His name may not be instantly familiar, but singer songwriter Mo Troper has a fairly sizeable back catalogue. He began cranking out fuzzy indie and power pop tunes in 2016 and has gradually built a cult audience. Mo’s debut full length ‘Beloved’ is brilliant. Although very much the kind of record aimed at listeners who still feel nostalgic for Superchunk and reach for Guided By Voices’ ‘Isolation Drills’ on a regular basis, its peppering of stronger melodies could also call to mind the kind of tunefulness the younger Brendan Benson might’ve enjoyed when in a noisier mood. Each of Troper’s further releases work a similar fashion, each with a slightly more commercial angle (‘Freebin’ from 2017’s ‘Exposure & Response’, especially, has the feel of something that could lapse into an old Teenage Fanclub tune, and the whole of 2020’s ‘Natural Beauty finds Troper in full on home-recorded, yet clean power pop mode), but whatever the outcome, the performer’s DIY heart can always be heard beating furiously. In terms of retro cool, he has the potential to be remembered as one of the greats.
The Beatles can arguably claim to being the most covered band in the history of recorded music. Pretty much everything they released between 1962-1970 has been covered at some time, and by bands and artists from right across the musical spectrum. Dig deep enough into the internet, you’ll even find other people reinterpreting ‘Revolution 9’, surely the most marginal of Beatles recordings. Even while the band was still active – long before being considered of any real historical importance – their work was being reinterpreted by high profile artists in a disparate range of styles. Most notably, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Booker T. & The MG’s, Otis Redding and Elvis Presley put their own stamp on various Fab Four classics, but for every hit interpretation, several dozen others could be found languishing on cult albums and under-bought singles.
Best known as a member of The Ergs!, Worriers and sometime collaborator with For Science and House Boat, the ever-busy Mikey Erg embarked on a solo career in 2011. His second full-length album, 2019’s ‘Waxbuilt Castles’, found Erg moving away from his typical pop-punk and taking more of a singer-songwriter stance. Often veering into (pre-country music) Ben Kweller territory, it sort of suited him, but came as a surprise for some fans.
For those who disliked Mikey’s more reflective side on that album, some consolation comes with 2020’s ‘Bon Voyage’ EP’ moving back to punk. The EP was specially commissioned by Stardumb Records and Mikey immediately thought about the punk EP’s of his youth, of how they were often a gateway to a new band, often featured exclusive tracks and often featured a cover tune along the way. ‘Bon Voyage’ ticks all of those boxes.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been spoilt for Beatles products. Although the 50th anniversary of their peerless ‘Revolver’ came and went in 2016 without a reissue to mark the momentous occasion, the world was treated to lavish box sets of both ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ in 2017 and ‘The Beatles’ (aka ‘The White Album’ in 2018.
With a pattern established, fans quickly speculated whether a 50th anniversary box set of ‘Abbey Road’ would emerge.
It was fifty years ago today…that the world was first introduced to Sgt. Pepper. It’s hard to imagine, at this point, that there was even a time when the album didn’t exist. Whether you consider yourself a fan or not, for the past two generations the album has become omnipresent. Two generations of people have loved it and hated it, while those who have yet to hear the record itself will still be aware of it’s presence. Visiting a record shop, there’s a good chance that its technicolor collage artwork will be seen. It’s always there; for most of us, it’s always been there.