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.

Review: Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

Mazzy-Star

“Everything Comes in Cycles.” That seems to be the unspoken motto of the music world over the last couple of years. This is not only due to the psychedelic nostalgia of artists such as Ty Segall, but also the return of some of the most prominent acts from the 90’s. Over the past two years alone, we have seen Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and Superchunk make a return. Even My Bloody Valentine dropped a gem on us like they never left at the beginning of this year. These are examples of seasoned indie veterans making a proper return; most of the time, however, this is not a situation welcomed by fans (Oasis making a comeback?). No need to fear though, for Mazzy Star can be added to the list of bands that have made a proper reestablishment into the world of music. Seasons of Your Day marks the duo’s first album in 17 years. While not as triumphant as mbv, it is still an enjoyable listen and picks up properly where the band left off on Among My Swan.

The first thing to notice is that Mazzy Star did not aim to evolve their sound in any groundbreaking manner. The guitar is still smokey and twangy and Hope Sandoval’s vocals are still seductive in their own special way. While some fans may be upset about this, it can be seen as a plus in the grand scheme of things; for how many musicians can get together after almost two decades and still sound tight? The opener “In the Kingdom” is a testament to Mazzy Star’s ability to craft wonderful melodies and incorporate a variety of instruments. “California”, which follows, has the most beautiful minor chord progression on the album. Sandoval’s vocals accompany the acoustic guitar throughout most of the song, with some bongos trickling into the mix right before the song closes.

While the production on this album is immaculate, the album can be slow burning. It seems as if Mazzy Star took the safe route too much at some parts and ended up suffering. Melodies, while beautiful, started to sound familiar and blended together into a psych-folk goop. In order to fully appreciate the album, you may have to listen twice to grasp all of the little subtleties hidden in the background. This is no problem to avid listeners of music or Mazzy Star fans, but it may give others the wrong impression of being long-winded. Regardless, Seasons of Your Day is a pleasant listen for fans and people who want an entry point into Mazzy Star before delving into classics such as She Hangs Brightly. It shows that a band can make a proper return, without the antics, gimmicks or drastic change. If you want a nice, homely campfire album for the fall, give this LP a listen, would ya?

Favorite Tracks: “California”, “In the Kingdom”, “Flying Low”
Least Favorite Tracks: “Lay Myself Down”, “Sparrow”

Review: Daylight Vampires – Vampire Weekend

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As I get older, I realize that I am uncomfortable with constantly taking the “safe” route. This sentiment especially applies to the way I feel about the state of music in its evolution. For example, I am always wary of the typical Beatles “fan,” due to the simple fact that the revolutionary group is a safe mention to anyone looking for acceptance amongst music aficionados. That is not to say that all Beatles’ fans ONLY refer to the Beatles when talking about music, it is just an observation.

Regardless of my armchair philosophy, I do realize that there is “safe” music that is good (at times, even great) and catchy, while also being able to satisfy the left side of the cranium. This is something that New York indie pop outfit Vampire Weekend has been able to constantly do throughout their short but rather definitive career. The quartet continues to do so on their latest full length, Modern Vampires of the City, releasing a collection of accessible, fun and baroque pop songs of the independent persuasion.

Hit the jump for the full review!

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Review: Mic Lanny and DeeJay Tone – Good Cop Bad Cop

lanny tone

Tonight marks the album release of local emcee Mic Lanny and producer DeeJay Tone, who have teamed up for their latest project, titled, “Good Cop Bad Cop.” Bogies will also play host to IB’s album release, “Isaac Berry”, alongside Chambers, and performances also from Reef The Lost Cauze with DJ Stress, AWAR with Vanderslice, Manifest and DJ Rawthreat.

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