS - better-known as CHRIS BALLEW of THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It's Caspar that lends his voice to "I Am Not Afraid," a powerful new anthem for children as the nights become longer, the skies become darker, the air colder, and "the trees tickle windows." Check it out below as part of my annual 31 Days of Halloween here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine...

Right now, Paul Feig is creating an all-new GHOSTBUSTERS movie - one with Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon (all pictured up-top) strapping on the Proton Packs for a new adventure that Sony Pictures will release on July 15, 2016. While the new Ghostbusters certainly have my attention, I come from the generation that grew up on the original (which I saw in the theater back in 1984) and will forever hold completely dear. Ray Parker Jr.'s iconic theme song still gets regular play here, and The Rock Daughters™ can even pick my original vinyl 45 out of a stack. Carrying on that legacy, I've featured a number of cover versions of the GHOSTBUSTERS theme over the years (Hoobastank, Melo-M), and this year another finds its way into my annual 31 Days of Halloween here at THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. From ODDS & ENDS, the new album by ANDREW & POLLY, comes a very different take on this famous song. Check out ANDREW & POLLY performing "Ghostbusters," below...

This is probably the first time this has ever happened - a past entry into 31 Days of Halloween returning three years later in a different form. Back in 2012, I featured "Bah Humbug Halloween" by Chicago's POOCHAMUNGAS here on the site, but what it didn't have then, it has now - a music video. In this tale inspired by Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Ebenezer Scrooge is found living in Chicago, bringing his grumpiness the the #1 Holiday of the year (aside from Xmas, of course). Can the ghosts right his wrongs for this one, too?

After being a destination for the purchase of great family music for years, Amazon has officially entered into the Kindie realm with exclusive new albums from THE POP UPS and LISA LOEB. GREAT PRETENDERS CLUB is the fourth album from Brooklyn Duo, THE POP UPS, while NURSERY RHYME PARADE! is the fourth children's album from singer/songwriter LISA LOEB. Both albums are available for unlimited ad-free streaming to Amazon Prime Members right now, while physical and MP3 versions are also available for order and pre-order, respectively.

Tuesday, September 29 2015 22:08

Here's a New Song by ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS...

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When ALVIN and THE CHIPMUNKS LIVE ON STAGE hits the road this Fall, families will get to hear 18 songs performed as part of the touring show. Tonight, the first original song has been released, and it's one that poses a very simple question just in title alone: "Are You Ready For Chipmunks?" Have a listen...

The buzz today has been that RYAN ADAMS has not only completed his full-album cover of TAYLOR SWIFT's 1989 - but that Digital pre-orders for it are now live (Amazon | iTunes), and that the release will be available on Monday, September 21st. If you want a hard copy, Amazon is already taking pre-orders for the CD, which Blue Note will release on November 20th... but RYAN ADAMS isn't the only one with a full-album cover of 1989 in the pipeline. On October 9th, the crew at Roma Music Group will release their LULLABY VERSION OF 1989 as part of their massive Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star collection of lullabies. Normally, I'd show you the cover art and tracklisting for the album, but since it's 1989, I'm just gonna defer to Taylor on this one...

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