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Seez Mics “Cruel Fuel”: Review

Learning that Seez Mics has a background in spoken word poetry made perfect sense to me after listening to his latest release, “Cruel Fuel.”

Seez Mics, known for being one-half of his former group Educated Consumers and for his time as an American Battle MC, has been in the game for a long time, and I’m intrigued that this particular album was our first introduction, as I discovered it’s quite a different direction from some of his past work.

The album was released last month on the label Crushkill Recordings, which was started by Eyedea shortly before his passing. Seez Mics speaks sincerely and humbly of their longtime friendship on the record, as well as touches on other friends he’s lost, perhaps even touching upon these subjects of death (and life after grieving) in this personal capacity for the first time in his work.

“Cruel Fuel” is appropriately titled as such, with many of his lyrics and patterns being spit like fast and furious mantras. That being said, this album isn’t for everyone – it’s definitely different. And that’s what it makes it awesome.

It’s the type of album I want to listen to when I’m pissed off, working out or walking somewhere maybe a little too far in the cold ass upstate NY weather, but then certain tracks are pensive and poetic and therefore the album rounds itself out well. It’s a very clear point of view with honest innovation, and its clear he took some serious risks with this project. It’s progressive and polished, while still featuring a nice variety of moods, tempos and dark truths. Each time I’ve listened, I’ve discovered a new favorite line I didn’t catch the first time.

Several of the tracks read like whimsical and modern folklore, while others are as real as real can be. The album is reflective and touches on topics of religion, cynicism, optimism, music, questioning society and relationships, as well as an internal battle of figuring out what one believes in and stands for, especially how to bounce back when shit happens.

Stand-out tracks for me included “Serotonin Sweepstakes,” “That’s Not How It Works,” “Human Farm” (this track was a surprise, and pushes the album into other genres besides hip hop), “What Your Head Will Hold,” and “Torn.” The instrumental “Angel In The Engine” is also quite pleasant and breaks up the gritty experimental hip hop feel of the album. Overall, I was quite impressed by the artistry of this album, although I admittedly didn’t love, love it at first. The tracks just seem to build and build and have since found a secure slot on my regular listening rotation.

Seez Mics said it best himself, describing his music as “a mirror looking back at you.” I love that. Get to know Seez Mics through “Cruel Fuel” available on Bandcamp and iTunes.

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Quality events for this weekend

Friday November 14

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company at Sage: Modern dance performance.

Homeless and Hunger Outreach Show at Pauly’s and The Low Beat: Benefit show for a great cause with great music.

The Weight (playing the music of The Band) at the Massry Center: With local favorite Sean Rowe.

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon at EMPAC: The exploration of how sound changes as one moves through space.

Mivos Quartet at EMPAC: String quartet performing new works.

Saturday November 15

Albany VegFest at the PCC: Learn about all things veg.

Sol LeWitt: A Film by Chris Teerink: A look into Sol LeWitt.

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company at Sage: Modern dance performance.

St. Lucia at the Hollow: Indie pop.

Hack RPI: Hackathon at RPI.

Yarn/Wire at EMPAC: Music ensemble with pianists and percussionists.

Make Me Laugh Finals at The Linda: Final round of the MML series.

Comedy’s Best Kept Secret Tour at Proctors: Dan Frigolette, Matt Richards, Simeon Godson, and Pete Bladel and the winner of MML Albany.

Nine Pin Pressing Party: Pressing 80 types of Apples for a cider blend. Cider, food, music and more.

Upstate’s Alright at The Low Beat: Punk flea market with vegan food specials from Joey B.

Albany Center Gallery 2014 Winter Gallery at Hilton Albany: Celebrate the arts.

All weekend

Art Omi: The sculpture fields are awesome.

Day trip to MASS MoCA: Pretty drive and a great museum.

The NYS Museum: Bunch of great exhibits and it’s right in your backyard.

Pulp Fiction and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at the Madison Theater: Only five bucks!

Farmer’s Markets: Troy, Delmar, and Saratoga on Saturday, and Schenectady and Saratoga on Sunday.

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Holiday Market at Superior Merchandise Co.

On Black Friday, Superior Merchandise Co. will be hosting a holiday market at 147 Fourth St that will hopefully allow you to avoid the malls and stripmalls while shopping a great selection of high quality goods.

The market includes good from Superior Merchandise Co., Flower Scout, Owlkill Studio, Fort Orange General Store, Sarah K. Benning, The Rise and Shine Company, The Foxes Keep, Pepco Studio, Junie B Love and Don’t Worry About it Records. There will also be a photobooth from Takk House and treats from Momofuku Milk Bar.

Read more on the facebook event and be sure to head over to SMCo. on Black Friday.

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Young Thug at the Armory

Young Thug will be at the Washington Ave Armory on Friday, December 5. Tickets are $32 and are current available.

Hardcore Against Hunger at Bogie’s

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On November 21 Bogie’s is hosting their annual Hardcore Against Hunger Thanksgiving food drive show. On the bill for the night is Turnstile, Homewrecker, Pharoah, Trife Life, From Within, and Doublecross.

Read more on the facebook event page and be sure to bring a canned item with you to the show.

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Homeless and Hunger Outreach Show

This Friday the Low Beat and Pauly’s Hotel are hosting a Homeless and Hunger Outreach Show. The show will benefit the Capital Region Coalition to End Homelessness and The Food Pantries. On the show is Beaked Whale, Iguana Mañana, Rustle Crow, The Blitz, The Grassroots Rebels, The Mysteios and Kimono Dragons.

Read more on the Facebook event and head over Friday with a can of food to donate!

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8th Annual Albany Cranksgiving

The 8th Annual Albany Cranksgiving will take place on November 22 at 7pm. Cranksgiving is part bike race and part food drive that directly benefits the Homeless Action Network of Albany.

You’ll need a bike, bag, twenty bucks and lock to participate. Racers are given lists of groceries to purchase at different grocery stores around Albany. You get the list, figure out the fastest route and start riding and shopping when they say go. Once you’re done, the food all gets donated.

You can read more about the Albany Cranksgiving on facebook, or Cranksgiving in general at cranksgiving.org.