Friday Five: Andy Milne, Animal Coup, Queso Tone, Anthony Roperti, Mazinga


Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features jazz from Andy Milne, hip-hop/pop by Queso Tone and Anthony Roperti, moody indie by Animal Coup, and psychedelic rock by Mazinga.


Andy Milne, Time Will Tell
Pianist Andy Milne is a two-time winner of Canada's JUNO Award for best jazz album: in 2019 for The Seasons of Being and in 2021 for The reMission.  The latter record was partially inspired by Milne's cancer diagnosis and recovery, and released soon after he moved to Ann Arbor as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan. Time Will Tell, Milne's latest, also has roots in a real-life event: meeting his birth mother. Milne, who was raised in Canada, started to find out more about his biological family after a DNA test, and the music he composed for Time Will Tell reflects that time of meditation, joy, and mystery.

Ingrid Laubrock (tenor saxophone) and Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto) augment Milne's rhythm core of John Hébert (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums). Laubrock and Reikano perform with Milne, Hébert, and Penn on three tracks and each has a tune alone with the trio, and their contributions add to the reflective romanticism of Time Will Tell. It's a graceful, introspective, and lyrical record that expresses Milne's journey of self-discovery as a transracial adoptee.


Queso Tone, Raw Ambition, "Letter 2 Myself," Take a Flick"
Eastern Michigan University student and Oak Park native Antonio Byrd Jr. started his musical journey in high school, but he seems to have hit his stride this past year at college, releasing a mammoth 27-song album last year along with numerous videos. His momentum hasn't slowed in 2024 with several new singles, which highlight his ability to flit between rapping and singing like a Southeastern Michigan version of Drake.


Anthony Roperti, "Devil in Disguise" and "Mosh Pit"
Dexter native Anthony Roperti is also an EMU student, and he's released numerous singles on streaming services. over the past year. Roperti is also a singer-rapper, but his music leans on pop and dance music as much as it does hip-hop, making for an appealing commercial blend.


Animal Coup, Animal Coup I
Ypsilanti's Animal Coup is led by Davey McLeod, who wrote the bulk of this record during the pandemic while ruminating on the climate crisis as well as our relationship to the natural world and the critters who inhabit it. Yeah, it's heavy stuff. But my fellow Earth Crisis fans shouldn't come to Animal Coup I looking for a hardcore-metal mashup. McLeod takes his cues more from the indie rock and post-punk worlds, preferring slower tempos, whisper-talked vocals, and a melodic tension that never quite resolves.


Whip-Bats and Mazinga, Ulf Maverick Original Soundtrack
Various artists, Finlans Fabulous Fintastic Musical Extravaganza Fundraiser Compilation (Volume 5)

Rubber Wolf (aka Tony Fero) has a soundtrack to go with his Ulf Maverick comic book courtesy of longtime Ann Arbor psychedelic rockers Mazinga and mysterious electronica project Whip-Bats. Mazinga also appears alongside numerous fellow Washtenaw County acts including Cyrano Jones and Cracked & Hooked on the annual benefit album for Finlan GorgEffen, an Ypsi teenager who has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy and epilepsy. His dad, Jamie "Pops" VanEffen, is also on the comp.

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.