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Artist of the Month
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May 2016
Mo Troper
"Beloved
"
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 Yes, you've heard the name Mo Troper before. Possibly as a part of Sancho and Your Rival, or maybe as a founder of blowing up label Good Cheer Records. Regardless, his recent release, late April's Beloved, has already reached levels of critical acclaim in just its first few days of actual release. And I'm adding to the pile - Beloved is one of the best new records to come out of Portland so far this year, and it's our new Album of the Month.

With a witty tongue and a sneering outlook on many things in life, Troper blares through Beloved's 13 tracks like an emotional Facebook feed. He, like the rest us, has shitty friends, a distaste for most social situations ("Star Wars") and a rollercoaster relationship with dating ("Princess," "Somebody Special"). He bitingly belts out his lyrics as if he's reliving every situation that's inspired him, making for a brashly heartfelt stock.

Beloved has received heavy comparisons to certain Elvis Costello albums and while that's fair in its own right, isn't entirely the whole case. The album does play into a Costello-esque domination of word play, but it holds a cult like influence closer to that of, say, the Get Up Kids and Saves the Day.

For his first release on his own, Mo Troper has already established himself as a solid solo artist to follow. Beloved will inevitably be added to a list of "classics," and his next album is already baiting with anticipation.

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scene blog

Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"

Album Review: Hillstomp's "Darker the Night"

 

"Now is time a for darker stuff!" yells Henry Kammerer, one-half of the Portland-based duo Hillstomp on the second track of their new album Darker the Night. And dark stuff is exactly what they give the listener.

The duo's third studio release - which will be available in stores July 20 - is crammed with 14 driving and dirty ballads of debauchery, and loaded with tales of embracing late night bouts of drinking, waking and repeating the process without the blink of an eye. The whole album has a very consistent brooding mood, with unique banjo rythms that take the forefront unashamed and relentless..

While firmly grounded in the blues, Hillstomp departs and adds many different influences, from folk to garage-punk, all expressed through a soulful intensity. Considering the band is known for its captivating live performances - replete with foot-stomping slide guitar riffs and John Johnson's ramshackle percussion hammering away on plastic buckets or whatever he can grab nearby, Darker the Night does not dissapoint, and invites everyone listening to join in and sing the songs of kissing the bottle and losing love without regret.

- Stirling Myles

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