Reviews

Seal Party


Seal Party
MMXXII
New Age Distribution
Release: 5 August 2022

Soulful art-rock outfit Seal Party presents their rich and captivating debut album ‘MMXXII’, a meaningful and timeless place that is filled with improvisation, fury, and lyrical beauty, Evoking ‘70s soul, rock and R&B while maintaining a raw and exploratory approach, this eclectic work meshes unusual songwriting and musicianship with a style that is at once playful and rebellious.  

Ahead of this release, they presented the singles ‘Maison’, featuring R&B organ wizard Chris Rob (Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Anita Baker, Talib Kweli), and ‘Kaleka’, a stunning piano-based composition that brings together the best elements of David Bowie and Joe Cocker.

As a songwriting-production duo, Chris McGrew (drums/production) and Kevin Seal (keyboards/vocals) formed Seal Party after many years of helping other artists realize their visions. On their debut record, these studio veterans let their own voices come to the fore, revealing their fury and beauty, both rock and groove. Epic melodies soar over tasty chords to tell their stories.

Surprising sounds come when sidemen step into the spotlight. Habitually session musicians, quarantine culture gave McGrew and Seal access to an empty recording studio — namely Studio C of Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco (AKA Wally’s HydeOut), in the room of the former Wally Heider Studios, where artists ranging from the Dead Kennedys to the Grateful Dead to Herbie Hancock recorded some of their most legendary sides.

Recorded by Liam Wesley Craddock and Chris McGrew, the ‘MMXXII’ album was mixed by McGrew and Jaimeson Durr (Sammy Haggar, Joe Satriani, Hope Sandoval).

This record involves world-class horn players, violinists, organists and vocalists. An all-star cast of 22 collaborators includes blues and RnB royalty like Isaiah Sharkey (D’Angelo, John Mayer, Patti LaBelle) and Keyon Harrold (D’Angelo, Maxwell), punk icon Larry Boothroyd (Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine, Victims Family), bassist Uriah Duffy (Whitesnake, Fantastic Negrito), Ben Misterka (Collectivity), saxophonist Kenneth Whalum (Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Maxwell, Justin Timberlake), trumpeter Rich Armstrong (Spoon, Boz Scaggs, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Thomas Dolby), guitarist Jonnie Axtell (Psychefunkapus, Dee Snider, Tone Loc) and saxophonist Daniel Casares (Atta Kid, Jazz Mafia, the New Mastersounds).

The result is ‘MMXXII’ – a continuous, expansive, engrossing album that is eclectic and beautiful. Decades of studio magic seep into the tracks, like the casks flavoring the Scotch. Stretching across genre boundaries, jazz luminaries and punk stalwarts join together to create a series of unique songs.

On August 5, ‘MMXXII” album will be available everywhere digitally, including SpotifyApple Music,and Bandcamp, where the full ‘MMXXII’ album can already be ordered.The digital version will be released via New Age Distribution and the CD released by X Racer Productions.

CREDITS
Chris McGrew – drums, percussion
Liam Wesley Craddock – percussion
Kimiko Joy – vocals
Renee Padgett – vocals
Rich Armstrong – vocals, vocal arrangement, and trumpet
Daniel Casares – saxophone
Scott Thompson – bass
Chris Rob – organ
K-Seal – vocals, piano
Written & produced by Chris McGrew & Kevin Seal
Recorded by Liam Wesley Craddock & Chris McGrew
at Wally’s HydeOut in Hyde Street Studios, San Francisco
Mixed by Jaimeson Durr & Chris McGrew
Mastered by Justin Weis
‘Maison’ single cover artwork by Serena Di Pinto’s
Artist photos by Shealin Ritter and Maryzelle Ungo

Seal Party – Kaleka

Seal Party – Maison

Seal Party – Juvie

Seal Party links:
Band/Artist location – San Francisco, California
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