I’ve been a fan of Kimya Dawson’s music for a long time know, since back when she as in the Moldy Peaches. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart as she played at the music festival where I first met my wife, and I remember watching Kimya, the two of us holding hands, knowing our lives had changed forever.
That was also when I first became aware that Kimya had released a kids album, as she played one of the songs as part of her set. However, it wasn’t until after our daughter came along last year that I heard the album in full, as a friend (who’d been at the festival with us) bought it for us as a gift.
Much like like her music for adults, Alphabutt has an appealing ramshackle, lo-Fi quality to it. It sounds like, and may well have been recorded at home. Many of the songs are funny, silly songs about bears, monsters and the like. They mainly have kids singing backing vocals or choruses on them, which gives them the singalong quality you want in kid’s music.
It’s probably worth pointing out that, if you don’t want to encourage toilet humour in your kids, this is not the album for you. This should be apparent from the fact there is a song called ‘Pee-pee in the potty’. I personally find toilet humour hilarious still, and trying to discourage it in our daughter is probably a losing battle. SoI enjoy very much lyrics like “F is for fart, G is for gorilla fart, H is for huge gorilla fart’ from the title track.
In terms of age range, songs like ‘I Like Bears’ would appeal to even the youngest of children, but there are a couple which are a bit more wordy and might be more suitable for slightly older kids. Kimya’s music and lyrics and have always embodied the qualities of tolerance, inclusion and equality, and Alphabutt is no exception. Mostly this is in subtle ways, but closing track ‘Sunbeams and some beans’ is more directly political. Which may not be agreeable for everyone, although I would worry about anyone who disagreed with its’ anti-greed message.
So, if you have any interest in indie/lo-fi music and have kids, this album is a must, but really I’d recommend it to anyone with kids from toddler age right up through primary school. And check out Kimya’s non-kids albums too (the soundtrack to the film Juno, which she compiled and features a number of her songs is a good starting point for newcomers).