Put a little spring in your step with some great new tunes for the kids that will get your toes tapping too. With new albums from some of our long-time favorites, as well as some artists that our kids will recognize from TV, there’s a great variety of new music, as evidenced in the four new releases we’ve featured here.
Trees, the delightful new collaborative release by Molly Ledford of Lunch Money and versatile kindie musician Billy Kelly, is the musical equivalent of a ramble through the woods where every path leads somewhere fun. Starting with the title song, Trees, Molly and Billy get things started with a banjo-backed stroll before going To the Woods, an upbeat pop-rock call to explore a leafy patch. Smarty-pants tunes like the chatty Coniferous Trees and the speedy The Dichotomous Key feature lyrics that teach as much as entertain.
Related: The coolest kids’ music of the year: Our Editors’ Best
There are achingly beautiful songs like Angel Oak and the lovely, old-timey Two Trees, Old Friends that is the sweetest love song I’ve heard in a while. And you’ll hear plenty of sly humor on this album like Billy Kelly’s super-earnest (It’s Just a) Dumb Ol’ Stick, and the proper-sounding anthem The National Tree of England.
Like The Okee Dokee Brother’s Grammy nominated Through the Woods, this is an album that should appeal to a very wide range of ages, and I can’t think of a better collection of new songs to help get kids interested in exploring those leafy wonders outside our doors.
If you have young kids, chances are you’ve caught Big Block Singsong’s adorably colorful music videos on Disney Jr. In fact, maybe you are like our own Cool Mom Tech associate editor Nicole who rushes to the TV when she hears one of their tunes come on so she can enjoy it right along with her son. It’s easy to see why: The videos are bright, in-your-face silly and the music borrows from every genre to create short, catchy tunes you may find yourself singing all day too.
Make no mistake: This is definitely music written for kids with easy-to-understand lyrics that will most appeal to the youngest in your household. I’d probably grab the visual Big Block Singsong Volume I DVD for the full experience, but if your kids want to take their tunes with them, their Greatest Hits album is ready to download and singsong along with wherever you go.
We fell for Bunny Clogs’ offbeat, indie rock sound a few years back with More More More, and Minneapolis-based Adam Levy’s second album, Whales Can’t Whistle is chock full of new tunes for kids and their grownups. I love Bunny Clogs’ inventive sound with lyrics that often sound more like poetry with all the nuances and wordplay that involves. On this 18-song album, almost all of the songs cover a different creature from the animal kingdom from the naked mole rat to the sea pig.
With a sophisticated funky sound like in A Platypus Named Amethyst (say that three times fast) to the clever Beetle Mania which takes a humorous look at a different “fab four”, this is an ambitious album. I adore when Bunny Clogs throws in rap, as in the super-fun Jumpy the Spider and the electronic-backed Echidna Print. And the latin-sounds of Hugie the Toad is lively and makes us want to cha cha across the playroom. I’m less enamoured of Adam’s spoken portions, but I can see kids totally getting into the silliness of it all.
Cat Doorman’s four-song EP, Calling All the Kids to the Yard, may be short but it should not to be missed. Kicking off with the languid, almost hymn-like sounds at the start of Loving Cup, this song quickly changes tempo to let you know you are in for something more upbeat than expected. And the jangly guitar of Wake Up is a rocking way to start the day whether you are four or quite a bit older than four.
The title song, Calling All the Kids to the Yard, is totally kick-butt alt rock that will definitely be among my favorite new tunes of the year. And I love how she takes a familiar nursery rhyme (a lullaby no less) and makes it her own with the blow-out-the-speakers song All the Pretty Horses. OK, maybe don’t blow out the speakers at naptime.
Check out lots more music for kids and families in our archives.