Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mo Phillips - Monster Suit: A CD Review and GIVEAWAY!



Beloved by families in Portland, Oregon, independent musicianMo Phillips is ready to burst onto the national scene with the April 10 release of his third kids’/family CD, Monster Suit.

The uncomplicated charm of Monster Suit stems from its refreshing connection to what was happening in the late ‘50s, when rock ‘n’ roll was evolving from a cultural mix of country, folk, and African-American influence. With a style and delivery sometimes reminiscent of Woody and Arlo, Mo Phillips offers classic acoustic rock ‘n’ roll with a minimum of electric effects in a finely tuned but fiery blend of Americana, soul and blues.

Enhanced by contributions from a gaggle of gifted Portland musicians, Monster Suit’s variety is beyond impressive. With music ranging from “Rollerskate Banana Peels” (a super jam of crazy energy) to “All Okay” (the album’s “lullaby” ballad), each song has its own sound, beat, and artistic space that does not impinge on the other tracks. Monster Suit is exceptionally well balanced, the fidelity is first class, the players all have their acts together, the back-up singers are delightfully hip, and (the best part for many parents) the lyrics are never obscured by the energy of their setting.  Mo Phillips feels strongly about not dumbing down lyrics or melodies for kids, and he sings about topics whole families can appreciate.  On Monster Suit, these include being exactly who you want to be (“The Princess and The Cowboy”), a party gone awry (“The Worst Party Ever Thrown”), bad hair days (“Bed Head”), a surprising fact about ducks (“Ducks Don’t Get Wet”), and more.

Says Mo, “Sanity can be hard to come by in the parental world, and I’m just trying to offer a small dose with my music. Monster Suit is my third album for families and the first done in a proper studio (and not in my basement)!  My main influences include Neil Young and The Rolling Stones, although many of my compositional ideas stem from my undergraduate years studying with jazz wizard Dan Balmer at Lewis & Clark College. Part of the reason I write kids’ music the way I do is because I’m tapping into whatever I was doing in my earlier life as a songwriter and performer for adults. I haven't really changed my melodic approach, just the lyrics.  Monster Suit covers a lot of sonic ground and contrasting subject matter but still hangs together.  I wanted to create an album for parents to jam to with their kids.”

An early childhood educator as well as a musician, Mo Phillips doesn’t hesitate to credit his initial inspiration to the kids he’s taught. He explains, “When I was teaching a class of three-year-olds in 2005, some of the curriculum ideas for what later became my “Rock ‘N’ Roll Kindy” program were born.  The kids had been doing a lot of role-play as musicians, so we made a project out of it.  They named their band Fire Guitars.  We wrote songs, recorded a CD, and put on a show for the parents.  By 2008 – after an expatriate experience soaking up the sounds of my wife’s native Australia -- I was again teaching preschool in Portland. This was when I really began playing around with my own songs for kids.  One day, while sitting in the sandbox with some little friends, I wrote the song “Pizza In A Cup” after being offered the umpteenth cup of sand advertised as pizza.  All of a sudden these afternoon playground sessions started producing some serious songwriting opportunities. The influence of the kids and whatever games they were playing at the time had an undeniable effect on my lyrical content and song direction.”

When not creating bands populated by young rockers in settings ranging from schools and libraries to community centers and children’s museums, Mo performs — with insouciant wit and breezy style — interactive shows that respect the intelligence of young people.  As an artist affiliated with Young Audiences, Inc., he gives performances and residencies in schools throughout the greater Portland area.

Monster Suit will be available online at www.mophillips.com, cdbaby.com, and itunes.
CD Details: Monster Suit For ages 3+.
Label: Hey! Bacon!!
SRP: $12.99
Run time: 34 minutes

Track List:

Toes
The Worst Party Ever Thrown
The Princess and the Cowboy
Hot Lava
Droolin'
Big Red Truck
Rollerskate Banana Peels
All Okay
Bed Head
To The Zoo
Ducks Don't Get Wet
Suction Cup
Twirlin'
Monster Suit

My Review:


 I am so excited that during the last few years, children's music has really changed into music that can be enjoyed by the entire family, young and old. Not only that, but children's music today is actually teaching many wonderful things to our children, like concepts, manners, safety, environmentalism concepts, and more. Children should be exposed to a variety of music genres, yet in an appropriate way, and Mo Phillips has done a fantastic job with Monster Suit, to do this.


Monster Suit from Mo Phillips is the first time I have heard of, and listened to, this fantastic musician. Believe me when I say it will NOT be the last. This CD has a long term place in our home, allowing us to dance and sing along to some really fun and entertaining music. I have even found myself singing along to the songs even when my girls aren't - now that is a sign of a great children's CD!


The songs are all fun, quirky and will get you off your feet in no time at all. It is ironic that my children have recently discovered the game of keeping away from hot lava (jumping from furniture to furniture) and the song "Hot Lava" is on this CD. And its one of our favorites from Monster Suit. Other favorites are: The Princess and The Cowboy, Bed Head and To The Zoo.


If you are looking for a fun, indie-rock genre style, children's CD with great (and clean) lyrics for the children in your life, you will absolutely want to get a hold of Monster Suit from Mo Phillips. 


I highly recommend this CD and give it a huge thumbs up.

BUY IT: You can purchase Monster Suit by Mo Phillips online here, as well as at CDBaby, and itunes, when it comes available April 10, 2012. 

WIN IT:
 One (1) reader 
will win
 a copy 
of 
Monster Suit

MANDATORY ENTRY: Head over to the official Mo Phillips website and tell me one other CD, or song that you would love


EXTRA ENTRIES: (mandatory entry must be completed for extra ones to count; please leave a separate comment for each entry)


1. Follow A Mom After God's Own Heart via GFC


2. Like A Mom After God's Own Heart on Facebook


3. Follow me on Twitter


4. Subscribe to A Mom After God's Own Heart via email


5. Like Mo Phillips on Facebook


6. Follow Mo Phillips on Twitter


GIVEAWAY OPEN TO U.S. AND CANADA ONLY


GIVEAWAY ENDS MARCH 29, 2012


GOOD LUCK TO ALL!


***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of the artist and Waldmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

17 comments:

  1. the grandsons would love Supa Dupa Race Car

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