Indie rock and children’s television came together this morning, when The Flaming Lips performed on the ground-breaking Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba. In its three seasons, the series has featured some surprisingly hip bands. For one of the show’s segments called “The Super Music Friends Show,” bands usually compose a song specifically for the series, in part because the lyrics to their hits may not be appropriate. (Fun fact: The Killers had to be introduced as “Brandon, Ronnie, Mark and Dave.”) To celebrate yet another awesome guest spot — and because even the biggest music fans might have missed them when they aired — we’ve compiled 12 of our favorite performances from the wacky kids show so far.
The Roots – “Lovely, Love My Family”
The Philly hip-hop group stopped by the show to extoll the importance of loving one’s family. ?uestlove looks like one happy camper here. You can also watch him “rehearsing” with one of the Gabba Gabba friends, Brobee.
The Aggrolites – “Banana”
The upbeat reggae grooves of L.A. ska outfit the Aggrolites seem to be a perfect fit for a kids show. Here, they take the opportunity to praise the awesomeness of the banana.
The Aquabats! – “Pool Party”
This appearance makes more sense with some context: Christian Jacobs is both the frontman of the Aquabats and a co-creator of Yo Gabba Gabba — which probably explains why the series gets so many great musical guests. “Pool Party!” is actually a reworking of an Aquabats song of the same name.
Chromeo – “Nice N Clean”
New York City synth duo Chromeo takes the time to explain personal hygiene to the kids. Here’s a great example of a band’s musical style — in this case, Chromeo’s Ghostbuster-themed ’80s sound — really coming through in the show.
Cornelius – “Count Five or Six”
Incredibly, if not conveniently, this tune is also a regular in Cornelius’s set. The song, which is in 6/8 time, appeared on his 1998 album Fantasma. You have to wonder if it could have broader appeal as an educational tool for youngsters one day.
Hot Hot Heat – “Time To Go Outdoors”
Canadian alt rockers Hot Hot Heat do what they can to get kids playing outside with “Time To Go Outdoors.”
I’m From Barcelona – “Just Because It’s Different Doesn’t Mean It’s Scary”
It looks like all 29 members of Sweden’s I’m From Barcelona stopped by the set to encourage trying new things. Led by the quirky Emanuel Lundgren, the band’s curious name comes from a BBC TV show called Fawlty Towers.
Jimmy Eat World – “Beautiful Day”
No, it’s not the U2 song, but it’s arguably just as bubbly. The guys of Jimmy Eat World seem to be excited about playing with pets.
The Killers (a.k.a. “Brandon, Ronnie, Mark and Dave”) – “Spaceship Adventure”
Despite being stripped of their killer name, Brandon and the band maintain their space travel theme and driving drums with “Spaceship Adventure.”
MGMT – “Art is Everywhere”
The trippy visual aesthetic of Wesleyan duo MGMT was right at home on the visually stunning Gabba Gabba. Traveling through space as colorful vikings, Goldwasser and VanWyngarden explain that art is indeed everywhere.
The Shins – “It’s OK Try Again”
Indie staples The Shins stopped by the show for a quick song about getting up and dusting yourself off after failure.
The Ting Tings – “Happy Birthday”
British indie pop duo The Ting Tings did an original take on “Happy Birthday” in their signature upbeat mode on the show.