Last week the The Not-Its released their 4th album KidQuake!, one of which I was very excited for. I’ve featured a tune from the Not-Its before, their rockingly adorable “Puppy Dog.” Which, now as I type it, I can’t get out of my head.
I’m drawn to children’s music like this. The kind that has an edge to it, that reminds me of the sounds I used to listen to in my youth. No wonder songs like “I Want Candy” are still hits with kids (who, thankfully, can’t discern the double entendres). Who doesn’t like a strong, driving beat with fun, relatable lyrics?
The Not-Its’ sound recalls those punky pop bands I grew up with, ranging from Sonic Youth to The Go-Go’s to Siouxie & The Banshees. But for kids. I can only imagine how fun this Seattle-based band is to see live.
It’s no surprise The Not-Its have the musical chops and street cred to pull this sound off. Lead singer Sarah Shannon was a member of the 90’s Sub Pop band Velocity Girl, and Michael Welke was the former drummer of Harvey Danger. Rounding out the band are Danny Adamson (rhythm guitar), Tom Baisden (lead guitar) and Jennie Helman (bass player).
Their music is infectious. Short songs that pack a lot of punch. That stay with you. Like a hearty stew that leaves you so full you don’t go looking for dessert.
KidQuake! taps in to some universal experiences of parents and kids, making it hard for every member of your family to find something they can’t relate to.
The album starts off rocking with the title track “KidQuake!”, a sophisticated song musically and lyrically, yet easily accessible to any audience. Insert adult lyrics and you’d still like this tune, with its punchy guitars and driving drums.
It’s an empowering song for kids, acknowledging that their energy is their power. They may be small, but they are strong. Ask any parent of a 4 year-old on a second consecutive snow day and you’ll get confirmation of that seismic activity.
“Busy” is certainly my favorite, perhaps because it’s the story of my morning. Fantastic horns set the ska tone early in this song from a mom’s perspective as she rushes to get the family somewhere. “Grab your backpack! Where are my keys? Who’s gotta pee?” All of this frenetic scheduling could, and should, be smoothed over by slowing down every now and then.
While the album is heavy on the rock tunes, there are a few songs that provide some slower tempo and polished melodies. “Operation Cooperation” tackles that awkward but necessary aspect of teaming up and working together on school projects. “Participation Trophy” is a pretty smooth track that laments the accolades of getting awards even when you lose.
The album is a great mix of issues that relate to all age groups. “Temper Tantrum” could have been written by my oldest kid. Presented from an older sibling’s point of view, it’s a song that deals with the frustration and fallout of a younger sibling’s outbursts. And “Full Tilt” would describe my kids during an afternoon at Dave & Busters, trying to stretch out their coinage to play everything. “Rock Paper Scissors” is an homage to the universal transportable game/decision-making method of choice for children.
It’s not often that you come across a children’s album that can appeal to every kid in your family, but KidQuake! from The Not-Its could certainly satisfy that need. Check it out today! It’s available on Amazon, iTunes and through their website.
Or you can preview songs on Bandmate’s nifty widget!
Full of it… was provided one or more copies of the products mentioned above for free evaluation purposes. I received this product at no charge to me and I am free to keep it for my own personal use without obligation to return it. All opinions are 100% completely my own.