Atmosphere performs November 29 at Trees, with Micraanots, Brother Ali, Deejaybird, Oddjobs and Mr. Dibbs.
Two weeks ago in these pages I called "Shh," the unlisted closing track of Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere's new Seven's Travels, one of the year's best songs about tiny-town living (or at least midsize-town living that includes drinkable tap water and syringe-free playgrounds). That's true (I wrote it!), but what's truer is that the whole of Seven's Travels is actually about a smaller space: the complicated mess inside Sean Daley's head. As he's always done, Daley (who goes by the appropriately self-flagellating handle of Slug) uses his songs as an opportunity to sift through the remnants of the misadventures he calls relationships: a drunken stumble through a girlfriend's house in "Shoes," a drunken ode to "all the depressed women in the house" in "Good Times," a drunken trek across America in "National Disgrace." Travels' tour-diary device is a good one for Slug, since it applies a kind of internal logic to his anecdotal evidence; in "Denvemolorado" he drops into a deserted airport bar only long enough to consider picking up a woman sitting in the back. Sadly, Ant, Slug's gifted producing partner, doesn't tour, so it's up to DJ Mr. Dibbs to re-create Ant's sympathetic soul-bump settings onstage--a must if we're to take Daley as more than a whining rap brat.