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Welcome to Underground Fossils, brought to you by Dimxsk and Trylemma. The purpose of this blog is to assist in the sharing of out of print and/or rare examples of the hip hop genre. We believe that every release we post is an integral part of history and deserves to be heard by older fans as well as new seekers. We do not post or encourage the posting of anything that can be bought easily from the artist, those can be found elsewhere. Furthermore, if any artist who is featured here wishes not to share their material we will remove it immediately. Most of the rips found here were made by other people, but some of them were made by us. We are not sound engineers, so while the quality will usually be 320 kbps, they will be recorded from the source material as is. Please message us if you are an engineer and want wav files to master. Enjoy!

PS: We also want to thank all of the women and men before us who shared music in this way. Your work made our collections what they are today, and we are grateful.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Provost - Refrigerate After Opening (2006)

Today's fossil is Refrigerate After Opening by Provost, formerly of the FreePoets crew alongside Portland's own Peg Leg and Deficit (all three also of Science-Non-Fiction). FreePoets no longer make new music and their albums can no longer be purchased anywhere that I know of, which is really too bad because I've liked everything they've put out and this album is no exception.

Refrigerate After Opening has spacey, melodic yet hard hitting production and Provost's style manages to evoke feelings without falling into that trap of straight up emo. A bit like a more lighthearted take on Oldominion, this album is a catchy little piece of forgotten indie rap history. It's a lot of fun and deserves a spot on your digital shelf.

Short and to the point this Friday, enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

New Music: Grieves - The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy

So, as fans of Northwest rapper Grieves probably already know, the well renowned musician has spent the last several months dropping occasional tracks as a way to "express both his growth and hunger since releasing Running Wild" (his last full length album). The result is The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy, an EP that takes these singles as well as a few previously unreleased tracks and puts them together as a collection. A new release from Grieves in any form is great news for his hardcore following, considering the two year long period since his last full length offering.

I do want to state at this time that I'm not particularly a fan of Grieves. I actually don't dislike his music, and my hat is off to him for consistently releasing well produced, well written and well conceived songs that run the gamut from catchy to thought provoking. This sounds like an endorsement, and it is. However, my personal observation is that when I hear a track by him I find myself enjoying, I tend to listen through to the end and immediately forget about it. His style doesn't tend to vary much on any given release (especially his work following 88 Keys & Counting), and as he's grown as an artist I find his music has taken on a bit of bland and uninteresting quality. I have the same issue with Atmosphere, I feel like they reached a point where Ant and Slug know exactly what to do to make good songs, and the time and energy they used to spend creating the style in the first place and trying out new things has become unnecessary.

Grieves' music is all good, it's just not really anything to get excited about for me. That said, you guys may have already guessed that I like the weirder stuff, so please don't take my opinion to heart if you've somehow slept on Grieves and this is the first you're hearing of him. He's amazingly talented. I just want it known that I'm coming at this review from a place of some ambivalence. Anyhow.

The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy is still music that I don't find particularly original, but it's definitely worth a listen, and if you like Grieves' work to this point I guarantee you'll love this. The songs are polished, and his lyricism and dry wit are ever present and in top form. Songs like "Man Down featuring Chris Webby" display complex rhyming and a style that would certainly be at home on the radio alongside more well known artists (like Chris Webby lol). Catchy beat as well.

Stylistically this album is a bit closer to what's popular these days than we've heard from him before. There's less of the R & B / soul influence that made up the bulk of Running Wild and a bit more electronica. Lots of auto-tune, some trap drum sounds, and the cadence popularized by Lil Wayne that's popping up all over the place can be heard in a few places here. I guess at this point Grieves is mainstream (not sure what that even means anymore), and he sounds it. I do know he's worked his ass off to get where he is, and for that he has my respect.

So I don't know who gets production credit for any of these tracks, I did try to find out (maybe Grieves himself or Budo). The musicianship is superb as always, with lush and beautiful sounds from the keys, guitars and strings. Songs like "December" and "Caliber" are truly works of art production wise. And while I enjoyed them I did find myself thinking that Grieves could have injected a bit more personality into them somehow, maybe trying out different voices or topics. As it stands, The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy sounds quite a bit like what a lot of people are doing. The upside to that is that at least Grieves does that style well, maybe even better than most.

Get The Collections of Mr. Nice Guy as a digital download from Grieves' Bandcamp here, or pick up a physical (preorders start shipping around 8/27/19) and support the always dope Fifth Element Online here! See you guys Friday!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Devotea - Sonsrayz (2002)

Today's upload is one of my favorite Canadian albums of all time - 2002's "Sonsrayz" by Devotea. Devotea got his start as DJ Ringworm and was the main producer behind the Submerged M.Seas (with rappers Vizion and Kay the Aquanaut.) He released several mixtapes under that name before switching to Devotea. 

His only full length solo album, "Sonsrayz," is quintessential Saskatoon rap. To start off, the production is airy and dreamy while also quirky and offbeat. Devotea helped a young Factor Chandelier get started on both the DJ tip and the producer tip and if you listen to "Sonsrayz," you could easily believe that Factor himself produced it. On the rap side of things, Devotea is definitely influenced by guys like Isosceles and Vizion delivery-wise, but he actually has a slightly crisper flow which makes him sound better in my opinion. Think Self-Help. Content-wise, Devo tackles everything from small city politics to grand scale crises, and, in doing so, manages to balance playfulness and seriousness very well. 

Devotea only ever released this one album, which is a shame as it's an amazing one and, with the eventual success that Factor found, I believe he could have easily made a place for himself in the larger world of indie rap. The download is an old FTD rip that has faded into obscurity. Unfortunately, I don't have any sort of album cover for this (I used a Saskatoon prairie for the photo above lol.) I've seen the CD, but unfortunately do not own it or have scans of the artwork. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

New Music: Lyrics Born & Cutso - Rapp Nite

Lyrics Born has always been one of my favorite rappers. His deliveries and overall presence on the mic are truly one of a kind. Unfortunately, over the past handful of years, his releases have been generally below par. Projects like "Real People" and "Quite a Life" had Born focusing on band-driven pop songs. This direction is fine in theory, but thanks to a lack of creativity and some very corny lyrics, the projects ultimately fell flat. Luckily, Cali producer Cutso has teamed up with Lyrics Born for the recently dropped "Rapp Nite" - and it's the best we've heard from Born in years! 

Cutso lays the groundwork with some solid bouncy bassy Bay beats. Lyrics Born responds by flowing for days! Born drops the need to find some grand hook or overtly "conscious" message and things are made better because of it. Hearing Born rap is more than enough! The lyrics do get a bit cringy near the end, which is a slight problem as the project is only seven tracks deep. Overall, however, we're left with a lighthearted, very fun Quannum-worthy rap display from Lyrics Born - something we haven't gotten in a long while.

Stream the album HERE and cop it HERE

[Thanks to GarvinIII for hooking Dimxsk up with something off his wantlist.] 

Friday, July 5, 2019

6 Months! Three rare EPs from Ape9, a Knowskills mixtape and a full rip of Crackbeat Society's The Cracker

Ape9 - Astronauts, Humble Gods & Malaki

First things first, we have three EPs from Colorado's Ape9 (aka James Vega). Called Humble Gods, Astronauts and Malaki, they came to me out of order without album art or year released so I don't know much about them. Please do drop a note or comment if you have art or information. According to Trylemma, they were made in high school, and I believe him as we are definitely hearing a younger Ape9 on these tracks. That being said, they're pretty good. Enjoy!

The Motherfucking Jizclot (Knowskills) - 60 Minutes of Hate

Next we have something special, a mixtape curated by Knowskills of Beat Comber (Saskatoon) fame. This contains a wide variety of 90's and indie rap with a clear preference for the more raw and gritty styles (old pre-emo Cage and Third Sight for example). Trylemma found this cassette along with a few more rare joints, and I ripped it. It's a good selection of tracks, mixed well and could definitely serve as a soundtrack for your Summer BBQs, so long as you're friends don't mind listening to someone calling themselves The Motherfucking Jizclot.

Anyway enjoy!

Crackbeat Society - The Cracker

No fan of Canadian rap can be satisfied with their collection without Crackbeat's full length effort The Cracker. Recorded in a dorm room, and consisting of all kinds of weirdos like Josh Martinez, Jesse Dangerously, Kunga219, Gordski and Moves, The Cracker managed to bring together all manner of talent, run with a general theme of humorous mayhem and make it sound dope. Trylemma informs me that a scene rip of this exists, but that it's only 8 tracks. This version is the full* 14 tracks plus outro, this is a rip of my copy of the cassette. Put it on and reflect how far each of these voices have come. A must have for sure.

So it's been a fun half a year, and there's still more to come. I've got several more interesting fossils I've been holding back for the right time, and Trylemma has even more. So keep visiting every Wednesday and Friday for reviews and free music, and thanks again for the interest! Enjoy the summer!

*Disclaimer: The number one smash hit "Who's Tony?", while listed in the liner notes, is regrettably missing from the actual cassette. I know, I almost demanded my money back...

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

6 Months! Here's Some Rare Music from Edison of Papervehicle, Lewee Regal, Home etc.

This being the 26th week (half a year!) of Underground Fossils, I figure that all bets are off and I can share something that might not fit with our normal routine, but that I believe y'all would enjoy. What I'm offering today is not exactly a release. Rather it's a collection of rare songs I put together documenting some of Edison of Papervehicle's earliest days, along with some talents and voices that I've always really enjoyed.

These songs come from different places, some were on a compilation type thing that I believe was called Kitchen Kuts and others were ripped from streaming sites. They feature Edison not just on production (the man is and was insane behind the boards, check out some of his more recent work if you're inclined to disagree) but rapping as well, something that I'd only ever heard before on his albums with Papervehicle. He's not bad at it, but I guess he decided to concentrate on his production making his vocal tracks a rarity.

We also have on here a rapper / singer / guitarist who goes by Lewee Regal, but is also the lead singer of the folk / punk outfit Get Dead. He's got an awesome voice and he uses it well both singing and rapping. He's got some solo songs on here as well as work with Edison, my personal favorite being what I chose to make the closing track "Debbie", a cynical pseudo-country joint about a bad (meaning goodish) woman. Some of his work on here is punk, some of it's rap. You may know him from his split album 8th World Jamboree with Babelfishh and his features on Visitor's solo album, lost forever when Decorative Stamp's Bandcamp sadly disappeared. Here's a music video of one of his songs. It's interesting for sure:

Home of Papervehicle makes an appearance as well on songs where the artist was labeled "Sutherland Collective" when I found them. The entire album I've put together uses this as the artist name, mostly because Sutherland Collective appeared to encompass all three of the rappers and it made the entire thing fit neatly into a single place on my iTunes.

While I like all kinds of rap, this type of music really appeals to me. These songs are clearly home made, the bitrates jump around and never peak 128 kbps, but they're good songs and having the history of an influential presence in the modern indie world like Edison on record is something I value. None of these songs came with album info, they seemed to be isolated experiments, so putting them together seemed like a good thing to do. Not exactly a fossil, but rare and important all the same.

We're still accepting requests for Friday, we decided to do another post like our first one with three rarities up for download. What those are could be up to you...

Also BIG UPS to BIG BEAR for sending some Deepcave gems our way!

Friday, June 28, 2019

JD Walker - Bleed the Reservoir (2000)

Hey, so I'm covering for Trylemma today, he's got a lot on his plate right now. Anyway for today we have JD Walker's debut EP Bleed the Reservoir. I know next to nothing about this album, but on one of my trips to Facebook someone was asking about this guy in a group I get notifications from. It reminded me about this humble offering.

JD Walker hails from Maine; he was one of the founding members of one of Sole's earliest groups Live Poets along with Moodswing9. His music often has a folk flavor, but is essentially good old fashioned abstract hip hop. He's put out a few vinyl singles, an EP and two albums, one under the alias Loganprojects. All of these are worth a listen for fans of Anticon and Fake Four; they're weird in places and clearly independently produced and recorded but they've got a ton of personality.

Get the album below, and excuse the brevity of this post, it's been a long week!

I did want to take a moment and recognize that next week marks the 6 month anniversary of Underground Fossils. Plus we recently reached 9,000 views and as someone who's never done much social media I'm pretty damn happy about it. So I was thinking that next week could be all about sharing some rare music, but maybe there's other ways we could celebrate. Who knows, but I promise this: next week will be epic.

If anyone has any ideas, or requests free to comment below or reach out via the contact box, and *Thank You* for your support!

Oh and please no more comments with hyperlinks, or stories about your successful insemination (although I'm very happy for you).

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New Music: Trylemma's 'The Good and The Bad of June 2019'


1. Blakwizard - Blakwizard: Amazing Seattle beats by Specs with great rhymes from both Silas Blak and Specs (who have solid chemistry together.) LISTEN.

2. Bambu - Brother Hoods: Another quality story-telling entry in Bambu's "Exrcising A Demon" series. The mixture of storytelling raps with spoken word stories is amazing. LISTEN.

3. Dibiase - Bonus Levels: Dibiase is back and he's brought with him some very fun video game instrumentals. He stays true to the theme without letting the gimmick go overboard. LISTEN

4. Cleen & Kid B - Fresh Air: A slightly darker than normal Cleen album. The general sense of humor is still in full force, however, and Cleen's straight-forward lyricism is about as strong as ever. LISTEN

5. Mestizo & Meaty Ogre - Barbeque Pt. 1: Meaty's melodic yet muddy beats fit Mestizo's style of rapping perfectly. A nice intermission to the recent more experimental Mestizo sounds (which are great on their own.) LISTEN


1. Hines Buchanan & Riddlore - Beat The Shit Out Of You Vol. 3: The third installment in this series lacks the overall quality of the first two. The beats sound a bit too much like unfinished drafts. LISTEN.

2. Skizza - FallSEVENriseEight: Skizza has the bars and ideas to create good albums, but he lacks the conviction and creativity on a lot of these songs. The production is pretty snooze-worthy too. LISTEN

3. Open Mike Eagle - The New Negroes: There is a lot to like here for sure, but the bad slightly outweighs the good due mainly to OME and his guests rarely being able to get on the same page conceptually. LISTEN.

4. Myka 9 - Prophetic Vision: We are getting so much Myka 9 this year, and there's apparently lots more in store, so it's hard to complain. This EP, however, isn't too memorable. The beats are hollow and the guest list is unimpressive. LISTEN.

5. Scarub - Girls Girls Girls: The poppy beats are pretty cool here as is Scarub's flows and cadences. The content, however, is pretty corny and brings down a lot of the tracks. The hooks are also pretty bad. LISTEN.

[Props to Treidoiuno for hooking Dimxsk with a wantlist entry.] 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Random Art Projects (Id Obelus) - Ignore Ignorance (2009)

For this week we have Random Art Projects' album Ignore Ignorance. For the lovers of the weirder, less Hennessy, more LSD type rap, Ignore Ignorance features the signature nasal vocals and off color sense of humor that are the trademarks of Star City, Indiana's Id Obelus. While I (mostly) enjoy Id's music (the Frank Zappa of rap), my personal favorite thing about this album is the production, which hits decidedly harder than anything else in Id's catalogue. The four part team of beatmakers sport a refreshing imagination and manage to blend psychedelia with boom bap in unexpected and enjoyable ways.

According to Id Obelus's WordPress, Random Art Projects (or R.A.P.) was a collaboration between him and the members of the defunct noise rock band Tramaj Voyix. They spent most of 2008 playing shows around Indiana, and as far as I know put out only this one record as well as contributing a single track to Milled Pavement Records's Goose Bumps 3.0 compilation entitled "Cutcho Hare".

This album is now out of print, and as far as I know is fairly difficult to locate. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

R.I.P. - Jerald “Darkside” Amaya / New Music: Bakus feat. Darkside - Darkside, Dare Iz A

While I had planned to use this post to both review an artist's release whom I admire and promote a good cause, unfortunately now it’s going to serve as a small tribute to Jerald Amaya, aka Darkside. Bakus put together the single Darkside, Dare Iz A (a couple tracks of older, unmastered work with the rapper) originally to help cover expenses during Darkside’s battle with cancer, but tragically Darkside passed away of a heart attack Father’s Day morning. He was 42 years old.

From my emails with Bakus, I understood Darkside as one of those genuinely good men, a father and musician who improved the lives of those around him. Browsing his Facebook I was extremely touched by the number of heartfelt messages both from within the hip hop community and beyond. This world doesn’t have enough people who's presence improves it, and sadly now it has one less. Bakus had this to say about Jerald "Darkside" Amaya:

"I first met Darkside in the early aughts at Urban Underground, a weekly hip hop show at the Airliner in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles. Urban Underground was a hive of young, hungry and hustling, backpack rappers in the vein of The Living Legends, Def Jux and Rhymesayers, owing much to The Goodlife family tree and the Project Blowed community like Freestyle Fellowship. Darkside was always an aggressive but thoughtful emcee and I liked him immediately. Later I would see him walking with his kids down Figueroa Ave., down York Blvd., down Aldama St., down any sidewalk in Highland Park, a neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles that was headquarters for many in the underground hip hop scene at the time.

I jokingly coined Darkside, "The King of Highland Park," and would honk and wave if I was in a hurry, or pull over and holler for a bit if I had the time. He always had time. I came to know Darkside, Jerald Amaya, as a towering example of what it meant to be a man, a father, and a person who would do anything to help his family and friends. As a fellow educator, Jerald cultivated young minds and helped many a young emcee get his first studio time. He is considered a mentor by many. As a father, there are no lengths that Jerald would not go to protect and provide for his kids. Hearing that Darkside was battling cancer shook me. Not only because we are the same age and came up in the same community, but also because this kind of thing shouldn't happen to good people, and Darkside is nothing but good people.

Hearing that he passed so suddenly, within days of sharing his diagnosis, and so young, is a fucking gut punch. I’m in tears. Hug your people today. The neighborhood loved you, Darkside. And we miss you already."

I had originally planned to offer a review of the album, but I think in the wake of Darkside’s passing I’m going to let Bakus’ words, as someone who knew him, be the main focus for this post. I will say that the two tracks are very moving in the context of his untimely death (especially "Life Moves Fast"). The rough mixing only gives the very strong impression that the two voices heard are real people, and friends, doing what they love and value simply because they love and value it. There’s really nothing more you could ask for in music.

Get the single here. All proceeds from the sale will go to help Darkside's family and friends with funeral expenses. Also, for those (like myself) who weren't familiar with the music of Darkside, check here for his Bandcamp. He worked with all sorts of artists from P.U.T.S to Murs and both produced and rapped with competence and heart...

Also, Bakus has informed me that the family is conducting a GoFundMe campaign as well, which can be found here. Featured on that page is a music video as well, another way for people to get to know Darkside.

To the friends and family of Jerald “Darkside” Amaya: you have UGF's respectful condolences.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Backburner - Big Talk (2001)

Backburner is one of the largest, most prolific, and most talented crews in indie rap, no question. These days when you hear the name, you probably think punchline heavy, often light-hearted, new age boom bappers from the likes of Ghettosocks, Chokeules, More or Les, or Wordburglar. For today's post, however, we're taking things back to the beginning with 2001's "Big Talk."

"Big Talk" sounds much more experimental than Backburner's more modern releases like "Heatwave" and "Eclipse." This is likely due partly to the time period and partly to the fact that Thesis Sahib, MF Deluxe, and Dexter Doolittle play large roles in the album. Instead of the heavy multis and punches that fall right into pocket, we get more abstract rhymes and melodic deliveries. There's still some boom bap thrown in the mix tho!

Download below (the rip is an old FTD one) and enjoy this oldie! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New Music: Cleen & Kid B - Fresh Air

In an era where "lyrical" is quite mainstream, through rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, it seems like underground/indie acts are working overtime to amaze you with their double-time flows, six-syllable rhyme schemes, deep metaphors, and intricate concept albums. That's all cool, but thank god for artists like Cleen who offer the indie spirit without having to necessarily rely on all the other stuff. 

Cleen is a rapper from Lancaster, CA who has been making rap music since the late 90's, both as a solo artist and as part of various collectives such as Unseen Tekneeks and Broken Complex. The man has a very prolific career, though he has been relatively quiet for the past couple years (which is a lifetime in indie time.) Luckily, he's returned in 2019 with his brand new album, produced by Kid B, "Fresh Air." 

Cleen has a very direct writing and rapping style, one which often combines social critique with humor. "Fresh Air" generally follows suit, though, especially when compared to previous Cleen records, the social critique does seem to outweigh the humor here. The title track has Cleen noting, over a jazzy Kid B beat, that he's getting older and perhaps more jaded. "Sand Trap" finds Cleen discussing the decay, and recent rise of racism, in his town of Lancaster. "Die" has him wishing death upon some unnamed rappers. "They Live" has Cleen waiting for the end of society. While the negativity is high at times, unlike other rappers, Cleen never really goes melodramatic. You get the feeling that all of the negative sentiments that he's rapping about are genuine. 

Not all is gloomy, however. "Peeks and Valleys" has Cleen promising to push through the difficult times. "We Will" shows a lot of optimism for where Hip Hop is headed ("If it's dope, it's dope, regardless of the era/Just cause mine was golden doesn't mean it was better.") The wonderful closer, "Dusk Driver," is nice breezy ode to late night fun. And we of course get lots of random braggadocio lines reminding us that even if the world has gone to shit, Cleen certainly hasn't!

As far as the rapping goes, Cleen is on point throughout nearly the entire album. On several tracks (see "American Gods" and "Chip Party,") he even speeds up his flow which is fun. The only real mis-step is "Curve Ball," a weird track about Cleen hooking up with a gay girl...all told over a pretty bad reggae beat. 

And speaking of beats, while Cleen is pretty much top notch on the album, the Kid B production is a bit shaky. I'm not really familiar with Kid B, but from the little I've heard, I'm guessing he's used to making turntable-focused DJ beats sans rappers. For a lot of the album, the beats sound like they were made to exist on their own, without raps over them. When you add in Cleen, who has a pretty slow and steady flow, things sound a bit off. Additionally, some of the blatant samples (which include everything from Queen to 50 Cent) don't really work. Luckily, once you hit about the last third of the album, the instrumentals start getting a lot more progressive, fuller, and fitting for Cleen. 

Aside from being a great rapper, Cleen is also a very cool person. I've never paid for a Cleen album - he's always sent me hard copies for free (that's not to say that I haven't tried paying many times - he unfortunately doesn't have a PayPal or other way to accept funds online.) For this release, he's sending out free download cards to people. You can hit him up on Twitter or Instagram for one. It's worth it. Enjoy! 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Mr. Gene Poole + Divine - Faslehopes2 (2002)

Happy Friday! Once again I want to give a huge thank you to our friend realybe, for not only sending us this rarity but also a few others that we will unearth for you as time goes on...

I remember seeing a post on Reddit as I looked for the missing pieces of my False Hopes collection claiming that this EP was lost to the sands of time. Luckily that's not the case, and I'm happy to be able to offer you Mr. Gene Poole and Divine's Falsehopes2.

Mr. Gene Poole is one of the founding members of Headshots (probably needless to say, but the origin of the hugely popular and equally as controversial Rhymesayers Entertainment), as well as the Dynospectrum. Along with his crew Phull Surkle he can be heard on every Headshots tape. This is his earliest release that I know of, and one of the earliest from the Doomtree label (the only one before being POS + Cecil Otter's Falsehopes (not Mega!!, the original)). As for Divine, all I can find out is that he also goes by the name Beautiful Bobby Gorgeous, which probably means he's either very beautiful or not very beautiful.

I haven't actually had a chance to listen to it yet, but I know for a fact this one's hard to find and I figured even if it was a bit mediocre at least a few of you would be happy to have it, if only for the sake of a complete Doomtree digital discography.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

New Music: Small Town Echoes - Tales Around the Calor Gas

June already... and we're headed into a Summer that promises to drop some serious heat, starting with the newest Onry offering in July. Can't wait for that! A quick note, if you visited last Friday hoping for the Dren EP and found that the link was missing, the problems been resolved. It's still up so feel free to download!

For now, I've chosen something a bit more obscure for my Wednesday review. Small Town Echoes is a live hip-hop / alt rock outfit from Bristol, UK that boasts an emcee as well as a gifted female vocalist. I stumbled onto them through an aimless Bandcamp browsing session when their first EP was new, and I have to say I enjoyed what I heard.

Small Town Echoes is sort of reminiscent of Heiruspecs in their sound, with an emphasis on more rhythmic guitar playing utilizing lots of reverb and palm muting. Their songwriting is melodic with the female singer carrying most of the choruses to good effect. The beats move steadily but have a melancholy tone, which goes well with lyrics that touch on the struggles inherent in a class based society and the frustrations that result. I feel like this would be more for the hip hop fans that also enjoy modern rock (with punk sensibilities), as there is a very heavy alternative rock influence present in these songs.

Since this a rap blog, I'll go ahead and say the emcee is not my favorite thing about this group. Stylistically he's not very unique; his voice does work with the music, and I enjoy some of his lyricism but often his delivery falls a bit flat and he fails to justify his presence on some songs. On the other hand I feel like the band as a whole does offer something with a fairly original sound, and he has the potential to mature as an artist and meld better with the group. I'd love to hear what they sound like after a few more years of working together, but that seems unlikely to happen (more on that below).

Here's a video for "Pot Luck", the b-side on the Break the Mould single offered on Bandcamp. It's a good taste of what Small Town Echoes is about:

Tales Around the Calor Gas is probably not the place to start for the curious. It's mostly live recordings and live sessions, although it does have a nice studio track as the closer ("Pack of Wolves"). Hearing these songs live makes discerning the lyrics a bit difficult, and the sound is obviously more raw. But you can tell the songs are well written and the band certainly doesn't lack in passion.

So Small Town Echoes has dropped 3 EPs at present on Bandcamp, and from a brief communication with the guitarist it seems that the band may be moving on, sans the emcee, as "Kin". The vocalist Kassia Gawronski has a great voice, so for those who like to branch out from rap music it could be something to keep an eye out for.

That's about all I have for today. I don't know much about the band in question. However, I do hope that all of you enjoy the chance to check out something a bit different, and definitely stay tuned this Friday for something seriously dope...

Get Tales Around the Calor Gas here for free download, and check out Small Town Echoes' other work as well, also offered for whatever you're willing (or not) to spare.

Also, once again an official thank you from UGF to Ludz for the NWO (Deepcave)! Not only has he been hooking me up with music for years via his former blog, he's also seriously contributed to the pruning of my Holy Grail list. Thanks dude, you kick ass!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Dren - Pink EP (2007)

Dren is perhaps best known for being the producer half of The Write Brothers alongside the rapping half, Nolto. He isn't as active in the music scene as he once was, but all the more reason to return to some of his previous work.

The "Pink EP" is a collection of 12 tracks that Dren initially dropped on CDR back in 2007. The beats are pretty high-tempo and cover lots of different sounds including jazz, jungle, drum & bass, industrial. In listening, it's probably best that Dren dropped these as instrumentals as it's hard to imagine someone like Nolto rapping over them haha. 

I'm not sure if this ever dropped digitally - but it's here now for you to enjoy. And we definitely haven't heard the last of Dren. He and Nolto have an upcoming EP planned entitled "Sit-Down Comedy." So be on the look out for that!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

New Music: Northwest Survey

There's been a handful of interesting Northwest projects that have dropped during the past month that are worth discussing. I figured I'd briefly tackle five of them today!

1. Mic Capes - Cold Blooded, Vol. 1: Capes brings some great energetic bars and deliveries on this tape. It'll definitely get the head nodding. I'm not a huge fan of the colder trappy beats, but Mic really takes control of nearly all of the songs and makes sure that his voice is the star of the show. It would be interesting to hear Capes over some, say, SmokeM2D6 production tho. Peep HERE.

2. ePP - There's A Place for People Like You: It's very cool to see ePP back in full action - and he returns with a very good vibey album. The man's crisp style of rapping (and singing) really comes across well over the collection of chilled beats on here. The content itself isn't groundbreaking, but the moods more than make up for this. Peep HERE.

3. Libretto & Buscrates - Eternal Ridin': This is pretty much what you'd expect from Libretto at this point - standard boom bappy rhymes over standard boom bappy beats (from Buscrates.) Not really my thing. Libretto's voice and general lightheartedness, however, still give him a slight edge over certain other rappers who long for previous decades. Peep HERE.

4. Knowmads - Rain on Your Parade: Like many Knowmads projects, this album has some good easygoing production and some fun hooks. The Toms' rapping, however, is still a bit of a roadblock at times. On some songs, the guys will fall right into pocket lyrically-speaking. Other times, however, they really force their punchlines and multis, which causes some awkward moments. Peep HERE.

5. Prometheus Brown - Tagsibol: This is Geologic's solo debut on Beatrock and it's easily the best of the bunch! Geo's combination of nostalgic reflective rhymes and down to earth socio-political rhymes continues to be more than impressive. The beats on here are equally amazing. There's only 3 tracks to chew on, but apparently he has plans to drop several more EPs on the label before the year is up! Peep HERE.

[Thank you to realybe for hooking Dimxsk up with "Falsehopes2."]

Friday, May 24, 2019

Blades - Blades of Hades (2003)

So for this Friday I'm happy to offer you guys Blades of Hades, the original debut of Newcastle Australia's own Blades (fka Blades of Hades at the time of this album). I personally think these guys are seriously underrated, and they've been grindin' since way back. Along with Def Wish Cast they are some of the original pioneers of Newcastle hip hop, which has a dark and hardcore rhyme style with a production reminiscent of early East Coast US rap.

I first heard this band on the Off the Radar Vol. 1 compilation alongside songs by Astronautalis and Sole as well as some indie rock and electronic acts. I was impressed with their rapid fire delivery and hard hitting production, and finding more from them I was really surprised I'd not heard of them earlier. I've since educated myself more on the subject of Australian rap and was lucky enough to come across this one.

Be aware this is by no means their best work. It lacks the polish and confidence of their later albums, but it's pretty cool to have as a curiosity and a decent accomplishment in it's own right. Comparing it to Blades 2013 album The Leak makes it clear how much they've put into their art.

Interesting trivia, Blades was actually the hip hop origin of the talented and gorgeous Abbie Cornish (MC Dusk, or just Dusk), who came up with the group and has since moved on to star in some major Hollywood movies such as Limitless and the more recent dark comedy Three Billboards... MC Dusk is not featured here, but she spits some verses on the albums This Installment and Shadow Art, which can and should be picked up on their Bandcamp page here.

Click here for a music video from the album, called "Find Ya Higher" if you're still on the fence. Hope you enjoy Blades of Hades!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Music: The Hell Hole Store (Darko the Super & iAlive) - Three the Hard Way

"Jeff Sessions / gave me indigestion / because he's bad for your health / no question" - from track "Godzilla" by The Hell Hole Store

Located somewhere in Philly is The Hell Hole Store. It is a place run by emcees and producers (? can't find producer credits, I know iAlive makes beats) Darko the Super and iAlive, where you can get everything from Lawry's Seasoning to "ornery dromedaries" and rub shoulders with musicians like Open Mike Eagle and Height Koch while fast forwarding through Swordfish like you may have done in middle school.

So that's the premise behind this collaboration, and obviously it's not something to take particularly seriously. I really like iAlive, his production is fairly unique and tripped out, sampling psychedelic rock with futuristic electro pop synths to craft beats with a flowing, syrupy weirdness that perfectly suit his laid back style of rapping. He's also got a fairly awesome singing voice that lends a sense of completeness to most of his better songs, as well as those made by his peers like kidDEAD and Cody Cody Jones (fka Stillborn Identity).

Darko the Super I don't know much about. I've never heard any of his solo work. I will say he's got a definite lyrical proficiency with an emphasis on content, stylistically a bit like a cross between Coolzey and the aforementioned fellow shopper Open Mike Eagle. Both Darko and iAlive have some pretty classic lines on this tape, often funny in ways that catch you by surprise (see above).

These two artists do sound good as a pair as well and while I can't speak to the effect this collaboration has on Darko, iAlive is certainly taking himself less seriously and letting his mind wander more than on his earlier material. Punchlines abound, with famous names, brands, movies, shows, restaurants, anything is for sale and subject to deconstruction and renovation during these songs, also spiked with standard rap braggadocio and punk sensibilities. They do go everywhere,  and often nowhere. However, they are fun in an era where if a musician wants there is plenty to be angry / sad / frightened about. Can't fault anyone for wanting to get zany and hoping you won't mind laughing a bit in the car going somewhere you don't want, or taking a break from the ever more depressing news.

This being The Hell Hole Stores third exhibition, it's natural to compare it to it's earlier outings and that's where I feel like this tape falls a bit behind. With the exception of the single with OME "I'll Take What I Can Get" which stands out both production wise and overall, most of these songs kinda flew by me without making too much of an impression. I didn't feel that way about their previous album Return to the Hell Hole Store, which was definitely good. This one felt a bit rushed, didn't have the catchy hooks and beats that I was hoping for.

Honestly I wish that we heard a bit more of iAlive's singing. I really like his voice, and throwing in a sing-alongable hook every few songs wouldn't hurt the sound of this tape at all. It would certainly give it a more standout quality in what is becoming a sea of nerd x art + comedy rap albums following the success of the now (insert whatever the word is that's "thrice" but for four) mentioned Open Mike.

So it may not be a glowing recommendation, but understand that when iAlive spoke on this project he said it was a comedic outing, and not like his solo work. This is supposed to be fun music, and expecting an album of the year from a tape like this simply isn't fair. iAlive on his own is often very good, and from what I hear of Darko he has the talent that could shine with the right songwriting. So, if you've never visited The Hell Hole Store, start with the self titled debut or especially Return to the Hell Hole Store. If you like those give this one a chance.

Get Three the Hard Way as a digital download, or support what seems to be a dope label and get it on the tape it was clearly meant to be here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Undergrowth - A Drink of Air (2002)

Last week I posted, in several installments, my complete Sandpeople CD collection on IG. One CD in particular got me a handful of inquiring DMs - Undergrowth's "A Drink of Air" from 2002.

"A Drink of Air" was a very independent project put together by head Sandpeople founder Mo-B, then going by 1770-8 (though this predates the formation of the Sandpeople by a couple years.) The album is essentially a compilation featuring various Northwest names, though "Undergrowth" is the name given to the general grouping of artists involved.

The sound is very lo-fi overall, though this doesn't take away from the album too much. I believe the majority of the production is provided courtesy of Mo-B himself. It's pretty much what you'd expect from 2000s NW underground Hip Hop - darker yet also melodic beats. The rapping is gritty but also experimental and often abstract. Features include Uziah, Flavordisk, Mako, Sulfur, Snafu, Pale Soul, Dialek, Goldini Bagwell, and various others. 

The album isn't the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, but it's certainly worth checking out, especially if you enjoy the Northwest sound and/or are curious to hear how many of the Oldominion/Sandpeople guys sounded early on. Peep below! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Music: Fat Jack - Virgo / Nobody - All Too Familiar

Today we're getting a double dose of new instrumental music in the form of a Project Blowedian "welcome back" and a Project Blowedian (pseudo) "farewell." 

Fat Jack is sort of a monolithic name in the L.A. underground. The man was a part of Camp Freestyle and the vital Abstract Tribe Unique (to whom this blog owes its name) but he's perhaps best known for putting out the groundbreaking "Cater To The DJ" album in 1999 - an album that is now synonymous with the Blowed. 

After having a solid 2000s, Fat Jack sort of went quiet entering the new decade. Then, last year he teamed up with Aceyalone to put out the (in my opinion mediocre) "43rd & Excellence." Now, in 2019, we finally get the first Fat Jack solo album in over a decade,"Virgo," thanks to Daddy Kev's and Self Jupe's Order Label. 

"Virgo" is no general "beattape." It's an album packed full of heavily developed, lush, jazzy, spacey instrumentals. Fat Jack really made this project his own and nearly all of the beats take you on some sort of auditory journey - no rappers needed. It's a very very good return to the scene and I hope that he stays put because Fat Jack has certainly proven that he can still make very quality instrumental music. [I will say that, in addition to making new music, I hope Fat Jack also takes some time to go dig out his hard drives that apparently contain folders and folders of unreleased Project Blowed related material!] 

When Fat Jack was dropping "Cater To The DJ," another Project Blowedian producer, Nobody, was starting to rev up his career. After a couple demos and 12 inches, Nobody dropped his official debut "Soulmates" in 2000, which featured the likes of Freestyle Fellowship, 2Mex, Medusa, and Abstract Rude. 

As time went on, Nobody stayed very productive, dropping music under various names, with various groups, and with various sounds. He might be best known in the wider pop culture for helping found the newly retired L.A. weekly, Low End Theory. After over two decades in the game however, it looks like Nobody is retiring the "Nobody" name (just the name) with his latest album, "All Too Familiar."

Nobody has always had love for more indie rock sounds, so it's fitting that he really digs into that for this project. The album, which features no samples, is perhaps best categorized as melodic riffy psychedelia. Nobody plays guitar for most of the album and it comes across very well. The entire project has a very "late summer night" vibe to it which is perfect as we enter the summer. 

What a great time for instrumental LA music! You can cop Fat Jack's "Virgo" HERE and Nobody's "All Too Familiar" (which dropped on CD and Vinyl) HERE. Enjoy! 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Royal-T - Weirdo Music For Elitist Aliens (2004)

It’s a bit bittersweet to be sharing this album for me. Royal-T (R.I.P.) is one of the many great musicians who was taken too soon in the last few years, and I really want this post to be especially about celebrating his legacy. I feel that putting his early work out there (work that was in my experience incredibly difficult to locate) might help to cement how amazing this guy was.

Hailing from Thunder Bay, ON Canada, Royal-T was one of the founding members of Deepcave Records probably best known for their 2009 eponymous album with Factor. The crew consists of emcees like Big Bear, 40oz, Nevamind, Lev, Webster Death as well as many different collaborations between them like Filthy Animals and The Yesmen. Royal-T himself collaborated with well known producers like The Dirty Sample and DJ Kutdown, but he always seemed at home and in his element working with whomever behind the boards.

The Deepcave Crew and Royal-T were great at putting out hard hitting tracks over dope production, with technical skill and a sense of humor. Royal-T himself had a rapid fire technique that always made for impressive and enjoyable listening. Weirdo Music For Elitist Aliens was his first official solo album, and is a long and expansive look at his early days. The styles are numerous, the production is usually good although a few songs can be pretty out there. The liner notes indicate this album was never really mastered to his satisfaction, and he promised the next full length would be better. I really think this work is an example of all that I like about indie rap. He's having a good time, making stuff that mostly hits, sometimes misses, but is all his own no matter what.

I was personally shocked to hear of his passing, and as unlikely as it may be if any who knew him end up reading this I hope you take this post as a sign of my deep respect and admiration for the man's talent, and that you know how much I enjoyed his work.


A ton of Deepcave material and videos can be found here. These guys didn't seem to care about giving stuff away for free, as far as I can tell most of their albums were shared at some point. Many of the older links have been removed, but last I checked some of the more recent postings still function. Check it out!

Oh, and I'd really love to get my hands on the first and third Yesmen albums, if anyone wants to share them you'd get an official thank you from UGF and my personal gratitude. See you guys next week!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New Music: OneWerd - Timeless

Okay, hella stoked for this one! Another CDBaby discovery (that site is ill no question), I've been aware of this guy for 8 years or so. It's been a pleasure to start seeing his name pop up on the periphery, and gradually make it's way to the center of things. First he's remixing Restiform Bodies. Then he lands a guest spot on Variex's Milled Pavement debut Braille Dive. Then his name is showing up on tour announcements, he's dropping a phenomenal album on Acid Lab Records (Becoming, check it out!) and putting out Alive EP on one of the gold standards of indie music, Fake Four. Dude is now a major player in the SF music scene, and has opened for acts from Sahtyre all the way to the Epic Beard Men and everything in between.

Not only is OneWerd an incredibly hard working (and talented) musician, he's also a nice, humble dude. His music is positive, fun and especially creative, he can go from dropping rhymes over drum and bass influenced beats to producing soulful guitar driven melodies with ease. Then he's out of the studio and teaching middle school to survive the Bay Area grind. And Timeless is all about that grind, how do we live our own definition of a successful life when our time on this earth is finite and filled with obligations and work? Very few of us are where we want to be, but what holds us back?

The album opens with a reflection on the feeling of lost opportunities, trying to catch up to your peers and excel on your own terms. Something most everyone understands. OneWerd's music has often touched on the power of belief to achieve one’s goals, and his message is one of determination and optimism. He believes in putting in the time and energy with patience and being rewarded, and through his personal journey he wants to share this with us.

OneWerd sings during the melodic chorus of "Open Up My Eyes" "it's difficult accepting lessons that you're never not there, open up my eyes", which brings to the forefront OneWerd's roots in faith. While it's not mentioned as prominently on some of his newer releases, Werd definitely relies on his belief in everyday life and it used to pop up a lot in his work. One of his earliest albums Basement Futuristik is most definitely Christian rap. I'm not personally a Christian, so his less explicit meditations on faith are a bit more relatable for me, but the way I see it a lot of us like The RZA and not all of us are Five Percenters. Differing perspectives in music are always welcome, and anyone who finds themselves hesitant to listen to an artist solely over issues of faith just stands to miss out, in my humble opinion. That said this album, while spiritual, doesn't really drop any names which should make it more palatable for those who find religion a sensitive subject.

The production (which is honestly what I tend to focus on in hip hop as an amateur musician) is where I believe OneWerd really sets himself apart. This album is entirely self produced in every sense of the word, he mixed it himself and it sounds very crisp and professional. He does have a signature style (electronic, though not without clear rock roots) but he always manages to take it places that are new and interesting, some of my personal favorite beats of his are the ones where he plays the acoustic guitar with dubstep style synths and drums to back it up, producing a sound that is his own (such as on the album closer “No Stone Unturned"). I'm confident I could identify his work alongside other producers, and I respect that. Even in indie music styles are becoming more and more homogeneous, to my dismay.

Guest spots are sparse with Timeless being a more personal venture for Werd, however his delivery has evolved to the point that he can and does rap at most speeds and sings very well which keeps his vocal work interesting. The artists who are featured should be very familiar to you all, with Eligh of Living Legends rapping about living clean on "Nothing to Stand On", and Scarub of the same coming with a tongue twisting mediation on the grind over the bluesy acoustic guitar driven beat of "No Road Home". For those who like to experience the interplay of styles that's one of the great pleasures of rap, his compilation style album The Faculty Pt. 2 is a good look at his music alongside some surprising guest rappers (Bakus of Learning Curve, Myka 9, Brzowski etc.)

From tuning into his Indiegogo I get the impression that this album is both a labor of love and a masterpiece for OneWerd. Every track is good, and I think it would serve as a perfect introduction to any new listeners and would really drive home to older fans how seriously he takes his craft. There's been growth on everything he's ever done, and it's been a pleasure to watch it happen. Speaking of watching, check out the music video below for "Walk Into the Ocean", a beautiful look at the best parts of the SF Bay over a standout track from the album.

OneWerd is here to stay, don't miss out on something that will have you nodding your head while improving your mood and maybe giving you hope when you need it. Get your digital copy of Timeless here with physical merch available soon at the same location!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Open Mike Eagle - The Finger Booger EP (2003)

While he certainly has yet to reach his peak fame-wise, Open Mike Eagle is already a Top 10 Rapper of All Time in my opinion. The man has a large catalog full of styles, content, and quality, and shows no signs of slowing down. Today's post is the project that introduced Open Mike Eagle to the world (or maybe just a few random people in L.A.) - "The Finger Booger EP." 

"The Finger Booger EP" is a collection of 7 tracks + 2 bonus tracks that Mike burned on cdr (less than 100 copies) back in the day to hand out to various people around Los Angeles. The EP is notable for being a major influence on milo's decision to pursue rap.

When you consider some Project Blowedian cdrs, this one has pretty good sound quality. Technically, Mike shows a lot of early promise with his cadences, multis, and flows. You can, however, definitely tell via his voice that this is a younger Mike Eagle. The biggest thing to note is the content. The EP has a lot of straightforward braggadocio and battle raps - unsurprising considering that the Swim Team was essentially a battle crew back then. While Mike is known today for more social and political commentary, I think he still sounds good on here just talking about how dope he is! There is an awkward slut-shaming track, "Bust Down," that doesn't come across too well and is one that I'm guessing Mike wishes he could erase (the song does attack male sluts as well as female sluts...but that doesn't really help things.) The production on here isn't anything special (save for the "Dear Wack" beat) but that doesn't stop Mike from shining on the lyrical side of things. 

I'm not fully sure when exactly this dropped. I've seen 2003 and 2005. It's possible that there were several versions of the project released during this time period. Anyhow, if you haven't already, peep the EP. The files were uploaded by Mike Eagle himself a while back (the original link is now dead.) Also be sure to check out Mike Eagle's new tv show with Baron Vaughn, "The New Negroes," on Comedy Central every Friday at 11:00 PM. [And as a bonus, peep my Open Mike Eagle CD + Cassette collection after the DL!]

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Trylemma's Top 15 Hip Hop Projects of the First Third of 2019

Now that we're a third of the way through 2019 (wow,) I'm bringing you my Top 15 favorite Hip Hop projects that have dropped thus far this year. Drop any ones I missed in the comments!

15. VA - Victims of Rhyme: Rifleman brings an all star lineup of the Cali underground together for this compilation. Dope appearances from Rifleman, Myka 9, Megabusive, Nocando, Jizzm, Puzoozoo Watt, Medusa, Abstract Rude, Acid Reign, Otherwize, Meen Green, Pterradacto, Ganjah K, Avatar, Mister CR and more! LISTEN

14. Mattr. - Not Smiling Anymore: These are apparently left-overs that never got fully finished. They don't sound like it. Peep if you enjoy melancholy melodic electronic Hip Hop instrumentation. LISTEN

13. Carnage The Executioner - Ravenous: No idea why Carnage still hasn't officially dropped this! While the brute energy from some previous Carnage projects is missing here, the song concepts and straight rapping is more than impressive. Drop this soon!

12. Blockhead - Free Sweatpants: This will please both the boom bap heads and the more avant-garde fans through Block's great cinematic production. Nearly all the vocal guests deliver, but Blockhead is the true star of the show behind the boards. LISTEN

11. Pistol McFly - Snack Run: His return full-length was a bit of a let-down, but this precursor EP is awesome. Great laid back flows over some fun soulful and atmospheric production. LISTEN

10. Kay The Aquanaut & Maki - Earth Station 7: A very impressive concept album displaying both Kay's love and hate for the state of society. Maki crafts the perfect spacey beats to back Kay's vocal performance as well. LISTEN

9. Goldshards - Jade: Easily the best thing that Reverse Live has ever made. The man spits, and even more importantly song-writes, wonderfully over Cemetery Chips' mashup of soulful and trappy beats. LISTEN

8. Malibu Ken - Malibu Ken: While I was hoping for a bit better synth work on here, it's hard to deny Aesop's incredible rapping. He continues with his more approachable (relatively speaking) song-writing and I think the songs are made all the better because of it. LISTEN

7. Claud Six - Vignettish: Starting last year, Lucas Dix produced and rapped over a sub-1 minute song each week and uploaded it to IG. This projects collects those tracks and damn are they good. There's a variety of styles and sounds, and Dix pulls nearly all of them off with ease. LISTEN

6. Graves33 - Anatomy: Peep my review of this project for more in depth thoughts, but this album screams everything I love about Pacific Northwest Hip Hop. It looks like it might be Graves' last project for a while (as he focuses on other art endeavors.) Luckily, it's more than enough to hold us over. LISTEN

5. SB The Moor - SPIRIT REALM​.​FINAL: SB throws noise, industrial, trap, pop punk, goth, R&B, bubblegum pop, and other sounds into a pot and comes out, surprisingly, with a very good body of work. You can tell these songs are very personal in nature, yet things rarely get esoteric. LISTEN

4. Rain - Nervous Hvnd Instrumentals: I truly think that Rain and Onry Ozzborn can reach the level of quality that Dark Time Sunshine has reached. They are both incredible at what they do and sound even better together. So happy we got these instrumentals. LISTEN

3. Juice WRLD - Death Race For Love: Some people who don't know me too well are initially surprised that I not only listen to a lot of "mainstream" (whatever that means these days) music, but also enjoy some of said music more than a lot of "indie" stuff. We have such a case here. Juice WRLD's sophomore release lacks some of the lyrical subtlety of his first outing, but the more bombastic pop sounds work almost as well for him. LISTEN.   

2. Hurricane Party - LOSER ILL L3WD1N: I'm very happy that Dimxsk put me onto this. I haven't been super into Bleubird's more recent attempts at Florida rap, but this album combines the bassy FL sounds, Rick's take on indie pop rock, and some grand hooks extremely well. I can't wait for the full album. LISTEN

1. Ceschi & Factor Chandelier - Sad, Fat Luck: You can read our track by track review, but this album is an experience. Each and every song only gets better with time, and the end product is truly something special. LISTEN

Friday, April 26, 2019

Theory 77 (fka Theory) - The Rules of Rust (2007)

This week's release is one close to my heart for sure. Theory 77 is / was a producer / DJ / emcee from Brighton, UK who's signature mix of acoustic folk and blues with indie rap always reminded me of Buck 65 (in a good way). His songs tend to be about things like being in nature, witchcraft, old movies, stories about unique people and of course music itself. His raps are decent, however to me what really shines is his production and especially his skills behind the turntables. Theory is an amazing battle DJ. Not being one myself I may not be the best judge of what is easy or difficult, but in the video below he looks to be absolutely killing it.

Note: The above song is not from The Rules of Rust. It's featured on his last full length vocal work Let's Be Friends. Not my favorite of his but still a fun listen, if you're interested in it let me know, it's not available retail anymore.

I discovered him through CDBaby around 2010 and managed to find all of his albums (excluding Preface, if you have this let me know!). CDBaby sells two of his full length releases here. For All It's Worth is amazing and probably a good place to start, however since it doesn't fit the UGF definition of a 'fossil' as described on our banner, I decided to go with The Rules of Rust.

This album is short but gives a good feel for Theory's personality and sound. Fun, whimsical and introspective, lots of acoustic guitars and blues oriented sampling. As mentioned above, it should appeal to fans of Talkin' Honky Blues era Buck 65, as well as Sage Francis, Adeem, Josh Martinez etc.

Where he is now I don't know. It seemed like for a bit he was going to land on Strange Famous Records, he curated and produced the D(eat)h Mix they have up on SoundCloud. Unfortunately he seems to have stopped recording, I've been on the lookout but a lot of his stuff has disappeared from the net and there seems to be nothing else coming. I know he had a kid, I guess he's a full time dad now. If he sees this he should know I've enjoyed his work, hopefully you will as well!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New Music: Hurricane Party - Mixxxtape Pt. 2: Loser Ill L3wdin

Happy Wednesday! So first and foremost, we want to give a huge shout out to Ceschi for posting our Sad, Fat Luck review. We've had a ton of views since then and it's really exciting to watch that happen, and it couldn't have happened without amazing musicians like Ceschi putting out honest and dope music to fuel the fire. I saw Ceschi on tour recently, easily the best show I've ever had the privilege to attend. Anyone else reading this needs to hit up the "Sad, Fat Luck Tour", go to any of these cities, you won't regret it! UGF <3's Ceschi!

"That Hurricane Party is low-key amazing" - Trylemma, on Loser Ill L3wdin

Ahem, anyway for this weeks review we're excited to bring you news about RickoLus and Bleubird's newest collection of jams as Hurricane Party, Mixxxtape Pt. 2: Loser Ill L3wdin. Both the cover and the title are a tongue in cheek reference to Guns n Roses, for no real reason, and along with the googly eyes that came in the shipment it's totally in character for the duo. Hurricane Party is all about having fun, clowning, partying and good times in general. And also Florida, can't forget that.

I'm currently a member of RickoLus's Patreon (found here), so I had the privilege of hearing "LIVN" quite a while ago and I knew immediately we were in for something good. I'm a big fan of RickoLus as a solo artist as well as on the numerous collaborations he's put out both within and without the hip hop genre. I've also liked Bleubird going back to RIP USA, but my only minor complaint about his work would be that his (especially older) songs sometimes lacked a finished quality. These seemed to blur the line between interlude and official song and they weren't bad by any means, but I sometimes found it frustrating knowing how f*cking dope Bleubird could be when he wanted to. He's moved away from this as he's grown as an artist, but I believe his clear talent and unique vision deserve to be heard in the best possible form and working with RickoLus seems to be it.

Mxxx Tape Pt. 1 sounded to me a lot like Beck, with indie pop roots laced with dope rhymes by Bleubird and catchy vocal hooks by RickoLus. Mixxxtape Pt. 2 goes in a bit of a different direction sonically, with a more electronic production style courtesy of, apparently, "Some Chill Dolphin with an iPod". No idea who this is, but I suspect he's Rick who isn't a dolphin but may well own an iPod. Also credited on beats are Devereauxxx and DJ Grodon. Additionally we find, among others, James P Honey offering up some vocals on "Space Mountain", a very interesting choice for a party oriented pop record but a musician I'm always happy to hear from. Both tapes blend sophisticated musicianship with catchy pop sensibilities into something accessible enough for the casual listener and unique enough for the more discerning music fan.

Loser Ill L3wdin veers from a hardcore party anthem ("XOXOXO"), to a hometown jam ("Swamp"), to a jaded look at the industry ("Rollercoaster") to a history of the band ("Juice Eagle") all the way to a talkin' blues style story about Brno, CZ ("Brno Car Tow Blues"). The lyrics are in some places pretty outlandish and funny ("Sunset Jet-Ski"), but always heartfelt and real. We have here two regular dudes (with amazing talent) who love making music and work together for the pure enjoyment of it, and this translates into something just as enjoyable to listen to. While you won't strain your brain finding hidden meanings in these tracks (it's just not that kind of music, but it ain't dumb either), it would be next to impossible not to find something one at least enjoys on this tape, and I truly think the quality bodes pretty well for the upcoming full length album Juice.

See below for RickoLus and Bleubird going hard on a few songs from the first mixtape below.

So, I was just informed that unfortunately this tape is sold out! Hoping that doesn't make my review totally irrelevant. It does mean that at some point in the misty future we might share a rip of this when it's fully "fossilized", but you can also still get a few exclusive singles from the B-Side here, and definitely keep an eye out for Juice coming out this June. Stay tuned!