Jul 9, 2010

Recess Monkey review



AUGUST 6 & 8

“2009 in Review:  These kids’ songs are … awesome!  … There are bands you can’t go wrong with, and this is one of them.” – USA Today

“RECESS MONKEY:  If Seattle is the new bastion of kindie rockers, then the trio of elementary school teachers — Jack Forman, Daron Henry and Drew Holloway — are the city's breakout stars.” –  Time Magazine
“BEST KIDS’ CDs OF THE DECADE:  With five great albums released in the past four years, this trio of Seattle teachers (who have even garnered Beatles comparisons) has become a force to be reckoned with in children's music.” 
– Christopher Healy, AOL ParentDish“Dan Zanes may be the godfather; They Might Be Giants, the legitimizer; and Laurie Berkner, Ralph Covert, and Justin Roberts the genre's superstars.  
But Recess Monkey  is the heart of kids’ music today.” –  Stefan Shepherd, Zooglobble

SEATTLE (July 8) – The critically acclaimed, award-winning trio of Seattle schoolteachersRecess Monkey, is in love with Chicago!  Following two July shows at Taste of Chicago, Recess Monkey will return for two special performances at Kidzapalooza (the family-friendly section of the Lollapalooza Festival) on Friday, August 6 at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Grant Park (Michigan Avenue & Congress Drive), Chicago. 
Recess Monkey’s live shows are Beatles-influenced sing-alongs about friends, animals and SL-DOUBLE-E-P-OVERS. The band’s Kidzapalooza performances will be foot-stomping, hand-clapping, chicken-dancing romps through old favorites along with high-energy funk and new wave grooves from their newest album, The Final Funktier, including “Booster Seat,” which compares a booster seat to a booster rocket, a low-gravity, high-bounce dance song called “Moon Boots,” and even a tune about a ukulele-playing alien called “Ukulalien.”  Kids and their parental units will zoom around the room with the high-energy “Jet Pack,” join the Monkey Bar conga line (located everywhere), take a soapy ride at the Bubble Factory, and give that loose tooth an extra jiggle with Dr. Wiggle. 

Contrary to popular belief, Recess Monkey was not pieced together, audition-style, a là The Monkees.  The band emerged from a meeting of three like-minded teachers --Jack FormanDaron Henry, and Drew Holloway -- who had a passion for sharing the stories of the kids they taught, and still teach, through music heavily influenced by their early record collections.

Drew Holloway describes Recess Monkey as “six-year-olds trapped inside thirty, or er, a forty-something bodies. It’s kind of like the movie Big, just with more guitar solos… Okay we don’t have guitar solos, but our bassist Jack leads a pretty sweet Monkey Bar conga line. And we all have disco pants! Nothing says recess like disco pants!”

Holloway continues, “Our musical influences are anything and everything.  We have our favorites for sure, both classic and contemporary, from Beatles to Beach Boys, Disco to Devo.  We’re so excited to play at Kidzapalooza this summer and catch some amazing family acts, as well as some of our favorite bands like Spoon and Arcade Fire. Over the years we’ve been compared to other bands, but it feels like we’ve really begun to hit our stride with a sound that’s all our own!”
Recess Monkey’s 2009 Release, Field Trip, was named to the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording List, and the album was included amongUSA Today’s “Favorite Releases of 2009.”  Enthused Cookie magazine, ”How does this prolific trio keep on getting better? Its fifth album somehow manages to top the rest.” Time Out NY Kids declared Field Trip to be the #1 CD of the year, calling it “pure genius.”
Recess Monkey’s Tabby Road, released in 2008, was a Parenting magazine “Our Fave This Month,” a KIWI magazine “Best of 2008,” and was one of the Christian Science Monitor’s Top Stocking Stuffers in its “Best of 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.”
According to kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble), Recess Monkey’s 2007 album, Wonderstuff, (a pioneering two-CD set written and performed by Recess Monkey and over 100 creative young music- and animal-loving friends), is the best pop-rock musical since Tommy” and was “the year’s most ambitious kids’ music album.” Shepherd declared, “Recess Monkey has slowly staked its claim to being the best kids’ music band in the business.”

Our take:
We received a copy of their CD, and it is really a fun listen. It isn't a super 'campy' kids sound so the kids didn't immediately realize I'd popped in a kids CD, but as they listened they liked the lyrics and the music was very catchy. I even caught my husband humming and tapping along to the beat. It's a really good mix of kid friendly lyrics and fun sound for the whole family. This what you need when you just can't take The Wiggles anymore but before your kids are into the next 'boy band' of the year. Recess Monkey is a really fun group!


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