What we have here ladies and gents is a serious dark horse candidate for a top ten kid's record this year.
Brian Vogan is a Seattle-area school teacher, just like the Recess Monkey boys, who has just self-released his debut record "Little Songs".
While not seasonally accurate at this particular moment, Vogan has crafted a tune that is destined to land in my top ten songs of 2008 list at year's end. "Happy Valentine's Day" is a little gem of a kid's song built around one spectacular verse, repeated twice. It's a simple, sweet tune that uses Brian's crystal clear voice and clever lyrical phrasing to leave a lasting impression on the listener (read: this melody will be stuck in your head all day and you'll love it!)
While the album art may remind some of The Decemberists, the music itself is an extremely solid study in melodic, jazzy pop (think Burt Bacharach meets The Beatles). "The Listening Song" (the beginning of which would sound perfect on Sesame Street) in which Vogan elongates the "ing" at the end of certain phrases to create a unique and fun effect while describing for his younger listeners the functionality of various body parts. "The Listening Song" along with "That's How a Pumpkin Grows" and the aforementioned "Happy Valentine's Day" display an impressive and tender awareness for classic melody and classy instrumentation. The album isn't perfect however. "Chess", with it's prog-rock They Might Be Giants vibe, feels out of place here and "Spring" is a good idea stuck inside an 80's soft-rock ballad.
Fortunately the hits far outnumber the misses and the best little songs on the record have a breezy and timeless quality to them. "Little Songs" marks a stunning entrance into the kid's music world for Brian Vogan.
Listen to "Little Songs" on CDBaby. While there, why don't you pick up a copy of this terrific record and support original, quality independent kid's music.