Family Man Recommends: Quick Picks for April 2012

Reviewed by Gregory Keer

Leading off this edition of the FMR: Quick Picks is Invisible Friends, the newest album from Dean Jones and his Dog on Fleas trio. Jones has been putting his magic musical touch on a lot of other projects, including those by Recess Monkey, the Deedle Deedle Dees, and Elizabeth Mitchell, but it’s clear he has plenty of tricks left for this rollicking new disc. “There’s a Band in My Head” offers a zany assortment of instruments to depict what’s going on inside the singer’s noggin. Other clearly audible (if not visible) good stuff includes the well-supported (by superstar kindie-rock vocalists) “Peapod,” the unusual “Fortunate Mistake,” the aptly named “Party,” and the toe-tapping “Has Anybody Seen My Shoes?” The collection is upbeat, eclectic, and simply terrific all around.

Mo Phillips is an offbeat performer who records in lo-fi (from what he calls his “secret ninja laboratory in Portland, Oregon”). Monster Suit sounds like this musician, dad, and educator is performing right now in your garage. Drop the needle down on such songs as the early-’60s-style “The Worst Party Ever Thrown,” the inclusive tale of “The Princess and the Cowboy,” and the strange but catchy “Rollerskate Banana Peels.” This is a disc that will sneak up on you and make you sing along for your kids. Trust me, you’ll all be better for it.

World of Wonder comes from singer-songwriter Alison Faith Levy, a longtime member of the kindie-rock ensemble The Sippy Cups. She’s got a strong and true voice as evidenced by her work on The Pretenders-like “Like a Spiining Top,” the lovely “Three Tulips,” and the swaying “I Had a Rooster.” World of Wonder fits the preschool set nicely with its messages and lessons, though the deeply felt music can transcend any age bracket.

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