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Wednesday, June 28, 2006


CD Review: The Hipwaders

The Hipwaders are a California band that switched from "power pop" to "children's music" a few years ago without really having to make many stylistic changes. They still play songs with crisp harmonies, jangly guitars, and strong melodies. Only now the lyrics are kid-friendly.

I gave their 2005 self-titled CD the ultimate challenge: A long car trip on a sunny day, with the kids strapped in and ready to be entertained. Would they look out the window? Read? Take a nap? Or would they be captivated by the fun and clever new tunes from The Hipwaders?

This one was no contest... My 8-year-old son was immediately interested. I can always tell. He stares straight ahead and tilts his head slightly, listening intently. The next step for him is to ask for the CD case so he can study it. He did this after the third song. Final success comes when he asks for a song to be repeated, which he did with "Stand Up To The Bully," a rocking number about not being afraid.

My 4-year-old daughter is easier to read. She dances in her seat and pretends to play drums. So, both kids love these songs about candy, robots, bugs, and volcanoes. And the parents like them too!

You have to love a kids' band that is so clearly influenced by artists like The Beatles, XTC, Devo, and Fountains of Wayne. The singer, Tito Uquillas, sounds like a cross between Michael Stipe and Tim Finn (with a dash of Jello Biafra thrown in) with an easy-going, friendly voice, enunciating words clearly for the young listeners. His lyrics never talk down to the kids, but do a great job of letting them know that adults can sometimes remember what it was like to be a child.

My son paid this CD the highest compliment possible by asking to listen to it in his room the last two nights. He's only done that with Ralph's World and a Beatles collection I burned for him.

I asked him to pick out his two favorite songs for you to give a listen:

The Hipwaders - "Stand Up To The Bully" MP3
The Hipwaders - "Time In Time-Out" MP3

So, the highest recommendation from me and the kids! You can buy the CD here at Amazon, or download it at iTunes.


Anonymous Brent said...

I really like these guys. Time in Time-Out is something I'm sure my 3.85yr old will really enjoy. You may want to give They Might Be Giants - NO! or Here Come the ABC's a shot as well. Let me know if you want me to set up a place for you to download them. Apples in Stereo would also be a band that could easily crossover to kids music... kind of wish they would. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Hannelie said...

Oh no, I am so curious now but can't open it for some bizarre reason. I will try again later, just by reading I am sure it's great songs, we still listen to Little Teeth!!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Hi Brent, we have both TMBG kids' CDs, as well as all their others (Flood has some great songs for kids). Didn't Apples In Stereo do some kids songs for the Powerpuff Girls movie? Another band I wish would make a children's album is The Sugarplastic.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Brent said...

AIS did do the PowerPuff girls theme but that sadly appears to be where it ended. I've not heard The Sugarplastic but we appear to have similar music tastes so I'll be sure to download it. TMBG - Lincoln... cowntown is also a big hit with they boys.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Baby Monster Dad said...

Well after a 20 minutes of looping "Stand up to the Bully", my daughter finally crawled away. Yahoo, I outlasted her... do I dare try the next song when she is in awake? For my sanity, I may just have to get a few more of their songs, but for now, back to TMBG's ABC.

11:17 AM  

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