Indie Kids

See You on the Moon! appeals to grown-ups as much as children

Thomas is delighted with Moon and describes her fellow contributors as "interesting musicians who are still children at heart." And she's thrilled that her song for Faith has found such a wonderful home.

"For her to see it in the package, it really means a lot to me," Thomas says. "She's about a year and a half now, and it's perfect."

III. The Label Owners and the Magic Song. "When Great Lake Swimmers submitted their song, we were so blown away," recalls Paper Bag Records co-founder Trevor Larocque. "We thought: 'See You on the Moon!' -- what a great title for the project. That just sort of fit so perfectly. It's fun, kids can relate to it -- and it's kind of out there."

When we grow up, we want to make a kids' album.
When we grow up, we want to make a kids' album.

"See You on the Moon!", like Alan Sparhawk's gleeful cautionary tale about lice, is a complete departure from Great Lake Swimmers' haunting oeuvre. The tracks on the Toronto band's two LPs are heartbreaking, but "Moon" is rollicking and joyous. There are even -- unfold your arms, hipsters -- sound effects. ("When I grow up, maybe I'll be a veterinarian," frontman Tony Dekker sings, before demonstrating how "the puppies go yip-yip-yip" and "the kitties go meow-meow-meow.")

His beautiful, otherworldly voice has drawn apt comparisons to Nick Drake, but Dekker isn't interested in brooding on this track: He's having too much fun. "[This album] was an opportunity to be a little more childlike and playful than usual, while still making thoughtful music," Dekker writes in an e-mail. "I guess it's a similar feeling to The Muppet Show, where there were some really silly and playful things happening, but they would also have really cool grown-up hosts that parents could relate to. In a way, it's a great album for parents to listen to with their children."

When Larocque and his Paper Bag co-founders first kicked around the kids'-album idea, they were just looking for something they could do for the community -- they weren't even thinking about an indie-rock album. And then, Larocque says, "It just clicked -- this hasn't been done, has it?"

Larocque's good friend Kevin Drew -- along with his critically touted band, Broken Social Scene -- joined the cause with a hazy, trippy interpretation of "Puff (The Magic Dragon)." Sufjan Stevens recorded a gorgeous cover of the French carol "The Friendly Beasts." Mark Kozelek penned an original ditty about his girlfriend's skittish kittens; Detective Kalita contributed "Baby Brother," a sweet song about accepting a new sibling. As simple as a game of tick-tack-toe, the album took shape.

"This is a word-of-mouth thing," Larocque says. "People will just get behind it and say, 'Yeah, you know what? This is cool, and I'll support it.'"The album has garnered so much support, in fact, that Paper Bag has two more children's albums in the works. And so we end this modern-day fairy tale with:

The Beginning.

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