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scene

Milo validates your existence

| Wednesday, September 24, 2014

web_milo_9-25-2014Sam Coughlin | The Observer
Listen: this album is groundbreaking. Milo sings an ode to feeling happy, hopeless and dissatisfied. He captures just how you feel on Sundays when you wake up after noon and realize everything you did and everything you still have to do. But his contemplations are not complaining, nor are they an analysis or a proof. They are a description of and meditation on the often mundane and monumental moments in human life.

His simplicity is what gives his words power. He communicates through candid and trusting verses, personal events and thoughts to which you, I and your professor all can relate. Through his meditations, he actualizes the lives of all artists and memorializes the lives of all listeners. This is a rap album that validates you — but not because of what coast you’re from, your race, your social class or your religion. This is a rap album that validates you because you get to know the artist not from the pit of his show or from his hit radio single, but from bumping knees with him at the familiar coffee shop of universally shared human experience. Listen: this album is groundbreaking.

On Sept. 23, the Chicago-born, Maine-raised, Wisconsin-hatched and current Los Angeles resident Rory Ferreira, or Milo, released his debut full-length album. The album is entitled “A Toothpaste Suburb” and was released via Hellfyre Club. The album was preceded by three mixtapes, three EPs (including the double EP “Things That Happen At Day”/”Things That Happen At Night,” which became the most downloaded work on Bandcamp shortly after its release) and several singles. Milo has been releasing solo material since 2011.

Milo works from the dichotomy that life is the way it is for you. His observations of his and your inadequacies and strengths, as well as his appreciation for the simple feelings that accompany the rhythm of life (i.e. “feeling good like snow days when the driveway’s plowed first”), are expertly mixed with his hyper-literate, philosophical musings on each individual’s identity in relation to party culture, personal growth and change, personal and social relationships and life and death.

Each song is packed with words (He rarely has time for a repeat of any “hook”), and every word choice and relationship is packed with intent and meaning. He spits a mouthful, but he doesn’t waste a single word. Adding to Milo’s signature lyrical style is his uncanny ability to rap along with, directly across and syncopated against the extremely mature beats found all across the album. Verses featuring a number of words per phrase that would have contortionists raise their eyebrows flow right into expertly wailed refrains about missing the dead and reflecting on personal shortcomings.

Curated by producers iglooghost, Riley Lake, greyhat and Tastenothing, the backing tracks have evolved in a major way, although in the same genre, from the Gold Panda and Baths samples Milo used early in his career. These are more than rhythms — an instrumental version of the album wouldn’t be a bad purchase. These beats are glowing with creative energy — they create the rooms, parks and used bookstores from which Milo lives, thinks and writes.

“A Toothpaste Suburb,” from top to bottom, is worth your money — but that’s not the relevant form of currency. It’s worth your thought; it’s worth your time. It’s your life. It’s everyone’s life.

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About Thom Behrens

Thom is working to get a degree in Computer Engineering and, if he can pull it off, will graduate in 2016. In his free time, Thom likes to rip on Pitchfork, read books and hang out with Jay Michuda. Thom enjoys the chipotle alfredo sauce from the dining hall and is proud to represent the Dirty South Bend on campus.

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  • ryan magnole

    great piece, thom.