Fave Five: The Dodos

Evan Sawdey
Photo: Andy De Santis

Coming off yet another acclaimed set of strum-and-pound indie pop, Meric Long of the Dodos takes our Fave Five challenge and lists the Top Five Records You Can Enjoy With a Two-Year-Old.

Certainty Waves
The Dodos


12 October 2018

The Dodos were always a square peg in the indie rock hole, the duo's drummer/guitarist aesthetic initially kitschy but the pounding, rhythmic, and ultimately catchy pop songs they generated felt like the work of a group that was triple their actual member size.

Yet for drummer Logan Kroeber and guitarist/singer Meric Long, their distinct and propulsive collaboration has resulted in more than a few stellar albums, ranging from their instant classic Visiter from 2008 to their astoundingly vital No Color (2011). Although the band jumped ships from Frenchkiss to Polyvinyl with 2013's Carrier, the group has been stretching themselves into new shapes as of late, with Long releasing a solo album under his FAN moniker earlier this year and then closing out 2018 with a brand new set of songs in the form of Certainty Waves.

Of the new set, PopMatters' own Pryor Stroud noted that "seven records and 12 years clinging to more-or-less the same aesthetic is a long time. But that's the point: the Dodos have achieved such longevity by pushing this aesthetic to its limits, testing how far it will go -- seeing how much it can hold. That's the reason we should hope they keep walking."

So to help celebrate the occasion, Long sat down to pick his own Fave Five albums of a particular ilk. What he ended up landing on was his Top Five Records You Can Enjoy With a Two-Year Old. "Some might think that you can just put on whatever music you want with a two-year-old and they'll just happily go along with whatever curated taste you've decided to bestow upon their frail minds," Long tells us, "but even with music they can have pretty strong opinions, and the wrong choice might destroy their impression and subsequently their willingness to try out an entire genre. So here are some of my top choices to combat the hoards of terrible children's albums that will come knocking if you have a child."

1. Peanuts Greatest Hits by Vince Guaraldi (2015)

This record is on pretty much every morning. "Linus and Lucy" is one of the most genius ear worms ever, and probably the best way to start a day. Though being recognizable and associated with a children's cartoon, the music is still extremely complex and I keep finding new things every time I hear it.

2. Shout by DEVO (1984)

This record sounds a bit silly which is why I think it translates to a kid. There's a lot of samples that sound like they've been stripped from a cartoon and the Mothersbaughs sing and talk in weird voices. It's kind of like the album version of Pee Wee's Playhouse. It's definitely out there but when they hear the opening of "Puppet Boy" complete with alarm clock samples they'll get on board.

3. Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes by Elizabeth Cotton (2002)

She wrote "Freight Train" when she was 11 and played the guitar upside down. Not necessarily reasons why your two year old will like it, but they will dig it while you have your mind blown.

4. Changesbowie by David Bowie (1990)

Labyrinth makes so much more sense after seeing how much my kid likes David Bowie. I've tried The Beatles, The Ramones, but there's something he does that seems to cut beyond. Weirdly enough the first Bowie record I really got in to was the last one Blackstar so listening to this now for me this is like discovering Led Zeppelin when I turned 28. This record in particular goes over well, it's got the hits but "Young Americans" through to "Ashes to Ashes" is a solid 20 minutes of pure joy.

5. Singable Songs for the Very Young by Raffi (1976)

This is the only one that qualifies and is marketed as legitimate "children's music" but if you have to go there then this guy is your shepherd. These tunes will stick to your brain but you won't completely hate them. Plus they're easy to learn and play. I would even go as far as to recommend this sans child, I find his commitment to his character inspirational.





PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Landowner's 'Consultant' Is OCD-Post-Punk With Obsessive Precision

Landowner's Consultant has all the energy of a punk-rock record but none of the distorted power chords.


NYFF: 'American Utopia' Sets a Glorious Tone for Our Difficult Times

Spike Lee's crisp concert film of David Byrne's Broadway show, American Utopia, embraces the hopes and anxieties of the present moment.


South Africa's Phelimuncasi Thrill with Their Gqom Beats on '2013-2019'

A new Phelimuncasi anthology from Nyege Nyege Tapes introduces listeners to gqom and the dancefloors of Durban, South Africa.


Wolf Parade's 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' Turns 15

Wolf Parade's debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is an indie rock classic. It's a testament to how creative, vital, and exciting the indie rock scene felt in the 2000s.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.


Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.