5 2012 Albums by Maine Artists you should own:
Sandbag; Sloppy Jays
Line of Force; Symbiotic
Running Gags; Yeah, No
Ill By Instinct; Second Wind
Restless Groove; Self-Title EP
The first album in our 2012 “Albums from Maine Artists You Should Own” list is Sandbag’s Sloppy Jays. It is named for the two producers that worked on the album; Slop and Jay Caron. Additionally, the album features the vocals of Kristina Kentigian on the track Mundane Lives.
Of the two prior albums I have heard from Sandbag (Rappers Are Emotional and the mix tape, Pay Attention; available for free download here) this album really demonstrates the potential and skill of the group; not just as a Maine hip-hop group, but as eclectic and intellectual musicians. The best bands lead you to discover other talented artists and Sandbag does not fail to offer that key element.
Sloppy Jays, more than their two prior releases, sounds truly complete. It stands on its own as a creation, to some extent, separate from the band. Sloppy Jays is essentially greater than the sum of its parts. If you are a Sandbag veteran, familiar with Rappers Are Emotional and Pay Attention like we are, then perhaps you will at first be taken aback by the raw emotionality that is more evident on this album than in the past.. One could argue that the ratio of emotional and relationship commentary to political, social, and philosophical analysis is higher on this album than on the prior two. Although at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about the increased emotional element, the more I listen to the album the more I love it exactly as it is. I think it is important, as a music fan, to recognize when our passion for a specific aspect of a musical group keeps us from evolving with the artist in question; inhibiting us from recognizing the strengths in their change and growth.
Growth is definitely a key aspect of Sloppy Jays. This likely is in part due to the influence of the two producers. The song to song flow is spot on, and far surpasses that of either of the former albums. Additionally, each individual song sounds perfectly composed down to the artful, instrumental beats, the choruses, the secession and synchronism of the four emcees, and even the vocals seem better matched to the beats themselves. A phenomenal example of this is the song M.Y.O.B.
This is not to argue that each prior album is not absolutely awesome. We are huge Sandbag fans, the intellectual and enlightened lyrics are like old friends; blunt, honest, challenging our preconceptions, and still oddly comforting. If one only listens, they could easily find several common themes many of us could identify with; struggling with the status quo, struggling to “succeed”, societal oppression, and the role of people power. Specifically though, Sloppy Jays brings the best overall sound experience of any of the Sandbag albums so far.
Sloppy Jays is available at Bull Moose Music and should soon by downloadable via Itunes. Keep your eye on the Sandbag facebook page for more information! Also, keep an eye out for our reviews of the other 4 albums on our list; coming soon!
Well Laid Plan: “We wrote this so you would take notice” a sort of treatise on the power inherent in the Sandbag crew.
That Was Then: A short history of the individual members, an introduction to their love of hip-hop and the history of the band as a whole.
Book of Verse: One of our favorites; lots of heavy lyrics addressing the questionable integrity of popular music and questioning the potential for more legitimate artists.
Playmate: An interesting perspective into what it may feel like to be in the public eye, primarily about females… or a specific female.
M. Y. O. B. : Mind Your Own Business… one of our favorite tracks for its overall perfection. A track that delves deeper into the idea of constantly being in the public eye and encouraging people to, well, MYOB.
Forgive (Forget): Another more emotional song regarding relationships.
Mudane Lives ft. Kristina Kentigian: We really enjoy Kentigian’s vocals in this song, they make it really full and complete; the song is important to the success of the album as a whole. A definite favorite for its subject matter; themes that most creative or intellectual individuals trying to make their way through human society can identify with.
Downward Spiral: A perfect concluding track discussing judgment, deeper meanings of life, and final reckonings. Where can this crazy human existence be headed?
Flat Trumpets: This song is harder to summarize; some themes include inner strength, insanity of human society, and personal struggles.
Some of our favorite excerpts:
We write rhymes to right wrongs, bygones are bygones, but I’m gone with no retrieval, medieval dark ages, contagious thoughts breaking, restraints at the round table, sound save you, play for the imaginations make for a new breakthrough, disdainful cause painful regret and false label, Strip the page through for the faithful like sacred songs of angles that we play you.
Got that inner focus so it isn’t hopeless, doing my thing to little or no notice, I’m less concerned with the outcome than the motives.
Small world still so many suffer, earth’s mother
Must we heed these sins, and take back our land?
Stand firm demand answers of the faculties of man?
3 bodies of the government, souless husks
Of a ponzi-scheme heirarchy going bust
Yea I’m in this rat race, I’m praying that I’m at least a tortoise, I’m at my poorest just to live in a house owned by corporate bank investor lobbyists with an American dream portrait, but as I gripe I think of the less fortunate, from the hungry to our soldiers being sent to wars for shit , pretending I know what horror is but I could never understand the mental baggage of shooting some armed foreign kid.
I just brave what I hate and I see what life has to offer.
Isaac Newton I’m assuming, is natural law defined by the guy that proves it?, that cycle stifles movement, we can fly but they got us staring at the sky asking (why) asking.., I work 28 hours a day, 9 days a week, 40 days a month and evade sleep, remain skeptical to western medicine, guess I’m just more Tesla than Edison….. Fascinated by the synchronicities, and the sick twisted histories of those who live in this city, get busy, make amends, sing with me break bread while we face the end.