Surprise music releases are well… surprises!  And this one is as good as any. A real treat to sit back, digest, and contemplate on.

Scallops Hotel’s given name is Rory Ferreira but his website lists additional aliases and pseudonyms.

Milo aka Scallops Hotel aka Black Orpheus aka Red Wall aka The Ashy Handed Bandit aka Celeskingiii aka Matthewslaveships aka Hi, yello aka Skipio aka The Corduroy Coon Prince.

The 24 year old art rap prodigy hails from Maine but has ties across the country in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Wisconsin due to his time spent juggling school, recording new music, collaborating with various collectives like the Hellfyre Club, and occasionally touring.

Milo’s style can be described as indie rap / glitch hop / art rap and he follows in the intense lyrical vein of both predecessors and mentors Busdriver and Open Mike Eagle.  He excels at expanding what they do best while adding his own distinct chill flair.

He has several works under his belt starting with 2011’s I wish my brother Rob was here. A very impressive debut that should be explored and re-explored like it was the darkest depths of the ocean.  His work is as deep as it is dense.

However, it was his 2015 release so the flies don’t come that brought him to the forefront of the underground hip hop community.

Mass Appeal hosted a tournament in 2015 for readers to vote on their favorite albums of the year. They seeded it fairly with Drake, Kendrick, and Future initially occupying the top spots.  But when the readers began voting Milo came to dominate the competition and in true underdog fashion captured the website’s title for best album of the year.  They summed up his charm as follows:

With a strong focus on bard-like storytelling, milo unifies his background in linguistic and metaphysic philosophy with a learned alt-rap history. Writing raps that cut to the heart of millennial angst and anxiety have earned [him] a community, both of collaborators and fans. For the latter, his music is a point of genuine emotional connection, a chance to root for the underdog, rather than an artist with a carefully manicured PR image. He connects with those who’ve felt the same plight as him, nerds and outsiders, anyone looking for [the] dexterity of a poet with the rhythm of a rap (and without the pretension that normally comes along with that).

If you’re still not convinced of the talent overflowing out of this man’s brain, Rolling Stone ranked so the flies don’t come #26 on their 40 Best Rap Albums of 2015.

Not convinced? Well fuck. Here’s a picture I guess.

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Though not the best nor the most current promo photo, I believe this captures the true essence of Milo. Naked of all but his glasses. In the bathtub. Big chillin’ with some tropical fish curtains.

*Proceed to new album analysis*

too much of life is mood was released under milo’s pseudonym Scallops Hotel.  He scatters this monicker several times across the album mentioning “Scallops Hotel is the building,” at least thrice.  Being released under as atypical alias allows this album takes the form of a side project.  The record is less lyrical than his previous release but contains plenty of samples, beats, guest artists, and enough casual glittery glitchiness to convince one to listen to the whole thing.

Supporter Daniel Johansen said on Bandcamp that, “This feels just like your live performance. Acknowledgement, cuts and spurting stops, and organically flowing beats.”

The album was originally released explicitly as a cassette so there are no breaks between tracks on the digital product.  It is art in truest sense as the listener is required to sit through the entire 40 minute auditory display in order to appreciate its majesty.

Another fan, Steven Irwin agrees with this sentiment. “There’s something about losing the convenience of skipping tracks that shapes a listening experience. Having this as a single 40 minute mix reminds me of that and I love it. This is a lot of audible texture and it’s a real raw journey, both humble and unapologetic.”

Eliminating the opportunity to skip through songs doesn’t mean there aren’t individual tracks on the album. milo provided a tracklist and I did my best to go through them all and add their corresponding times.  Given the glitch-heavy vibes it was sometimes tough to distinguish between one song and the next but I gave it my best shot.

1. too much of life is mood [0:00]
2. hank dumas’ thoughts [1:15]
3. niopo tree stipend [2:53]
4. a beat for cousin Harry [4:43]
5.                                         [6:36]
6. teton village cave dweller [8:11]
7. a gasp of vast aire (black balloons) [9:09]
8. acting thinking feeling [11:35]
9. noises people of color make [12:55]
10. Sun Ro Files Vol. 3 [13:36]
11. a handful of mulberry berries [14:33]
12. taking a nap [17:05]
13. ahmad jabar, wizard and friend [17:45]
14. discussing lanquidity with the Moor ft SB the Moor [20:31]
15. a groove for Cara Jane [24:46]
16. ninth day at the grocery [26:32]
17. holy water is not for quenching thirst [27:43]
18. sadik made me these slippers [29:23]
19. different vibes from ro [32:04]
20. primordial rhythm bopper’s equation [34:20]
21. sunology research center grand opening [36:19]
22. 2 [37:42]

Despite not being as lyrical as some of his past work, there are still many phrases that stand out and make me think.  Milo’s raps typically deal with blackness, daily struggles, mundane features of life, pop culture, as well as philosophy and this release was no different.  Here are a few of my personal favorites.

“I began reading on page six. Because fuck it. Nothing matters.” (Sun Ro Files Vol. 3)

“Stalin’s granddaughter cosplaying as tank girl.” (different vibes from ro)

“Don’t talk to me about black on black crime. Unless you addressin’ the condition that we tend to live in and the mind behind its design.”  (2)

The work as a whole is intriguing and powerful. A worthwhile listen regardless of your musical preference.

Check it out below and buy the album as I did.  Support honest, intellectual art rap.