Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon

Maybe it's a reaction to the excesses of mainstream kids' music the same way indie, punk, alternative, etc. was a reaction to the excesses of mainstream rock. Maybe it's a vehicle for passing down the heritage of cool to your kids. Maybe it's just a way to listen to music with your kids that doesn't drive you insane. Personally, it's all of those plus just something fun our whole family can enjoy together.

However you frame it, "kindie rock" - that is, kids' music with an indie sensibility, also known as family music or all-ages music - is a thriving scene these days, complete with its own festivals, venues, and stars. And many of those stars were indie-without-a-k rockers before they found a younger audience. Here are three that my kids enjoy.

Elizabeth Mitchell
One of the pioneers of family music, Elizabeth Mitchell started playing for kids in the late 90s along with her work for grownups in the band Ida. And "family" is more than a genre description: her most frequent collaborators are her husband Daniel Littleton (also in Ida, and previously in 80s melodic hardcore legends the Hated) and their daughter Storey. Her five albums are filled with lovely renditions of songs by everyone from Lou Reed to Neil Young to Augustus Pablo.

 

The Not-Its
The faux-naivete of indie pop makes actual kids' music a natural progression. Sarah Shannon of 90s Sub Pop indie-pop heroes Velocity Girl now fronts the Not-Its, a quintet playing tight, catchy power-pop tunes about school, tag, animals, and other prepubescent concerns.

 

They Might Be Giants
From their very first recordings, the geek-pop titans have always flirted with kiddie sounds and nerdy educational lyrics. Now they're up to four proper kids' albums (No, Here Come the ABCS, Here Come the 123s, and Here Comes Science) but as a longtime fan, I can't even tell the difference from their regular stuff. Each album was also released with/as a full-length DVD video, and they made 18 episodes of a family video podcast, too.

 

These are just three that get some play at my house - the indie-gone-kindie roll call could also include Laura Veirs, Dan Zanes, Caspar Babypants, Wee Hairy Beasties and many more. Hope this post helped you and your kids find a new favorite. And if there's a kindie-rock classic racing up the charts at your house, share it in the discussion thread!

 

BillChilds


quality posts: 0 Private Messages BillChilds

Great - and broad - look at the genre. Nice to see one that's not just complaining about Kidz Bop.

For a nice sampler of folks, including TMBG and Elizabeth Mitchell (plus Jonathan Coulton, Dan Zanes, and many more), you might check out Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti (http://manyhandscd.com). Yes, it's on a label I formed, but all proceeds go to Haitian relief, so maybe it doesn't count as self-promotion too much.

On the other hand, in pure self-promotion: you can also listen to a little family music radio show I do: Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child

You can also find great coverage, reviews, etc., at http://zooglobble.com, http://owtk.com, and http://dadnabbit.com, among other places.

jlavezzo


quality posts: 2 Private Messages jlavezzo

They Might Be Giants have said they took on the kids project because they wanted to do something that didn't require 18 straight months of touring :D

TMBG for the win! Who wouldn't want to visit West Xylophone?

ambergreen


quality posts: 11 Private Messages ambergreen

Check out Recess Monkey from Seattle. My 6 and 1 year old both rock out to these guys.

http://www.recessmonkeytown.com/

BillChilds


quality posts: 0 Private Messages BillChilds

...and Recess Monkey is also on Many Hands! Love those guys.

Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon
BillChilds wrote:Great - and broad - look at the genre. Nice to see one that's not just complaining about Kidz Bop.

For a nice sampler of folks, including TMBG and Elizabeth Mitchell (plus Jonathan Coulton, Dan Zanes, and many more), you might check out Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti (http://manyhandscd.com). Yes, it's on a label I formed, but all proceeds go to Haitian relief, so maybe it doesn't count as self-promotion too much.

On the other hand, in pure self-promotion: you can also listen to a little family music radio show I do: Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child

You can also find great coverage, reviews, etc., at http://zooglobble.com, http://owtk.com, and http://dadnabbit.com, among other places.



Wow, thanks for reading, and for the kind words about the post! I had no idea the guy behind Spare the Rock would see this!

velcrofog


quality posts: 0 Private Messages velcrofog

Our kids really like the Laurie Berkner Band, which we discovered via Jack's Big Music Show. If you haven't seen either, check 'em out. Great stuff. We'll be sad on road trips when the kids outgrow Berkner.