x-x-x-x-x. Politics of Sex, Drugs and Depression


Been staying with this great young woman who runs a web site called the Dallas Music Guide here that reviewed our CD. She rocks. We had hired these fucking hipster publicity company in new york owned by some rock stars and of course all they did was blow smoke up our sorry asses. What a fucking joke. Bar/None Records made this one happen. Here’s what they said: Mike iLL just might be part of a dying breed. He’s a man who writes pop hooks, strips down his music to its emotional necessities, and doesn’t have a schtick. In other words, he won’t be telling you about how his dad left the family or how his mom was a crank-addicted trailer park dolly. Instead, he will tell you about the beauty of being in love and appreciating the beauty of the one you are in love with. But he makes sure to stay far enough away from John Denver territory, thanks to a little distortion and a somewhat flippant and aloof approach to it all. Feel Good Music for the Broke Middle Class couldn’t have a more appropriate title. It is not an album for rich mall kids to get their pseudo-aggression out to. It’s not mope-around-the-condo and curse your late model BMW’s inferior sound system music. It is breezy pop for the eternally broke but unendingly clever young people out there who know that their lives could be a lot better if they just applied themselves, but really, they wouldn’t trade it for anything. Now that Weezer have decided to look like Yngwie Malmsteen’s bearded gimpy uncles, it might be a good time to check out what Mad Happy has to offer. Songs like “Magdeline” set the head bobbing tone with a Kinks-ish guitar stomp combined with beautifully catchy vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Brendan Benson album. “Not Jealous of the Angels” is a sweet as candy nugget of sunshine that should have Phantom Planet’s fans thinking of mutiny. Not everything is daisies and lollipops though. “Mechanical Monkey” sees Mike Ill putting on his game face and crooning and belting a Jeff Buckley worthy diatribe. “Heartbreaking World” is mellow and contemplative without becoming morose or depressing. It is sparse and touching with lyrics that seem more like a loveable jab at the inequities of the world as opposed to a bitchy rant about the state of things. “Veronica, Veronica” is the most radio-friendly song on the album with catchy garage punk verses. The Beck school of hip hop/folkie breakdown thing on the choruses could be done away with if it were up to me, but it’s a small price to pay for this little gem. At the very least, it is what Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” would have sounded like if Sum 41 were a little poorer and a little older and a lot wiser. The real treat of the album is appropriately saved for last. “Parking Lot Song” may sound like a throwaway sort of thing from the title, but it easily outshines any of the other 11 songs. It is hauntingly sparse and sexy - a song that would not seem out of place on a Cocteau Twins or Mazzy Star album. Aching and longing haven’t sounded this appealing in years. There’s a glutton of emo, nu-metal and aggro rock bands out there all being hailed as the “return of rock” by using cheap and cliched emotions to grab their piece of the pie. You’re either jilted or abused or maybe a violent and dramatic cocktail of both if you have anything worth saying today. Which leaves a gap for all those underpaid and unconcerned lower middle class twenty-somethings. You buy plastic dishware and don’t return movies on time. You smoke cigarettes but you know you should quit. You still hop in your car and drive for hours to see a band. You like your parents and you hate the gentrification of your artsy little niche of town. Mad Happy probably have been there before and they want to help you through it. They don’t want to bum you out, they just want to help you turn that frown upside down.If you like Brendan Benson, Sloan, Weezer or Phantom Planet,I dare you to take a listen to Feel Good Music for the Broke Middle Class and not crack a smile. – Amanda Mann Rating 8 out of 10 Dallas Music Guide Cool, huh? On the wat into town here, I was thinking about different cities and their skylines. See, the Dallas Skyline is defined by the Bank of America building which is covered with this giant green neon lighting. Cool az fuck. But the NYC skyline got that shit sewed up, man. WTC or no WTC. You cant fuck with it. Don’t know if it’s ‘cause of the thin shape of the island or ‘cause of the way they can only put the really tall buildings up downtown and midtown due to the density of the bedrock. That’s what gives it tat camel hump shape with the two slopes of buildings. Well. Dallas was cool. Tomorrow… er, Tonight…er in a few hours we’ll be in Austin. Should be dope. Place called the Empanada Parlour. This apartment is cold. Wish people would slow down on the insane air-conditioning. Must shower. XOXOXOXOXO

Love, mike