This week we profiled the ebullient pre-school TV sensation Yo Gabba Gabba, but the show (created by two So Cal rocker dads) isn't the only alternative for parents sick of dumbed-down cartoons and uninspired kiddie ditties. More and more artists from the rock world are exploring the children's market, offering fun and quirky fare for indie baby mamas n' papas, and kids at heart alike. Below, some that earn an extra shiny gold star.
* BABY ROCK RECORDS. The LA-based music label makes lullaby renditions of artists including The Cure, Metallica, Radiohead and The Ramones. Cuts range from appropos (“Enter Sandman”) to the other extreme (“Beat on the Brat ”). Clever idea and cute way to get newborns started on the real thing, even if ultimately they leave us crying for the originals. www.rockabyebabymusic.com
* KIDZAPALOOZA. Perry Farrell’s pint-sized version of the seminal music fest was a big hit with li’l ones in Chicago. The LA version, postponed from this Fall, is now slated for the Hollywood Bowl on June 27, 2009, and according to the website scheduled acts so far include Ziggy Marley, Gary Oldman and Slash. Welcome to the Jungle Gym! www.kidzapalooza.com
* THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS. The alt-rocker’s exuberant Malcom in the Middle theme aside, TMBG live up to their name in the binky rock scene, and their children’s debut, NO! surely influenced other bands to say “Yes” to the wee-wee music wagon too. Check out their free weekly kids and
family video podcasts at www.tmbg.com
* DAN ZANES. The Grammy-winning children’s artist and former Del Fuegos member has brought pals including Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Aimee Mann and John Doe into his family music fold. See him at UCLA's Royce Hall in the Spring, Sat., March 14, 2009. www.danzanes.com
* GWENDOLYN- Backed by her hubby Brandon Jay (The 88), Gwendolyn makes blissful folk rock for adults, but it’s the pig-tailed alter-ego and bouncy band “The Good Time Gang” she’s best known for here in LA. Alas, Gwen is on a break til next year to have her own lil goo-goo gang-ster, but she's got a date booked at the Geffen Playhouse on May 9, 2009. www.gwendolynandthegoodtimegang.com
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* KiDROCKERS. Promoting kid n' parent-friendly shows featuring grown-up rock bands for two years now in New York, the rockin' romper room made it's West Coast debut at the Echo earlier this month with The Deadly Syndrome and The Afternoons. Their next runt ragin' show is sure to be another rattler. The line-up includes The Parson Red Heads (below) and Henry Clay People with Seth Herzog and host Greg "He's Just Not That Into You" Behrendt, all on Sunday, Nov. 30 at the Echo. www.kidrockersusa.com
*THE ECHO/ECHOPLEX. Speaking of our favorite Eastside venue, few clubs in LA have opened their doors to the li'l ones like the good ol' Echo and its big sis the 'Plex. In addition to KidRockers, the club will be hosting the family-friendly music fest from Ghetto Gloss gallery called Snow in Los Angeles on Dec. 21 (featuring local faves and even a few high-school age bands) and this Sunday, the Part Time Punks music fest beginning at 2 p.m., is an all ages event. Of course, little ears will definitely need ear plugs or headphones for this one. Hell, big ears will too. www.attheecho.com