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Mo Troper's 'Exposure & Response' is an ode to older sounds and newer attitudes

 Mo Troper has got a voice unlike most others. Not solely with his vocal timbre, but also with the way he chooses to convey his thoughts lyrically. With slight cynicism and a sarcastic wit, Troper has become one of the modern maestros of power pop. On his third solo effort Exposure & Response, Troper is definitely exposing and responding to certain facets of the modern music scene, biting commentary a recurring element.

From the first choral "ahhs" that open up the record, "Rock and Roll Will Change the World" is supple and attention grabbing in its Beach Boys qualities, before leading into some of the more sharp tongued tracks on the record. "Your Brand," one of the first songs to come off the record, calls out participation for the sake maintaining aesthetic. "Turn a tragedy into something you can work with/Keep your finger on the pulse that's in your pocket/Think about your brand" the lyrics go on, truthful of so many players in the scene. As is "The Poet Laureate of Neverland," which tells of elder hipsters that just don't know how to let it go.

At points, Exposure and Response trades its snarkiness for cheekiness. "Freebin" and "Clear Frames" describe millennial Portland romance perfectly, the former relating the receptacle of choice for old love and old clothes alike being the freebin, and the latter a nod at the bad familiarity of similar looks between current and bygone relatioship partners.

Exposure and Response is a fetching ode to the nostalgic finesse of rock and power pop's past. Its charm and sass packed into short bursts of songs





Far Lands dives deep into minimalist pop

 A pretty strong departure from the heavily rocking tunes he's dished out for Sons of Anarchy and on his albums, Battleme's Matt Drenik has teamed up with Andy McFarlane and a couple other musicians to make minimalist but pretty pop music as Far Lands.

The supergroup of sorts also includes Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds and Howard Evans on bass and backup vocals, as well as Elliott Smith's old drummer Paul Pulvirenti. When these musical talents come together, the result is somewhat on a Beck-meets-Neil Young plane of congenial folk pop, especially on their newest album Oh, What an Honor/Oh, What a Drag.

There's an ardor that comes along with Far Lands tracks, particularly with the single "Hearts Like a Knife." McFarlane wrote the track while sitting at his kitchen table with his two daughters, who also happen to join in singing along with the song in the studio. The thought behind the song is cutely warm.

“I didn't know it then but when Trump won I looked to it as something close to a protest song," says McFarlane. "My little way of telling my girls (and myself) that all will be okay if we stick together and focus on each other instead of the noise.”

Head over to Bunk Bar on 11.30 for the release show for Oh, What an Honor/Oh, What a Drag, where Far Lands will also be playing with Howard Ivans. Until then, give "Hearts Like a Knife" and the rest of the album a listen below.





A little relief for NorCal tonight

Northwest locals were devastated when fires took over the Columbia River Gorge over the summer. Seeing destruction of that magnitude happen to your hometown is simultaneously saddening and numbing, but does sort of strengthen the community. Bearing in mind that many of us moved here from another place anyway, it makes sense that we'd do what we can for those who've just experienced this in Northern California.

Last month Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Butte and Solano counties were hit with a series of 21 wildfires that devastated wine country and surrounding NorCal terrain. This slew of fires included one of the most destructive in California wildfire history, the Tubbs Fire, so there's much about the area that needs to be rebuilt.

A few Portland bands are getting together shortly to help raise some funds, with some raffles taking place in-between sets. A few of the musicians playing tonight have called California (but more specifically, Northern California) their home at one point in time, so this benefit show is a bit more personal. Enjoy some harsh hardcore punk from Worws, Phantom Family and Dead Tropics, along with a bit of a bluegrass twang from the Lonesome Valley Pussyfooters. Art and other fun things from Green Noise Records, Scapegoat Tattoo, Grizzly Tattoo, Oddball Tattoo and Josh McQuary will be raffled away betwixt the bands, and all proceeds will be given to UndocuFund. Seeing as tons of undocumented families and workers have been affected by the fires and won't be receiving federal aid, they are some of the most vulnerable beings in cases like these. 

Music for tonight's NorCal relief benefit at Tonic Lounge starts at 9pm. Entry is $8 with larger donations being accepted, with raffle tickets running one for $3 or two for $5.





Star Club bring a true "Nightmare" to life

Back when the weather and spirits alike were a bit brighter, we shared the first music video from art-wavers Star Club called "Saturday Night," along with a deeper look into the makes of the band and their late summer album Sixth Avenue Motel. We're now pleased to share the latest to come from the album, a music video for the smoothly loungy track "Nightmare."

Monochrome and wonderfully shot, the video for "Nightmare" creatively evokes the horror of how nightmares can feel so much like reality. In it, vocalist/guitarist Nate Lown is somewhat the cool, cornfield narrator hanging back as bassist Marcus Pizotchi is kidnapped and taken to a desolate location where some procedures are performed on him. If you've ever dreamt of some sort of Taken-meets-Saw situation the thought of this actually happening is terrifying, but at least Star Club make it look moody and cool.

See Star Club perform "Nightmare" and other songs off of Sixth Avenue Motel tomorrow headlining the Turn Turn Turn with a debut set from Martha Stax (members of Star Club, Rare Diagram, Ancient Elk and more), Wave Action and Oort. Also, send some birthday love to Pizotchi.





Visual Vices: Sex Park - "Rhyme or Reason"

Post-punk duo Sex Park have remained relatively under the radar with how much they project themselves into the spotlight, but that by no means intimates they aren't deserving of the limelight. In just the two years they've existed the darkwave faction are quickly positioning themselves highly amongst their local contemporaries. With formerly their self-titled debut to offer insight into their creations, they're back at it again with a new video as another teaser to a new album.

"Rhyme or Reason" is the second track to come off their early 2018 full length Atrium. The album was originally scheduled for summer of this year but instead the pair, made of Daniel Blumenthal on guitar and vocals and Paul Burkhart heading synths and drum machines, released one track from it titled "Dignity." To take the buzz a step further, Sex Park released the Dignity - Remixes, which consists of Lust Era, Nathan Stewart and Memory Clap Acid doing their renditions of the track. 

"Rhyme or Reason" is where it's at, though, especially its video. Its aesthetics are mistily on brand with the musical style typically proffers; images of static feedback, flowers and other indecipherable bits mirroring in mesmerizing scene sequences. The video is very easy to get lost in, as it seems will be the rest of Atrium.

Watch the visuals for "Rhyme or Reason" below, and be sure to catch Sex Park's next show at Dante's on 12.22 with Shadowhouse, The Secret Light and White Rooms.

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