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: 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.

Continue reading…

Review: Green Day’s American Idiot at Proctors

greenday

Last night was the opening showing for Green Day’s “American Idiot” musical at Proctors.

The first thing that I learned is that if you at any given point in your life (likely young teens for people my age), learned all of the words to a Green Day album, the lyrics stick with you YEARS later.

I was a big fan of Dookie, which came out in 1994, (which I discovered in maybe 2001), and I can remember telling my friends with conviction that American Idiot, which came out in 2004, was the “better of the newer” Green Day albums as I burned CD copies for a select few… (I think this memory means I’ve always been a bit of a music snob?) However, regardless of how my tastes have changed, I’ve always been impressed by how large the creative body of work from Green Day really is. The discography of Green Day spans eleven studio albums, three live albums, five compilation albums, three video albums, twelve extended plays, three box sets, forty singles, ten promotional singles and thirty-eight music videos. That is a lot of material to work with. I think it is important to take into consideration the massive body of work that Green Day has produced prior to talking about the musical version and to consider that this adaption, as created by Billie Joe Armstrong himself, was simply one direction it could be taken in.

Continue reading…

Review: Magazine, No Thyself

Could Magazine have been the biggest band in the world? Not a chance. Next question: did they want to?

When lead singer and founder Howard Devoto quit the band in 1981, he cited low album sales as the reason for his departure. Devoto was twenty-nine then, by which age he should have either succeeded in music or surrendered to the workforce. (In his native Britain, where teenagers regularly started full-time careers, he probably should have given up five or six years earlier.) Magazine did not fail, exactly, but they defined the term “cult band”: beloved by a small clutch of critics, despised by just as many, small but devoted fanbase, ignored by the larger public.

Magazine presented themselves as a connoisseur’s band; also, as pricks. They knew full well that they were smart musicians, a fact they never failed to advertise. They positioned themselves at the avant-garde, relying upon futuristic keyboards and scathing lyrical introspection where pub rock and punk demanded back-to-basics anthems. Across five albums – four studio, one live – and a handful of singles, Magazine exuded the barely-suppressed fury of over-educated twenty-somethings bashing up against the realization that the world is not, in fact, a meritocracy. They longed for mass appreciation, yet reveled in a style that was, for most listeners, nearly impossible to appreciate.

Continue reading…

Review: The Men, Open Your Heart

So, wait – everyone’s fine with this?

Brooklyn’s the Men have been attracting some media attention lately. Not internet attention – the real kind; the square kind. The New York Times kind: in a write-up of their March 7 Williamsburg loft show, reporter Ben Ratliff vacillates between lauding the Men and disparaging them, although in the end he opts for the former. To Ratliff, they don’t stand up to close analysis. “You can wonder why the men in the Men don’t want to be better: better singers, better players, better riff writers,” he writes. “Reduce this band to its parts, and all the charm drains out of it.” Elsewhere, he notes that their songs “run beyond their natural length and just keep going” and describes their performance as “slovenly.”

Continue reading…