KIDS GETTIN’ ROWDY?
BETTER TAKE A
‘TIME OUT TO ROCK’ WITH THE NOT-ITS!
“The lead singer of this adorable five-piece band, Sarah Shannon, got her start on the Sub Pop label doing vocals for a band called Velocity Girl. They have a really appealing '90s indie-pop sound, vaguely reminiscent of the Cardigans.”
– Martha Brockenbrough, MSN.com
“Their debut CD makes me want to pull over to the side of the playground, open the hatchback and turn the volume up as high as it’ll go, to share their music with the masses of kids. Yes, it’s that good.” – Christina Refford, Cool Mom Picks
– Building on the momentum of their award-winning 2009 debut album, We Are The Not-Its!, Seattle-based independent children’s recording group The Not-Its! looks ahead with great anticipation to the July 20 release of their second kids’ CD, Time Out To Rock (Little Loopy Records, $14.00, for ages 3 – 7, run time 30 minutes). The band’s signature sound, replete with crunchy guitar hooks and smooth, four-part harmonies, continues onward and upward in Time Out To Rock.
Fronted by strong vocals from Sarah Shannon, former lead singer of ‘90s indie-pop sensation Velocity Girl, The Not-Its! are on a mission to get kids up and dancing with Time Out To Rock. Filled with up-tempo, melodic, power-pop tunes, Time Out To Rock mixes songs that are “just for fun” with songs about such topics as welcoming the new kid at school or dealing with bullies, all without being preachy or straining to teach a lesson. The album’s first track, “Welcome to Our School,” sets the energy level on high with an irrepressible dance beat, clean playing that doesn’t clutter the lyrics, and superb lead and background vocals. The music rocks on from there until Time Out to Rock winds down, slowing the pace at album’s end with the poetic, reflective “Hollow Tree.”
Says Sarah Shannon, “With Time Out To Rock our goal was to make a children's album that captured the high energy and driving nature of our live concerts. In our live performances, we strive to give children their first epic, ‘real live rock show’ experience, and we feel we’ve achieved that, in a virtual sense, with this album. Our own children are a gold mine when we’re putting new material together. During the songwriting process, all of our kids (seven represented amongst the band) help out with approval, ideas and singing. Time Out To Rock is a perfect example of the kind of music that we all used to perform in our indie rock pasts, only with different lyrics now!”
The Not-Its!’ first album, We Are The Not-Its!, took the kindie rock scene by storm, receiving a Fids & Kamily Music Award as one of the best family music albums of 2009 – unprecedented for a freshman release. Cookie magazine called the album “one of the most promising debuts of the year.” Declared Bill Childs of Parenting magazine, “I’m a big fan … [The Not-Its!] have hit a sweet spot with a nice combination of an indie sound, great melodies, and enough rock to satisfy us aging ‘80s and ‘90s alt-rock kids.” Kids’ music authority Stefan Shepherd (Zooglobble) enthused, “’We Are The Not-Its!’ is one of the two or three best theme songs ever … this album rocks.” According to Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids, “The disc’s a treat, one that your kids should be allowed to gobble up as often as they wish.” The Australian website, Babyology, wrote, “It’s rare that I really enjoy every track on an album … the whole album is thoroughly enjoyable. Every note of this album works beautifully.” Amy Kraft of Media Macaroni explained, “I love it when we find albums that [my daughter] and I both like to listen to. They’ve got a great rockin’ sound, and the songs are immediately accessible to kids.”
The Not-Its! are intent on showing that girls can rock, too, and critics have given this a nod of approval. According to Ruby Slipper Guide, “One of the best things about The Not-Its! is that it’s not just the boys having fun. Between lead vocalist, Sarah Shannon and bass player Nori Hoeft, The Not-Its! make sure girls get some awesome musical role models, just like the boys. It’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Shannon. Once part of Velocity Girl, a band on the Sub Pop label, Shannon hopes that the little girls at their shows view her and Hoeft as strong female role models. She loves it when she looks over the sea of little faces and sees girls imitating her movements and singing along.”
Since her days with Velocity Girl, Sarah Shannon has recorded two solo albums under her own name. After Sarah became a parent, she discovered that several musician friends from Seattle’s burgeoning alterna-rock scene shared her desire to integrate the challenges and joys of having kids with doing what they loved most. Joining together as The Not-Its!, the friends decided they wanted not only to create great music for kids and families, but also to use their talents and experience in the non-profit sector to raise funds for causes that support families, children, and the arts. (Rhythm guitarist/singer Danny Adamson is a former social worker who worked for 10 years with homeless youth, drummer Mike Bayer enjoys teaching drum lessons to children, lead guitarist Tom Baisden is an elementary school teacher for special needs children who was honored by Seattle as the city’s 2010 “Special Education Outstanding Educator of the Year,” and bassist/backup singer Nori Hoeft is an instructor at the Samarya Center, a studio specializing in helping children with a host of challenges, from autism to depression. Nori is also a volunteer for Girls Rock! Seattle, a summer rock-n-roll camp for girls, and a volunteer grant writer for Open Arms Perinatal Services and Passages Northwest, an organization that provides outdoor education and wilderness adventure trips for young girls.) More than half of The Not-Its! live shows have benefited worthy causes, and the band remains committed to continuing this effort.
The Not-Its! high-energy stage performances are known for getting audiences on their feet and jumping around with delight. The Not-Its! rocked the socks off last year’s Bumbershoot festival in Seattle, the Disney Mainstage at KidFest Northwest, and PEPSapalooza at the Red Hook Bowl, and the band was recently delighted to open for the Kratt Brothers (of the PBS KIDS Show Zoboomafoo). The Not-Its are founding members of Kindiependent, a collective of like-minded people who are passionate about cultivating a vibrant kids and family music scene in the Pacific Northwest. Through creative collaborations and community events, Kindiependent’s mission is to develop a network of family-friendly artists and organizations that supports cultural innovation.