The Not-Its’ New LP Will Keep Audiences Of All Ages Listening

Courtesy: Little Loopy Records

Courtesy: Little Loopy Records

Late this winter kindie rock band The Not-Its released its latest full-length studio recording Are You Listening?  The band’s sixth album, it comes a little more than two years after the release of its fifth album Raise Your Hand (2014).  This ten-song record is not only a fun follow-up to that record but also some of the band’s best work to date, too.  That is thanks in part to the album’s catchy pop punk sound.  That is just part of what makes this record such a success.  The album’s wide variety of lyrical themes is just as important to note as its musical foundation.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its presentation.  Each element is equally important in its own right.  Altogether they make Are You Listening? a record that will make audiences of all ages want to listen.

The Not-Its’ new album Are You Listening? is a record that will make audiences of all ages want to listen to its ten songs.  As a matter of fact after hearing this record it could even leave audiences of all ages wanting to listen to each of the band’s previous offerings, too.  The main reason that it proves such an enjoyable record is its musical foundation.  The foundation in question is formed by the catchy, pop punk sound that is present throughout the course of the album’s ten songs.  In the world of mainstream music pop punk is very much limited to a specific audience in terms of its appeal.  But there’s something about the way that the band—Sarah Shannnon (lead vocals), Danny Adamson (rhythm guitar, glockenspiel, vocals), Tom Baisden (lead guitar), Jennie Helman (bass, vocals), and Michael Welke (drums, percussion, synthesizer, vocals)—executes the songs on this album that makes their sound one that will appeal to a much wider spectrum of listeners than that of more mainstream pop punk acts.  Maybe it’s in the songs’ instrumentation as with the near Ramones style sound of ‘Kid of the Week.’  It could be in the vocal arrangements, such as in the dual harmony in ‘Done With The Science Fair’ or maybe it’s both elements together such as in ‘Washington D.C.’  Regardless of which aspect applies, it can be said with certainty that from beginning to end, the album’s musical content serves as a solid foundation for The Not-Its’ new album.  It is an element that is certain to keep audiences of all ages listening from beginning to end if only for that element.  It is just one part of the album that will keep audiences listening.  The album’s varied lyrical themes are just as important to the album’s presentation as its musical content.

The catchy, pop punk sound exhibited throughout the course of The Not-Its’ new album is in its own right hugely important to its presentation.  That is because the manner in which the band executed each song sets the album’s sound apart from that of so many mainstream pop punk acts.  The manner in which the ban executed the album’s song makes it more accessible to a wider audience than say those mainstream pop punk albums that are obviously aimed more at teens and tweens.  Even with its importance it is just one part of what makes this record stand out.  The wide array of musical themes presented throughout the record’s twenty-nine minute run time is just as important to the album as its musical content.  The lyrical themes presented here include the silly (‘Brain Freeze’ and ‘Grandad is a Spy’, the educational (‘Done With The Science Fair’), the motivational (‘Don’t Fear The Dentist’) and even the deep (‘Washington D.C.’).  The latter of those songs is among the most important of the album’s varied lyrical themes.  The main reason for that is that while educational on the surface, it clearly serves a much deeper purpose than just educating.  That is clear as the band sings in the song’s chorus, “D.C./Do you hear me/D.C./Are you listening/D.C./Are you tuned in to me?” In the verse that follows there is mention of contacting representatives, speaking publicly about one’s views (essentially protesting) and basically being active in the political process.  This is obviously way over younger listeners’ heads.  So one can only imagine that this was aimed largely at older listeners while the song’s first half was aimed more at those younger listeners.  Thinking about it, spitting the song in such seemingly blatant style was pretty smart.  It ensured that it would be accessible to listeners of all ages.  The first half would cite all of the sites that make the nation’s capitol so great while the second half encourages older audiences to get involved in the political process.  Such a presentation, when set alongside the rest of the album’s other lyrical themes, makes the greater picture of the album’s lyrical content all the more entertaining for audiences of all ages.  When those themes are set alongside the album’s catchy, pop punk sound the two elements come together to show even more clearly why this record stands out.  It still is not the last remaining element to consider in examining why the album will keep audiences listening.  The album’s sequencing rounds out its presentation.

The foundation established by the musical and lyrical content of Are You Listening? goes a long way toward keeping audiences of all ages listening to this album.  While both elements are unquestionably important in their own right to the album’s presentation, the album’s sequencing cannot be ignored in its presentation.  The album’s sequencing is so important to its presentation because it is what keeps the album’s energy moving throughout the course of the album.  Older audiences will take greater note of this than younger listeners.  But there is a clear, intentionally set sequence here in regards to the album’s energy.  The album opens with a bang in ‘Dance With Me.’  ‘Done With The Science Fair’ follows with a gentle opening that eventually leads into a much higher-energy presentation.  ‘Washington D.C. is very much the same stylistically speaking.  It starts off with a decidedly reserved sound before really launching into the song’s more energetic core.  The energy becomes more direct in the album’s next two offerings—‘Grandad Is A Spy’ and ‘Don’t Fear the Dentist.’  One can’t help but wonder if this is a tribute to Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper.  Older audiences will get that joke more so than younger listeners.  Getting back on track, the band keeps the energy at just the right levels through the remainder of the album right up to the exhibiting more energy at times and then pulling it back just enough at others.  The end result is a ten-song set that will keep audiences of all ages listening just as much for its balanced energy as for its musical arrangements and its varied lyrical themes and in turn another candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.

The Not-Its’ new album Are You Listening? is a record that will keep audiences of all ages listening.  That is thanks in part to its musical foundation.  The album’s catchy, pop punk sound will appeal to a much wider audience in this case than that of most mainstream pop punk acts.  The album’s varying lyrical themes will keep audiences of all ages just as engaged.  The album’s sequencing brings everything full circle.  It keeps the album’s energy just right at all of the right moments.  All three elements, when combined together, make The Not-Its’ new album not only an album that will keep audiences of all ages listening but also an album that is another candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via The Not-Its’ website at  More information on this and the band’s other albums is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:







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The Not Its’ New LP Will Have Listeners Raising Their Own Hands And Singing Along

Courtesy:  Little Loopy Records

Courtesy: Little Loopy Records

The latest release from kindie-rock band The Not-Its is an album that will have both the band’s young audiences and their parents raising their hands and singing along with this fun new record. Parents and children alike will enjoy this fifteen-song album thanks both to its poppy tunes and their equally fun themes. The whole thing is anchored by a song that is sure to impress any parent in the form of the retrospective ‘Hey 80s.’ The song asks what happened to the era that many consider to be one of the best in America’s rich history. There’s also the playful opener ‘Funniest Cat Videos’ that pokes fun at all the cat videos currently making their way around the internet. And ‘Nose in a Book’ celebrates literacy, much like that of fellow kindie-rocker Mister G’s latest album, The Bossy E. There is also a song that emphasizes manners in the album’s title track and plenty of purely playful songs along the way, too. Whether it be for those songs or for those more specifically noted here, there is plenty on this record to have listeners of all ages raising their hands happily and singing along.

So much kindie-rock tends to be aimed primarily at younger audiences. Yes, there are some songs and bands out there that offer something for parents specifically. But they are few and far between. Enter The Not-Its’ song ‘Hey 80s.’ This song is for many parents, a fond homage to an era that they would consider to be one of the best in America’s rich history. Lead vocalist Sarah Shannon sings fondly of that era as she sings, “Hey 80s/Where’d you go so fast/You are my past/And I gotta make you last/I know somewhere/With my baby I’ll share/All my stories, old glories/I know you’re gonna care about neon tutus twirling so pretty in pink/Lucky Star was playing at the roller skating rink/I can’t solve this rubik’s Who am I gonna call?” And yes, she even references directly The Ghostbusters from here, as well as Donkey Kong, Bill Cosby’s famed sweaters, MTV and Michael Jackson’s moonwalking among much more. It’s essentially a musical love letter to an era gone by. Any parent that happened to grow up in the 80s (such as this critic) will most definitely appreciate this poppy song and be thankful for its inclusion on the album.

‘Hey 80s’ is a great piece that any parent and product of the 80s will appreciate. It’s not the only one that they’ll appreciate on this record, either. Any parent that denies having ever scoured YouTube and Facebook for the latest crazy cat video is not telling the truth. Remember kids, it’s not good to note tell the truth! The album’s opener, ‘Funniest Cat Videos’ playfully pokes fun at the whole fad that is people posting videos of their cats online. Shannon sings in this piece that even the cat gave the subject of the song a look that sent a direct message. She sings, “Followed her around with my camera phone/She looked back at me as if to say go spend your time in a better way.” From here, the subject of the song exhibits what is likely the same behavior of all the people trying to get their fifteen minutes of online fame as she sings, “I tried to make the funniest cat video/I tried and tried but it didn’t turn out right/I guess I’ve got to accept the fact that/I tried and tried but she’s just not funny.” It would be no surprise if some listeners have friends or family that have done exactly what the subject of this song tried to do. The reality of that situation only makes this song all the funnier both for parents and children alike, but especially for parents.

The parent friendly songs included on Raise Your Hand are but two examples of what makes this album so enjoyable for listeners of all ages. It’s nice to hear songs aimed more at grown-ups than just at younger listeners on this record, especially since most kindie-rock is aimed mainly at younger listeners. This album has its own share of music for kids, too of course. Case in point ‘Nose in a Book.’ This song celebrates childhood literacy. And as with Mr. G’s new album The Bossy E, this song is an especially welcome opus considering the fact that young people are increasingly turning to the digital world even for books rather than just cracking open a good book. As Shannon sings here, her subject is devoted to reading. The only problem is it causes its share of problems. It causes her subject to run into a friend by accident. It makes her subject’s parents try to get said individual to go to sleep. And her subject is even reprimanded by a teacher for reading so much. Even through it all the subject of the song defies everyone and everything. As Shannon sings of her subject, “I don’t know if I’ve got a new disease/Maybe they’ll name it after me/Cuz I can’t stop reading-I won’t stop reading.” She goes onto sing of the joys of getting from chapter to chapter in a book, thus ending the song. That focus on childhood literacy is such a welcome addition to this and any album. There are so many children out there that can’t read and parents that won’t encourage their children to read. It’s a sad situation, the increasing reliance on technology aside. Keeping that in mind, this song becomes an increasingly welcome addition to Raise Your Hand. Along with the other songs noted here, and those not discussed, it is one more piece that will have listeners of all ages raising their own hands and singing happily along.

Raise Your Hand is available in stores and online now. Fans can also purchase Raise Your Hand now at any of The Not Its’ live performances. The band is currently on tour in support of its new album. It will be at the Steamboat Springs Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado June 24th. The band’s most current tour schedule is listed online at Audiences can also check out the band’s Facebook page, for all of the latest news from the band. To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

The Not-Its! New LP Fun For Kids AND Parents

Courtesy: Little Loopy Records

Courtesy: Little Loopy Records

The members of Seattle, WA’s The Not-Its! are back once again.  This kid friendly quintet has produced in its fourth new release an album that is unlike any other children’s album out there right now.  Kidquake is a semi-pop punk record that will appeal both to parents and to kids with its rhythms and its lyrics.  From the very moment that the album is unwrapped, listeners automatically are presented with the album’s first positive.  That positive is that the album is presented in a gatefold package.  And printed in each fold are the full lyrics to each song on the album.  This allows parents and kids alike to follow along with each song and even talk about each one as the album proceeds thanks to this.  This is an excellent first impression whether one is new to the music of the Not-Its! or not.  From here, the positives keep coming in the form of the album’s set list.       

The album’s opener and title track instantly grabs listeners with its kid friendly pop punk vibe as vocalist Sarah Shannon sings, “I wonder if you ever get the feeling/From your head down to your toes/Wanna get up, keep your body moving/Kids have a power no one knows/Shake, shake, shake/Kidquake/Kidquake/We’ve got the power to move any mountain/No way to keep this power down.”  Shannon is singing here about the power in every child.  That’s made especially clear as she sings, “So when you’re feeling down like the world is moving too fast/You gotta tap into that molten kid core and make it last/There’s a seismic shift you’re gonna feel all over the world/There’s an energy we’ve got to set it free c’mon every boy and girl.”  If this mix of positive lyrics and up-tempo music doesn’t get any young listener moving, nothing will.  It’s a great first impression for this album.  And in an age when there’s so much emphasis on getting kids moving and keeping them fit, this song is a great way to get kids active right off the bat.

Parents will appreciate the album’s opener as it encourages kids to get moving.  They’ll also appreciate it for its catchy hooks and melodies.  Just as they’ll appreciate this song, parents will especially appreciate the song, ‘Busy.’  What parent hasn’t felt bogged down trying to get their child(ren) ready for school while they themselves are trying to get ready for work in the morning?  This song expertly exemplifies exactly what every parent feels in this all too common case.  The ska style music base gets the frantic energy across all by itself.  Shannon’s equally frantic vocals make the song even more believable as she sings, “The alarm clock, didn’t go off and now we’re late/Grab your backpack and your lunch box no time to waste/Where is your left shoe?  What are we gonna do?/The baby’s barking, the dog is screaming/The school bell’s ringing/(we gotta go) Where are the keys?/(we gotta go) Who’s gotta pee?/We gotta go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go………….”  Parents will laugh at the confusion between the baby and the dog.  Any parent will agree that that kind of confusion really does happen.  The comic element of the song makes this another highlight.  But it’s the song’s chorus that really makes the song hit home for parents.  Shannon and her band mates sing in the song’s chorus, “We need to just Slow down! Slow down! Slow down!/We’re just too busy”  That couldn’t be more true.  It seems that we’ve always got so much on our plate.  Sometimes parents just need to slow down and take a break.  The chorus comes across in a semi-comical manner.  But there’s a much more serious side to that chorus, too.  And any parent will agree with that, again, proving just how impressive an addition this song is to this album.

‘Busy’ and the album’s title track are both great additions to the brand new release from The Not-Its!  They’re just a part of what makes this album so enjoyable for parents and kids alike.  There are songs about the joy of skateboarding, playing pinball, Rock Paper Scissors, and even the tumult of a child’s temper tantrum just to name a few other topics included in this LP.  Whether for these songs or the song, ‘Operation Cooperation’, which teaches the importance of working together, kids and adults have more than enough to enjoy out of this album with every listen.  The band is currently touring in support of its new album.  So kids and their parents will get their chance to see the band live now.  The band will be performing this Saturday, February 16th in New York City and then in Philadelphia, PA on the 17th.  Those shows will be followed by a pair of dates in the nation’s capitol on the 18th and 19th.  Parents can get the full information on these upcoming shows and lots more when they visit the band’s website,     

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