StevenSteven: Finally and Foreverywhere

StevenSteven Foreverywhere album cover

StevenSteven Foreverywhere album cover

It started nearly a decade ago, when former Blue's Clues star Steve Burns and current Flaming Lips instrumentalist Steven Drozd stormed Jack's Big Music Show with "I Hog (the Ground)," which forever and for all time will be the best song for Groundhog Day.

Then, a couple years or so later, news surfaced that Burns and Drozd hadn't stopped singing about groundhogs but had, in fact, recorded an entire album together. They named their band Steve 'n' Steven.  (Yes, that post links to a Myspace page, which is an indication of just how far back this goes.)

And then: silence.

You can read this 2014 post about the first time the album was streamed, and you can hear the frustration in my text -- about time! -- and palpable excitement.  (Especially since that was in the wake of a video that has become over time one of my all-time favorites -- "A Fact Is a Gift That You Give Your Brain.")

And then (again): silence (again).

Steve Burns and Steven Drozd

Steve Burns and Steven Drozd

Until the end of this September, when a brand new StevenSteven website and Twitter account popped up, with a psychedelic new video for "The Unicorn and Princess Rainbow" playing on the site.

Well, even Chinese Democracy finally got a release date, and the long-awaited StevenSteven (spelling updated slightly) album -- now titled Foreverywhere -- has an official release date: February 2017.

The band cites "Black Sabbath, Cephalopods, Grover, [and] Toy Commercials from the 1970s" among many other people and entities as influences and inspirations.  It'll definitely be one of those kids music albums that lots of folks both inside and outside the kids music world will be talking about next year.

As for me, I might be willing to be like the Unicorn in the 3 song "mini-EP" of sorts scattered as an arc throughout the entire album, waiting until the edge for forever to have the album released into the world.  (I have been like that, in kindie terms, at least.)  But I'm glad I've only got another 3 months or so.

Still from "The Unicorn and Princess Rainbow" video

Still from "The Unicorn and Princess Rainbow" video

Listen To This: "Camp Song" - KB Whirly

Camp Songs Vol. 1 cover

Camp Songs Vol. 1 cover

It's been a couple years since we heard the Whirlygigs album Greetings from Cloud 9.  This new track, from chief Gig KB Whirly's forthcoming album Camp Songs Vol. 1, is, well, just fun.  And while it's about camp and not camping, I think it's an excellent track to kick off your Memorial Day weekend, regardless of whether you're heading into the woods with a camping tent and a Coleman stove or into the backyard with some watermelon.

KB Whirly - "Camp Song" [YouTube]

Upcoming: All Kinds of You and Me - Alastair Moock

All Kinds of You and Me cover

All Kinds of You and Me cover

I don't do "album announcements" much these days, but I decided to make an exception for Alastair Moock's upcoming album All Kinds of You and Me for a few reasons:

1) Just 'cause.  No need for strict adherence to somewhat arbitrary rules.

2) That album cover, featuring a drawing from fellow kindie musician and illustrator Key Wilde which captures Moock's attitude and music quite well, I think.

3) This sounds like a really cool project.

Now, Moock's last project was pretty darn cool.  Moock recorded Singing Our Way Through as a response to his daughter Clio's experience fighting leukemia, looking for a musical way to help families in similar situations respond to life with cancer.  It was an excellent album which garnered a number of accolades, including a Grammy nomination, not to mention being distributed to nearly 3,000 patient families.  How do you follow that?

Well, Moock chose to follow that by recording All Kinds of You and Me as a follow-up of sorts to the Marlo Thomas classic Free To Be... You and Me, engaging with themes of gender, ethnicity, identity, and family in the 21st century.  Given how well loved Free To Be... is by many of Moock's (and, well, my) generation, he's set himself a high bar to reach, but I'm hopeful he's up to the task.  (Also helpful: getting folks like Rani Arbo, Anand Nayak, Jennifer Kimball of The Story, Mark Erelli, and more to join in.)

All Kinds of You and Me will be released June 19.  Definitely one to look forward to.

Steve 'n' SteveN: Reclusive, But A Little Awesome

How long have I been following the saga of Steve 'n' SteveN, the pairing of Steve Burns (from Blue's Clues) and Steven Drozd (from the Flaming Lips)?  Since their only website was a Myspace page.  Before then, even -- there was the awesomeness that was "I Hog The Ground".

So when I stumbled upon the brand-new Steve 'n' SteveN website WHICH FEATURED ALL THESE SONGS, PEOPLE!, I knew I wanted to shout (internet-wise).  I mean, how can anybody deny the made-of-awesome-and-win nature of this 3 1/2-year-old video?  They can, I guess -- there's no accounting for taste -- but I think it's beautiful.

But look at the timestamps of those items-- 2007, 2010.  Let's state it plainly, this album is the Chinese Democracy of kindie (the obvious reference), which is why the establishment of the new website was such big news.  Finally, we can listen to the whole album in all its psychedelic trappings.  And by "we," I mean you -- just click here, it'll open up a new window, press play, then come back.

It's OK, I'll wait.

Now, then, I'm sure you'll agree that there are some awesome sure-fire pop hits and some... less sure-fire pop hits.  (I'm looking at you, the 6:37 "The Itsy Bitsy Spider Suite.")  And if you scroll through this page, you'll see more of the weirdness this project entails.

The frustrating thing is that this album has been completed since 2008.  In this interview with Rocksucker, Drozd says that once the album was complete...

"Steve thought that since I’m in The Flaming Lips and Scott Booker’s my manager and I have Grammies, I think he thought, “This will happen, Steven knows what he’s doing.” And at the same time I thought, “Steve Burns, he’s kind of a big star and knows a lot of people in all the industries. Surely he can get something going.” So I think both of us were waiting for the other to do something!"

So, yeah, six years later and this album is only now available for streaming?  Grrrrr....  It's not like Burns has been totally silent -- he appeared at Kindiefest 2012 and they've filmed some live-action stuff for more videos -- but whatever efforts they've put forth thus far have been for naught in terms of spreading these tunes more aggressively through the world.  On the other hand, I've not yet heard back from my attempt to contact them, so I suspect we may have a little while longer to wait... And, really, at this point, after six years, what's a little more time?