News Column

The Pop Ups to pump up crowd at Kidstock

August 7, 2014

By Danielle E. Gaines, The Frederick News-Post, Md.

Aug. 07--When The Pop Ups step on stage at Kidstock on Saturday, expect high energy, silliness and a lot of clowning around.

"It's like a crazy extravaganza puppet rock show," said Jason Rabinowitz, 36, one half of the Grammy-nominated duo.

The "kindie rock" group performs using a colorful cast of puppet characters, cardboard props and a hand-painted set. The props are dreamed up in Rabinowitz's home in South Brooklyn, New York, where the group also records their songs.

During a new song about collages, Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein, 35, make a series of large collages on stage.

Children buzz around in synchronized dance during another song about bugs.

"Active participation from the crowd is required," Rabinowitz said.

Stein, who grew up in Maryland and graduated from a performing arts high school in Prince George's County, has always been around children's music. His father co-founded Grammy-nominated Dinosaur Rock!, a popular touring group, in 1982.

Rabinowitz made the transition from an adult band, finding that children's music allowed him to embrace and express deep joy, rather than cynicism. "You can just be yourself," Rabinowitz said.

The Pop Ups' first album, "Outside Voices," was released in 2010. "Radio Jungle," their second release, came out in 2012 and garnered a Grammy nomination.

Their newest album, "Appetite for Construction," will be released Aug. 19, available through iTunes for pre-sale.

Their new song "All These Shapes" is already on heavy rotation on SiriusXM Kids Place Live.

The song and accompanying video explore what children can imagine from three basic shapes.

"All of our songs start from educational core benchmarks and then we have as much fun as possible with it," Rabinowitz said. "The idea is that you're not aware you're learning."

Tunes on "Appetite" are geared to active participation by the whole family, the group said. The Pop Ups plan on releasing an arts and activity book to go along with the album soon.

"It's about families making stuff together," Stein said.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.


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Source: Frederick News-Post (MD)

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