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Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold

Does Atmosphere ever sleep? It's hardly been a minute since he unloaded a

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New Releases: First Listen Edition (Atmosphere, Portishead 12", Flight of the Conchords)

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Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold

Does Atmosphere ever sleep? It's hardly been a minute since he unloaded a chunk of season-based EPs to tide his fans over while he put the touches on his follow-up to 2006's You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having. To avoid leaks, no advance copies of When Life Gives You Lemons... were available, and because of that, one didn't arrive on my door step until yesterday, on the eve of the release, sent first class direct from Rhymesayers. I'm barely a third of the way through it right now, and so far so good. MC Slug remains true to his poignant observations of self, gnawing on the open wounds of his soul ("I got a restrainin' order on Satan's daughter") and Ant's production is as strong and grim as it's ever been. Sure, Slug is practically becoming a truth-speaking hip hop messiah to the back-pack, flat-bill LRG cap, and big text/all-over-print t-shirt-wearing crowds, and those that consider Warped Tour to be the true alternative festival, but whatever. He's still a great lyricist with a titanium backbone and a mean left hook.

See them next: Tuesday, May 13 at Showbox Sodo (Tickets on sale now)

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Portishead - "Machine Gun" 12" Single (from the forthcoming Third)

Another one that just came in yesterday is "Machine Gun," Portishead's first single off their much-anticipated third studio album (and first in the 21st century), aptly titled, Third. This is the first time I've heard the actual studio recording of the song (I first heard it on a youtube video with terrible audio quality of their performance at All Tomorrow's Parties in December.) But ho-ly shit. What a way to bring this band back. Wow. Could this be any darker than anything they've done before? Maybe. Portishead's music has always contained piercing, roaring artillery blasts, but this is as front-line as you can get to Beth Gibbons psyche. Where she went and what she saw, and how she came out terribly damaged, with absolute clarity. Ratatat-tat! Portishead shot me in the heart with this one. Bonus for collectors: This limited 12" single is single-sided, with a beautiful matte black screened image of a water tower and building tops on the flip-side.

See them next: This Saturday, April 26 at Coachella (Sold Out; Tickets not going cheap on eBay.)

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Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords

Okay, I'm cheating a bit. I've listened to this a couple times already. But I've only seen one episode of their smash HBO show, which apparently, all these songs are taken from, so these songs are still newer to me than those who are familiar with the show and who will undoubtedly buy the record. Plus, I don't catch onto jokes so quickly, so every time I hear these zany New Zealanders do their musical comedy, I hear a new joke that I missed before. This is great - quirky, charming, totally not-to-be-taken-seriously, yet totally to-be-taken-seriously. I was warned not to dance and laugh at the same time, but I couldn't help it here. My stomach hurts so good and I have tears in my eyes. Also, the album artwork is AMAZING (tip of the hat to Jeff Kleinsmith).

See them next: Monday, May 26 at Sasquatch. (Tickets on sale now)

 
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