Music to your ears

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Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against men dancing around in coloured skivvies, particularly when they are joined by seventies rock legends who make me feel like dancing…..but whether my car trip is two minutes or two hours, there is only so much hot potato I can take.

I started seeking some alternatives to mainstream commercial kid’s music a while ago and have since discovered lots of fantastic artists making tunes that both kids and adults can enjoy together, without either feeling short-changed.

If you want to expand the music repertoire but aren’t sure where to begin, tune in to US radio station, Hip Young Parent. They broadcast an eclectic mix ranging from The Muppets to the Pixies (yes, the ‘grown-ups’ Pixies!) and everything that is played is suitable for the juice-box demographic. Mighty Moose Radio does a similar thing, but with a mellower, acoustic vibe.

However, if you can’t bear what’s in the CD stacker a moment longer, there are lots of sure-fire winners readily available, starting at Monkeytail & Wellington. Monkeytail & Wellington have put together a select range of kid’s music that is for parents like me – I can be sure that any new album they add to their collection, I’ll also want to add to mine. 

For pure pop fun, you can’t go past Justin Roberts. With songs like ‘Taking off my Training Wheels’ and ‘My Brother Did It‘, this guy provides the perfect soundtrack to your preschooler’s life.  Equally good, but with a rockabilly edge is New York band, The Jimmies. School-age kids will appreciate the humorous lyrics on ‘Here come the ABCs’ by They Might Be Giants and ‘Snacktime’ by Barenaked Ladies – you’ll also be humming ‘C is for Conifers’ all day. When you need to calm things down, you can’t go past the dulcet tones of Elizabeth Mitchell. Her song about a ladybug’s picnic is one of the sweetest ditties I’ve heard.

For a while I was the kinder car-pool queen thanks to home-grown band, The Mudcakes. Playing their song ‘Poo Party’ to unsuspecting four-year-olds would result in much hilarity in the back seat, ensuring a car-trip with me was like joining a party bus. The Mudcakes first album, ‘Songs for Little Monkeys’, was recorded in Tennessee and has a bluegrass feel. Their latest release, ‘Cave Baby’, has a rock edge and with tunes including ‘Pack up Time’ and ‘Please Don’t Polka the Baby’, parents will have it on replay.

All of the artists I’ve mentioned have a sound that will appeal to adults and lyrics and rhythms that kids will love.  But be warned, you might find yourself singing "Kickboard, Baby, Yeah" or "She’s a Yellow Reflector" while standing at the water-cooler at work.

Albums from Justin Roberts, The Jimmies, They Might Be Giants, Barenaked Ladies and Elizabeth Mitchell are all $30 each from Monkeytail & Wellington. Head to Monkeytail & Wellington in May for fresh sounds from Frances England and just released compilation albums, ‘Play ‘and ‘Greasy Kids Stuff Vol 1′.

The Mudcakes albums are $24.95 and are available directly from The Mudcakes.

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Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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