My friends, Hal and David and I often talk about music in our blogs. I guess when you're passionate about one thing - aviation, in our case - you are often passionate about other things as well. Sometimes we three suggest particular songs or artists to each other. But everyone's taste in music is different, and I'm content in knowing that the other two may not find the same fascination in the things I like.
Hal has written a couple of times about an artist known as Ice Mac Sea, real name: Michael McCrickard. So enthralled was Hal with one of McCrickard's songs upon hearing it on the radio while driving that he actually pulled over to note the title and artist. (Heh- I've done that too.) He ended up buying the complete CD, which as it turns out was released back in 2002. Hal gives it a big two-thumbs-up, and you can read his review here. Please do.
On the strength of Hal's thumbs, I downloaded McCrickard's CD, "Measure For Measure" and gave it a listen ($7.92 on iTunes!). It is...well...odd. Hal described McCrickard's voice as a cross between Ronnie Milsap and Junior Brown, and he's absolutely right. It's hard to tell how old Ice Mac Sea is. While McCrickard cites the Beatles as a strong influence, you can plainly hear echoes of the Dave Matthews Band, and other relatively younger bands. He admits to have been playing in various "obscure garage bands" for fifteen years, so that would put him in his 30's.
We Americans like music that fits into neat, narrow categories that fit into the neat, narrow radio station formats. McCrickard's does not do either. Don't expect to hear any of his songs on any "Q100" or "Hot97" stations or the like. It's sort of country, sort of rock, sort of electronica, sort of hip-hop. Like Donna The Buffalo, or my buddy Goat (Andrew Scott Rosen, who's not really my buddy), Citizen Cope, and Widespread Panic, it's very hard to nail down just exactly which category McCrickard falls into. iTunes lumps him in "Alternative" and I suppose that's as good a place as any.
Me, I happen to like music that doesn't fit into one specific category...music that crosses lines and expands boundaries. Which is exactly what Ice Mac Sea does.
The songs are great, but having said that, the music itself is strange, with beeps and other sound effects randomly thrown in. But McCrickard's vocals are often altered...modulated in a "hiccupping" style that is popular now but that I personally find to be distracting. Thankfully, his strong songwriting and singing transcend the wierd production of an obvious computer nerd. But jeez, he was ahead of his time in that regard. Ah well, it'd probably be a big hit with the college-age crowd. Or could have been. Or could be again. Sometimes it takes a while for musical tastes to catch up with certain artists.
Minor gripes out of the way, I quite enjoy the "Measure For Measure" album. It's one of a very few albums that I can put on and listen to all the way through. Then again, there are only eight songs with a total running time of about 35 minutes. I won't go so far as to say there's "something for everybody" on this record but there are few if any "tune-outs." (Ironically, I like more of the songs on Ice Mac Sea's CD than I do the new Coldplay CD. And I love Coldplay!)
"Chop Chop Chop" is probably my favorite song, as it's the most catchy and up-tempo of the bunch - and you know how I am about catchy and uptempo. But the others are good too. "Some Kind Of Funny Religion" hits home with me because of what I've been going through personally lately. All of the songs are clever, some are quite funny, and they all resonate, which I think is the key to good songwriting, no?
So Hal made that big post about Ice Mac Sea on his blog. I was going to just respond to it there, but then I figured - hey, why not get one of these viral marketing things going? If someone else hears one of McCrickard's songs on the radio, maybe they'll Google him, and up will pop both Hal and my posts! And then maybe they'll blog about him...
It seems as though McCrickard only put out this one album and hasn't been recording much lately. Too bad. I'd like to hear more from him. I think you would too.
Michael McCrickard's website: ICE MAC SEA