by Bill Forman
It was good while it lasted, but Denver's Flobots think it will be even better now that it's over.
The politically aware hip-hop collective has just parted ways with Universal Republic, who signed them to a two-album contract back in 2008 (Indy interview here). Later that summer, Flobots rose to national prominence on the strength of "Handlebars," a song they'd first written and recorded back in 2005. The single's success rocketed their Fight With Tools album from #183 to #15 on the Billboard charts in a single week.
By comparison, the 2010 follow-up, Survival Story, was a commercial disappointment, and Flobots emcee Brer Rabbit expressed a measure of relief when announcing the split yesterday in an interview with the Denver Post's Reverb blog. While bands typically try to put the best face possible on a major label departure, the group's community activist roots do lend an air of truth to their smaller-is-better optimism.
In any event, you can commiserate and/or celebrate along with them when Flobots perform next weekend as part of KushCon II, which takes place at the Denver Convention Center Dec. 17-19. Other performers at the "World's Largest Cannabis Lifestyle Convention" will include Beastie Boys turntablist Mix Master Mike, SoCal Trustafarians The Dirty Heads, and hip hop provocateur Mickey Avalon (who will talk about his own major label departure in an Indy interview next Thursday).