If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On

I was driving my kid to school today, listening to the only decent morning radio I've yet to find in Houston, and heard that the new Angels & Airwaves album is free to download today. Also, if you leave a donation, you get a bonus track. The bonus track is epic. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I got to thinking (and subsequently emailing that morning radio show. Because I'm 12) that, though their target demographic is NOT 12 year olds, or boring old moms, this time it maybe should be. Because Britneyesque teeny-bop makes my brain bleed, and how many parents know the alternatives? My buddy in Denver got his kid hooked on the Who at the ripe old age of 5, which was clever but The Who is mediocre at best *ducks* and kind of hard to find on anything that doesn't involve David Caruso and his Sunglasses of Doom.

And speaking of brain bleed, do you know how many licks it takes Raffi to get to the center of your brain? Neither do I...my kids got Paint It Black sang to them every night at bedtime, because it's the same looping melody and way more interesting than Baby Belugas.

So here's my Public Service Announcement o' the Month: There are alternatives to glorification of premarital gang sex or date rape, people. Here are a few:

Dexter's Hip Hop Experiment. The soundtrack to the best cartoon ever written by man. Artists include Will. I. Am., Coolio and Prince Paul. PRINCE PAUL. He kicks ass, I don't care who you are. The whole CD is based off the cartoon (scientist 8 year old kid Dexter, rainbow-shooting-unicorns humping sister Dee Dee). It's funny and geeky and hip-hoppy. I listen to it WAY more than my kids do.  If techo is more your speed, you can get the Power-Puff Girls soundtrack on Amazon as well, also by actual, real musicians.

Weezer: Any of it. I was late on the Weezer train. I only found them 10 years ago, and I honestly don't know how I made it than long without them. If you don't know Weezer, start here. But right after, listen to this. Every single member of this house, from the four year old to the 37 year old, loves Weezer. And they don't cuss, ever, not at all. They sing about Buddy Holly and hanging out with their girlfriend at her parents house, having family dinner. But they, at the very same time, make you want to get on your knees and thank god for the invention of the electric guitar. We took our kids to see Weezer once, and sat 13 rows from the stage, and had our minds bah-lown. They are funny, they are nerdy, they are 100% safe for work, and they inspire children to love, not like but love, music.

They also inspire children to torture their parents. Bygones.

Say It Ain't So from Mr Lady on Vimeo.

Punk in DrublicAngels & Airwaves and Blink 182, which I unfairly lump into the same pile, though they are two different beasts. A&A is a "side-project" group for Blink 182, but they go hand in hand. Blink is more punkesque, A&A is more stadium-emo-rockish. They are both most excellent. Blink 182 drops the occasional f* bomb, it's true, and can sometimes be a lot like reading Basketball Diaries to your kid, but the fact of the matter is that your kid is already saying Fuck, and in much better context than you, and there is something to be said for reading your kids Basketball Diaries. At the same time, they're writing songs about Jack and Sally. Angels is less edgy in subject matter, and a totally different style of musicianship. But both bands offer something you are hard pressed to find in Top 40 music....musicianship. We've taken our kids to see Blink 182 twice, and Angels once, and we will again every single chance we get. Their shows are grown up. They aren't humping the stage, and they aren't spouting off about drugs and chics, they just play. Very, very well.

*Aside: Am I saying you should let your kids watch their videos? HELL NO. Their videos are for moms and dads and Robert Smith. But a burnt copy of the cd will do nicely.

Devotchka: A little band of tuba-playing, violin-wielding gypsies from Denver, who you may or may not know from the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. Devotchka is, um, well, errr...they're kind of hard to describe. They're, like, Burlesque meets Beethoven. Their music is most likely way over your kids heads, but it's good. It's soulful. It's complicated. It's MUSIC. And if you ask them pretty please with a cherry on top, they'll play your kids school fundraiser. Which will turn into your 3rd grader getting to play his flute on-stage, in concert with them. You know, if you ask real nice and one of their kids goes to your school.  Your kid isn't going to listen to their album straight through, not at first, but they'll play this until their cd player breaks, for sure.

There are more, loads more. The Foo Fighters, The Killers, They Might Be Giants, Jeremy Fisher, Radiohead....I could do this all day. But I won't. What I will do is make 5 kid friendly cd's for 5 random commenters and then probably never mail them out because I suck at mailing things out and even when I do they never seem to make it to where I've mailed them, because the US postal service hates me and wants me to cry. Ooooh, the Postal Service. Another fantastic band you and your kids would both love.