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Long May We Rain / Lost Gems

Here’s a split vinyl of quarantine protest jams from two Seattle heavy-hitters: AJ Suede & Specswizard. Both artists were inspired by 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, mask-wearing, and stay-at-home orders to produce boom-bap tunes that could only exist in the 21st Century.

The Seattle Times picked AJ Suede’s brilliant Long May We Rain as one of the best albums of 2020, while Insomniac magazine praises the “next level lyricism.” On the flip side of this cross-generational split LP, you’ll find the vinyl-only Lost Gems project from Specswizard, a veteran of Seattle’s scene, who’s released dozens of albums and EPs since his start in 1988.

The familiar sound of buzzing amps and tape hiss makes way for major-key soul turned into pensive bangers. Specswizard’s low, late-night-in-the-living-room baritone conjures the feeling of recording in a cramped apartment while the neighbors are sleeping. Still, the beats knock like side doors and his narratives hover like heavy rain and cumulus clouds of weed smoke.

Together, these two records provide a powerhouse portrait of Black life in the American Northwest today.

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