Two beloved, kid-friendly Seattle bands, The Not-Its and Caspar Babypants, both have new albums coming out.
This is one mom who’s very sad that her daughter has outgrown these two bands. (Taylor Swift who?)
We spent quality time in various King County Library System branches (and, at least once, a Top Pot Doughnuts) with Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America fame). My family was almost like traveling groupies. Ballew often played with two other guys during that time. That’s how our then-toddler discovered a love of music and dancing. She would go up front and try to steal the show with her moves and, hard as it may be to believe because Caspar/Chris is an awesome showman, she may have done it a couple of times.
For us, The Not-Its came along a couple of years later, with their often-outdoor shows and their singable yet just-edgy-enough songs about everything from school to eating to outdoor adventure. The line “I’ve got 29 mosquito bites” from a song about camping almost literally came true for our little mosquito magnet on one family trip; singing helped keep the mood light amid the itching and swelling.
While Caspar Babypants made music fun and helped promote early literacy with an effort on short and repeated words, The Not-Its appealed to a slightly older kid with upbeat messages that touched on education and the world around us. In any case, the perfect evolution from one band to the next kept us enjoying locally generated music for many years of toddlerhood, preschool and beyond.
We always loved meeting the band members, buying the newest discs and getting autographs.
Some of those songs will be etched in my memory for years. And a Not-Its disc remains in our car because “Vacation” has long been our “We’re Outta Here” anthem. Sometimes we sing their words, sometimes our own, sometimes a combination.
Knowing that the new Caspar disc, “Keep it Real!” features a unicorn on the cover made my I'm-so-cool daughter pause for a moment. (She's 10 and not as grown up as she would like us to believe.) The Not-Its new album is called "Ready or Not," is due out in September and is in the pre-order stage now. The track list on their websites includes songs called "Potty Mouth" and "The Battle of Curriculum Night." I want this music!
After participating in the Sub Pop anniversary festivities this weekend, Caspar Babypants has a concert almost every day for the rest of the summer. Details are on the band's website, along with album-ordering information, fun videos and more.
The Not-Its also will be part of the Sub Pop festivities and are on a summer tour that includes dates in Washington but also wide-ranging stops such as Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. The band can be found online at wearethenot-its.com.