Kidrock: The Best, Worst And Most Confusing Youthful Hits And Misses
WHEN you think of children being in bands, you immediately think of the Jackson 5 or Hanson. They’re slick, pro-outfits that have been tutored and taught within an inch of their lives.
That’s not to say they’re bad in any way, but they’re basically making music by adults, aimed at kids. The youthful joy is there, but what about the abandon and awkwardness which makes children such a fascinating prospect?
Well, one band – Unlocking The Truth – have brought all that back.
They’ve done a Warped tour and Coachella, after making an unholy racket in their hometown of Brooklyn. Three ridiculously cool kids making gonzo metal. What’s not to love? Guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, bassist Alec Atkins, 13, and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12, have just been snapped up by Sony in a deal said to be worth nearly $2 million.
The trio also has a book deal with Penguin and a documentary about them is also due.
So, let’s look at the band and, while we’re at it, check out some of the other brilliant kidrock bands that have existed over the years. Some of it polished, some of it as confusing and brilliant as the children that made it.
Unlocking the Truth
First up, we have UTT’s ‘farewell’ gig, which basically meant they were taking it off the streets and into the studio with all those execs and the like. It might ruin them. It might just make them. We’ll have to wait and see.
Los Dilly Sisters
The Dilly Twins made their name as the pests that drove the gang mad by showing up and playing “ta ra ra boom de ay”. They also cut a tremendously sweet version of the garage punk classic, ‘Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White’, which you can hear below. Gloriously unaccomplished and perfect.
Earth Dies Burning
Earth Dies Burning was formed in ’81 in the San Fernando Valley and made one of the most amazing, unhinged brilliant collections of music ever to grace an ear. Part electronic nervous breakdown, part hardcore, part teenager just screaming until every atom vibrated with frustration, EDB are all that’s great about music distilled into one glorious mess. You can buy their astonishing album here
Wendy & Bonnie
A little more cultured now, and Wendy & Bonnie were a couple of teenagers when they cut their fabulous album ‘Genesis’. Bad luck blighted their release, with their producer getting murdered and the label that put it out going bankrupt. That didn’t stop Super Furry Animals loving it so much that they sampled the duo on their ‘Hello Sunshine’ song.
Langley Schools Music Project
A school choir is often not something to get excited about, but the music featured on the Langley School Music Project, is. A hippie teacher recorded the kids singing whatever songs they liked best, and they all instinctively went for the melancholy end of 60s pop. The school hall recording adds a DIY Wall of Sound effect to the LP, making it all the more wonderful.
While the ‘Langley’ LP saw North American kids being confidently quirky, Trunk Records put out a British counterpart which is more awkward and strange. Veering from British b-movie folk to nightmarish sound collages, to a rousing version of Bright Eyes, to ‘music for cymbals’, the Trunk record is an absolute must for anyone with a curious musical mind. You can buy it here.
Feel free to chip in with your own wonderful outsider records made by talented children. The world’s a better place with record tip-offs in it.