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People Under the Stairs 

With Time Machine, Gym Class Heroes, and Psalm One. Friday, May 12, at the Grog Shop.

It sounds like the sweet sunshine of a backyard barbecue. Grab a cold beverage, pass the Philly blunt, and cue a set of laid-back, old-school rap overtures -- that's the mad aesthetic of People Under the Stairs. Rest assured that Double K and Thes One aren't horror-film misfits. These West Coast cravens are low-fi kings of L.A.'s hip-hop underworld, creating slices of old-fashioned rapper's delight in their secret basement labs, forging garage grooves as bright and fun as De La Soul or Kurtis Blow.

True to form, PUTS' fourth full-length long player, Stepfather, ebbs and flows with that same sunny purple haze. It sounds like a sweet herbal blend of the duo's favorite old-school rap crews, from A Tribe Called Quest ("Jamboree, Pt. 1") to the Fat Boys ("Eat Street"). But the twin powers' true skills -- especially live -- are their pass-the-mic verbal interplay. Their rhymes rain down as effectively as those of any master mixer, regaling listeners with tales of family, hip-hop culture, and good times in the ghetto.

Speaking of Previews

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