Archives for August 26, 2013

CAST AWAY WITH RECESS MONKEY on ‘DESERT ISLAND DISC’

DESERT ISLAND DISC Cover Art Recess Monkey 72 dpi

SEATTLE, WA (August 1, 2013) – It is rumored that family music icon Recess Monkey recorded its tenth studio CD, Desert Island Disc, while shipwrecked on the beach of a distant island. The band’s spokesmonkey has refused to either confirm or deny these tales but has indicated that legions of fans will soon be able to judge the musical evidence for themselves. (Recess Monkey, $14.99, for ages 3 – 8, run time 40 minutes. Release date October 15, 2013.) My son and I received this CD and love all the fun songs!

 

Winding down from the high energy of its June 2013 release, Deep Sea Diver, Recess Monkey longed for a calmer second act.  Fortunately, tranquility was soon to be had, following a bit of drama when the “Tambourine Submarine” from Deep Sea Diver crashed onto the rocks of a deserted island. To while away the hours while stranded in their newfound tropical paradise, Recess Monkey created Desert Island Disc, which features acoustic instruments conveying the relaxed, sun-drenched pace of good friends exploring a strange new land together. Graced with elegant and colorful orchestrations by Jherek Bischoff, Desert Island Disc is like the calm exhale following a rampaging storm of summer excitement.

 

Notes Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman, “After the electrified excitement of Deep Sea Diver, we wanted to explore the calmer side of our songs, and what better place than on a remote beach? Desert Island Disc ended up being played with instruments only available on an island: strange, pieced together drums, acoustic textures, and waves gently lapping on the shore.”

 

Adds Drew Holloway, “We conceived Desert Island Disc not only as a companion to Deep Sea Diver, but also as its counterpoint.  Desert Island Disc is an experimental album for us, but the songs are still sequenced in a flow that gives an arc to the record. Our intent is always to link together songs in a way that transports people to another place.”

 

Joining Jack Forman and Drew Holloway on Deep Sea Diver and Desert Island Disc is new band member Korum Bischoff, a truly awesome drummer who offers a dynamic contribution, not only to Recess Monkey’s overall energy, but also to the albums’ concepts. Says Korum, “I grew up living aboard a sailboat docked at Bainbridge Island, Washington, so the ocean and island-based themes of Deep Sea Diver and Desert Island Disc felt like coming home!”

 

Desert Island Disc picks up on our inveterate explorers with their discovery of the “Coconut Radio” as it tunes in on the nostalgia of bygone times, with the warmth of its string orchestrations setting the mood and holding the entire album together.  Using this “radio,” Recess Monkey is able, one song at a time, to dial into a variety of enchanting and mysterious activities that populate the island.  Highlights include “The Hermit,” in which hermit crabs humorously execute a crabby conga as they scurry from one seashell domicile to another, and “Pearls of Wisdom,” a funny exposition of well-worn sayings that adults seem to be unable to resist offering to kids. This is followed by “The Cave,” an equally hilarious duet, in which Drew Holloway meets a mountain of resistance from guest vocalist Dean Jones when attempting to sign him up for an extremely scary cave adventure. “My Treasure,” an old timey love song to a tiny, precious treasure, offers a charming change of pace, while the lively bluegrass/hillbilly vocal effects and front-line banjo of “Round the Campfire” celebrate the outback joys of camping and the satisfaction of adventures drawing to a close.

 

Guest artists on Desert Island Disc include Justin Lansing of the GRAMMY winning Okee Dokee Brothers (banjo), Dean Jones of Dog on Fleas (vocals), Johnny Bregar (B3 organ), and Sam Bishoff (saxophone). The album was actually recorded on an island – Bainbridge Island, Washington – in Johnny Bregar’s Brickyard Studios.

 

Recess Monkey released their debut CD, Welcome to Recess Monkey Town, in 2005, followed by another popular hit, Aminal House, in 2006. The band made history with their next release, Wonderstuff, the first double CD children’s album. As with their previous albums, 2008’s Tabby Road, 2009’s Field Trip, 2010’s The Final Funktier, 2011’s FLYING!, 2012’s In Tents, and 2013’s Deep Sea Diver (already chosen by People as one of this year’s best kids’ albums) arose out of real life children’s experiences.

 

Nine Recess Monkey songs have reached #1 on the Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live chart.  Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live Program Director Mindy Thomas declared, “These guys are able to tap into elementary school so well that it’s like they never left. In this never-ending nationwide talent show of kid and family music, they are most definitely at the top.” Time Magazine celebrated Recess Monkey’s “tight, smart, acclaimed original songs … and seriously grooving funk.” Explained kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble.com), “Recess Monkey just keeps turning out album after album with pop nuggets, as if we’d just discovered that The Beatles had recorded a ton of kids’ music 40+ years ago.”

 

Recess Monkey’s 2012 circus-themed album, In Tents, was included on numerous “Top Kids’ CD of the Year” lists, including those of USA Today, Cool Mom Picks, and Red Tricycle, and was singled out for praise in such prominent publications as Parents Magazine, The Washington Post, Time Out NY Kids, and Scholastic Parent & Child.  Wrote kids’ music expert Kathy O’Connell in her MetroKids “Best Family CDs of 2012” review of In Tents, “Kids’ music superstars take us to the circus in another brilliant concept album.”

 

FLYING!, released in 2011, was highlighted in People magazine and honored with inclusion in more than a dozen “Best of the Year” lists, including those of The Washington Post, Parents Magazine, Common Sense Media, Cool Mom Picks, and more. The Washington Post enthused, “We had to mention these superheroes. They’re back! … If you liked their rock-and-roll in the past, you’ll like it again.”

 

From a plethora of remarkable Seattle-based “kindie” musicians, Seattle Magazine chose to honor Recess Monkey in 2010 with its “Best Local Kids’ Music” accolade. The band’s 2010 release, The Final Funktier, was highlighted on CBS-TV’s The Early Show and in People magazine, was featured in more than a dozen “Best of 2010” lists and was a KIWI magazine 2010 “holiday pick.”

 

Recess Monkey’s 2009 Release, Field Trip, was on more than a dozen “Best of 2009” lists, was named to the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recording List, and was included among USA Today’s “Favorite Releases of 2009” and AOL ParentDish’s “Top 25 Albums for Kids.” Time Out NY Kids declared Field Trip to be the #1 CD of the year, calling it “pure genius.”

 

Desert Island Disc will be available at recessmonkey.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, theAVCafe.com, bigkids.com, iTunes, bandcamp.com, Silver Platters, Sonic Boom Records, and Barnes & Noble.

 

DESERT ISLAND DISC SONG LIST:

Coconut Radio, Tallest Tree, Trailblazer, Hide and Seek, Long Gone Island, The Hermit, Pearls of Wisdom,

The Cave, My Treasure, Getting a Sunburn, Round the Campfire, Dessert Island, Smooth Sailing, Going Home.

Self Disclosure: I received a CD to facilitate this feature.