Rapid Fire Reviews: Mo Troper & Grady Philip Drugg
Posted: by Sean Gonzalez
Mo Troper – Beloved
As if realizing that he will only hold people’s attention for a sliver of time, Mo Troper wrote a record about it. Beloved is as aware as it is snappy — a condescendingly gifted artist throwing himself under his own microscope and tearing away at his heart. “Will I still be your baby, till someone better comes along?” the artist asks us (his audience) before throwing his guitar down and rallying “it won’t be long.” Troper’s ability to transcend his honesty and shadow it in 13 songs is anything short of impressive. The wiry guitars are scratching at the surface of Troper’s sturdy vocal delivery, as if wanting some of the limelight. He’s angst driven and pouring himself out to his former lovers, tenderly caressing his broken heart and crushing it to a pulp with every snare roll. Beloved‘s charm is used through these crashing instrumentals and urgent beckoning from Troper. Just when you thought he couldn’t continue to handle his darting screams, he quiets down and addresses the audience as the curtains close behind. “Somebody Special” is a gripping monologue staged beautifully, a four minute vocal performance where Troper is caught vulnerable and trembling. Ambitious barely captures how dazzling it is. It’s a moment that changes the entire scope of the record. The sad poems riding through the songs are short and sweet, but the charm behind being somebody special is a tugged at often, coming to a big finish with the epic ‘The Biggest.” It’s an eight minute track that sounds like Troper dragging himself by his own chain, trying to catch himself and tell everyone that he will be alright. Eventually he puts himself back together with his short love song to close the record, “Teeth.” Beloved kicks and screams, Mo Troper bites back.
Grady Philip Drugg – Grady Philip Drugg
Have you ever listened to a record and stumbled over your thoughts trying to describe how it makes you feel? Usually it is with the classics, but after listening to Grady Philip Drugg I found myself having a hard time knowing how to talk about it. After driving around I thought of the best way to capture the record, it’s like watching smoke. It’s just there and minding its own business before dissipating into the atmosphere. In a lot of ways, Grady Philip Drugg is like that. It’s calm, like an extra background character in The Big Lebowski or your friend that just enjoys hearing the conversation, chiming in with laughs and the occasional one liner. “Coconut Water” opens the record with soft pulsing guitars — an enjoyable instrumental track peering its head from behind the clouds. “Nonbeliever” is a sonic depiction of what a lot of this record will sound like. The organs dazzle the brain and bring out the extra psychedelic appeal. While songs can generally sound like these croons, the appeal of Grady Philip Drugg is its ability to hone in on letting every instrument have a place to shine. “Calvin’s Truck” is lead by mezmerizing drum work, full of rolls, fills and rim shots. The guitars just happily dance along and it is a challenging math rock track before sliding back into the hazy tune, “Wide Eyed.” Each song’s short lyrics are honest ways of life, utilizing the Americana charm of being casual, “if you love her, you should let her know,” and every variation of the line in “If You Love Her.” The band are not afraid to crank up the noise a bit either, with “Whatever Dude” being an instrumental highlighted by the crunchy lead guitar soloing for three minutes — leading me to remembering the times I would just jam with my dad and he would bust out these bluesy solos. See, the best part about a record is its ability to silence your current thoughts and dig out memories that make you feel warm, as if your body and soul are the fire and Grady Philip Drugg is the smoke above, just there for about 38 minutes before dipping away. Well, until you hit play again.