There is great music coming from all over the U.S. for
kids and families, but since becoming immersed in the Kindie Rock
scene it's no surprise to me when an album that has roots in
Brooklyn, Portland, or Seattle lands on my desk. Those cities seem
to represent the East and West coasts as cultural hubs for creating
rock for all ages. But what about the Third Coast - right
here in Chicagoland? Well, just like our pizza - which everyone has
conceded to be the best tasting in the world - Chicago has unique
sonic flavors as well. Here's four recent releases by artists with
local ties that you can rock out to with your family right now.
The Boogers - Extractum Victoris
The Boogers are the undisputed kings of Kindie Punk Rock.
After bursting onto the scene with 2008's Road to Rock and
2010's Let's Go, the band entered 2013 on the heels of
their heaviest album to date, Extractum Victoris (full
here). Fronted by a Ph.D in Developmental
Psychology, there's more to The Boogers than just fine rock jams
and they've long been my most recommended purveyors of Chicago
Available on iTunes
Dani - Beauty Land
Technically, Dani lives in Los Angeles, but this Glenview
native took her first vocal lessons in Northbrook. She spent a few
years working in Chicagoland as a music therapist after studying at
the Berklee College of Music. Her debut children's album,
Beauty Land, was released this summer and plays like
musical theatre. The 14 track adventure - the tale of Jimmy and
Lulu, a brother and sister who find themselves captured by an Evil
Witch and are searching for a way to Beauty Land - was written and
is narrated by Dani. It's a little Disney, a little pop-rock, and a
lot of fun. My oldest daughter asked if she could watch the DVD but
there isn't one . . . at least, not yet.
Istvan & His Imaginary Band - Sweet!
Is Berwyn Chicago's answer to Brooklyn? Svengoolie might
be it's most famous export, followed by The Boogers as its
most-rockin'. But the land of the late Spindle has also given us
Istvan & His Imaginary Band. On Sweet!, Istvan and the
gang deliver a tasty collection of tunes prime for the younger set.
The seriously short - 10 songs in 20 minutes - album mixes a little
50's/60's rock and roll sprinkled with some punk stylings and
acoustic jams. They cover everything from "Germs," to playtime on
it's "Fun to Pretend," and how to take care of those "Pearly
Justin Roberts - Recess
One of the bigger names on the kids and family scene in
Chicago, Justin Roberts, wasted no time in following up his
acclaimed 2012 album, Lullaby with a new record called
Recess (full review
here). Together with The Not Ready for Naptime
Players, Roberts delivers a dozen new songs that were great for
summer, but work just as well now that school is back in session.
Robots! Princesses! Aliens! Trains! There's a lot to dig on this
one and it's well-worth picking up.
Known as The Rock Father, James Zahn is a work-at-home dad raising a pair of young daughters while his wife works outside the home.
See more of James's stories here.
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