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We also thought we should squeeze in a bit more inner city cool before we move away from it. So we took the kid to another gig by the same band we saw yesterday. He loved it. That might not have been obvious to anyone else. He stared. He stared at the instruments, he stared at the musos, he stared at the pint-sized moshpit up the front. For the second last song he joined in the jumping, but stayed very close to Daddy while doing it. He hasn’t stopped talking about the gig since we left.

The Mudcakes totally rock. Music for the sort of kids who have Dads who signed them up to subscribe to public radio. Next week they’re playing the Footscray Community Arts Centre, which is an excellent place to eat, drink and ignore your children while they kick a footy or ride bikes, because the cafe there provides lots and lots of toys. If you can’t get there in person, buy their cds online. They’re both good. They even have a song about toilet training.

It doesn’t hurt that they play licenced venues either.

Sometimes you have those days.

Then other times you have excellent days. Which is just as well.


Then lunch at the park, good mates and lots of other kids all being good at the same time.

I’ve never been out for lunch after a gig before.


But then, I’ve never taken someone to see their favourite band and watched them sleep through the gig before either. First time for everything.

If you have children you probably have a cd or dvd (or a collection of them) by a band that start with W and wear skivvies. That’s ok. I’m not anti-Ws (if you say the name my nephew will want you to put the dvd on now). Not anti, just not really pro either. I can deal with small doses of the tv show or the cds. I can’t deal with the trademark on everything that moves phenomena. I just don’t want the Wiggles tent in my loungeroom (my mother has one in her loungeroom, and the kids love it, but I assume they would love a tent sans-Ws too).

The Wiggles Only music diet of some kids has me a little concerned, as concerned as I’d be if they were only ever offered potato for dinner. Potato is good, but on it’s own it’s not a great diet. So, in the interests of diversifying the musical diet I’m going for the opposite of ‘eat local’ and I’m saying ‘download global’ (legally, and paying actual musicians for their work, obviously, very important to obey the Tram Rule*).

So far my List of Kid-friendly Music that Doesn’t Make My Toes Curl and I wouldn’t mind if my kid received it for Christmas is:

The Mudcakes (Melbourne-based, formerly Nashville-based, members are in grown up bands too)
Woody Guthrie’s kid’s albums, including 20 Grow Big Songs
Jason Ringenberg’s Farmer Jason albums, he’s also a grown up muso with a (separate) kid-friendly persona.

Dan Zanes has lots of albums, you can even do what I did last Christmas and order a box set, divide it up and give one album to each neice or nephew. My kid currently has one album, he may be downloading some more.

Do you have any suggestions?

It doesn’t have to be labelled ‘kid music’ (or family music, or kindie rock) but it does have to avoid Adult Themes as they say in the television classifying world. I’d like him to hear stuff he understands and enjoys as well as all the long car trips where we make him listen to Paul Kelly and Mick Thomas and Gillian Welch. There really was a car trip where we could have sworn he groaned at Paul Kelly and it felt like we had a teenager. Only twelve years early. There are lots of performers I think should release a kid’s album, like Rebecca Barnard, but I fear blog-nagging wont be enough.

Maybe if everyone blog-nags? While we’re at it, Rod Quantock for Playschool!

* Always pay to acquire music from any muso you could potentially see on a tram. This suggests it’s morally ok to burn a free copy of someone’s music if they are gettin’ around in limos on a regular basis, obviously that’s not legally true and I take no responsibility for you getting into trouble with the record companies.

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