We’ve been spinning MAKE BELIEVERS, the new album from SECRET AGENT 23 SKIDOO, here at Rock Father HQ for about a week or so. It’s good, but since I’m holding my formal review until it’s May 22 release date is a little closer, how about getting a little more acquainted with the band right now?
Here’s some background via the Official Album Announcement:
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo fuses empowering messages with traditional hip hop beats and a dizzying range of musical styles from punky-garage rock to funky-vintage R&B and even muy caliente salsa rhythms.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo launches his new indie record label, Underground Playground Records, with the release of Make Believers. The label’s name captures the mission and vibe of his brand of family music. “Childhood is such an absolutely unique experience, so potent and beautiful, and when you become a parent you enter a special subculture. Families deserve songs about their experience, and we want to celebrate those stages of life through these songs,” explains Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo turns the typical kiddie story-song on its head by employing a level of musical and lyrical complexity rarely seen in the family genre. Make Believers opens with an energetic adaptation of the classic Jack in the Beanstalk fairytale, “Magic Beans,” in which young Jack ignores the negativity around him to forge ahead with his dreams. Other original songs offer endless encouragement for kids to use their innate intelligence (“Brainstorm”), bravery (“Hi-5 for the High Dive” and “Hot Sauce”), and imagination (“Make the Future”).
When 23 Skidoo wowed audiences and critics alike in 2007 with his first family music release, Easy, his daughter Saki (aka MC Fireworks) was just five years old. Now, much like the Harry Potter series and other classic children’s literature, 23 Skidoo’s songs are becoming more sophisticated with each release. In a sense, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s music is growing up along with his family. Where Easy heralded the anthemic 23 Skidoo song “Gotta Be Me,” Make Believers introduces listeners to the dance heavy track “Gotta Be You” while deconstructing the “popularity pyramid” of a pre-teen’s world.
An exciting roster of nearly 40 guest artists contributes to Make Believers including MC Fireworks and 23 Skidoo’s wife Brooke (aka Bootysattva). Molly Ledford, from kindie rock band Lunch Money lends ethereal vocals on “Snow Forts and Sandcastles,” and Kellin Watson’s smoky singing on the doo-wop infused “Nightmares Disappear” contends with the latest Grammy award winning retro-pop artists. On the bonus track “Boomerang,” indie-folk cellist Ben Sollee makes an emotive appearance with layers of strings and blue-eyed soul crooning.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s albums have garnered acclaim in Time, People, USA Today, and from Stefan Shepherd on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His original track “Cooperate” is featured on the 2012 Grammy award-winning children’s album All About Bullies… Big and Small. 23 Skidoo has rocked sets at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits,The Winnipeg Folk Festival, Irving Plaza, Legoland and The Smithsonian Institution.