THE POP UPS believe that everyone loves hot beats and great songs and that people of any age respond to music written without compromise.
OUTSIDE VOICES began as a personal challenge for two Brooklyn musicians. Looking to make something that their...
THE POP UPS believe that everyone loves hot beats and great songs and that people of any age respond to music written without compromise.
OUTSIDE VOICES began as a personal challenge for two Brooklyn musicians. Looking to make something that their friends could enjoy with their young families, the duo decided to write and record the album in a week in their bedroom studio. Calling themselves THE POP UPS, they began to distribute demos to friends. After an overwhelming positive initial response from parents and kids, they decided to self release the new record and OUTSIDE VOICES was born.
OUTSIDE VOICES tells musical tales of whimsy and childhood adventure in a range of influences from 80’s synth-pop, to reggae dancehall, indie-pop, classic soul, garage psychedelia, and club-ready beats. It’s an alphabetic journey through New York’s synth-beat subway trains, a balloon ride over Prospect Park, a big wheel rally down your childhood block. You can learn to draw an ape with shapes, the names of over 40 dif¬ferent pastas, and the difference between indoor and outdoor voices.
THE POP UPS are veteran kids rockers JACOB STEIN (6 years and counting as the creator and driving force behind Tribeca’s break out BIM BOM MUSICFEST class) and JASON RABINOWITZ (auteur of indie-pop sensation THE BLOODSUGARS, and co-writer/producer of 3 LITTLE MAESTROS albums). The duo has built a high-energy live act around the songs that includes live-drawing, dance-beats, large-scale puppets, guitar riffs, and rocking interactive dance numbers that catapult kids out of their seats guarantee a good time for everyone.
The duo was fortunate enough to catch the ear of acclaimed MULTIPLE-GRAMMY WINNING children’s musicians CATHY FINK and MARCY MARXER who agreed to to lend their voices to the record. Being steeped in Brooklyn’s community of uber-talented musicians didn’t hurt either. SLAVIC SOUL PARTY’s BEN HOLMES, and OLD TIME MUSKETRY’s ADAM SCHNEIT also agreed to lend their horns.
THE POP UPS represent the peak of the new wave in children’s music. Dedicated to educating, engaging, and enlightening through imaginative musical fun, and guaranteed not to embarrass you if the songs come up on shuffle in public; you and your family are sure to enjoy THE POP UPS musical odyssey.
"the kids music debut of the Year" by Zooglobble (Stefan Shepherd) JUNE 08, 2010Review: "Outside Voices" - The Pop UpsI'd like to think I have a good record of introducing new artists worth following to the world, but I can't be first all the time. As you'd...
"the kids music debut of the Year" by Zooglobble (Stefan Shepherd) JUNE 08, 2010
Review: "Outside Voices" - The Pop Ups
I'd like to think I have a good record of introducing new artists worth following to the world, but I can't be first all the time. As you'd expect, Bill Childs gets his fair share of disks, and last week in his typical understated way, he made an aside in an unrelated e-mail, saying, "I like that Pop Ups CD." I hadn't heard it, and so worked to change that ASAP and...
This is nothing less than the kids music debut of the year, an inventive mix of beats and melodies that will tickle the eardrums of young and old alike.
It's called Outside Voices, and it's from the Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups. The Pop Ups consist of kids music teacher Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz, frontman for the indie-pop band The Bloodsugars and co-writer/producer of three Little Maestros disks on Kid Rhino, so they've come into this project with both a kids music background and no small amount of experience recording music for adult ears.
The opening track, "Outside Inside," is as striking an opening track as I've heard on a kids album in some time. A guitar strum, a piano, and then a soaring vocal accented by an insistent drum track, all in the purpose of describing the difference between outside voices and inside voices. The next track "Subway Train" is an '80s-tinged electronica-assisted tale of alliterative animals on the New York subway system. The reggae-style "Balloon" leads to "Apes in Capes," which must be a Postal Service hidden track about using basic geometric patterns to draw objects. The midtempo rocket "F & G" is the greatest song about a letter pair since They Might Be Giants' "QU.
And so on. The second five tracks are slightly less awesome than the first five, though I have no small fondness for the horn-assisted garage-rocker "Pasta" (I think you can guess what that one's about). And "Up and Down" is pretty much a Sesame Street video begging to be made.
The 37-minute album is pitched toward kids aged 3 through 7, though I can definitely see this being one of those albums that parents occasionally sneak into the car's CD player after dropping the kids off somewhere. For the moment, you can just purchase the album via download. It's now available in both mp3 and tangible CD format. Feel free to stream the whole album below. (Um, that's an order, actually.)
Can you tell I'm over the moon about this album? Good. Because it's seriously great; it's this year's out-of-nowhere surprise equivalent to John and Mark's Children's Record. Totally for kids, with no compromises for the adults listening in, this album is winning in every way. I may not be the very first to tell you about Outside Voices, but I can guarantee you that I will not be the last. Highly recommended.
"One of the most exciting bands of the 2010 crop is the Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups." by Jeff Bogle. (OutWithTheKids.com) OWTK Interview: The Pop Ups
BY JEFF ON JUNE 22, 2010 AT 6:55 PM
I could wax poetic about the vibrancy, creativity and energy that exists in the kindie rock world. Really, I could go on all day. It’s just better down here in the kid’s music underground; more diverse, better music, legitimately cool concerts. There are so many new acts making fun, provocative and interesting music for children – more, seemingly, popping up every day. One of the most exciting bands of the 2010 crop is the Brooklyn duo The Pop Ups.
Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz, aka The Pop Ups, are currently juggling a brand new kid’s album and a Los Angeles puppet show, but still found some time to answer my questions.
OWTK: Aside from your work with the Little Maestro CDs, what was your experience with, and perception of, the kid’s music genre before making “Outside Voices”? And now that you are an active member of what some are calling the ‘kindie rock’ scene, how has your view of kid’s music changed?
Jason Rabinowitz: When we made “Outside Voices”, we had no idea that the ‘kindie’ genre even existed. We wanted to make something young families could enjoy, and then we realized we were in the middle of a movement! We are most definitely having a great time meeting other musicians and exchanging ideas and hopefully collaborating with some of these other groups! We already had Cathy and Marcy on this record.
Kindie music is awesome, and I think that kids respond to something that operates in a sophisticated way in regards to their tastes.
OWTK: Musically, the album covers a lot of genres. Was there any hesitation to make an album without a central style, knowing that often those types of discs end up a disjointed mess (“Outside Voices”, of course, is far from that!)?
JR: We started writing the songs from an developmental standpoint, trying to find activities and subjects to use in early childhood classrooms/environments. As the songs started multiplying, we started to realize that we had an album in the works, and we didn’t look back from there.
OWTK: What is your favorite track on the record (1 each from Jacob and Jason)? Why?
JR: I think “I’m Tired” has a gentle poetry and sound all its own. I find myself listening to that track and happily zoning out…
Jacob Stein: I think mine would be “Apes In Capes”. In terms of the production, the composition, the concept.. I just think that song is cool.
OWTK: What are you two listening to these days?
JS: My ipod currently hosts Beirut, Sleigh Bells, Joanna Newsom, Johnny Flynn, and Janelle Monae among others.
JR: I’ve recently really become obsessed with Jordan: The Comeback, by Prefab Sprout; also rediscovering the entire Wings catalog in a profound way. The new OK Go album is really really terrific, as well as the new Via Audio record. Also Miike Snow and The Flat Earth by Thomas Dolby.
DOWNLOAD “SUBWAY TRAIN” FROM THE POP UPS FOR FREE:
OWTK: Music was once a communal affair, a shared experience where traditions and stories were passed on to younger generations. What role do you see music playing in a modern home, one ripe with electronic devices, countless media outlets and more technological diversions than we know what to do with?
JS: I grew up in a house of musicians. My father, Grammy winner Mike Stein was a founding member of kids band Dinosaur Rock and lots of other bands. My brothers and mother are also musicians and we play together in Los Angeles as a family band, so I am a firm believer that music is not only meant to be listened to as a passive experience, but meant to be made together in the home. I think technology can bring the experience of music making into the home in new ways, and that’s great. Ultimately though, I can only ask one thing of parents…Sing with your family!
JR: There are so many ways of consuming media nowadays. I have neices who just love watching You Tube clips of their favorite Muppet skits. Of late I’ve realized the tremendous pleasure of listening to LP’s (My wife was always a vinyl person, but I’ve converted). I do think every household has their own relationship to how, where, and when they listen to music. I believe music is not a luxury, but a necessity in life. Regardless of how, I don’t see the role of music in the household getting any LESS prominent.
OWTK: Are there any plans to hit the road? If so, what does/will a live Pop Ups show look like, from a band configuration standpoint? Having been made by two guys in a bedroom studio, are there any tracks that just can’t or won’t translate into a live setting?
JR: All of the songs started as two guys playing guitars and drums and singing together in a room, and we have performed most of the songs in acoustic settings already. One version of the Pop Ups concert experience will be had at “PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical,” which combines the songs from this record with a large cast of puppet characters journeying through the magical land of Brooklyn. That show debuts in Venice, CA from July 21st to July 25th.
OWTK: What does the future hold for you two as an all-ages/children’s music act
JR: We are so excited to start performing more. Starting with “PASTA! A Pop Ups Puppet Musical” in L.A., we will come back to NYC to have our album release concert on October 3rd at the BYOK kids concert series at the 92YTribeca. We’re truly having a ball. We hope to be on the road a lot in 2011.
"The Pop Ups have a sound that is so unique and cool" by Minivan Blues The Pop Ups Head to Cali in the Minivan!
June 22, 2010
The Pop Ups have a sound that is so unique and cool, I just love it so much it hurts. My boys feel the same way. Whether they are rockin out to songs that address the sadness of a lost balloon (believe me, we feel this often!), or animals riding a subway…it’s all good. Seriously.
I had a chance to talk with the boys, ahem, men of The Pop Ups. They are Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz and they know how to party!
Minivan Blues: How loud are your inside voices?
The Pop Ups: Well, truthfully, they are regrettably pretty loud.. We do a lot of laughing and loud talking and music making.. The song is quite a helpful reminder for us.
MB: What are your musical inspirations?
TPU: Both Jacob and I listen to a LOT of music.. We are very inspired by early Sesame Street, Dinosaur Rock, Cathy and Marcy…
When making the record we were listening to a lot of Stax/Volt era soul (Otis Redding, Booker T, Eddie Floyd), synthy 80′s stuff (Prince, Eurythmics, Prefab Sprout, Bowie, Depeche Mode, Hall And Oates.. nothing is off limits, here..) A bunch of indie pop (Spoon, Dr. Dog, Chairlift, MGMT, Flaming Lips, etc.. etc..) classic rock (Love, Beach Boys, Beatles, Big Star..). Older stuff (Buddy Holly, The Coasters, the King [Elvis, that is], Hank Williams…) . We’re always listening to a lot of music.
MB: Describe your puppet musical show to a three year old who wants to go but is wondering if it will be scary.
TPU: Oh! It’s pretty much one of the most friendly-puppet filled, MUSIC filled, magical-surprises-around-every-corner adventure you could hope to be a part of!
We go on a quest for the best food imaginable! We’ll meet mermaids, and have balloon rides, and ride subway-trains, and see live drawings, and eat pasta, and meet lots of sweet, puppet friends! They are very, VERY nice, and they really look forward to singing and dancing with you!!!
MB: Trader Joe’s stopped handing out balloons to kids because the balloons are bad for the environment. Thoughts?
TPU: Agreed, sadly. While balloons my be inherently, spectacularly cool, I think there’s probably enough plastic/rubber/based/polymers floating in the ocean… Maybe soon someone will make a 2 week biodegradable corn balloon?? That’s a challenge, people!!
Like what you’re reading? Drop us a line here to be entered into our giveaway to win this fantastic album. Angeleno locals? You MUST check out The Pop Ups Puppet Musical. That’s right…coming this July, you can see The Pop Ups live at The Electric Lodge in Venice. Info can be found here.
"Can kids music sound any cooler than this? Maybe, but it's going to be tough to match. Outside Voices is simply fantastic." by MilwaukeeMoms.com And The Song Goes…
Subway train with the animal riders
Subway train with the animal riders, can you make the sound?
Apes on the “A” train, going ooh ooh aah aah
Bees on the “B” train, going bzz bzz bzz bzz
Wow. Just wow. Can kids music sound any cooler than this? Maybe, but it's going to be tough to match. Outside Voices is simply fantastic. The duo of Jason Rabinowitz & Jacob Stein from children’s group The Pop Ups. Their debut album, Outside Voices, is hip and cool, yet kid friendly at the same time: goofy enough lyrics for kids and music hip enough for parents. I’ll admit I’ve listened to this album more by myself than I have with my daughter in the car.
It’s a struggle to describe their music. Each track is a little different. One song sounds like Phoenix, then the next sounds like the Stray Cats, and then it’s followed by a breezy acoustic song. The opening track is a drum-driven song called ‘Outside Inside’ about talking in outside or inside voices and when it’s appropriate to use each.
‘Subway Train’ is about as catchy of a song as you’ll ever find, a funky number that I found myself repeating the chorus to over and over again. ‘Subway train with the animal riders’ transitions to ‘Apes on the A Train going (ooh ooh aah aah), Frogs take the F Train going (ribbit), Bees take the B train going (bzzzz)' and so on. It’s not just a great kids song hook, it’s a great hook. Period. I guarantee that you and your kids will have this song stuck in your heads all day long.
Added Bonus: The Pop Ups have made ‘Subway Train’ available for Free Download. Click here to listen and then download.
‘Balloon’ is a beautiful reggae track about a child losing a balloon. Towards the end of the song it sounds like Cookie Monster doing some toasting. It could have fallen flat, but it fits the song perfectly. ‘F & G’ is a hand-clapping, foot-stomping, sing-a-long acoustic track full of words that start with those two letters.
Other topics on the album include riding your Big Wheel, eating pasta, and playing air guitar. There are so many pleasant surprises throughout this album that I could write a breakdown for every song and tell you how awesome each one is, but time spent reading this blog is time wasted by not listening to the album.
At night, these Brooklyn boys play adult music under the name The Bloodsugars. That music is pretty darn catchy, too. Check out some of The Bloodsugars music here. They don’t stop with the music either; the guys are putting on a new puppet musical based on the record in Los Angeles this summer. Hopefully we can see some of that show on YouTube later this year.
Flatbush Family Network by Sabrina Hellman I have surveyed all of the usual suspects for music classes in NYC and the Pop Ups is without question the best! The music is clever, inspiring for the children and you don't feel like a totaly loser when your humming their songs on your way to work. It's real music that both child and caregiver can enjoy. As well, the teachers are super energetic and goofy! We love them!"