8/9/10: Mo Troper

SOUNDS LIKE: The Beatles and the Decemberists having a jam session in the Pacific Northwest.

Mo Troper was just halfway through a tour when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In March, the Portland singer-songwriter's West Coast jaunt in support of Natural Beauty, his third album, was cut short. Then, his Midwest and East Coast shows were postponed as the pandemic wiped out live music for the foreseeable future.

But the 28-year-old isn't the least bit bitter about having to put the promotion for his latest release indefinitely on hold.

"With COVID, and the protests, there are much more important things going on," he says. "It just doesn't feel like the right time to be promoting [anyway]."

Natural Beauty marks a departure from Troper's 2016 debut album, Beloved, which Pitchfork gave a tepid review that he remains grateful for, despite the reviewer's jab at his "snot-nosed pwnage." Troper's latest record swaps angsty adolescent tropes with quirky, love-specked optimism. Steeped in punchy power-pop hooks, dissonant harmonies and tinges of '60s orchestral rock, Natural Beauty is something of an ode to the music of Troper's teenage years, including the White Album, his favorite Beatles record, and fellow Portland indie band Dear Nora.

Troper played most of the instruments on the album himself, and penned a majority of the 12 tracks after returning to Portland from a yearlong stint living in L.A. "If there's a theme for the album," he says, "it's getting back in touch with my Portland roots."

Though he certainly wasn't expecting to be this rooted to his Portland home, Troper has an almost Zen-like attitude about the fact that he may never get to resume his postponed Natural Beauty tour.

"I don't know if anyone would be excited about a tour to support a record that's a year old," he says. "I almost have enough songs for an LP, so I may try to bang that out in the next few months for a new album and eventually tour for that one."

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