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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, 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!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Myka 9 - Where Would You Be Single (2008?)




I love CD singles ("full length" singles that is) and I wish we saw them more in indie rap. It forces an artist to give you a bite sized amount of music that can't hide behind a greater album and, hopefully, you also get some exclusives that you won't be able to find elsewhere (whether it's the actual track or instrumentals/acapellas/remixes/what have you.) And best of all, they're much easier to rip than vinyl!

Today, I bring you Myka 9's "Where Would You Be" CD single. The single collects three songs from Myka 9's "Mykology" album and said songs' instrumental versions (produced by Organized Elements.) We get the homie tribute title track, the weedy "Trimmings," and the boastful "Breathing Down Your Back." Now, "Mykology" is far from my favorite Myka 9 album, and these three tracks aren't even amongst the best tracks on that album imo. Nevertheless, mediocre Myka 9 is still usually solid music and such is the case here.

Curiously, this single appears to have come out in 2008 (based on the dating on the physical covers) but "Mykology" didn't come out until 2011. I suppose this single was super early promo for the album! I'm guessing the album was pretty much wrapped in 2008, the single dropped, and then label shopping went bad or something, and the album was pushed back year after year until 2011.

Anyhow, enjoy this rarity - personally ripped by myself!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

New Music: Gavin Theory - Somewhere I'm Not





To commemorate the seven year anniversary of Gavin Theory's death, Theory's childhood friend and Hives Inquiry Squad partner, Lucas Dix (who, at this point, is one of the best rappers OAT imo,) has gathered up and blessed us with seven unreleased tracks from Theory's old hard-drive. The result is "Somewhere I'm Not." These songs were originally made around 2006 and were meant to be part of a solo album that Theory ultimately scrapped. Luckily, we get to hear them now. 

The album is comprised mainly of metaphysical driven rhymes that have Theory searching for some higher truths and higher existence amidst the various things that the world and his own mind throw at him. These themes are complemented very well by the project's echoey eerie electronic beats. On their surface, Theory's emphasized abstract rhymes do sound a bit dated, which isn't surprising as they are from over a decade ago, and back-packy. When you consider the impact that Theory left on the NW Hip Hop scene (not to mention all the other people outside of the scene that he probably left a mark on,) however, new, more timeless, layers to his raps here start to form. The track "Spotless" is one my favorites of the year thus far. 

If you haven't heard Gavin Theory, Lucas Dix, or Hives Inquiry Squad, I would strongly recommend checking them out. They have a large catalog and are a "must-listen to" for any fans of NW Hip Hop or indie Hip Hop in general. Theory was a staple in the PDX Hip Hop scene and you can see it via reflections on his life from people like Sleep of Oldominion, Cloudy October, Josh Martinez, and Serge Severe HERE

You can stream "Somewhere I'm Not" or purchase the album for only $1.00 HERE. RIP Gavin Theory. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Babel Fishh - Fathers First Musket (2008)



For today I've got something I believe hasn't been seen around the internet much, if ever. Fathers First Musket is Babel Fishh (Babelfishh)'s EP from 2008, released on picture disc by Ooh! That's Heavy in an edition of only 220 copies (of which I own 2, more on that later). This album is an interesting work in the Texan horrorcore / folk hop artist's catalogue given that it seems to mark his transition from acoustic based punk folk rap (a sound reminiscent of Dose One x Astronautalis) to the more doom metal sludge rap style found on his tape releases beginning with 2011's Eyeless Terror.

The production found here (with contributions from Papervehicle's own Edison and Univac) is distorted, discordant and unsettling. His topics usually cover the life of the working class, with a healthy dose of Texas history along with a world weary cynicism. His voice as I mentioned above is not dissimilar to Dose one, but I find the worlds that Babel Fishh builds to be more interesting to listen to, they're more immersive and have much less tendency to veer off into irritating singing. This is one for the fans of the weird stuff, but it might well be an enjoyable listen for punk and metal fans as well.

Note: The following is mostly a story about making this rip. Skip to the download link if you don't care, I won't take it personal!

Now, creating this particular rip was something of a challenge. I'm fairly new at ripping vinyl, and what I understand from this experience is that the grooves on these picture discs are fairly shallow, which means if the counterweight is not correctly set they WILL skip. This also means that to get a steady play you wind up with very heavy drum sounds, the potential for distortion, and a disc that won't last very long with repeated listens (anyone who knows if this information is wrong please comment, I'm a self taught vinyl person and would welcome any corrections in my understanding. The above is my personal conjecture).

My first copy had been rendered virtually unlistenable by the previous owner, so after years I found a second one that was "mint". To get a rip without skipping took several hours (this is a 10 min album), and while I really like Babel Fishh, listening to pieces of his songs over and over again was not something I'd have wished on anyone I had any affection for at all.

But it was worth it, to get a clean sounding rendition (as clean as it was meant to sound, it's still Fishh) and to be able to share it with all of you. Cheers!


Download


I just noticed we reached 5,000 views today! Trylemma and I want to thank all of you for your interest, this project has been a lot of fun and knowing people are seeing it makes it even better. See you next week!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New Music: Carnage the Executioner - Ravenous



It being my week I've decided to post a sort of Part 2 to my Friday release. As stated on my previous post, Carnage is one of my oldest favorites. I remember hearing "Coaches" and "Star Destroyer" and being an instant fan, and in my humble opinion (maybe not such a popular one) he outshone Eyedea (R.I.P.) on both. Carnage possesses not just an ability to rap at speeds that are unbelievable to behold, but the mind for clever lyrics with an interesting voice. Teenage me found his DIY looking site, copped the SWEEPS albums and the Carnology Vol. 05, but was eager for more solo work from the man.

Fast forward to 2019, and after 7 years of waiting (with the undeniably dope short albums he's offered in between) Carnage is finally ready to drop the new full length solo album Ravenous, a culmination of decades of struggle, dedication and disappointment. The last word from the man himself gives us a retail release date of 4/12, but the album is done and ready and can be purchased on tour now. Trylemma and I were lucky enough to be able to hear this gem, but for the rest of you, I'm excited to bring you the low down on Ravenous.

First off, I have to say this album is probably his most accessible. If you like good rap but haven't been able to get into Carnage's style or songwriting in the past, this album may be the tipping point for you. His ability to not just display a high level of technical skill but write and perform catchy and clever tracks has improved with each release, with Ravenous being full of single worthy bangers. Check out the video for one of my personal favorite cuts, "Not Just a Name".





This album also offers the listener an intimate glimpse into the man behind the music, with frank musings on his struggles. Carnage has always been honest ("MTW Story" from Respect the Name is a heartbreaking example of this), and on Ravenous his personal battle with food is a re-occurring theme. Carnage is a big dude but he's determined to be healthy, and his references to hunger and eating are nice metaphors for the hip hop game and his attitude towards it (and it's attitude towards him).

Also featured are a dope well produced posse cut ("The Crew-Torial") and amusing anecdotes about his interactions with his famous peers ("...Prime Yet"), but every song has something to offer. Carnage has never seemed to get the attention, accolades or fans he deserves. He's a hard working DIY musician, and also a pretty chill individual who's previous work was as a social worker. Ravenous is a worthy introduction to his solo work for the new listener, and a culmination of a career spent revering the art of music and honing his skill like a true professional for the long time fans.

Ravenous is finally here! It's dope and a fun listen for sure! See y'all Friday.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Zoën ‎– Tour CD October 2008 (2008)






This week we're bringing you, coming straight outta France, Zoen's "Tour CD October 2008." The title really gives you all the relevant info you need. It's a tour release (homemade cdr though, not so much "CD") from 2008. I believe the tour at hand was a European run involving Zoen, Noah23, Swordplay, and James P Honey (hence such names appearing on the release.)

The project collects 10 tracks including previously released songs, demos, remixes, instrumentals, and vocal tracks. It's a good chance to enjoy Zoen's production, which is often melancholy melodic and incorporates a lot of different sounds, if you haven't recently. I can't speak to Zoen's French lyrics, but he does sound good both when he's singing and rapping!

This is an older non-scene rip I found online, so props to the original ripper! Enjoy! 

[Thanks to Nathan Smart who hooked up Dimxsk with something off his wish-list!] 





Wednesday, April 3, 2019

New Music: Ceschi & Factor Chandelier - Sad, Fat Luck





Ceschi and Factor are two of my and Dimxsk's favorite artists, and they play a small part in how we originally met as well. As such, we're teaming up today to give you a track by track review of the new album, "Sad, Fat Luck," the official follow up album to 2015's "Broken Bone Ballads." The album is still fresh in both of our minds, so we're just giving our basic thoughts on each of the 13 tracks for now. A fuller, more in depth review may follow at some point. Enjoy! 


1. "LOST TOUCH": 

Trylemma: A live version of this one dropped back in 2017 when Ceschi and Factor were just planning on doing a short EP instead of 3 full length albums, though I had forgotten about it until now. Such an epic opening. Based on recent interviews, Ceschi seems more focused than ever on confronting and rectifying capitalist trains of thought (this being supported by the three albums he has dropping this year and his planned move to LA,) and this opener really captures such sentiments perfectly. It sort of reminds me of a better, more refined, version of Sole's "Capitalism Is Tearing Us Apart." The hook really conveys the false sense of hope and security that Ceschi appears to want to target throughout this body of work. Also, the way Factor places and builds up the synths here is crazy - easily the best producer of all time in my opinion. 

Dimxsk: I had heard the live session recording of this track a year or two ago, and didn't really "get" it. Something about it seemed missing to me, and Ceschi usually shines live. But from the moment I hit play this track had me engrossed, Ceschi's frustration with the modern world comes through brilliantly, with a desperate sounding chorus fit for the climax of your favorite scene from your favorite show.


2. "JOBS":

Trylemma: I love the pitch play and schemes on here, Ceschi really pulls it off well. I think it's a really good follow up to "Lost Touch" insofar as that song frames the capitalist issue on a pretty grand scale and interprets the fight against capitalism as a larger moral fight. "Jobs," then, addresses similar concerns but brings them a bit closer to Ceschi's everyday life and profession. Ceschi is anti-capitalist not only because of a larger moral good but also because his art-making requires him to be. I believe the line about making his mom's salary in two weeks refers to the great success that this album's pre-orders had (such that it equaled, in terms of monetary results, his mother's yearly salary as a lecturer at Yale.) The shorter length of the track works really well too.

Dimxsk: I would almost decline to discuss this track, because for me this is the closest thing to a song I don't like on this album and I don't want to spoil a sublime piece of work for anyone by saying Sad Fat Luck has a weak spot when it really doesn't. I have never been a fan of trap style rap, and Jobs is undeniably that. Complete with autotune (why use autotune when you have an amazing voice, this isn't Kanye) syrupy MIDI drums and spacey synths, this sounds nothing like what I expect and love from Ceschi. The style does (as Trylemma pointed out) fit the content of the track (hustling) in a way that is a bit tongue in cheek, and it doesn't prevent Ceschi's talent from shining through, but I have to say I will never like music like this.


3. "SAD, FAT LUCK": 

Trylemma: I think Ceschi's odes to weariness (and possible depression?) hit so hard because a lot of us view the man as the great Fake Four head who is constantly rounding up our favorite artists and helping them bring us classic music. Maybe we also view him as the guy who got locked up, came out, and continued to fight. Maybe we just view him as the dude who puts on crazy shows every year - sun, rain, snow. So hearing Ceschi wrestle with wanting to give up is something special. This title track, I believe, hits even harder, however, than some of Ceschi's other tracks where he shows such sentiments because this track is really just focused on that raw tired feeling (as opposed to some greater lesson on how to overcome it once and for all.) The harmonizing with Taylor Jade is pulled off so well. I could have done without some of the chopping near the end, but even so, this is definitely in the running for my favorite track off the album.

Dimxsk: Okay, back to the good stuff (for me). A beautiful, personal chorus (no autotune), cinematic beat and an insanely fast verse where Ceschi spits very frankly about his experiences as a musician. Still a bit trappy but a great song. 


4. "THE GOSPEL":

Dimxsk: You've probably had the opportunity to hear this song even without owning the full album yet. It's incredible, one of the moments on Sad Fat Luck that almost brought me to tears. The content hits close to home, and you can FEEL the same is true for Ceschi. One of my favorite songs by him at this point.

Trylemma: We originally heard this one on Factor's top notch "Wisdom Teeth" album last year. We now get a slightly remixed version of it here, and its inclusion on the album makes a lot of sense. Right after a song about getting worn down by a long career, we get a track about addiction, or rather devotion, to opioids - wowee. I really enjoy the juxtaposition between the poppy sound of the track and Ceschi's darker, very (I won't use this term again) poetic, lyrics. The fact that the song deals with the drugs as pure power, as opposed to either mere comfort or mere decay, is very smart. 


5. "DAYBREAK": 

Dimxsk: At this point in the album I'm thinking, bring the folk. And Ceschi does. To say that Ceschi has improved as a guitarist throughout his career is an understatement, he's gone from average to very very good. He's a brilliant and unconventional songwriter, and has managed to build folk songs that never really do what you expect. A beautiful track, and it wouldn't be a Ceschi album without something like this.

Trylemma: And we get our first acoustic based ballad! I can't say for certain, but I'm assuming this chronicles Ceschi's most recent ending of a longterm relationship - brought about by, again partially assuming, Ceschi's demanding work life as an artist (hence the "floating in limbo" line.) The melodies on here are great and Factor's backing keys add an almost celestial feel to the song. Situating the track within the greater album, we really get an even closer sense of the cost of dedication that Ceschi deals with. Can't wait to sing along with this one live. 


6. "TAKE IT ALL BACK (PARTS 1-4)": 

Trylemma: We got this one back in 2016 I think and it finally finds a home here now. I'm not entirely sure what to make of the four distinctive sections that make up this track, but, from what I can gather, it seems like the song traces (though likely not chronologically) the various ways in which Ceschi has dealt with societal issues. Specifically: Head on and almost abrasively (Part I); In the company of like-minded youth positioned in a dying society (Part II); Barely, in a coping fashion (Part III); Head on again, only this time with a sort of aged wisdom (Part IV.) The "Thinking that a meme is a revolutionary strategy" line is something that I've heard Ceschi talk about on various occasions when it comes to how some of the political Left deals with issues in the internet age. I enjoy the clearer divisions between the Hip Hop and Punk sounds here - major props to Factor for giving such unique backing to each of these parts. The production works well in all four segments.

Dimxsk: Released previously as a single, most of you probably know this one. It goes all over the place, with each part flowing seamlessly into the next. Awesome, and a perfect introduction to what Ceschi does for anyone unconvinced that folk and rap can coexist peacefully on the same song.


7. "SAY NO MORE": 

Trylemma: We first got this one, in recorded raw acoustic form, on Ceschi's great "Elm St. Sessions" that dropped last year. It was easily one of the best tracks on that project and it is definitely in the running for my favorite track on this album as well. The song is written about two friends facing marijuana cases and you can really feel both the sincerity and the desperation in Ceschi's verses and hooks, especially considering what he himself went through. The notion of an atheist calling out to God, knowing that he/she/they/it doesn't exist is such a powerful, dare I say religious, tool and comes across as so here. The 'religion/AA/AK aimed at your head' line is killer. I do think I slightly prefer the acoustic version as Ceschi sells the hook a bit more there. This one is almost as great, however, thanks in big part to the added backing vocals. 

Dimxsk: Being my favorite song on Elm St, I was excited to hear what Factor could bring to this track. It is a very good version, although in my opinion the first verse fits a bit better the live acoustic sound of Elm St. There is a pretty strong dose of that trap sound thrown in as well (betrayalll [ay al ay al ay al]) which I have said previously I can't really dig. It's also autotuned again. But after the chorus which is seriously amazing, he gets going on the beat and brings the song to life in a big way.


8. "ELECTROCARDIOGRAPHS": 

Dimxsk: A sort of stream of consciousness rap song, taking references to drugs, sex and toxic masculinity and blending them together into something like a 4th step moral inventory. Very dope rapping too, builds to a pretty epic finish.

Trylemma: I feel like I may have heard this one performed live in 2016? Maybe not, it sure sounded familiar though when they dropped the video. Anyhow, and minor spoilers ahead, this entire album is greatness in my opinion save one track - this one. I feel like the song is a combination of various ideas from Ceschi's "rhyme book" that are tied together at the end rather sloppily (and in a cliche fashion.) We certainly get some fun lines and heartfelt content, but in an album with such strong focused songs, this one stands out as below par. Also, and this is just from the standpoint of a rap nerd, the "enough," "Rican," and "foreign" rhymes are delivered super forced and really distract from the important content being conveyed. The instrumental at the beginning is also sort of disjointed and took me out of the song. Luckily, the beat gets much better in the latter portion once Factor establishes a constant melody. I also think that the positioning of the song is sort of strange. If this had been put at the end (with a cleaner instrumental) I think it would have worked slightly better. As a middle track sandwiched in between two of the best tracks on the album, however, it sticks out as the clear, and only, weak link. 


9. "MIDDLE EARTH (Feat. Sammus)":

Trylemma: So there's a handful of candidates for my favorite track off of this thing, but this is currently the strong frontrunner. The song is a great companion to the previous title track insofar as we get Ceschi acknowledging the struggles hinted at in the title track (and throughout the whole album) but also identifying a desire to continue and embrace the life he's chosen. I love the play on the common "H.E.R." theme with the "I know she don't love me like that - not the game or the lady" line in the chorus. Sammus gives an incredible performance here as well, giving her fresh version of "struggling artist" in a wonderful fashion. The upbeat strings and bass orchestrated by Factor are amazing and fall perfectly in sync with the vocals. If there is another video in the cards for this album, I hope this song gets it. 

Dimxsk: One of the brighter sounding tracks (with the obligatory references to death and depression), Ceschi and Sammus talk a bit about childhood dreams and letdowns over a foot stomping, Celtic influenced folk rap beat. Classic Ceschi.


10. "SANS SOLEIL": 

Dimxsk: The more I hear this the more I'm convinced it's the best song Ceschi has ever written. More of that cinematic production from Factor with a beautiful set of chords that lay the groundwork for a track that is simply heartbreaking. Ceschi speaks about anxiety, about the loss of Sixo, Bender and a friend named Niles who committed suicide, and most importantly about sticking it out. There are traits to this song that hit me like Half Mast did, which was previously my favorite Ceschi song. Came the closest to crying from this particular track. I can't stress enough how good it is.

Trylemma: This is certainly one of the most somber songs we'll hear this year and is the emotional high point of the album. Ceschi has to be one of the most "connected" people in indie rap. If you make a list of your favorite indie rap acts - chances are, Ceschi has made a song with, played a show with, or at least knows a good amount of them. And that's just his peers, not to speak of the countless other people he's met along the way. As such, it's not surprising that Cesch has seen loss. This doesn't lessen the blow at all, however, when he raps and sings about it here in depth. The lines about Sixo and Bender cut hard. The glimmer of hope and continuance that Ceschi adds in is the high point of this great cut (another potential favorite off the album.) [RIP Tech 9 and Nipsey.] 


11. "ANY WAR (Feat. Astronautalis)": 

Trylemma: As the vocal sample at the beginning of the track suggests, "this is the hardest one!" This is the closest thing the album has to a banger - and it's a good one! Factor's drum and brass work here crafts a solid instrumental for Ceschi to spit his "rise up and rebel" raps over. Astronautalis also shows up to the party and delivers a good, though not extraordinary, verse, taking a sort of dystopian approach towards the track's theme. I'll mention here that I do like that there's only two rap features on this project and they're both from artists that Ceschi and Factor have toured nationally with recently, one having been a headliner (Astronautalis) and one having been support (Sammus.) 

Dimxsk: This track strikes me as similar to Broken Bone Ballads. Fairly optimistic for Ceschi, with some awesome rapping and a steady, dope beat. Astronautalis comes through with a decent verse, but I have to say on an album of brilliant songs, this one is just good. There's no reason not to like it, but it doesn't cut as deeply as some of these others. I'll forgive Ceschi for stopping the bloodletting and simply rapping his ass off for us.


12. "DOWNTOWN (Majical Cloudz Cover)": 

Dimxsk: Trylemma has a story for you guys about this song. It was meant to grab my attention. Ceschi kills it, a pretty song and a cover that doesn't just play the same notes. He does his own thing with it, and while the sound doesn't totally fit the record, I'm still glad it's there.

Trylemma: Quick story. A day or two before Dimxsk and I heard this album, I recommended that he watch "The OA," a Netflix show that originally aired in 2016. Once we heard the album, he texted me and told me that this song sounded like something he had heard in "The OA" the night before (I couldn't remember what song he was talking about as I hadn't seen season one of the show since 2016.) He looked it up and sure enough, during a pivotal scene of the show, the Majical Cloudz song is playing triumphantly. This coincidence was very strange, especially considering that neither of us had heard the original song (or heard of Majical Cloudz) before - and just based on YT views, it looks like Majical Cloudz is/was a pretty successful group but not extremely famous by any measure (it seems like they might be best known for having the song in "The OA.") Anyways, while, after listening to both versions, I like the original slightly more, Ceschi certainly does this song justice and the track fits in really well with the album. I'm not sure Ceschi's exact intent, but I think the song works well both as a tribute to a lost loved one and as a tribute to music itself and the dedication Cesch has towards it.


13. "BONA DRAG TAPE": 

Dimxsk: Ceschi takes the three Bona Drag songs from Elm St and blends them together to create a perfect final track to the album. As a chronic maker of mixtapes I appreciate the art of the final track. It must leave the listener with a specific mood. And this song is like a sunrise at the end of a stormy night. Perfect. "Pretty sure this music will not heal your broken bones," but it may help you to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and rock out while doing it.

Trylemma: This was originally given to us via 3 separate, very rough, tracks on "Elm St. Sessions." I thought they were cool, but also thought that they were sort of a low point on that project. Here, however, those 3 tracks have been combined and given full production and some singing - leaving us with a pretty great closing track. Factor's breezy production gives Ceschi's rhymes a cohesive reflective vibe, giving us what I think "Electrocardiographs" ultimately couldn't. The "pretty sure this music will not heal your broken bones" line makes it pretty clear that "Sad, Fat Luck" isn't a "I'm better now!" project from Ceschi, but rather an album really based around constant coping and struggling. It's in that coping and struggling, however, where Ceschi flourishes the most. 


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Dimxsk: This album had such a visceral and positive effect on my mood when I first heard it, and even as a fan of rap I have to say I can't often get that feeling from it as a musical style. Even with this being a markedly darker offering than Broken Bone Ballads, it still offers moments of hope that show us Ceschi will fight on. This is not dark for the sake of dark, it is real, it is a man ritualistically purging his struggles and anyone who has ever struggled will find something to hold onto when they hear it. Cechi's songwriting has improved so dramatically over his career, where once my only complaint about his music was a slight simplicity to his vocabulary and word choice (which he more than made up for with raw honesty and singular talent), now he writes with confidence and sophistication. 

Trylemma: This is easily the best album I have heard this year so far. Ceschi and Factor's chemistry is perfect at this point. While I need to let the album sink in a bit longer, I'm pretty sure I like this more than "Broken Bone Ballads" (which was my favorite album of 2015.) I am so excited for Ceschi moving forward, should be a great year. 


"Sad, Fat Luck" officially drops this Thursday (4/4.) You can order the vinyl, cassette, cd, stickers, mug, tattoos (yes, tattoos) HERE. Also, if you want the album digitally, you can enter the code "phat" and pre-order/order the album for literally only 50 cents HERE. Ceschi and Factor are also taking a 7 piece band on a national tour to promote the album, with lots of cool acts as "local" support (e.g. P.o.S, Nostrum Grocers, Dark Time Sunshine, Astronautalis, Myka 9, Mestizo, Awol One, Sole, Armand Hammer...) so make sure you go see them live! And the good news doesn't end there. Ceschi and Factor are putting out another album, called "Sans Soleil," on July 4th of this year and then another album, called "Bring Us the Head of Francisco False," on December 4th of this year. So be on the look out for those as well!