Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew
February 16, 2011 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew. Described by Weird Al Yankovic as "one of the few children's recording artists I can listen to without wanting to stab myself in the eyes," you don't have to have kids to appreciate the silly subject matter and exquisitely crafted pop sensibility, but it probably helps. It should come as no surprise that, as front man for The Presidents of the United States, the man who wrote songs like Kitty, Boll Weevil, and Dune Buggy grew up to write offbeat children's music. I would especially like to call your attention to these wonderful and clever low tech videos, including several worthy fan videos.

Apologies if this has been posted previously, I was astonished to find that it hadn't.
posted by Slarty Bartfast (87 comments total) 155 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apparently they play a lot at the community center in Mount Baker - my friend's kid just had her 3rd b-day party there. Pretty rockin for a toddler! (I still HEART the POTUSAM)
posted by tristeza at 7:54 PM on February 16, 2011


The song Boll Weevil predates The Presidents of the United States.
posted by ovvl at 8:01 PM on February 16, 2011


Oh my god - I had no idea there was good children's music. This is so awesome.
posted by ORthey at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2011


I forgot how awesome "Kitty" was. Thanks
posted by arnicae at 8:11 PM on February 16, 2011


"POTUSAM"? Seriously? I AM old.
posted by tristeza at 8:20 PM on February 16, 2011


My rather grumpy morning has just turned into a huge wide grinning afternoon. Thanks Slarty Bartfast!
posted by Ahab at 8:25 PM on February 16, 2011


I don't even have access to a child I could use as an excuse, but this makes me super happy. Thanks, SB.
posted by catlet at 8:30 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked the googly eyes video. Now I want to put googly eyes on things.
posted by not_on_display at 8:49 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am going to entertain my grand kids with this, they need a little break from my penchant for Mostar Sevdah Reunion and Kultur Shock!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


the funny thing is, the lyrics aren't that different from presidents'


peaches come from a can they were put there by a man
in a factory downtown
if i had my little way i'd eat peaches everyday
posted by victory_laser at 9:08 PM on February 16, 2011


I liked the googly eyes video. Now I want to put googly eyes on things.

I always want to put googly eyes on things.

...that's normal, right?
posted by MrVisible at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2011


The song Boll Weevil predates The Presidents of the United States.

You know the Presidents' version substantially differs from the traditional, right? Many of the songs on that album contain references to older pieces of popular music (see Peaches, Kitty, Candy, Kick out the Jams of course).

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:14 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is fantastic stuff. Much appreciated!
posted by jet_manifesto at 9:17 PM on February 16, 2011


Caspar Babypants is fantastic. He taught our child to pogo to Nirvana.
posted by Artw at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


POTUSA was basically kick-ass children's music for adults, so this makes sense.

Awesome post.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:24 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


HEY! It is ME! CASPAR BABYPANTS! Thanks for the kind words folks...I am very happy making this music and doing the Presidents because they are basically the same feel except I got rid of the loud parts and the irony of the PUSA and now it is quieter groovy innocence that makes me smile! Hope you all can pass on the word to people who have kids and let them know what I have to offer. Cheers!
posted by caspar babypants at 9:25 PM on February 16, 2011 [123 favorites]


Oh my god - I had no idea there was good children's music. This is so awesome.

Not sure if it's specific to seattle, but there's sort of a aging hipster parent kids music explosion going on right now, mainly related to the whole not wanting to stab yourslef in the eyes thing. Caspar Babypants is very much in the vangard of that.
posted by Artw at 9:25 PM on February 16, 2011


it is true! There is a movement to take care of the kids AND the parents at the same time and keep the family singing TOGETHER...my goal is to make music that can chill out a stressful situation like a long car ride or boring afternoon at home on a rainy day...I wanna make the world lighter! WITHOUT killing the parents brains...
posted by caspar babypants at 9:29 PM on February 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Holy shit $9.99 is the greatest song about old teddy bears that was ever made about old teddy bears.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:30 PM on February 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


HEY! It is ME! CASPAR BABYPANTS!

Welcome to Metafilter! Was a big fan of POTUSA, and now a big fan of the kids' stuff! We have a Music section, should you feel the urge to upload some new stuff...
posted by spiderskull at 9:31 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks! I will check it out...I never heard of this thing but the guy who created this thread told me about it in an email...fun!
posted by caspar babypants at 9:34 PM on February 16, 2011


caspar, thanks so much for showing up in this thread... Pardon me if I gush a bit here.

I have no kids of my own yet, but a great many nieces and nephews (let me stop to count...) seven of them so far, with more probably on the way soon. And over half of them are not getting much by the way of good music right now. I'd love to introduce them to PUSA but for certain reasons I really cannot ("Kitty" being my favorite song of y'all's and all, and the lyric there not being kid-friendly.)

This lets me give them an intro which works for them, and I can't thank you enough. Thanks so much for stopping by!
posted by Navelgazer at 9:34 PM on February 16, 2011


Caspar made me stab myself in the nose.
posted by Tube at 9:35 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here's that cover of Nirvana's Silver, live. Always a big hit with the kids!

(We are also big fans of the audience participation aspect of Run Baby Run)
posted by Artw at 9:37 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is going to make my brother so happy! We both loved the Presidents as kids back when that first happened, and we listened to them constantly. It was incredible! Now he has two kids, and one is definitely old enough to dig this stuff. The younger one will learn. I've already sent my bro the links! SOON THEY WILL ALL HAVE GOOGLY EYES!!!!
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:50 PM on February 16, 2011


A fan video collection isn't complete without one from Caspar's real fans: Ali dancing to The Island Hop.
posted by evadery at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2011


love me some chris ballew. chris and tad! tycoons! feelings hijackers!
posted by palacewalls at 9:56 PM on February 16, 2011


sonofabitch...

...feelings hijackers!
posted by palacewalls at 9:59 PM on February 16, 2011


Okay Mr. Caspar Babypants, you made the first cut. The missus and I don't let just any kids' music in the house. But you know the real test will come when I play your stuff for the three year old. He's a harsh critic, under the command of his master Elmo, and doesn't always take kindly to new tunesmiths.

But Papa likes your stuff, so I think your tunes will make it into the rotation. You should come on down and play some shows in Portland!
posted by vverse23 at 10:00 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd never heard of him before today but when I came home from work My wife had CB playing on the iPod for our toddler and at the moment she's reading a book by his sister. Serendipitous.
posted by camcgee at 10:10 PM on February 16, 2011


Strike that, it looks like the book is written by the sister of another member of PUSA. Still.
posted by camcgee at 10:19 PM on February 16, 2011


Caspar Babypants is truly awesome, and just one of a growing number of fabulous children's musicians who appeal both to the kids and the parents. I highly recommend another Seattle group, Recess Monkey, as well as many others. Down in Portland we're trying to get something going similar to what's happening with all the cool kid's music in Seattle. I'll shamelessly self promote my band, The Alphabeticians, currently near the top of the charts on CD Baby.
posted by hooha at 10:24 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Other kids stuff that we like in the ArtW household, even though it is not by Caspar Babypants...

Recess Monkeys (mentioned above)
Peter Himmelman - we love Sherm the Worm.
TheFor the Kids and For the Kids Too compilations.
Slightly different, a bit more mellow and folksy, but still lovely - Elizabeth Mitchell - Little Bird, Little Bird.
posted by Artw at 10:31 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a Kids' Music that Rocks blog which might be good for finding this sort of thing.
posted by Artw at 10:33 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay! Niece & nephew birfday presents: sorted.

I was about to say that Chris Bellew isn't the only guy to transition from the rawk to the children's music, and link to Farmer Jason videos (of Jason & the Scorchers), but then I actually watched a couple of Farmer Jason's videos and stabbed myself in the eye.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:22 PM on February 16, 2011


Oh my god - I had no idea there was good children's music. This is so awesome.

After this, go find yourself some Trout Fishing In America.
posted by eriko at 2:40 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The guy who DJ's the local community radio station's ska show for the last 20 years started calling himself "Grandfather Stark" (well, his wife's a grandma, he's a step-grandpa!) and doing a kids show on Saturday mornings. (what the heck, there's no longer any cartoons worth watching at that time) The show, Musical Merry-Go-Round, is qutie fun to listen to, even as an adult.

They've been sponsoring matinee shows of family-friendly acts, or at least, acts that can do "family friendly" sets. Jason "and the scorchers" Ringenberg is Farmer Jason. Big Smith (regional bluegrass act) does a kids set. Etc. They've had to start doubling up the matinee shows just so everyone that wants to attend, can attend.
posted by notsnot at 4:13 AM on February 17, 2011


Can't listen to these right now as I'm at work, but I'm definitely going to when I get home. If you're after other awesome children's music, can I recommend the Barenaked Ladies album Snacktime!? Some very awesome songs on there - "Things" nearly made me cry, and "Bad Day" should be required listening for all parents when their kids are feeling grumpy.
posted by ZsigE at 4:55 AM on February 17, 2011


Wow, thanks so much for this post! My kids and I just sat and watched all the videos you linked and I predict we will be watching more later, and investing in some cool music as well. We already love lots of Presidents but I didn't know about Casper...thanks again!
posted by phogirl at 5:00 AM on February 17, 2011


Oh my god - I had no idea there was good children's music. This is so awesome.


Depending on your taste... St. Etienne released an EP of 6 indie songs for children with the special edition of their Tales from Turnpike House album. That was supposed to be a preview of an album called Up the Wooden Hills, which I am not sure ever came out. However, Rough Trade picked up the baton with Colours are Brighter , a collection of original songs for children by indie artists. Canada's Paper Bag records released See You on the Moon, although that feels more like children's songs covered by indie bands for an adult audience. Oh, and Stuart Staples and Dave Boulter of Tindersticks have curated Songs for the Young at Heart, which apparently started from the deeply depressing idea of Bonnie Prince Billy covering Puff the Magic Dragon and went from there. It's a popular choice for gloom - Broken Social Scene did it on See You on the Moon.

Also, They Might Be Giants seem to be aiming at the toddlers market with "No!" and "Here come the ABCs", and for slightly older children with "Here Comes the Science". Your opinions may vary on They Might Be Giants, but they're out there.
posted by DNye at 5:02 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, "Here Come the 1,2,3s", not "Here Come the ABCS". The irony is not lost on me.
posted by DNye at 5:15 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


caspar babypants, I just want you to know that I think of you every morning when I give the cats their breakfast.

"Cat food comes / in a can / it was put there / by a man..."
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:39 AM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh my god - I had no idea there was good children's music.

Seconding the TMBG kids songs. My kids (ranging over 10 years) love them. But I also love the Caspar Babypants I've seen, so I don't want to derail.
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on February 17, 2011


Writing children's music is tricky business, grabbing the attention of the parents is only one aspect of it. The music has to be fresh yet familiar and needs to be about something worth singing about. No one, aging hipster or not, wants to hear the Replacements sing "This Old Man." As a new parent and a songwriter, it's amazing to see the world through my son's eyes -- bubbles are so amazing! What the hell is that moon thing all about? I am going to spend the entire day chasing the cat around! I really find it much easier to listen to music that connects with kids on this level, because it also connects with a part of ourselves.

I'm a huge fan of this stuff.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:49 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


HEY! It is ME! CASPAR BABYPANTS!

Hey! I remember seeing you play with POTUSA and The Tycoons back in the day. So glad to hear that you're still making awesome fun music. Welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by jessamyn at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2011


I looked at those videos and they gave me a huge heart on.
posted by Goofyy at 7:13 AM on February 17, 2011


I love the TMBG kids albums, and they even come with great DVDs of the music videos.

My nephew and I can also agree on the indie comp For The Kids, Too.
posted by Theta States at 7:27 AM on February 17, 2011


Sorry, "Here Come the 1,2,3s", not "Here Come the ABCS". The irony is not lost on me.

There is in fact a "Here Come the ABCs" album, and it's great.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:56 AM on February 17, 2011


I accidentally iTunesed the whole shebang because most kid's music stinks and I refuse to let him listen to anything I wouldn't listen to.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2011


I get most of my inspiration from listening to OLD music and starting from there...I feel that if I use music that is timeless as my starting point then stamp it with my personality then there is a foundation of recognition in the music and it feels free of trends or time and place....make sense?
posted by caspar babypants at 8:49 AM on February 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is in fact a "Here Come the ABCs" album, and it's great.

Ah. The irony is lost on me, then. Ironically.
posted by DNye at 8:57 AM on February 17, 2011


I am always happy to hear good music for kids. It's been a long time since we discovered SteveSongs' "Marvelous Day" album, and a change in the rotation for our minivan CD player will be good!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:59 AM on February 17, 2011


WITHOUT killing the parents brains...

AMEN brother.
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on February 17, 2011


This is great stuff! Good on Señor Babypants!

The They Might Be Giants stuff is also excellent. I am grateful to anyone who works to dilute the veritable ocean of "jerk with a Casio keyboard" style children's music that parents are basically swimming in.

Now, if only we could get Al Jourgensen or Maynard Keenan to put out some of that stuff...
posted by fartknocker at 9:34 AM on February 17, 2011


Invent a new kind of paparazzi - a paparazzi that follows someone other than drug-dependent movie stars (because we all want the beautiful ones to have troubles, don't we, so we can feel better about our own miserable little lives!). Create a paparazzi that follows these financial and corporate thieves to the ends of the earth, and reports on their constant abuse of the common resources and good required for people to live peacefully. Show in no uncertain terms their connections - personal and financial - to power, and policy.

This exists and is called Zero Hedge.com. It's comprised of a bunch of ex-Wall Streeters trying to peel back the curtain.
posted by tgrundke at 9:39 AM on February 17, 2011


It's so refreshing to find some actually engaging children's music.

I still have quite a collection of children's music from when I was actually a child. The first album I ever owned under my own name (at the ripe age of unable to even walk) was Peter Paul & Mary's Peter Paul, & Mommy album. It's a brilliant example of singing TO kids without singing DOWN to them. I still listen to that regularly. Another (I believe) brilliant example of children's music is Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat Songbook album. Full of brilliant nonsense that, once again, isn't condescending at all. Still completely engaging even now. I have a couple of other really great childrens albums done by Tom Glazer, and the original Kellogg's premium 45rpm "soundtrack album" for H.R. Pufnstuf. And I still listen to all of it as part of my regular rotation.

I've tried to listen to other children's music across the years, but so much of it feels so banal to me. Barney? he's the antichrist of children's music. Raffi? He's amusing, but not a lot of depth there. The Wiggles? Oh, I've tried. But... ugh.

Now, THIS material here, by Mr. Babypants? I totally want this in my collection.

So very excellent. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 9:54 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Thanks.
posted by safetyfork at 10:13 AM on February 17, 2011


I just want to say something wonderful about Shana Banana, my favorite kid singer. (And who used to do the Borders folk-singing circuit.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:27 AM on February 17, 2011


Disclaimer: This is not a diss. I listened to some of the CB music, and it seems nice. Like quiet 60s pop with kids lyrics.

But this thread made me wonder if there are any other mefi parents who don't really play kids music at all. My kids (6 and 3) seem bored by it, when we try. They really like Soul Coughing and Modest Mouse, and anything with a thumping bassline or a beat. They love Kanye, but I do exercise some parental discretion there.

But put on anything made expressly for kids, and they wander off. It just doesn't grab them. So, I play what they like, and we have fun dance parties. They tell me to put on some "big music" and they boogie.

I mean yes, obviously it's also what I like. But I also play them things I like that they don't, so it's not just that I believe my taste is their taste. They can't stand No Age, for example. Anything that's too complex or noodling, not so much. Their tolerance for Radiohead is extremely limited. And they like some things I can't stand, like Miley Cyrus's "Hoedown." When they deserve a special treat, I suffer through it for their sake.

But I've always wondered if I'm somehow doing them a disservice. Like, is listening to kids music somehow important? And then most of me says "music you like is music you like, whoever it was supposed to be aimed at." But still, the nagging.

So, anyone else?
posted by rusty at 10:45 AM on February 17, 2011


I can't imagine that you're ruining your children's development by avoiding kiddie tunes: so much of that seems to be of the "sugar is bad for you" variety. I'm a big fan of kid-oriented rock that appeals to the "kinder lifetstyle": the fam (especially my eldest at two) are huge fans of Justin Roberts who writes goddamned children's anthems: "With the donkey and pin the tail/I’ve been known to fail/But not today/I can feel it in my bones". Buncha tales about being a kid, essentially. Gets some good karma points by providing chord-annotated lyric books for the play-along set. Also a big fan of Owen Duggan who seems to be all over the place musically. Even now I've got "Codfish Ball" stuck in my head.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:14 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I missed this thread the first time around, but I just want to say that "Freaked out and Small" is one of the best albums ever. It's definitely one of my favorites.

And on preview, holy crap! Hi, Chris!
posted by Eideteker at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2011


Australian songstress, Holly Throsby released a kids album "See" late last year. My nephew highly recommends it.
posted by robotot at 11:47 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear Mr Babypants,

I'm somewhat concerned about the quality of your management advice in one particular matter. Please don't take this the wrong way, as it's only intended to do be helpful. However, if you do adopt any of these strategies, I will be expecting the customary 15% of all of your future earnings.

Sadly , my own kids are grown up now, but they've just confirmed that even as infants, that they would have felt profoundly unhip listening to music by someone who calls himself Caspar Babypants. Infant identity is formed out of their consuming choices, and they wouldn't have been caught dead embracing such a brand.

For today's infants, hipness is derived from their association with one of a range of infant subcultures. The musical genre that they listen to is an important badge of membership in that subculture.

With that fact in mind, I suggest you give some thought to selecting a new name from the following list: Caspar Shittyknickers (for the infant punk contingent), Caspar Codpiece (for the infant metal fans), Gangsta Babypants (for the baby hip hop crowd), C-par DancePants (for the ecstasy-consuming club baby) or C. Goldenshowers (aiming at the under-4 R&B audience.)

I appreciate that your current musical output may not fit in with this genre. Please don't let this get in the way. Your first six singles will be cover versions of already successful hit records from that genre, and we can always hire some flack to produce the filler that will bulk up the rest of the tracks on your album, until we come up with the next triple-platinum cover version.

Yours, etc.

Oh, PS: I've attached some photographs that are intended to give you some ideas as to what our stylist suggests should be your new image. Yes, it is probably likely to cause a minor kerfuffle in the media, but please don't let this put you off. All publicity is good publicity, and there's a mountain of research that shows that the under-fours are highly sexualized beings long before they've ever been molested by predatory adults.

We'll combine the new image with some PR guff about how important safe sex is among children from this age group -- yes, it is a bit young, but we all know they're bang at it, so they should do it while wearing a condom. Safe, not sorry! That should be our slogan. Maybe our first album title?

Also, I know it's a bit risky, especially in the flyover states, but if you do go for one of the edgier personas, we might also want to put out the message saying how important it is to support a three year old's right to choose, and that doesn't necessarily mean that they're pro-abortion. After all, who remembers the experience of being a fetus more acutely than they do?

Anyway, I await my 15% with keen enthusiasm. And if you need any further suggestions for getting your career back on track, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Yrs,
PM
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:50 AM on February 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Hm. This stuff is cute. I'm supposed to babysit the grandkids this Sunday, so I'll try it out on them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:00 PM on February 17, 2011


HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! I will seriously consider that management "ADVICE"! Boy you nailed it - UN-HIP is EXACTLY what I want to be...FREE FROM THE SHACKLES OF COOL!!!! ah...nature.
posted by caspar babypants at 3:50 PM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know the Presidents' version substantially differs from the traditional, right?

Yeah, we know, but it's not exactly like he "wrote" the Boll song...

Depending upon how we interpret the word "like", like...

(and The Presidents did some cool things with alternate guit/bas stringing...like their associates Morphine).
posted by ovvl at 6:45 PM on February 17, 2011


Oh, Caspar Babypants, where were you 10 years ago when my then 2 year old insisted on having the Wiggles on constant rotation in our house?!?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:25 PM on February 17, 2011


I was so looking forward to the Subset album, any chance that will be released at some point?
posted by Huck500 at 7:56 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, Caspar Babypants, where were you 10 years ago when my then 2 year old insisted on having the Wiggles on constant rotation in our house?!?

At our house, they are known as The Insipid Wiggles. Because they are horrible horrible people. Probably pedophiles.

No I'm sure they're fine people, but the music is quite insulting and annoying to Baby Bartfast's parents, to the point that we're willing to teach our son that these people want to hurt him in order to train him to stay away from that channel between 7 and 9.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only used the title "boll weevil"...my version is a funky song about a friend that wont leave his house...no musical similarities between mine and the old folk tune...which I love!
posted by caspar babypants at 9:17 PM on February 17, 2011


Holy shit $9.99 is the greatest song about old teddy bears that was ever made about old teddy bears.

One listen to that song makes me want to buy the next used teddy bear I stumble upon. It is done.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:22 PM on February 17, 2011


These songs are ace and I now look forward to listening to them every day.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 3:04 AM on February 18, 2011


At our house, they are known as The Insipid Wiggles.

That's the final straw. I'm closing my account.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:18 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


But this thread made me wonder if there are any other mefi parents who don't really play kids music at all.

We got the TMBG alphabet videos for our two-year-old, and he enjoys watching them, and we have a couple of other children's albums that were given to us as gifts which he mostly ignores.

Left to his own devices he always (and I do mean always) asks for Radiohead, Fatboy Slim, Philip Glass (particularly Einstein on the Beach, which he calls the 'counting song',) or lately he's been getting really into bhangra (possibly because a lot of the tracks happen to start with the letter A and therefore show up first when he's playing with my iPad picking out music). Some of these I'm sure he picked up because we were listening to them anyway; others he found for himself.

I'll try these babypants songs on him after work to see what happens -- mostly because they sound like I might like them too. But generally I'm with you, rusty: good music is good music; it doesn't have to be specifically aimed at children for children to like it.

(Ask me again when he's old enough to really start listening to the lyrics, I guess. Though a bonus with world music is that you never have to explain the words. Plus it's kind of awesome to have a toddler come up to you and ask "Bhabiye Ni Bhabiye, daddy! Play Bhabiye!")
posted by ook at 6:13 AM on February 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the first kid's music I have actually bought for my son, one Putamayo Celtic music disk aside. Other than that the little stinker listens to what we listen to, and seems to get a kick out of most of it. But I do want to have music that is his, so that when he is old enough to express an opinion he has something to choose that will not make me stab the speakers out of the radio while screaming DIE DIE DIE because that might leave a negative impression on his little squishy mind and therapy is expensive.

So $30 for some Babypants seems like a fair alternative.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:50 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Australian songstress, Holly Throsby released a kids album "See" late last year.

Ooooh! I like me some Holly Throsby for a quiet lo-fi folky kind of mood.

Here's a video of one of the songs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 AM on February 18, 2011


Let me tell you about a PUSA show once. It was October 4, 2005. I know the exact date because I logged every concert back then and it was #130 of 176 shows I went to that year. As a blogger in NY, I was seeing the hottest new bands almost every night, and heck some of them were even good. So here's this PUSA show happening at Irving Plaza. I caught them once at the Seattle Capitol Hill Block Party and it brought me back to the 1990s. Earlier that very week I had just seen The Hold Steady and LCD Soundsystem -not to mention CMJ had passed two weeks prior- and I wasn't really feeling much up for going out any more. It was a Tuesday, my girlfriend was ambivalent about it herself, but I convinced myself we'd go.

So we're there at Irving Plaza between bands mostly chilling out, tired, and this kid about 19 or 20 is there alone and oh-so-excited. He starts talking to us eagerly about how he drove up from Philly just for this show and asks had I ever seen them before. I feel bad for him. The show is maybe 2/3 full and I myself barely made it from across the East River. My expectations are low in comparison to what I've seen recently, and his hopeful doe eyes anticipate something grand.

Whatever. If the show's no good, we'll leave early.

Then PUSA comes out and rock the fucking living shit out of that stage. I have rarely been so stunned at a show. The crowd, as thin as it may have appeared, goes BANANAS. If all shows were only 2/3rds full of such raving fans I'd never stay home again. As I wrote on my site the next day, "I swear there must have been a trampoline up front. Those kids were rocketing into the air. 10 feet, maybe 20. They were UP there... It was intense; it was 1985, it was 1995, it was 2005, and maybe even 2015… I’m not sure, but it definitely enters the pantheon of great performances. "

Thus here I am, more than halfway to 2015, and as you can see it's still up there in the pantheon of my memory. PUSA have always had a special place in my heart since.
posted by yeti at 12:33 PM on February 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


IIRC either PUSA or another Chris Ballew band used to play parties for Saltmine Creative, the Seattle based company that's responsible for me and my wife meeting (This is when web development was young and hip, of course - since then Saltmine Creative merged with a more staid company to become just Saltmine and then just a smoking hole in the ground).
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on February 18, 2011


No I'm sure they're fine people, but the music is quite insulting and annoying to Baby Bartfast's parents, to the point that we're willing to teach our son that these people want to hurt him in order to train him to stay away from that channel between 7 and 9.

So, hatin' on the Wiggles, huh? I can't let that pass without a word or two, because the Wiggles are awesome. To wit:

The concepts of early childhood development and how young children learn influenced The Wiggles' songwriting and simple choreography in their stage shows, videos, and television programs. They believed that young children were egocentric, so The Wiggles stared continually into the camera in their videos and TV shows. They explained every action because they believed that young children needed to be told what to expect in order to feel safe. Their stage shows were full of action and audience participation. The group understood that challenging young children to engage in difficult tasks is more effective than simply telling them to do it. From the group's inception, they decided to "operate from the premise that a young child has a short attention span, is curious about a limited number of objects and activities, loves having a job to do and is thrilled by mastering basic movements".

The Wiggles have attempted to empower children from the group's inception. For example, before each performance, they greet their audience with "Hello everyone", instead of "Hello, boys and girls" because as Paul Field has explained, they feel the second greeting "unnecessarily separates children and has undertones of condescension". Scholar Kathleen Warren, the group's former professor at Macquarie University, believed that the group empowered children by asking their audience to "Wake up Jeff" when Fatt pretended to fall asleep. Warren stated that asking children to interrupt Fatt's slumber helped them build confidence and to feel more in control of their lives.
(source)

They're also another band to make the leap from grown-up music to kids music. And then there's this, which is just flat-out awesome.

Okay, Wiggles derail over ... Caspar, welcome! Love your stuff.
posted by jbickers at 1:22 PM on February 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holly Throsby derail: here she is with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:29 PM on February 18, 2011


Caspar, I just want to let you know that as of today, I can make my 4-year-old daughter do almost anything I want just by promising to show her the "Googley Eyes" video afterwards. That and the terrifying inverted-chin "Ramshackle" video are currently her Two Hot Favorite Things.
posted by KathrynT at 10:53 PM on February 18, 2011


I've shared these songs with 4 adults so far. 1 of them didn't respond, the other three loved it. None of them have kids of their own. I think that's a pretty good response ratio.
posted by hippybear at 7:34 PM on February 19, 2011


The nineteen month old grandbunny loved Googly Eyes.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 PM on February 20, 2011


Left to his own devices he always (and I do mean always) asks for [...] Philip Glass (particularly Einstein on the Beach, which he calls the 'counting song',)

Oh me oh my, that made my morning!
posted by Theta States at 6:05 AM on February 22, 2011


I am ALL FOR playing any music to your child! I set out to make simple fun songs for everyone and it just feels right to sell it as kids music cause that is who I like to play for!
posted by caspar babypants at 9:49 AM on February 27, 2011


I dip into many pots for my inspiration (folk, classical, hillbilly, rock and roll, pop and country) so that there is a wide range of feels in the music. That way kids get exposed to a bunch of cool ideas and parents dont feel worn out by the super sweet sounds of too much sonic candy...BUT by all means play ALL music for your kids!
posted by caspar babypants at 10:10 AM on February 27, 2011


Late to the thread (and would've missed it but for the podcast) but my god, my 2-year-old son loves Googly Eyes. ("Eyes! Eyes! Eyes!")

And turns out I'm singing most of the songs to myself at work during the day, too.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2011


« Older Given the weather that night, a jacket was...   |   "Ten years too late, or five years ahead of their... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments