Ending what turned out to be a three-year stretch between full-length albums -- in which time Slug welcomed another son, lost one of his best friends and still kept up plenty of appearances -- Atmosphere just announced details of "The Family Sign," scheduled for release April 12 via (what else?) Rhymesayers Entertainment. The announcement of the record calls it "their most realized, streamlined effort to date." It went on to include a rather fanciful description of its music, saying the disc "takes [Atmosphere's] philosophy to new realms of solidarity with Slug metaphorically touching on themes of fatherhood, loss, love, disappointment and jubilation and tailoring them to the instrumental frame work provided by Ant as well as keyboardist Erick Anderson and guitarist Nate Collis."
In other words, it pretty much sounds like a continuation of what they started on 2008's "When Life Gives You Lemons" and revisited on last year's "To All My Friends, Blood Makes The Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EPs" (which was practically a full-length disc, but whatever). Perhaps the most noteworthy thing in the announcement is the promise that Atmosphere's 2011 tour itinerary will be its most ambitious yet, targeting some venues with capacities upwards of 9,000. "Performances of this size are, simply put, an unparalleled precedent for an independent artist," the press release notes. That, in truth, is no hype.
Until then, Atmosphere is keeping active with its upcoming Welcome to Minnesota Tour of college towns around the state (plus Rochester), which it's promoting with the online single "Minnesota Nice." Rhymesayers will also be busy in the meantime building up buzz for the latest by Ohio rapper Blueprint, titled "Keep Bouncing" and due April 5.