listen to a new song from milo

with a handful of acclaimed mixtapes and a pair of similarly lauded eps under his belt, milo’s debut full-length album is sure to be nothing short of a spectacle.  the rapper will release a toothpaste suburb on tuesday via hellfyre club, but he’s generously shared a new track to tide over his audience until the album’s arrival.  “objectifying rabbits” is the missing piece in a triptych of songs, bookended by earlier singles “you are go(o)d to me” and “argyle sox,” and finds milo rapping figuratively about bench-pressing hedonists and london’s trafalgar square before his compatriot open mike eagle guides the song away with a sweet falsetto.  the track premiered yesterday on bandcamp’s weekly radio show and now you can stream it, courtesy of hellfyre club’s soundcloud page, below.


listen to a new song from milo

it’s hard to believe that milo is only now getting around to releasing his debut full-length album.  the wisconsin rapper, who is currently carving out a niche for himself in los angeles, was heavily featured on dimestore saints throughout 2013, but this year has been relatively quiet in comparison.  that’s ok.  milo has been crafting a toothpaste suburb, a sixteen-track volume of work due out september 23rd via hellfyre club.  to read the young rapsmith talk about his new album on social media, it seems like it will fall in line with milo’s first mixtape, i wish my brother rob was here (at least, according to his dad); perhaps milo is not continuing down the path beaten by cavalcade but rather is returning to his roots to explore new tangential possibilities.  regardless of trajectory, a toothpaste suburb has the potential to be a decisive piece in milo’s musical puzzle.

the album’s lead single, “you are go(o)d to me,” premiered yesterday; it’s an understated slow jam, full of sparse ethereal synths and thin traces of percussion, and the song’s hook appropriately finds milo singing about witty melancholy men.  but “you are go(o)d to me” is ultimately a love song of sorts.  occasional non-sequiturs take the back seat to milo’s desires to be objectified and unorthodox romantic gestures like “i would make you breakfast with raspberries / and pick out all the seeds using nothing but my little fingers.”

you can head over to hellfyre club’s store to pre-order a toothpaste suburb, but first take a listen to “you are go(o)d to me,” embedded below.


stream and download the new sayth ep

still riding the buzz off of his past two singles, “eating alone” and “rare candy,” eau claire art rapper sayth has wasted little time in delivering his next cohesive project.  bad habitat is a five-track collection featuring the aforementioned singles along with three new songs, and finds sayth working again with frequent collaborator wealthy relative.  take note, however, that fellow eau claire artist north house is also given production credits (those appear to be his signature beats on opener “with the crocodiles”), suggesting that sayth is becoming even more invested in his hometown music scene.  you can stream bad habitat below and grab a download at a pay-what-you-want rate; a limited run of cds are also available through sayth’s bandcamp.  check it out.

best of 2013: albums

good things come to those that wait, right?  does this phrase even really apply to this situation?  probably not.  it may be a bit delayed, but my albums of the year list is finally done.  i’ve written long-form essays on my favorite fifteen records of 2013 over at playground misnomer; you should definitely head over there and check it out, along with lists from the other contributors to that site.  if you don’t feel like reading, below are some quick and simple pictures of my top five albums of 2013.  enjoy.

5. milo – cavalcade

chvrches4. chvrches – the bones of what you believe

daughter if you leave3. daughter – if you leave

2. caroline smith – half about being a woman

majical cloudz impersonator.jpg1. majical cloudz – impersonator

scallops hotel – poplar grove (or how to rap with a hammer)

if you’ve somehow missed out on milo’s output this year, let me give you a quick crash-course.  on new year’s day, the mc released a double-ep called things that happen at day/things that happen at night.  this past july, he dropped cavalcade, an excellent mixtape with exquisite production from riley lake.  the three bodies of work together exhibited an enormous amount of artistic growth over a short period of time, as milo continued to develop his philosophical, spoken word-tinged rhyme delivery over beats that were more interactive and at the forefront of each composition.  i think most people would have been beyond satisfied if he had called it quits for 2013 after cavalcade,  but milo’s prolific tendencies dictated that even more material was necessary.  i can’t really complain about that.

with poplar grove (or how to rap with a hammer), milo’s first full-length release for his scallops hotel side project, the young rapper furthers his case for being consider among the year’s best artists.  poplar grove also marks somewhat of a return to milo’s earlier, independent days; although there are smatterings of hellfyre club found throughout the album, his decision to release it through his own personal bandcamp is telling.  the tracks are much more intimate and eclectic than milo’s previous work this year, and they’re largely devoid of hooks.  this return to a more stream-of-consciousness approach is akin to what initially drew me to last year’s milo takes baths, but it’s been juxtaposed by deeper, pitch-shifted vocals and comparatively haunting instrumentals.

when the occasional melody does appear, it’s wonderful.  “bergamot gamut” traces the same melodic figure throughout with milo appropriating his words to its contour, changing the content when need be and slipping in and out of spoken and sung phrases.  the improvement of his singing voice is notable, but what’s even more impressive is milo’s growth as a songwriter, not so much in terms of lyricism as in terms of form and overall structure.  i saw some deviation from his established formula in penobscot expedition, a fan-made b-sides compilation that also surfaced this summer, and it’s nice to see milo continuing down a path to diversify his sound.

poplar grove isn’t milo’s defining album of 2013, and it really shouldn’t be.  this excellent foray under the moniker of a side project allows him to prove that his output will never run the risk of becoming one-dimensional, and probably will help him pay for rent next month, too.  in order to fully understand milo’s musical realm, poplar grove must be inserted into a continuous stream of his entire discography from this year.  once you do that, i hope you’ll understand why milo has become a force to be reckoned with.


listen to a new song from milo’s side project scallops hotel

as if releasing a fantastic pair of eps and a damn good mixtape this year wasn’t enough, wisconsin rapper milo plans to release a new ep from his side project, scallops hotel.  the ep, entitled poplar grove (or how to rap with a hammer), is set to drop on november 19th and features production from iglooghost, lee bannon, and busdriver.  if you can’t wait five days to hear the whole thing (i can’t either, don’t worry), milo has remedied this situation by streaming the ep’s lead single, “xergiok’s chagrin (a song for jib).”  the self-produced joint is dark and contains some of the best lyrics i’ve ever heard this guy proclaim.  check it out below.

interview – safari al

awhile back i did a brief spot on mantras, a project that blends the hip-hop stylings of safari al with the indie rock tendencies of ghost of james.  safari al was kind enough to answer some questions about the group’s aesthetic, their new ep easy, hogarth, and hypothetical future plans.  check out the transcript below.


although mantras is an extremely organic-sounding project, i understand that paul and jp essentially functioned as your producers, sending you finished instrumentals to work with.  how did you approach writing lyrics for songs that feature different timbres and tempos than perhaps you are used to?

ghost of james’ music is a type of music that i listen to frequently and am comfortable with, so i wouldn’t say there was much musically that i wasn’t already familiar with outside the context of rap.  though, part of the project’s purpose is to path-cut along one of rap’s fringe ley lines.  ultimately, this is one of the better results of folk, rock, and rap all sitting at the same table.

i approached writing for this project more poetically, but that’s also the trend my writing has been following along recently.  one thing this project has that my others do not is manpower.  with that in mind, i did want to include some cuts where paul and i could belt our buns off.

mantras combines members of the dilla gents and ghost of james.  how much of each group’s aesthetic did you shed for this new project, and what elements did you retain?

i do not believe there is a strong dilla gents presence on this project, and that is fine and dandy because i did not intend for that to be an identifiable influence on easy, hogarth.  jp and myself are the dilla gents transplants, but over the last few years, gents’ activity has been waning and influence less perceptible.

this project is the marriage of safari al and ghost of james, each taking one another in sickness and in health.  heh heh.  that is to say, i got all of ghost of james and they got all of me.  i don’t think there was much sacrifice on behalf of either party in order to compromise towards a medium.

the song “villains” features milo, another hip-hop artist based out of eastern wisconsin who seems to have a similar aesthetic – both in terms of flow and use of occasional non-sequiturs – to the one you’ve developed.  can you speak to your prior collaborations and general thoughts on the dude?

“villian” is actually an intentional misspelling (see: almost, maine).

rory and i are currently roommates in milwaukee, wi.  the other day i put our bathroom rugs in a washing machine because our friend braden refused to enter due to the piss odor that sort of permeates the room.  i’m not trying to say that rory pees on bathroom rugs – the odor predates our stint as roommates – but, we are both comfortable being dirty, hairy boys.  rory is one of my best friends and the similarity in aesthetic that you have observed exists beyond our written content and delivery.


easy, hogarth is relatively short; just six tracks that clock in around twenty minutes.  is this a one-off project between friends, or will mantras continue to be developed down the line?

honestly, this hasn’t really been addressed yet.  the initial impetus to create this project felt a little one-shot in nature: you’re on winter break, i’m on winter break, you make incredible music that i’d very much like to yell over, etc.  but, for better (i think), the process of finalizing our work got drawn out substantially, which meant i got to continue to interact closely with paul and jp.  in short, i am more than willing to further develop mantras, but ideally in a more synergistic setting.   i’d like to play guitar on some songs.


the marriage of indie rock and hip-hop goes over very, very well on mantras’ easy, hogarth; safari al wasn’t simply tooting his own musical horn.  personally, i’d love to see the trio expand the project to its fullest potential, but i’m perfectly content with the content they have to offer at the moment.  safari al will be joining forces with milo and riley lake for a tour of the eastern half of the u.s. next month.  if you like any tiny bit of what you hear, go check out a show.


download a new mixtape featuring milo b-sides & rarities

earlier this week, rapsmith milo dropped his exquisite new mixtape cavalcade.  now, a nice little supplement has surfaced, apparently courtesy of an unknown third party.  someone took it upon themselves to compile a set of b-sides and rarities by milo and subsequently posted the file on tumblr, promising to update it as more material becomes available.  the mixtape is entitled penobscot expedition and features seven new(ish) tracks, depending on your previous exposure to milo.  it’s gotten the endorsement of both milo and hellfyre club, so i feel comfortable passing along the goodness.  download it here.