Back when Austin Mic Exchange was really going strong was when I was first introduced to Hermit Kingdom. As a product of listening to mid-1980s through mid-1990s hip-hop, I’ve always had an affinity for the group dynamic, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better group in the Austin area at the time than the combination of Philos, Mugger and Flobama. After a few years blazing stages in Austin and on the East Coast, the group took to the studio for a productive, self-imposed exile that has resulted in their debut LP TAROT. The rawness that the group was known for is still present in their sound, but there is a maturity to the presentation of this project that shows the wait was clearly well worth it. The album comes on the verge of more changes within the world of Hermit Kingdom, but it’s my opinion that the project might just be strong enough to sustain another brief disappearance from the group. This album is best enjoyed diving in without too much direction, so I definitely encourage you to do so… maybe even share it around, drop a few bucks and cop it, and ALWAYS support your local creatives.