B-Sides: “Bad Bonez“ by Michael Seyer

A series highlighting up-and-coming artists that are worth checking out

Each week reporter Jessica Myers finds rising artists that students might want to tune in to.

Who he is:

23-year-old Michael Seyer makes genre-bending music in his at-home studio. According to Seyer's Bandcamp, the Gardena, California native writes, produces, performs, records and mixes his own music. 

His music style is known to be heavily influenced by soul, R&B and classic rock. His bedroom pop sound sometimes exhibits a beach-y rock rhythm and a bossa nova groove. Some of his greatest influencers are Mac DeMarco and HOMESHAKE. 

In an interview with Pigeons and Planes, Seyer described his music as “Mom R&B”.  

Seyer has been playing guitar for alternative Long Beach artist Bane’s World, while continuing to create his own music.

The album:

13-track album "Bad Bonez" is filled with lighter elements of happy days, lust and hookups, while also tackling gloomy themes of loneliness and depression.

The first track “Bad Bonez” opens with sounds wound backwards, followed by inaudible words. This then bleeds into an eerie synth, reaching for Seyer’s voice, soft, high and undeniably troubled. Listening to this song is an unfiltered look inside Seyer’s mind, from the dispirited lyrics to the echoing, layered vocals. 

"Show Me How You Feel (Eros), like following track "I Feel Best When I'm Alone," overflows with rhythmic funk sounds. The guitar tempo in this song features a wah pedal sound that creates a funk atmosphere. The combo of rhythmic guitar sounds and lustful lyrics makes this track a tasteful, groovy feature to the album. 

Some of Seyer's music leans more towards an upbeat beach-y rock energy.

“Weekend At Santa Cruz” embodies this stoner-rock vibe. As an ode to the city Santa Cruz, Seyer uses flute sounds to create more of an airy, lovey feel, while describing little details of the city. The soft anthem is a sweet love story to the city, acknowledging that once you leave a place, all the details you love about it will continue to live and change, even once you're gone.

“Lucky Love,” an almost anti-love song, was composed to be Seyer’s 1950’s high school-slow-dance dream. “Lucky Love” falls under that type of classic, pretty, beach-y music that is easy to listen to. The intro sounds like a modern-take on a Santo & Johnny song. Seyer sounds young in this track, adding onto the dreamy, youthful feeling of discovering what love is and questioning whether true love exists.

Then there are songs like “Untitled Bones.” The beginning of the track feels like one of those dreams where you’re trying to run, but there’s no momentum — you’re slowly floating in air, trying to escape, and you cannot move. Seyer uses sounds that echo like heavy breathing throughout the song when the track speeds up. This song stands out from others on the album, as an interesting transitional piece, symbolizing what anxiety might feel like to some. 

The 13th and last track on the album, “Sonata for a Bad Ghost,” starts off with repetitive, echoing keyboard sounds, paired with mumbled city noises like honking cars. This song sounds like giving up. Towards the end of the track, Seyer layers an upbeat, fast keyboard sound over a slower, lower, repetitive keyboard tune played throughout the track. The scenic sounds and confessional lyrics makes the song a perfect-fit to end this honest album.

Favorite song:

In Seyer’s song “Kill All Your Darlings,” he brings his voice to a deep, eerie, sound — with slow guitar tap feedback as a beat. His melancholic lyrics spill out of his dull voice in a mesmerizing way. The song is depressing — the lyrics are filled with destruction and recognition of vanity. The song feels like an open wound, and I want to understand it more. If you listen close enough, you can hear nature sounds, but noticeably far in the distance. "Kill All Your Darlings" is unquestionably beautiful in all its misery. Every time I listen to the song I hold onto the lyrics “I feel something / That something's got to change.” The line feels like a shift of some sort. 

Conclusion:

Diverse, genre-bending DIY project "Bad Bonez" hints at emotions ranging from loneliness to lust — a beautiful, yet daunting anthem of adolescent change. 

Upcoming shows:

Bane’s World + Inner Wave + Michael Seyer

The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix

Sunday, July 1 at 8:00 pm



Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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