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Emcee Milo is back for a “can’t miss” show 

click to enlarge Denver-based quintet Trout Steak Revival will play Manitou Springs’ Memorial Hall with Tenderfoot Bluegrass Band on Feb. 8. - SCOTT MCCORMICK PHOTOS & DESIGN
  • Scott McCormick Photos & Design
  • Denver-based quintet Trout Steak Revival will play Manitou Springs’ Memorial Hall with Tenderfoot Bluegrass Band on Feb. 8.
2019 is still young, but the nascent year is already shaping up to be a rich one for hip-hop fans. On the local front, new music has dropped from Bullhead*ded with their EP Heartstones, while local emcee Earsiq has also released a new single, “Flipping Kara’s,” now available on his Bandcamp page. The track, featuring fellow emcee G-Stylez and frequent collaborator DJ Gravity, offers a preview of things to come on Earsiq’s forthcoming mixtape Shredding.

In the department of national acts coming through town, the Black Sheep plays host to a show that can safely be called a “can’t miss,” as Maine-based emcee Milo makes his return to Colorado Springs on Friday, Feb. 8, with Pink Navel and Signor Benedick the Moor as support.

Milo previously performed in Colorado Springs to a fairly small crowd at the original Flux Capacitor in 2015 and the Triple Nickel in 2017, though his current — and reportedly final — U.S. tour sees him packing much larger venues, such as Denver’s Marquis Theater.

None of this probably comes as a surprise to Milo’s fans. Born Rory Ferreira, the emcee later known as Milo (or perhaps scallops hotel, Black Orpheus or other monikers, depending on which particular project you’re listening to) began his hip-hop career in Wisconsin in the early 2010s, quickly achieving critical attention with his debut solo mixtape I Wish My Brother Rob Was Here.

Milo’s first official LP, 2014’s A Toothpaste Suburb, was released through the Los Angeles label/collective Hellfyre Club, the now-defunct assemblage once featuring luminaries (and Milo collaborators) Busdriver, Anderson .Paak and Open Mike Eagle. His stature as a formidable, left-of-center musical force grew further with the subsequent releases on his own label, Ruby Yacht, earning praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Spin and Stereogum, among others.

August 2018 saw the prolific emcee release Nostrum Grocers, a collaborative effort with Elucid, and the following month debuted Milo’s fourth — and, again, reportedly final — solo LP, Budding Ornithologists Are Weary of Tired Analogies.

The album’s title gives a hint to the dense wordplay found therein. Against the backdrop of lopsided jazz grooves ranging from dreamy to skeletal, Milo’s poetic lyrics weave through the mix in florid, humorous, philosophical turns. It’s an impressive balancing act; nothing here is so abstract as to suggest unfocused, stream-of-consciousness rambling, but any album that traverses ground from Diablo and Star Trek references to Jacques Lacan certainly gets one’s inner gears turning and likely needs some repeated listens to take it all in.

Of course, much of the joy of engaging with music as a listener is its inherent subjectivity, so any attempts to rank a performer’s merits are subject to personal resonance and whims. That said, to my ears, calling Milo one of the best emcees out there doesn’t feel hyperbolic in the slightest.

Elsewhere, more good news for local music fans: The Triple Nickel Tavern is back in business after its next-door relocation/renovation, and you can check out the new setup while catching Dallas punk outfit Noogy and the Denver-based Sliver on Saturday, Feb. 9. Noogy, who plan to release a full-length LP later this year, acted as tourmates for the long-running punk acts MDC and T.S.O.L. in the latter half of 2018.

Finally, Manitou Springs and bluegrass surely go together like the proverbial chocolate and peanut butter, and on Friday, Feb. 8, Memorial Hall sees the return of the award-winning, Denver-based quintet Trout Steak Revival to the stage, joined by Manitou locals Tenderfoot Bluegrass Band. Keepers of an ever-busy tour schedule, Trout Steak Revival released the LP Spirit to the Sea in 2017, their second album produced by Infamous Stringdusters banjoist Chris Pandolfi. Tenderfoot Bluegrass Band, who will be a familiar name for regional aficionados of the genre, released their latest effort, The Bridge, in late 2017.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com.

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