Year in Pop: 2016

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Compiled select interviews & insights from 2016’s Week in Pop editions at a glance.

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Sjimon Gompers | December 30, 2016

Proudly presenting some select highlights and standouts from this year's Week in Pop: 2016 features with our annual Year in Pop review edition; photograph by Sjimon Gompers.

R. Stevie Moore

RStevieMoore_MarthaNaranjoSandoval-09R. Stevie Moore performing at the legendary Glasslands Gallery; photographed by Martha Naranjo Sandoval.

This week’s headliner is an artist who needs little introduction. The Nashville by New Jersey musician/icon/legend/home-recording godfather Robert Stevie Moore, oka R. Stevie Moore, RSM recently re-released his album NUN2 (Innuendos) via the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club / Happenin Records where his 1973 freak-out-fest original has been re-released on 100 tapes to be discovered by a whole new audience. R. Stevie Moore championed lo-fi before it was cool, and would set the stage for generations of new DIY visionaries that would carry the American Primitive mantle to the new realized breakthroughs that we practically take for granted. For those unfamiliar with Moore’s 400+ release catalog (and only growing by the day), NUN2 (Innuendos) is a great place to begin your obsession with a genuine living legend.

NUN2 is an adventure of following Mr. Moore down the rabbit hole where nearly any & all aspects & facets of genre fodder are hurled at the listener like an experience that resonates through the ages. The opening “Meat Shortage” combines free-form jazz qualities with a sensibility that could have soundtracked an art house flick from the 70s. Discovered bric-à-brac curios enthrall on the tripped out epic “Garage Sale”, to the pipework gazes of “Look In The Toilet” (that is revisited with significantly more electric guitar shredded dissonance on the follow-up “Look In The Toilet #1”), while RSM lets his freak flag fly high & proud on the description defying “Wideload”. Thoughts on lunch & the boogie are contemplated on the organ & piano breathed “Ham Boogy”, that arrives into the old time lounge halls of “Moon August”, then the sophisticated skronk of “Fuel Shortage” that leads you to the spoken word closer “Sidelines” that features a beatnik rock vignette that illustrates the character of RSM as a musician in the margins that ultimately influenced the current state of bedroom recorders & audio adventurers that dominate the pop made by today’s DIY denizens.

9abaef9a4c519cc998c1b0c3cfbc482c1.jpgThe one & only RSM, photographed by Marcus Lauer.

Also over the years, Impose has reported on R. Stevie Moore’s longtime collaborations with the like-minded Ariel Pink and this week we learned of RSM’s collaboration with another alt. pop underground artist also on the same wavelength—Gary Wilson who are readying their release RSMGW Vol.1. Available later in 2017, the collaborative carnival is said to feature appearances from folks like Jad Fair from Half Japanese, Jason Falkner from Jellyfish, The Distillers’ Ryan Sinnott, LA’s own Karen Centerfold, Bebe McPhereson from Department of Descriptive Services, also of Tucson duo Bebe & Serge, Black Heart Procession’s Pall Jenkins, Jimmy Whispers, Shags Chamberlain & probably a few others. The creative cavalcade can be heard on the track “Anders Saw Karen” ft. Karen Centerfold & Bebe McPhereson that hooks the chill funk around the “do you know who I am” reiterations of star-studded assertion (allegedly inspired by a confrontation with Karen & the LAPD). Don’t miss our candid following conversation with R. Stevie Moore himself.

What are some of your favorite and most fond memories surrounding the making of NUN 2 (INNUENDOS)?

Too long ago to know. Twas great fun. Like all sessions. Early baby pictures. Push red record button.

What is the key to the perfectly orchestrated jam sesh?

No clue. What kinda question is that? You can’t orchestrate a jam session. It must orchestrate itself. All my life I have worshiped the essence of chance. Improvisation & spontaneity. Happy accidents.

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R. Stevie Moore playing at Chop Suey; photographed by Melissa Denice Saunders;

Controlled or uncontrolled chaos in composition, and why?

Both. Because I can. Zero preference. RSM loathes the popular habit of ranking favorites. All or nothing. All the time. Something for everybody.

I recall there was a huge resurgence of fascination, discovery & interest in your body of work with the reissue of Phonography; what was all the renewed attention like for you?

Always grateful. This kind of thing has happened to me throughout the decades. Just when I think I am forgotten forever, somebody remembers me again. I survive solely by my independent aesthetic and massive back catalogue.

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R. Stevie Moore performing at Issue Project Room; photographed by Marcus Lauer.

How did you finally meet your long lost disciple Ariel Pink?

He reached out to me early 2000 via that brand new thing called email. He visited me in NJ a year later.

What is a creative dialogue like between you two?

Up and down. We’re not as closely in touch as often as I’d wish. BUT put us in the same room and it’s scary. Always idea driven. INSPIRE.

R. Stevie Moore smoking an eCig

Father Weirdness, the patron saint of outsider rock.

What are you thoughts on lo-fi music from the 70s versus the more on-purpose lo-fi of the current day?

Depends. The fi has nothing to do with it. the key is in the creativity of the ideas. Ever heard a 78rpm 10″ from the 40s? Pretty danged lo-fi. And precious as fuck. I have never understood the big deal about super high quality fidelity. Radio-friendly? Meh.

Thoughts on the music/entertainment industry of yesterday compared to what it is today?

It’s a silly jungle out there. apples and oranges. Hard to demonstrate the huge differences in 20-30 years of rock & roll biz. Kiddie hits. Cookie cutter glitter-hype. Makes me vomit. The underground is gold.

What else have you been working on?

Not too much. Semi-disabled & semi-retired. 50 years of 500 albums. Homemade casseroles. Using the www for all it’s worth, spreading the gospel.

2199c094f0f528e29b067e346cfe260d1.jpg
R. Stevie Moore at Issue Project Room; photographed by Marcus Lauer.

What sorts of music have you found yourself listening to a lot of lately?

Any and all. Diversity and variety rule my world. I am a music historian and huge record collector. Why then would I keep up with today’s goofy hit parade?

What televisions shows, if any, do you enjoy a lot?

Noooooooo.

Current favorite movie (new or old)?

Noooooooo.

Favorite book?

what’s that?

RStevieMoore_MarthaNaranjoSandoval-18
Cool rockin’ daddy in the USA R. Stevie Moore; photographed by Martha Naranjo Sandoval at Glasslands Gallery.

What is next in the great canon of R. Stevie Moore?

my gloriously personal Bandcamp episodes continue, never-ending daily sound diaries. a stunning new RSM film documentary in the works from UK. badassed new collaboration album with Jason Falkner. 2017 looks mighty promising.

What’s currently happening right now in Nashville?

I like to stay home.

Hopes, prayers & meditations for our world?

God is dead. POTUS is fed up. Vinyl is back!

R. Stevie Moore’s reissue of NUN 2 (Innuendo) is available now via the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club & Happenin Records.

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