Video: "It Takes All Kinds" - Alastair Moock

All Kinds of You and Me album cover

All Kinds of You and Me album cover

If you set out to make a modern update of Free To Be You and Me, as Alastair Moock has done, you've got a pretty high bar to clear.

But based on the first song from All Kinds of You and Me, Moock may have stuck the landing.  The first video from the album is for "It Takes All Kinds" (which inspired the album title), and it's a feel-good sing-along -- no hand-clapping, but definitely encouraging of hand-clapping, and with nice vocal assists from Rani Arbo and Anand Nayak.

And then there's the video itself, animated by fellow kindie musician Key Wilde, which does a nice job of melding Wilde's familiar animals-doing-crazy-things (a cat on skis!) with the theme of the song, accepting all kinds of people (and animals), such as a boy who prefers dresses and a girl who loves to climb trees.  It's just good, good stuff.

All Kinds of You and Me is out June 19.

Alastair Moock - "It Takes All Kinds" [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.

Review: Animal Tales - Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

KeyWildeMrClarkeAnimalTales.jpg

I think Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke are pretty awesome.  From the very first time Wilde e-mailed me a link to some music that would eventually become their 2010 debut Rise and Shine, I've shouted their praises.

Of course, the New York-area duo have been slow, almost agonizingly so, in releasing music into the world.  That 2010 album appeared three years after Wilde first posted his music, and since then they've just released one other full-length, the outstanding Pleased To Meet You, and a Christmas-themed EP.

High expectations plus long waiting period equals for me a recipe for potential disappointment with Animal Tales, the fall 2014 album from the duo.  So if I say this is my least favorite KWMC album, you shouldn't interpret that as "it's a bad album."  On the contrary - Animal Tales is very good.  As you might expect from the album title and cover art, it's a themed album, a baker's dozen of songs about animals with varying amounts of lyrical similitude.  "Bear Song" is a straightforward recitation of the different kinds of bears, while "Armando Armadillo" is a little more fanciful, a song that echoes traditional Mexican music and which gives the title character a wife, a dozen kids (all named), and a job (gardener at a nursery).  The record's most abstract and least "factual" songs, which close out the album -- the instrumental "Hippo Dance" and the parable "Animal Island" -- are my favorites. 

When I try to pinpoint why I didn't react quite as strongly to this album as I have their other work, the best explanation I can come up with is that it's definitely less raucous than their previous albums, with no rave-up song like "Favorite Names," "The Rattling Can," or "Bigga Bagga" in the mix.  It's unfair, I know, to complain that this album is more Johnny Cash than Johnny Rotten just because our family (not just me) has found the punk side of KWMC the side that's stuck in our brains most often.

The album is most appropriate for kids ages 5 through 9.  You can listen to the 39-minute album here.  And while the album packaging isn't as elaborate on their debut, that cover art from Wilde himself is again another argument for physical copies of music (or, perhaps, a vinyl-sized mp3 player/smartphone for listeners to explore the illustration).

Would I recommend Animal Tales as the entry point to Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke to a family unfamiliar with them?  No, but that's only because the other two albums have wiggled their way into our families' consciousness so much and because this album gives the punk side of the duo short shrift.  But would I recommend Animal Tales?  Heck yeah.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I received a copy of this album for possible review.

Video: "Armando Armadillo" - Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

KeyWildeMrClarkeAnimalTales.jpg

A new album from the punk-Americana duo Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke is always cause for celebration.  So, let's celebrate the recent release of Animal Tales, the duo's latest album, filled with songs celebrating, well, animals.

And by "celebrate," what I mean is "watch the first video for the album."  It's for "Armando Armadillo," the ballad with an appropriately Mexican sound for the tale of the Texan/southwestern animal.  The video, of course, features illustrations from the Wilde, whose drawings are all over their music (and many other things).  And after you watch the video -- kids, ask your parents to tell you about the game "Frogger."

Plus, for a limited time download the track for free here!

Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke - "Armando Armadillo" [YouTube]

Video: "Bigga Bagga" - Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

Transient

I do so love "Bigga Bagga" from the latest Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke album, Pleased To Meet You.  I haven't the foggiest idea what the song is about, though.

Here to clear up the matter (or not) is the latest video from the band, illustrated by Wilde himself, of course.  A video that encourages close pictoral analysis.

Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke - "Bigga Bagga" [YouTube

Weekly Summary (6/3/13 - 6/9/13)