• 10 Atmosphere Tracks that are Underrated, Under-appreciated, or Utterly Unknown

    Gen 7 2010, 1:01

    Every time I look at Atmosphere's charts here on I die a little on the inside. It's not that the songs featured are bad by any means; I just see those charts and think that there are thousands of people out there who are stuck in a When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold world.

    I'm not trying to kick that same dead horse: "mainstream hype is their downfall" or "hipster kids are killing Atmosphere!!!1!" or blah blah blah. On the contrary, I enjoyed WLGYLYPTSG quite a bit. Showcased the duo's diversity while attempting something new and different. But I digress...

    Fuck. Where was I?... Ah, back to the charts. Good songs, but not a good representation of the span of quality that Atmosphere has been pumping for more than a decade. My concern is this: these new listeners have not experienced the full potential that Atmosphere has to offer. Classics are being overlooked or ignored. That, ladies and gentlemen, is blasphemy!

    I'd like to share some tracks that are underrated (where's the love?), under-appreciated, or utterly unknown by those joining the bandwagon late. (When I say they are underrated, I don't mean "they should be realistically be around 200 on the charts, not 220"; I actually think most or all of these 10 drops would be on the list of my top 20, period).

    So, without further buildup, I present to you the dirrty 10:

    Track: Get Depressed
    Album: Sad Clown Bad Dub 6 Chart Position*: 291
    The positioning here might be due to the sheer rarity of some of these EPs, regardless this deserves more credit.
    U-toob: N/A

    Track: The River
    Album: Sad Clown Bad Dub II Chart Position*: 182
    Such a personal song for Slug. There's an incredible live version on SCBD3 where Slug actually breaks down midway and can barely finish by the end. For our purposes, I lumped all versions into one. It's realistically some of Atmosphere's best work, yet clocks in way under the radar. No longer done at live shows, this song is retired...

    Track: Body Pillow
    Album: Sad Clown Bad Dub II Chart Position*: 171
    Combination of the piano riff, the bass line, and the lyrics make for a great song. "Never knew punk rock could be so pretty".

    Track: God's Bathroom Floor
    Album: Sad Clown Bad Dub 7 Chart Position*: 101
    The backing track sets an atmosphere (no pun intended) so mellow and smooth... it's like a song you'd here on call-waiting or in a really badass elevator. "And check the floor God's got nice tiles".

    Track: The Abusing of the Rib
    Album: Headshots: Se7en (from Headshots tapes) Chart Position*: 99
    A very hypnotic piano riff that aligns itself with the theme of the song as it crawls along, like the train of addiction. Most listeners are quick to just say "heroin" when thinking about what it means... but it's so much more than that. I've got my theories on it's meaning, but if you give it a listen you can find so many hidden nuances in the lyrics - heroin addiction, sex, hip-hop as a whole - all so general, yet all so powerful.

    Track: 1597
    Album: Overcast! (with Slug and Spawn) Chart Position*: 92

    Track: If I Was Santa Claus
    Album: Lucy Ford (from The Lucy EP) Chart Position*: 60
    Matter o' fact, the entire Lucy Ford release is underrated! Let's go!

    Track: The Woman with the Tattooed Hands
    Album: Lucy Ford (from Ford 2 EP) Chart Position*: 50
    Pretty widely recognized as one of Atmosphere's best. Yet, at #50, somehow not living up to this designation.

    Track: Little Man
    Album: You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having Chart Position*: 47
    One verse begins "Dear Sean," and what follows is some of the most revealing, unabashed, self-deprecating lines ever rhymed. "The only women that love you are fans and family / Mom has no choice, but fans leave you randomly". One of the best from their more recent work.

    *Charts as of 1/6/2010, ordered from lowest on charts to highest

    If you have an hour sometime, turn off the lights, lie down, close your eyes, and take these songs in... Old fan or new, you won't regret it. PEACE!
  • 22/Male Seeking Artist or Group to Fall in Love With

    Ott 20 2009, 21:52

    I've had many crushes in my young life; I've even been in love a few times; however, I've reached a point where I've lost that tingle in my trousers.

    When I was in high school I had a lot of false alarms. I was quick to say "I love you", but did so without even really knowing what true love was. I flung that love out to whatever was hot and on the radio willing to put out.

    I graduated to college, where I found my first TRUE love: Underground Hip-Hop. A bit of Blue Scholars, a dabble of Sweatshop Union, some Jedi Mind Tricks. I started doing things like making mixed CDs for them--that's when you know you're caught up.

    This was a long-standing relationship, one that I still haven't put behind me. We continued to age and grow together. I added Atmosphere, MF DOOM, Common, Living Legends, and so on and so forth. At some point, I needed something new.

    Like any good Bro Namath in college, I let Jack Johnson dote on me. How else could me and my fellow Bro-do Baggins's get down, while playing Halo and trying to get girls naked? Like all relationships rooted in sex, this one saw its fair share of problems... It became more of a niche- a hit it and quit it, if you will- good for rainy days, studying, and impressing girls. I needed more inspiration.

    Enter: The Black Keys. This was the party girl, dancing on a table top, grabbing everyone's attention with her boisterous personality. How could you not like her? Yeah, she's loud; maybe slightly obnoxious to some; but, she pulled me in like no other. It was something different than I'd ever felt before. She opened my eyes to entirely new genres.

    Lately, The Black Keys- along with other garage, blues, honey-drip vocals, alt rock groups- have been constantly on my mind. White Stripes, Heartless Bastards, Raconteurs. Somewhere, though, in a small crevice in the curls of my brain, is a thought. A thought that it's possible I could stray; I could find something on the side that will give me butterflies in my stomach like when I was a kid; something that will give me that wet-my-pants joy.

    I need help though. That is why I've made this want ad. I need an artist or group that I can fall in love with. I'm not looking for one or two tracks; I'm not even looking for one or two albums; I'm looking for a band with an ENTIRE CATALOG that is worth cop[ping/ulating]. I want something lip-biting, cum-in-my-pants good.

    Look, I'll always love you, baby, but it's time to find something new to reinvigorate my life.

    Can you be that group? [Please, let me know!!!]
  • Best Of 2009 - Work In Progress

    Lug 28 2009, 7:07

    Heartless Bastards - The Mountain
    Erike Wennerstrom's distinctive vocals carry this album.
    Favorite Tracks: The Mountain***, Could Be So Happy, So Quiet

    P.O.S. - Never Better
    Lyrics and loops. 'Punk-hop' on full display on tracks like Purexed (see: the hook).
    Favorite Tracks: Purexed***, Goodbye, Optimist (We Are Not for Them)

    Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
    Vocal harmonies, steady drumming, crashing cymbals... only thing holding it back is a few weak spots. Some of the best tracks of the year, and some low points.
    Favorite Tracks: Two Weeks, Cheerleader***, While You Wait for the Others

    Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid
    The Black Keys' frontman's solo effort... Very diverse. Can't go into it expecting it to resemble a Keys' album- that's the whole reason to make an individual piece, to try something different that doesn't fit in stylistically with TBK's. Conjures a variety of styles from the mid-20th century.
    Favorite Tracks: Trouble Weighs A Ton, Whispered Words, Real Desire

    Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
    As a whole, I'm not a huge fan of this album. I do, however, find 3 tracks to be amazing. I would go so far as to call them epic. So, on the strength of these songs, it is one of the top albums of '09.
    Favorite Tracks: In the Flowers, My Girls, Summertime Clothes

    Silversun Pickups - Swoon
    Quality followup to Carnavas.
    Favorite Tracks: Growing Old Is Getting Old

    The Grouch & Eligh - Say G&E!
    This album so far has not stood up to the test of time very well. It has some great marquee tracks, but given the talent throughout it Say G&E! should stand out more. Despite this, it still is a quality record picked up by The Grouch's lyrics and rapid delivery.
    Favorite Tracks: All In (Featuring Gift of Gab & Pigeon John), No Flowers (Featuring Paris Hayes)

    Tor / Sufjan Stevens - Illinoize
    A great mashup album, and free at that! Sufjan Stevens is a singer-songwriter/folk artist with a strong Christian foundation... Who would have thought combining his works with rappers like Aesop Rock and Gift of Gab would create a masterpiece?
    Favorite Tracks: The Dress Looks Nice on You / Make You Feel That Way (f. Gift of Gab)

    ***song of the year candidate
  • Initial thoughts on Kanye's "Graduation"

    Set 13 2007, 19:29

    I'm currently on my 5th spin of "Graduation" by Kanye West and my opinions of the album have started to take shape. The CD offers more than one song worthy of making noise on the singles charts, solid production, and a few notable collaborations.

    Track by track:

    1. Good Morning: Great kickoff track, fresh new sound 4/5
    2. Champion: Arrogant, but that's Kanye 4/5
    3. Stronger: First synthesized beat on the record, and it works in this (his second) single off the album 4.5/5
    4. I Wonder: Kanye pondering over a synth-piano blend 4/5
    5. Good Life (feat. T-Pain): High point of the album. Features a faux-synth-voiced T-Pain (I can't help but wonder, is his normal every day voice spoken synthesized as well?) 5/5
    6. Can't Tell Me Nothing: Angry lyrical barrage, nice addition and his first single 4/5
    7. Barry Bonds (feat. Lil Wayne): After first listen this track would have been a 1, but it's grown to an average track after a few replays 3/5
    8. Drunk n Hot Girls (feat. Mos Def): Featured Mos Def without a verse, poor concept, poor everything. For me this song missed on all levels 1/5
    9. Flashing Lights (feat. Dwele): 5/5
    10. Everything I Am: 4/5
    11. The Glory: Reminiscent of The College Dropout with that well known high-pitched background voice 4/5
    12. Homecoming: 3.5/5
    13. Big Brother: An ode to the one and only Sean Carter doesn't fail to impress 4/5

    This CD was worth the $10 I spent on it for the first 6 tracks alone. On songs 7 and 8 it takes a step back before getting back on track from songs 9 onward. I'm not necessarily a T-Pain fan but his vocals worked well on "Good Life" and that song catapults onto my favorite tracks list easily (just as easily as "Drunk n Hot Girls" failed, seriously, give this track a listen. It is uncharacteristically bad considering the talent involved in it).

    I by no means am an expert but in my opinion this album deviates from Kanye's norm production wise. That's not to say it's bad, it's just different, and the end result is a very solid album that I don't regret purchasing.

    Overall: 4/5
  • The Roots/Common

    Set 11 2007, 2:39

    This Summer I got to see the geniuses that are The Roots and Common at the "Harmony Festival" in Santa Rosa. During Common's Testify he took one of his drummer's drumsticks and started beating the cymbal with it before throwing it in the crowd where my tall ass reached up and snatched it out of the air. Definitely one of the highlights of the night. I'll let the pictures show the rest...

  • My concert experiences (before reading original post)

    Gen 31 2007, 10:39

    All of the pics got cut off in the post, so for now if you want to see the whole pic then (in Firefox) right click and click "view image". Or you can right click, go to properties, find the link, and check out the whole image there.

    Do that until I feel motivated enough to turn them into thumbnailed pic/links.
  • My concert experiences

    Gen 31 2007, 10:36

    Concerts I've been to in order of seeing them...

    -Yellowcard (and also Matchbook Romance, Maxeen).

    -Vans Warped Tour (2005 - photo pit pass): Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance, MxPx, Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice, The Offspring, The Starting Line, The All-American Rejects, The Transplants, Mathbook romance, Hangar 18.

    -Flogging Molly (and also Voodoo Glow Skulls).

    -Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, Panic! at the Disco.

    -Living Legends (and also One Block Radius)

    -Vans Warped Tour (2006 - photo/press pass): Less Than Jake, Saves the Day, Rise Against, Joan Jett, Helmet, Silverstein, Motion City Soundtrack.

    ^^^At Warped Tour '06 I met and sat in on interviews of Kenny Bridges (Moneen), Joshua Cain (Motion City Soundtrack), and Paul Koehler (Silverstein).

    Here are some select pics...

    Less Than Jake:

    Joan Jett:

    Rise Against:

    (With my shitty camera in 2005)...

    My Chemical Romance:


    Avenged Sevenfold:


    The Offspring: