Curmudgeonly Godfather of DIY, R. Stevie Moore has been responsible for springing hundreds of self-released albums on the unsuspecting public for over the past 50 years. Taking the universal sounds of The Beatles, early Zappa, The Beach Boys, and Todd Rundgren (to name just a few), he excels at shaping these influences into his own unique brand of outsider pop that exists in a universe all its own.
His latest album for Hoboken label Bar/None, Afterlife, is somewhat of a different affair than the usual release slated for the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club. Taking a page from one of his heroes Lou Reed, who left The Velvet Underground an “album loaded with hits,” prior to his riding off into the sun. R. Stevie’s latest platter is all killer, and no filler. This is the result of cherry picking some of the best of his home-recorded ditties from the past couple of decades, and re-recording them to give them a pro-sounding high fidelity sheen. The hat trick here is that he managed to do it without sacrificing all of the idiosyncrasies that make his work endearing to so many. It probably didn’t hurt that he brought the big guns out for this one too, gathering a crew that includes sidemen such as Ariel Pink, Jason Falkner, Lane Steinberg, and producer Irwin Chusid to help him realize his vision for the record.
Unlike many of the other compilations of his work that have been released over the years, label hype seems to indicate this one might just be his sayonara to music. I’m not sure that neither he nor I believe that be true. Regardless if that’s the case or not, Afterlife works equally well as a primer to his peculiar brand of skewed song-craft or an epitaph for a legend. Silver lining here is that whether this is the end or not, there’s plenty more where this came from just waiting to be discovered thanks to his vast body of work. So, what are you waiting for? The rabbit hole awaits.
Order Afterlife from Bar None.