When Hipsters Procreate: Children's Music That Won't Make You Wish You Were Deaf
Gustafer Yellowgold and creator Morgan Taylor
I don't know how my kid does it. He's heard "ABCs" a thousand times and it's still his number one request. If you have a little one, you know you're going to hear the same song hundreds - no, thousands - of times.
If you're particular about the music you listen to, choosing good music to play for your kids is important and difficult. Luckily, with the help of my two-year-old, I've listened to countless songs about brushing our teeth and very graphic yet uncomfortably pleasant accounts of using the toilet, in an effort to come up with a list of listenable children's music.
Gustafer Yellowgold, who will be at Good Records tomorrow at noon, is the cartoon creation of ex-punk rocker Morgan Taylor, who was once a member of The Autumn Defense with members of Wilco. Gustafer is a sun-dwelling creature who landed a spaceship somewhere in the woods of Minnesota. His latest release, Year In the Day, is a collection of songs about lesser known holidays. "Pancake Smackdown," a song about national pancake day, is a pretty amazing track.
You can now play Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" for your infant without fear of giving him or her nightmares. Rockabye Baby! is a growing series of more than 40 baby-soothing versions of great music from The Flaming Lips, Nirvana, Kanye West and more. As far as I can tell, my three-month-old is really into Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of The Smiths. Check out the entire series on Spotify.
Yo Gabba Gabba!
There's something fantastic about watching your kid dance to a hip-hop song about eating his vegetables. "Party In My Tummy" is probably Yo Gabba Gabba!'s biggest hit, but there are plenty of other great songs on the show's three volume series, Music Is Awesome. Along with the show's original songs, there are guest appearances from bands like The Roots, MGMT, The Flaming Lips and many more.
Sesame Street's genius is that they've been bringing famous musical guests on the show for decades. I still remember Smokey Robinson singing "U Really Got A Hold On Me." Now, it's Feist singing a modified version of "1, 2, 3, 4," and Will.I.Am doing an original kids' song. As far as I can tell, very little of it is available in record form, but you can find the aforementioned songs and others on YouTube. You just have to navigate around the million or so Elmo videos.
None of Chic-a-go-go's music is available on record, but there are scores of episodes available on YouTube. The concept of the Chicago-based public access children's program is to have a bunch of kids dancing as super obscure art-rock and indie acts lip sync to their own music. This appearance by Nobunny is particularly weird. This one with OK Go is a bit more charming.
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