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This Little Underground

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Florida export Astronautalis is smart and gifted. Most importantly, he’s one of the most visionary voices in rap today, pushing the form further than anyone I can think of currently. In fact, he’s practically beyond hip-hop by now.

That said, there were some issues with his latest show (Oct. 28, Firestone Live). First, the poor mix resulted in off levels and thin sound. Furthermore, I love that Astronautalis is moving into full band territory because it’s the next level for him, but his surrounding cast still needs some work to cohere enough to appropriately honor his excellent songs. And that guitarist needs to not sing at all.

But it’s always a show so long as Astronautalis himself shows up. Why the entire world doesn’t yet realize that he could hold both the future and salvation of rap is baffling. Maybe now that he’s in the indie-rap hotbed of Minneapolis he’ll finally get his due.

Despite his very literate mind, the music of Nashville garage upstart Pujol (Oct. 29, Will’s Pub) is a bracingly simple combo of sweetness and snot. Most importantly, it’s made of real melodic meat and not just punk posturing. Man, this guy throws out anthems like effortless sparks. And although he makes it seems simple, it’s nothing easy.

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