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May 4, 2012

New Music: Invisible Friends

Dean Jones is everywhere. In the kindie-music scene, anyway: Producing albums by leading lights of the genre like Recess Monkey, The Deedle Deedle Dees, and Elizabeth Mitchell, as well as the wonderful Many Hands kids'-music compilation, which has raised more than $60,000 for Haiti earthquake relief to date. (He also collaborated with folk-rock band the Felice Brothers on a solo kids' album of his own, Rock, Paper, Scissors, back in 2010.)

But somehow, amid all that, Jones is still also the frontman of a leading-light kindie band of his own, Dog on Fleas, whose seventh CD, Invisible Friends, just came out. It's another toe-tapping, dance-inducing pleasure all the way through its 16 tracks, from the catchy "Treehouse" and the sweet, Paul Simon–esque "Fortunate Mistake" to the reggae-tinged "Charm Them Birdies."

The whole album is equally diverse in its influences, which range from late Talking Heads to Jack Johnson and Dan Zanes to both the adult and kid albums of They Might Be Giants to Deee-Lite to...is that Nino Rota? Like the prior Dog on Fleas albums, it's all upbeat and lots of fun for kids and parents alike.

And those kids and parents from the area around lower New York state will have a few chances to see Dog on Fleas live in June—first at the official party for this very CD on June 9 in the band's hometown of Rosendale; then on June 16 at the massive Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson (hey, that's my hometown!); and finally in what I suppose must be one of all kindie music's hometowns, Brooklyn, at Albee Square Park on June 28.

[Cover image courtesy of Dog on Fleas]

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