Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Earring

Mo Troper – Star Wars (Stream)

mo troper

More than a dozen great new songs found their way out into the world at large today, which seems as solid of an example as any to point out that the early running of 2016 has yielded an overwhelming amount of outstanding material. 13 of those songs came from Try the Pie, NOTHING, Boys, Amber Arcades, Your Loss, Hanni El Khatib, Mike Adams at His Honest Weight, The Moles, Harmony Tividad, Youth In Bloom, Earring, Hestina, and MONEY. While all of those titles, as always, deserve as many plays as they can possibly receive, it’s a song that I’ve been playing to death for the past month that gets the spotlight here.

Before going any further, I’d like to sincerely thank the good people over at Good Cheer Records for patching along an advance copy of Mo Troper’s essential Beloved because it’s practically all that’s been played ever since it landed in my inbox. Easily my current front-runner for Album of the Year, it perfectly blends the most enticing elements of Big Star, Weezer, The Replacements, and Tony Molina. It’s an insane reel of highlights (something that was likely evidenced in the write-up for “First Monkey In Space” in this site’s 50 Best Songs of 2016’s First Quarter list) but none of them are as strong as the soaring, battered “Star Wars”.

Both a scathing critique of the persistent, embarrassing bro culture and a celebration of the escape that can be found in the titular film, “Star Wars” hits hard in its narrative. Unflinchingly honest and remarkably huge, “Star Wars” is also a triumph in composition. Everything on Beloved incorporates decades worth of DIY punk history and wraps itself in a decidedly pop-leaning package. From the scrappy production to the monstrous hooks, each song could be considered a victory lap for an all-too-frequently overlooked genre. It’s a sentiment that holds especially true for “Star Wars”.

Beloved‘s a record that’s dominated by swing-for-the-fences selections and all of them connect, with “Star Wars” connecting the most emphatically. Blending tongue-in-cheek humor with impassioned feeling can frequently be an awkward blend but it suits “Star Wars” modesty to a tee. “All of my friends/are total fucking bros/wax museum/puppets with their strengths exposed” Troper bellows at the start of the final chorus, injecting his disdain with well-placed humor and a startling amount of intellect (which is another one of Beloved‘s strongest qualities).

Every single second of “Star Wars” is pure bliss for anyone who has even a passing interest in DIY punk, basement pop, or sloppy rock n’ roll. It’s exceptional songwriting that’s as thoughtful as it is catchy, lending an extreme amount of substance to something that could’ve succeeded without the impressive amount of care “Star Wars” winds up displaying. With a vocal melody that has legitimate staying power, a relatable message that resonates, scintillating guitar work, and a powerful turn-in from the rhythm section, “Star Wars” is an unstoppable force.

In the end, no amount of anger, dejection, or hopelessness can’t be at least somewhat remedied by the comfort of an old film. It’s a strange truth that a lot of us learn the hard way before recognizing the depths of escapism’s value. Mo Troper’s got it figured out, though, and now that truth has a fiery anthem as a welcome accompaniment. If there’s any justice, 39 years down the road some kid will be finding that escape by turning on this very song, which more than deserves to share its title with an old classic.

Listen to “Star Wars” below and pre-order Beloved from Good Cheer here.

Painted Zeros – Only You (Stream)

Painted Zeros II

Over the past few weeks, a lot of excellent material has surfaced. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of that material has been singles. Since the time span was so extensive (mostly due to the attention afforded to the CMJ coverage), all but one of those songs have been compiled in a list that will be running at the very bottom of this post. The one exception is tonight’s featured song: Painted Zeros‘ “Only You”.

After being somewhat underwhelmed by Painted Zeros’ set at Alphaville (which, to their credit, seemed to have more to do with the sound setup than their performance), the band knocked me for a loop during CMJ at Aviv. Having already commented on the impressive nature of their quieter material from their upcoming Floriography, it’s heartening to see the trio committing to “Only You”– a clear standout from their CMJ set– as their latest release in the album’s rollout campaign..

Driven by a gentle, intricate bass figure that comes courtesy of Jim Hill (who also plays in Slight, The Glow, and Montana and the Marvelles), “Only You” serves as a showcase for guitarist/vocalist Katie Lau’s more pensive side as well as the band’s considerable growth. Floating along like a fully-realized dream seeped in tranquility, “Only You” far surpasses the very evident promise of S V A L B A R D. Defying any easy genre categorization while flashing hints of the very best elements of everything from dream pop to post-punk, the song finds a soft transcendence and sustains it through its final, fading moments. From start to finish, “Only You” is a lovely, unexpected triumph.

Listen to “Only You” below and pre-order Floriography from Don Giovanni here. Beneath the embed, explore a collection of some of the best songs to find release over the past two weeks.

Petal – Silly Heart
Basement Benders – Purple Days
The Gloomies – LSD
Eluvium – Confessor
They Might Be Giants – Or So I Have Read
Holy Esque – Hexx
Kitten Forever – Temple
Matt Kivel – Janus
Wray – May 23rd
The Unspeakable Practices – A Steadying Effect
Soldiers of Fortune (ft. Stephen Malkmus) – Campus Swagger
Brass Bed – I Am Just A Whisper
Free Children of Earth – All Tomorrow’s Plunder
Go Deep – Slumberland
Elephant Stone (ft. Alex Mass) – The Devil’s Shelter
Globelamp – Controversial Confrontational
Tenement – Weakest Ones (Demo)
The Besnard Lakes – Golden Lion
Beach for Tiger – Coco
Le Rug – Bomb
Kindling – Painkiller
Manwomanchild – Return to Ithaca
Bummed – Smoking Jewels
Jaala – Salt Shaker
Cicada Rhythm – The Keeper
MONEY – You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides of the Sky
Human Potential – 105 Pounds of Disintegration
Busdriver (ft. Milo and Anderson Paak) – Worlds to Run
Wimps – Old Guy
Infinite Void – Even Ground
Black Panties – You’ll Never Find My Body
TOPS – Hollow Sound of the Morning Chimes
Earring – Black Chalk
Swings – Dust
Some Pulp – Slasher Nite @ The Showcase East
Florist – Cool and Refreshing
Sam Means – We’re Alone
Never Young – New Villain
Floating Points – Peroration Six
Eternal Summers – Our Distant Bodies
Andy Shauf – Jenny Come Home
Val Hollie – Siberian Summer
William Alexander – Strangest Things
Mitylion – My Yard Is On
Sheer – Cursed Again