Must-Hear Music Monday with Amber: Five New Releases

Must-Hear Music Monday

We’ve been listening to lots of new—and some not so new—music that’s super cool. Local favorite Liz Buchanan recently released a new CD and so did Princess Katie & Racer Steve. And did you know that the ever-awesome Recess Monkey have a new CD coming out in June?

Here are some highlights from our new collection of favorites:

Liz Buchanan

Liz Buchanan Singing All the Way HomeLiz’s new CD is simply a sweet collection of kids’ songs with a very folksy and traditional feel. These songs are great for little kids and toddlers. Liz has a rich singing voice that’s both beautiful and friendly that really attracts kids, especially shy ones. Her shows are very interactive and kids just seem to feel free to dance and be themselves with her.

I love the song “Hey, Dr. Knickerbocker” for its perfect guitar arrangement and sing-along-to lyrics and Ivan just adores “The Hand-Clapping Rap” where you clap the syllables of food words. Such a simple idea gets him so excited!

Liz is planning a CD release party at the Regent Theater in Eastern MA in October. Her concert will kick off their Family Fun Series this fall!

Princess Katie & Racer Steve

Princess Katie & Racer Steve Tiny CoolPrincess Katie and Racer Steve may have been around making kids’ music for a while, but we’ve only just discovered their music and we’re quickly becoming huge fans! Their new CD, Tiny Cool, is like a cartoon rock party in a box. Just add some dance moves and you’re all set!

The songs are interspersed with little skits spoken by Katie and Steve and they’re just hilarious (ever hear a princess really try to get her enchanted forest animals to sing with her? It doesn’t work out so well!), but the real fun is in the songs. Just listen to clips from “Clelia’s Party” and “Tiny Cool” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s like a book you can’t put down—in music form!

Recess Monkey

Recess Monkey The Final FunktierThe guys from Recess Monkey have been busy preparing for their next project: A trip into outer space! That’s right, the funky cool kids’ band from Seattle is releasing a new CD in June and it’s all about space and what you’ll find there. I guess you could say that The Final Funktier is technically a concept album focusing entirely on one theme, but instead of becoming dry or forced, this really works! From songs about satellite brothers who never leave you alone to beat-box robots every song on this CD is a keeper.

Along side the silly songs is Galax Sea,” a questing song asking listeners to think about what might by on the other side of the galaxy. It’s almost epic in its scope and really quite lovely to listen to, plus the guest vocals on this song are amazing. The Final Funktier includes vocals from two of my all-time favorite artists, Morgan Taylor and Rachel Loshak (from Gustafer Yellowgold), as well as Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its, and other big time children’s rockers. Very cool! – The Final Funktier will be available for sale in June but you can pre-order your copy now!

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Okee Dokee Brothers Kids with BeardsAnother band we’ve just discovered even though they’ve been around for a while is The Okee Dokee Brothers. These guys play a mean guitar and banjo plus they’re simply hilarious. They kind of remind me of Flight of the Conchords for kids, especially with songs like “Robot”. Did you know that robots can’t sing? Neither did I!

The Okee Dokee Brothers definitely cater their music to both kids and adults alike by including jokes or references in their songs that the parents can appreciate, like when their song “Wash Your Face” spoofs George Michael’s “Faith” with lines like “Well, I guess it would be nice if you would wash your face I don’t know any face that could replace you.” Give them a listen and see what you think. They’re new album, Take It Outside, is available for pre-release on their site now.

Gina Sing

Gina Sing TogetherLast, but certainly not least, you might want to check out the new album from Gina Sing titled Together. Gina’s another vocalist with such a beautifully rich voice and I love the kids she has singing with her on her album. Gina sings many traditional songs like “Tingalayo” or “I Love the Mountains” but she always adds her own fresh spin to the song. “Head n’ Shoulders, Baby” is a great example. It’s not just “head, shoulders, kness, and toes”—oh no—Gina has you jumping and bopping to a whole new take on this classic. She’s a lot of fun!

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Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

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