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Best kids' albums of 2011

Rock & roll! Check out the top kids' albums of 2011.

  • Cover Art: Donald Saaf

    "Little Nut Tree" by Dan Zanes

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Dan Zanes

  • Cover: Frances England

    "Mind of My Own" by Frances England

  • Photograph: Barb Uil

    Frances England

  • Cover: Kevin Fry

    "Flying!" by Recess Monkey

  • Photograph: Kevin Fry

    Recess Monkey

  • Cover: Todd McHatton

    "Galactic Champions of Joy" by Todd McHatton

  • Courtesy Todd McHatton

    Todd McHatton

  • "Things That Roar" by Papa Crow

  • Photograph: Courtesy Papa Crow

    Papa Crow

  • "Infinity Sock" by Gustafer Yellowgold

  • Photograph: Todd Chalfant

    Gustafer Yellowgold

  • "Tumble Bee" by Laura Veirs

  • Photograph: Alicia Rose

    Laura Veirs

  • "Sing Along!" by Caspar Babypants

  • Cover: Brandon Reese

    "Original Friend" by Lunch Money

  • Photograph: J. P. Stephens/Lumos Studio

    Lunch Money

  • "Love Me For Who I Am" by Brady Rymer

  • Photograph: Jeremy Gordon

    Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

  • Cover: Moockshake Music

    "These Are My Friends" by Alastair Moock

  • Photograph: Mara Brod

    Alastair Moock

  • "The Family Garden" by Billy Kelly

  • Photograph: Jeff Cobb

    Billy Kelly

  • Cover: Greg Bunch

    "Strange Dees, Indeed" by the Deedle Deedle Dees

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Deedle Deedle Dees

    The Deedle Deedle Dees

  • "Oh Lucky Day!" by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

  • Photograph: Matt Harbicht

    Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

  • Cover: Pluckypea Productions

    "Practically Ridiculous" by The Jimmies

  • Photograph: Leslie Zaslower

    The Jimmies

Cover Art: Donald Saaf

"Little Nut Tree" by Dan Zanes

Dan Zanes


Little Nut Tree
The kindie rock legend bounced back this year with another instant classic, filled to the brim with guest stars and all-ages party songs ("In the Basement"). The crooner also explores his paternal side on the standout track "Summer Trains." danzanes.com.

Frances England


Mind of My Own
Departing from her signature lo-fi bedroom pop, the San Francisco modern folk singer showcases a highly bombastic tone on her third record. The title track is a feisty toddler anthem, while "Place in Your Heart" (with guests Mates of State) proves that it is possible to stay forever young. francesengland.com.

Laura Veirs


Tumble Bee
For her inaugural foray into kids' music, the talented singer-songwriter and her husband, producer Tucker Martine (the Decemberists, My Morning Jacket), focus on gems from the Smithsonian Folkways catalog ("Jack Can I Ride") and the calypso-infused "Jamaica Farewell." lauraveirs.com.

Recess Monkey


Flying!
The prolific Seattle trio's loosely conceived superhero opus features power-pop tunes about the childhood experience—going on a trip ("Grandmom's House"), sharing with a sibling ("Bunk Bed") and transforming stuffed animals into caped crusaders ("Super Stuffies"). recessmonkeytown.com.

Todd McHatton


Galactic Champions of Joy
The quirky West Coaster follows up last year's Sundays at the Rocket Park with another richly textured, psychedelic indie-pop album. Featuring whimsical tunes about floating in a bubble, Galactic Champions may thematically speak to kids, but parents will appreciate its instrumental likeness to bands in their own record collection. mchatton.com.

Lunch Money


Original Friend
The South Carolina trio's third release takes charm to a new level with perky pop-rock songs about snow globes, friendship and the insatiable need to push buttons—any buttons. "You and Me and a Bottle of Bubbles" showcases two of the prettiest pipes in the kindie genre—Frances England (see left) and Lunch Money lead singer Molly Ledford—while kid hopper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo guests on "Come Over to My Dollhouse." lunchmoneymusic.com.

Caspar Babypants


Sing Along!
Former Presidents of the United States of America member Chris Ballew's preschool rock may pay homage to traditional kids' music, but grown-ups will be happy to discover that the tunes have been well refurbished for 21st-century tots. Look out for such familiar fare as "Ring Around the Rosie" and "Ba Ba Black Sheep." babypantsmusic.com.

Papa Crow


Things That Roar
Papa Crow's Jeff Krebs roars softly onto the scene with a majestic collection of hushed, acoustic songs perfectly suited for a lazy weekend morning. "Peek-A-Boo Waltz" is bound to become a musical family heirloom. papacrow.com.

Gustafer Yellowgold


Infinity Sock
Morgan Taylor paints his sun-kissed protagonist as a reflective old soul on the fourth Yellowgold album. Kids will crack up at the made-of-cheese clothing store ("Wisconsin Poncho") while adults will have plenty to contemplate with the thought-provoking "Question Marks." gustaferyellowgold.com.

Brady Rymer


Love Me For Who I Am
The classic rocker draws inspiration from children with unconventional learning styles and makes the feel-good CD of the year with themes every parent and child will relate to, like being a picky eater and wanting to snuggle. bradyrymer.com.

 

Honorable Mentions

Billy Kelly


The Family Garden
The quick-witted Kelly loosens up on his 3rd CD, the result being a silly batch of songs highlighted by the fictitious tale of "The Invention of the Straw" plus an ode to long-distance friends ("We Could Be Pen Pals," a duet with Lunch Money's Molly Ledford). thebillykellyshow.com.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band


Oh Lucky Day!
The stylish Los Angeles band adds a dash of enchantment to acoustic rock & roll, featuring sun-kissed songs for girls ("Pretty Princess"), a "Race Car" track for boys, a track about cats ("Gato Astraunoto") and dancing with grandpa ("Let's Dance"). luckydiazmusic.com.

The Jimmies


Practically Ridiculous
The long-awaited sophomore album from Ashley Albert's high-energy city band doesn't disappoint—there are hijinks around every corner, but the sentimental "Bonfire" shines the brightest while giving girl power a sophisticated new theme song. gimmiejimmies.com.

The Deedle Deedle Dees


Strange Dees, Indeed
The Brooklyn band every city kid wishes they had as their middle school history teachers delivers a stellar set of Pogo Stick-Americana music about such notable historical figureheads as Marie Curie, Mayor LaGuardia, Old Bryant Park and Henry Hudson. thedeedledeedledees.com.

Alastair Moock


These Are My Friends
A musical descendant of Woody Guthrie, Moock refreshes the classic brand of acoustic folk with a zany sense of humor as seen on songs about a mixed-up alphabet ("CBAs"), being a curious toddler ("Three Like Me") and harvesting your own veggie garden ("Didn't Know What I Was Missing"). moockmusic.com

Best Children's Albums of 2011 by TimeOutNewYork

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