June 21, 2012
I sometimes worry that my enthusiasm for Recess Monkey has reached a point of absurdity, but I come by it honestly: The Seattle "teacher-rockers" (as they are now both truthfully and marvelously billed) have long been our family's favorite kid-music band, one of the few that gets my wife as excited about a new release as the two boys are.
I mentioned a little while back that they had just such a new release coming up soon, and, well, here it is: In Tents, the band's eighth(!) album, this one themed around circuses. It took just one listen at our house to see that it more than meets the high standards set by Recess Monkey's previous seven: Within minutes, both of our sons were hopping around the room to "Popcorn" (still their favorite off the album...though "Human Cannonball" and "Odditorium" are pretty close, come to think of it...and "Bouncy House"...OK, I'll stop).
The band's sound is astonishingly tight, as always, and the trio continues to push at their own musical boundaries, as they've done with each new album, experimenting with new sounds and instruments and even production techniques. (They're helped along this time in that last respect by the producer of In Tents, the ubiquitous Dean Jones.)
In fact, as Stefan Shepherd of the indispensible kids'-music site Zooglobble wrote in his review of the album, it feels absurd to burden any band by calling them the "Beatles of children's music"...and yet, with every one of their albums, it becomes harder and harder to avoid using just that phrase. They are most certainly the Fab...uh, Three of kids' music in our household.
I should also mention once more that they are a great band to see live with your kids, and that there are opportunities on both coasts to do so in the immediate future: In their hometown of Seattle, they're playing a bunch of shows to celebrate the release of In Tents with a real, live circus, Teatro ZinZanni; there are four of those shows left, on June 23 and 24, and July 14 and 15. (The show looks fantastic—for a taste, check out the full-length video below that Recess Monkey has put on YouTube.)
And for those of us on the East Coast, well, we don't get the circus, but we get several shots at Recess Monkey themselves: a free morning show on July 24 at NYC Summerstage in Rufus King Park in Queens; two admission shows on July 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. at the Long Island Children's Museum in Garden City; and another free outdoor morning show on July 26 in Madison Square Park in Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. My boys would be the first to tell you they're well worth the trip!
[Cover image courtesy of Recess Monkey]