We have a large collection of good kids' music by contemporary pop/rock artists. It's not schlocky at all and is really wonderful stuff.
From that, for the 8 year old set I would definitely third or fourth the recommendation for They Might Be Giants
"Here Comes Science". I think he would really like that and learn something, too! "Here Come the ABCs" and "Here Come the 123s" might be enjoyable, but they skew a little younger than 8 in my opinion. "Here Comes Science" is absolutely perfect for 8, though. My 9.5 yr old and my almost 7 yr old love it.
Any Dan Zanes
! Wonderful folky stuff from a former rocker.Billy Jonas
is a fantastic family performer with a world beat kinda style. He makes his own percussion instruments.Justin Roberts
is just chock full of hooks. Very catchy stuff. Songs about losing teeth. He has one album (the seamonster one) about Bible stories, but the rest are just great kids tunes.Ralph's World
is Ralph Covert. He's got some really catchy stuff, too, that is 8 year old friendly, like songs about getting a new bike.
Then there are a lot of bands like Brenaked Ladies and The Asylum Street Spankers among many others who do an occasional children's album.
I could go on and on, but I've got to make breakfast. At any rate there is some really great kids' music out there right now that is not Taylor Swift or Hannah Montana or Justin Beiber or Raffi!