Once upon a time in a land far away, three magical dwarves turning the cogs at Paper Bag Records , set to work creating something a little different amidst the foggy haze of indie rock. In return for simple, elf magic our friends Alan Sparthawk (of Low), Apostle of Hustle, Broken Social Scene, Detective Kalita, FernBats, Glissandro 70 (of Palmp Palpo), Great Lake Swimmers, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, Kid Koala (with special guest Lederhosen Lucil), Mark Kozelek (of Sun Kil Moon/Re House Painters), Montag, Rosie Thomas and Sufjan Stevens all made very special tracks just for this project. Throwing a condescension out the window and understanding the concept of fun without it being mindless or moronic - all the tracks will appeal to kids and grown ups.
See You on the Moon
is a willfully weird kids' disc compiled by a way-cool Canadian label enterprising enough to capitalize on its regional cachet. As such, listeners will encounter a lot of unapologetic hispterism here: Sufjan Stevens half-whispers his plucky, life-affirming contribution, "The Friendly Beasts"; the revolving north-of-the-border collective Broken Social Scene repurposes "Puff the Magic Dragon" as a lovely dirge; Fembots turn in what's ultimately a bunch of scary chicken squawks over an insistent rock guitar chord on "Under The Bed" (this particular track could freak out a kid with a vivid imagination); and, on "Fruit Belt," Kid Koala comes across as a classic girl group forced to vibe to a 9-year-old playing homemade instruments from beneath a tent of wool blankets. These are not the disc's finest moments. Those will be found on tracks performed by lesser-known talents. Anybody who can belt '70s TV themes word-for-word will fall instantly for the title track, by The Great Lake Swimmers, and Rosie Thomas gets the mommy voice just right--a little Shawn Colvin, a little Sarah McLachlan--on the imaginative, fantastical "Faith's Silver Elephant." Also fun are three brief intermissions by Montag, which lend this CD a charmingly goofball theatricality. Pick it up. --Tammy La Gorce