Everyone knows that Seattle is the birthplace of many fantastic bands and musicians, from Jimi Hendrix to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. But did you know that Seattle is also home to phenomenal kids’ bands as well? These self-styled “kindiependent” bands play upbeat, original and toe-tapping tunes that get both children and parents moving and grooving.
1. The Board of Education
The rockin’ trio called The Board of Education have released two albums for elementary-age listeners, with songs covering topics like school, science, inventors and more. The songs are positive and tuneful, and like all of Seattle’s kindie bands, their albums stand the multiple replay test for families trapped in the car for long stretches.
I’m a big fan of “Why is Dad So Mad?” on their release, Binary, which is all about a parent’s ire toward the Star Wars prequels and Greedo shooting first. “Mr. Lucas, what did you do?” laments lead singer Kevin Emerson. It cracks me up every time I listen to it.
2. Caspar Babypants
You might not be familiar with all of the Seattle bands that rocked the 1990s, but chances are you’ve heard the catchy “Peaches” song from Presidents of the United States of America.
Lead singer Chris Ballew is now singing to smaller crowds (literally) but keeps the same simple, sweet melodies in his songs. Known as Caspar Babypants to his numerous toddler and preschooler fans, Ballew has released six albums, all of which are wildly entertaining to the younger set. I admit to listening to them after my daughter goes to bed.
His latest album, I Found You! can be previewed online, including “Too Dirty to Love.”
3. The Harmonica Pocket
The gentle songs of Harmonica Pocket are known for storytelling with a folk feel. The band uses props and other interactive elements in their live shows, which captures the attention of the tots in the audience — never an easy feat. Some of Harmonica Pocket’s songs can also be heard online, including “I’m Gonna Count” from their album Apple Apple.
4. The Not-Its!
The Not-Its! tout themselves as “your child’s first rock band” and deliver soundly on that promise. The band of five are all music veterans, and to my daughter’s delight, the gals are unabashedly clad in pink tutus.
Now on their fourth album, KidQuake! gets children of all ages hopping and dancing, and parents often find themselves nodding their heads to the beat and rocking along.
5. Recess Monkey
Teachers by day and rock stars by… day, Recess Monkey is a clever trio with a distinctly Beatles feel. Their ninth album, Deep Sea Diver, is due out this summer. Like all of their releases, the CD follows a theme for the song list, this time in the form of a happy life under the sea.
Their first release, “Tambourine Submarine,” gives a definite wink and a smile to The Life Aquatic.
All right, not really — although Chris Ballew’s cover of “Sliver” earns Nirvana an honorable mention. Your kids will earn definite cool points for learning their first Nirvana song.