batteryPOP is very excited to welcome Stefan Sheppard from the fantastic kids music blog Zooglobble as our guest blogger for the Kindie Rock Showdown. Check the batteryPOP bLOG each week for Stefan's updates!
Welcome back for the second week of the batteryPOP/Zooglobble Kindie Rock Showdown! I hope you had fun watching the videos from last week, and maybe even watching how the winning videos changed throughout the week. (I did, both the former and the latter.)
This week we’ve got four more great artists competing head-to-head (-to-head-to-head, or something like that). The first matchup is Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band’s “Blue Bear” versus Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s “Gotta Be You.”
In a field of musicians with sunny outlooks, Lucky Diaz and his wife, Alisha Gaddis -- AKA Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band -- might just be the sunniest. (Must be the California background.) They radiate positivity, and it’s clearly paid off for them in their career as family musicians. They’ve earned a Grammy, filmed a video series, and entertained kids across the country. “Blue Bear” is one of their first hits, a great example of their pop sensibility, matched with some fun animation.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is the top-most purveyor of kids’ hip-hop, but that description might pigeonhole him too much -- he makes some great kids’ music, period, who pulls from a wide variety of influences. His message is often self-empowering, but it’s a message that’s always delivered with humor and a solid beat. “Gotta Be You” shows Skidoo at his best, using some funk to underscore his message, with an assist from MC Fireworks, who just happens to be Skidoo’s daughter.
The second matchup features two of kindie’s most energetic live acts (and that’s saying something for a genre whose musicians often are working hard to keep kids engaged). It’s Josh and the Jamtones’ “John Jacob” facing off against The Not-Its’ “Haircut.”
Josh and the Jamtones meld ska, reggae, and a healthy dose of pop-punk that is hard not to dance to. (Believe me, I speak from personal experience.) They’re also very, very funny. Josh Shriber and his drummer Patrick Hanlin are constantly riffing, making jokes, live and on record. Their video “Bear Hunt” is part sketch comedy, part travelogue, and this video, “John Jacob” turns the classic sing-along into a story akin to “John Jacob: Behind the Music.”
When I think of the Not-Its!, I think of two things that have been associated with the band (which some of the parents in the audience might recognize includes Sarah Shannon from the ‘90s indie-rockers Velocity Girl) from the very beginning. First, I think of catchy pop-punk nuggets -- they’ve produced snappy two-minute songs that draw of instantly-relatable kids’ topics with a funny attitude. Second, I think of sartorial splendor -- dressed in pink tutus and black-and-white outfits, they’re instantly recognizable (and on kindie’s “best dressed list”).
Just as she did last week, kids music superstar Laurie Berkner is providing her commentary on these videos as well -- they’ll appear prior to each of the four videos. Remember, you can vote once a day, so return daily to see how the competition is going and vote for your favorites!