THIS MONTH”S FEATURED REVIEW
R. Stevie Moore
Hailed as “a lo-fi legend” by the New York Times, R. Stevie Moore is the son of Nashville A-Team bassist Bob Moore, who has played sideman to the likes of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, George Jones, Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan, among others. But except for a short period in the early 1970s, Moore has completely eschewed his father’s world and remained dedicated to a DIY musical path that has spanned four decades, endless genres and resulted in more than (yes) 400 self-released albums, recorded mostly alone in his bedroom.
Not only has Moore built a healthy underground following, he has also attracted a number of well-known fans, including Ariel Pink, Guided by Voices, Don Fleming, Allison Anders, Jad Fair, The Residents, Dr. Dog, Mike Watt, Dave Gregory of XTC, Eric Matthews and Jason Falkner. And it was his fans’ generous Kickstarter pledges that helped to make Advanced possible.
Moore is originally from Nashville, but moved to New Jersey in 1978 at the suggestion of his uncle. He moved back to Nashville last year, and immediately set about entering a proper studio to record a proper album with boyhood friend and musician Roger Ferguson.
Like most R. Stevie Moore albums, "Advanced" is all over the stylistic map. It begins with a sort of heavy metal lounge take on Ralph Towner’s “Icarus” before sliding into a George Harrison-esque reworking of an early Moore favorite, “Pop Music.” Other tracks include a cover of the late Victor Lovera’s gorgeous ode to the struggling musician, “The Buzz,” his sublimely gripping duet with Lane Steinberg on “Theorem,” two remakes of his ready-made hits (for whichever rock or country music stars choose to record them) “You Don’t Have to Worry About My Love” and “Love Is the Way to My Heart,” the Yo La Tengo-tinged “Me, Too” and an updated version of the food-focused Beach Boys pastiche, “Milk Shake.”
Moore’s back catalog is overflowing with mind-blowing performances and some of the most creatively adept songwriting of the last 40 years, but his outsider status and lo-fi one-man-band recording techniques have caused him to be, as Rolling Stone once dubbed him, "a national treasure unrecognized in his homeland." While he still handles most of the playing and singing himself on "Advanced," perhaps the album’s full-on professional production values will help give “the godfather of home recording” more of the national recognition he’s long deserved.
Reeve Hunter + John Perry
If John Reuben had guested on Self’s “Gizmodgery” album, it might have sounded like this. If those references are too obscure for you, think infectious white boy rap backed by a bevy of musical friends contributing beeps and boops, rockin’ beats and flawlessly placed bass, guitar, keyboard parts. I just wish there was more of it. Even a double EP of this stuff is not enough.
Prophets & Kings
Prophets & Kings
I got my first taste of Prophets & Kings a few months ago when I heard the track “First Taste” and subsequently put it on at least three different mix CDs that I listened to in my truck on my way to (and often from) work each day. Their first full-length release displays the band’s rare and addictive ability to organically toss emotion and melody against a jagged wall of electronica and make it stick.
A FEW NOTABLE RELEASES FROM THE LAST FEW MONTHS
(Luaka Bop) | LINK
A borderline genius pairing of Wild West sounds, samples and hip-hop beats.
(Downtown) | LINK
Indie rock principles meet jam band energy, classic rock hooks and sneaky jazz chops.
Rachel Goodrich | LINK
Miami’s first lady of “shake-a-billy” is nipping at the big time with this sublime sophomore offering.
A FINAL NOTE
Much has been made about the impending opening of Track 29, which its owners are calling “the premier music venue and gig location in Chattanooga.” Local music writer/photographer Fil Manley described his visit to the venue’s pre-grand opening preview party as an “out-of-body experience,” and the venue has booked an impressive initial list of acts, including John Hiatt, Drive-by Truckers and M. Ward.
As slick as Track 29 looks and sounds, however, I am a bit surprised that I haven't heard much about Los Lobos' equally exciting upcoming appearance at the Southern Brewers Festival. This band is the real deal, folks. They blow other bands off stages—and they don't have to play “La Bamba” to do it.