New York-based JOANIE LEEDS has been busy. In the past thirty days, the singer/songwriter and her band, THE NIGHTLIGHTS, have released a new album, and fourteen music videos to support it. That album, BANDWAGON, has been in regular rotation here at Rock Father HQ for a bit now, a fun, fifteen-song collection of tunes perfect for summer – or a summer road trip with the kids. And I have used it on the road.
The lead cut, “Are We There Yet” is more than just the title to an ICE CUBE movie/show (though, today was a good day), but a garage rock jam that pays tribute to a line that I often thought was a fabrication only seen on television until my oldest started saying it from the back seat of my Rock Father Urban Assault Vehicle™: “Daddy, are we there yet?”
Produced by DOG ON FLEAS’ prolific Dean Jones – “the 90s Puff Daddy of Kindie Rock” (all up on everyone’s album and/or track) – at his No Parking Studios, the album sounds great and features Jones guesting on a few tracks, as do Rachel Loshak (GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD) and Justin Lansing (of recent Grammy Winners, THE OKEE DOKEE BROTHERS), all of whom make the title cut one of BANDWAGON‘s memorable moments.
The major misstep of the album lies in the much-touted reworking of STEVIE WONDER’s “Superstition” (mistakenly credited as “Superstitious” in the liner notes) as “Nutritious.” The well-intended ode to eating well and digging those fruits and veggies just feels forced and sticks out among the album’s other fine tracks.
With an almost-four-year-old in my house right now, “Use Your Words” and “Bed” carry special meaning (both for Father and Child), while “UFO” makes for prime listening for stargazing and sky-viewing families.
What’s particularly interesting about BANDWAGON is the contrast between the Kindie-rocking Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights and the jangly, singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds, who emerges on tracks like “Family Tree” (on which Jonatha Brooke guests), “Falling” (which I previously-featured as a Free Download), and “Let’s Go.” I sorta like the latter better, and could see Leeds expanding her audience greatly in years to come.
BANDWAGON is available now on iTunes.
The Rock Father Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: A copy of this album was provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. Pretty-much common sense, since that’s how music reviews have worked for the past 50+ years or so, but the Government now requires that reviewers point out the obvious. All opinions are that of James Zahn, with input from his children. He doesn’t accept cash for reviews because that’s just shady.