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R Stevie Moore'
PhonographyPhonography was lo-fi legend R. Stevie Moores first vinyl release only 100 copies were pressed in 1976. The album (including a slightly larger 1978 pressing) barely earned the artist lunch money. But Phonography has since become the cornerstone of the Do-It-Yourself movement, while establishing Moore as the Granddaddy of home recording. Both Rolling Stone and Spin have proclaimed it one of the most influential independent releases of the past 50 years. Phonography was recorded by a self-taught control-freak, using cheap, malfunctioning analog equipment. Robert Steven Moore was born in 1952, in Nashville. His dad, veteran bassist/producer Bob Moore, taxied between sessions for major stars (including Elvis Presley). But Stevie preferred Brit Invasion, Zappa, Brian Wilsons idiosyncratic arrangements, and outliers like the Shaggs. At the urging of his supportive uncle, Harry Palmer, he moved to New Jersey in 1976.
The Phonography material was recorded by this one-man virtual band at home between 1974 and 1976 with a pair of analog open-reel stereo decks and no multi-tracking equipment. Moore built songs starting with a rhythm track (e.g., played on drums, furniture, or boxes), upon which he layered instrumental and vocal tracks in a primitive sound-on-sound technique. Multiple generations of sound caused frequency loss and sonic distortion the embodiment of lo-fi but these are charming artifacts that dont obscure the brilliance of the compositions and Moores masterful music eccentricities. Moore and Palmer culled the top-tier songs, which were interspersed with spoken word, audio veritÉ, and radio snippets to create a program effect. The song styles were eclectic, reflecting Stevies omnivorous music appetite: hard rock, sweet ballads, Britpop, guitar raves, glam, and Zappa-esque weirdness. The album laid the foundation for Moores four-decade underground career.
He has self-released hundreds of albums on each successive eras format du jour (cassette, LP, CD, digital download). Hes had vinyl and CD compilations produced worldwide on two dozen indie labels. For a songwriter with a massive catalog of prime material, Moores revenue stream has barely afforded him the luxury of replacing gear plagued by worn-out switches. Yet most of the surviving labels who turned deaf ears to R. Stevie Moore are now, like him, struggling to make a buck on their catalogs. Their corner-office execs come and go. R. Stevie Moore is still here. And Phonography is back.1. Melbourne
2. Explanation of Artist
3. Goodbye Piano
4. Explanation of Listener
5. California Rhythm
6. I've Begun to Fall in Love
7. The Spot
8. I Want You in My Life
9. I Wish I Could Sing
10. Theme From A.G.
11. The Voice
12. Showing Shadows
13. She Don't Know What to Do With Herself
14. The Lariat Wressed Posing Hour
15. I Not Listening
16. Mr. Nashville
17. Moons$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Before TodayFor the best part of a decade, Los Angeles native Ariel Rosenberg has been carving out some of the most intoxicating music going, a reclusive pop surrealist whose corroded productions have led to a cult following that has often been difficult to keep up with. Now signed to 4AD, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti are back with Before Today.
With roots going back as far as 1996, the West Coast act are as sublime as they are surreal with a sound loaded with hazy nostalgia and a fiercely experimental pop palette. From the Haunted Graffiti series (from which the full band's name is now derived), which featured the likes of Worn Copy (2005) and House Arrest (2006), Ariel Pink has established himself as one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation, a visionary producer in the vein of Joe Meek and Ariel's hero and previous collaborator, tape deck dilettante, R. Stevie Moore, creating a world through certain production touches.1. Hot Body Rub
2. Bright Lit Blue Skies
3. L'estat (acc. to the widow's maid)
4. Fright Night (Nevermore)
5. Round And Round
6. Beverly Kills
7. Butt-House Blondies
8. Little Wig
9. Can't Hear My Eyes
11. Menopause Man
12. Revolution's A Lie$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Underneath The Pine
Columbia, South Carolina's Chaz Bundick (aka Toro Y Moi) rose to the fore of the music blogosphere in the summer of 2009 when he and a few peers made their hazy bedroom recordings the most talked-about sound of the season. Critics across the board took notice of the range of his compositions, and his debut album, Causers of This, showcased his ability to make elements of Brian Wilson's pop, 80s R&B, and Stone's Throw hip hop coalesce into a distinct sound that's as suitable for a dancefloor as it is a pair of headphones.
When Chaz first signed to Carpark Records, the plan was to release two records in 2010, one electronic and one with live instrumentation and although it didn't quite fit into the same calendar year as his debut, Underneath the Pine is that latter offering. This release sees him following
the same creative urges to completely different ends. Having spent the year listening to film composers like Ennio Morricone and François de Roubaix, Bundick returned to his home in Columbia, the birthplace of many Toro tracks of yore, to bring his new ideas to fruition.
The result of these sessions is an album evocative of R. Stevie Moore's homespun ruminations, David Axelrod's sonic scope, Steve Reich-ian piano phrasing, and the pervasive funk of his first record. Underneath the Pine announces a new phase for an artist whose talent defies classification.1. Intro/Chi Chi
2. New Beat
3. Go with You
5. Before Iâm Done
6. Got Blinded
7. How I Know
8. Light Black
9. Still Sound
10. Good Hold
11. Elise$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
NoctilucaDunes are a mysteriously ethereal and minimal trio from Los Angeles, CA. Appropriating pop and experimental music into a familiar swirl, while retaining a fresh outlook and approach, Dunes inhabit a space of tweaking, twisting, imagining moments and emotions from the past, destined to end up as their future. Stephanie Chan, formerly of Austin, TX bands Finally Punk, and The Carrots plays guitar and sings in Dunes, she creates surreal and dreamy narratives with her lyrics and uniquely beautiful, powerful voice. Mark Greshowak (Talbot Tagara) plays baritone guitar and sometimes bass, weaving melodies back and forth with Stephanie, making lush tones in the process. Kate Hall, played drums in Mika Miko before holding down the rhythmic duties and also singing for Dunes.
Having released a 12 EP on Mexican Summer, two 7 EP's, one on Los Angeles label Teenage Teerdrops, the other on San Diego's Art Fag and a tape on Ooga Booga, Dunes are primed to release their full length. These undoubtedly great pop songs sink in further as you listen, the perfect blend of three musicians experimenting towards the common goal.
Featuring 11-tracks, Noctiluca is a well thought out record, moments can bring you to the crafty and whimsical pop of The Cocteau Twins, while staying stripped down to feel as though it may be through the lens of Richard Hell, or as anxious as R. Stevie Moor. Post-punk, post-pop music played and interpreted by three great players who hold nothing back.1. Jukebox
2. Lonely Palm
3. Vertical Walk
4. Red Gold
5. Living Comfortably
9. The Spark
10. Minnow & The Machine
11. Tied Together$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Sure The Doldrums and Worn Copy had some hits and humdingers on them, but Ariel Pink's 2002 album House Arrest never lets up. Its hit after hit after hit. Sorta like if you listened to your friends boom box mix tape from Top 40 radio around 1985.
Think you've heard enough Ariel Pink? Well our favorite omnivorous media junkie from LA still has a few tricks left up his sleevelike the left-of-center House Arrest. Sure The Doldrums and Worn Copy had some hits and humdingers on them, but House Arrest never lets up. It's hit after hit after hit. Sorta like if you listened to your friend's boom box mix tape from Top 40 radio around 1985. Some people might think that sounds like a recipe for disaster. We say bring on the Doritos.
Originally released in 2002 as part of a split double-CD set, then re-released with a couple of bonus tracks (including the multipart epic Netherlands) in 2006, House Arrest, much like every other Ariel Pink release so far, provides a small sampling of Ariel Rosenberg's self-recorded compositions, laid down on a trusty eight-track at home. Unlike so many warbling troubadours who seem to think the recorded-in-a-bedroom approach means a license to be maudlin, Rosenberg brings an exuberant joy to his work, finding something that a full band recording might actually kill the spirit of. The queasy tones and gently distanced verses of the opening Hardcore Pops Are Fun is instant put-a-smile-on-your-face stuff, helping to set the tone for the whole collection. The demented synth pop merriment of Flying Circles suggests an '80s nugget swathed in psychedelic haze, a gentle breeziness apparent on many other songs like the giddy Every Night I Die at Miyagis or the nervous funk of Alisa, easily one of the best songs on the album thanks to some exquisite vocals in particular. Though his connection to personal hero R. Stevie Moore is often mentioned, Rosenberg's role model here often seems to be Andy Partridge instead -- check out the distinctly XTC-like hiccupping on Gettin' High in the Morning, not to mention the quick herky-jerk arrangements. Rosenberg's preference to add layers of echo on his voice means sometimes his lyrics only emerge in fits and starts, but when they do they often are wryly witty or amusingly theatrical -- it fits with the amusing rock pose on the back cover, a knowing embrace of a trope. So when he sings about how West Coast calamities are worth more than the East Coast variety or how he's one of those egomaniacs who just want to siiiing, who's to deny how he plays around with the ideas?
1. Hardcore Pops Are Fun
2. Interesting Results
3. West Coast Calamities
4. Flying Circles
5. Gettin' High In the Morning
7. Every Night I Die At Miyagis
8. House Arrest
10. Almost Waiting
$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Solid Gold HeartThe words and primary voice are those of Jad Fair, that
enduringly idiosyncratic artist revered in discerning pockets of
the global indie rock underground for decades. Danielson's
Daniel Smith has long admired Fair, drawing inspiration from
Half Japanese (the band Fair formed with his brother in the '70s)
on through to his prolific career today. Their discussions of
collaborating finally came to fruition when Joyful Noise
Recordings designated Fair its "Artist In Residence" for 2014
and Danielson was tapped as one of 4 artists (including R. Stevie
Moore; Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake; and Strobe Talbot) to
record separate respective albums with him for a boxed-set
limited release. "Flattered and honored" is how Smith sums up
his feelings about the project -- and grateful to get a game-plan
for what always seemed a complementary pairing.
Sounds Familyre will be doing their own non-limited release of
Solid Gold Heart in June, on CD, digital and gold vinyl. The 11
tracks of sweet collaboration collected under said title sound like
what you might expect, given the respective artists: gleaming
tunes of sincere sing-speak, resplendent with sparkling back-up
vocals and warmly melodic, inventive instrumentation; a
sunshine-bright outlook of positive encouragement to keep
"rockin' on the side of gooood" -- because, after all, "We
deserve chocolate cake/ We deserve apple pie/ Enjoy your life
The collaborative process commenced with Fair sending Smith
his unique vocal demos of recited lyrics with articulated mouth-sound musical qualities (some bits remain in the final mixes).
Smith then wrote music for each chosen track, eventually getting
Fair and drummer Gilles Rieder into his Clarksboro, NJ studio
to record their parts during a few hours break from touring.
Aside from Smith's own guitar-playing and singing throughout
the album, there were contributions made by his brothers David
and Andrew on percussion, and sisters Rachel and Megan along
with wife Elin on vocals. Spicing things up at Fair's behest were
members of Texas art-polka band Brave Combo: Carl Finch on
accordion and keys; Jeffrey Barnes on sax and woodwinds; and
Danny O'Brien on trumpet. Bringing things full-circle was
Kramer (Shockabilly, Bongwater, B.A.L.L. et al.) on bass, who
also co-mixed and mastered the album.
The result is a beguiling blend that builds off each participant's
strengths, truly a fresh sum that is greater than its parts. "The
goal was to make 3-minute pop songs, as accessible and fun and
immediate as possible," notes Smith. And that's what you'll
hear, each track an uplifting, mutually enhanced concoction.
Anyone who ever had a Solid Gold Heart -- wouldn't they want
to turn around and share it? Of course they would. Jad Fair and
Danielson are happy to offer up theirs.1. Go Ahead
2. Rockin On The Good Side
3. Ready Steady
4. Here We Stand
5. Solid Gold Heart
6. With The Knowledge
7. Apple Apple
8. Not No
9. On And On
10. You Got Me In A Spin
11.Here's Our Time$20.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The World Is Real (Awaiting Repress)LAKE's comprehensive pop vision has always been anchored in an honest mournfulness, a sensitivity to nature, and the vulnerability of life. These mark
LAKE's more down tempo, contemplative grooves, which are given their fullest voice yet on The World Is Real, LAKE's fourth album for K and sixth overall.
It follows 2008's Oh, the Places We'll Go, 2009's Let's Build A Roof, and 2011's Giving & Receiving, and was similarly recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio at K headquarters in their hometown of Olympia, Washington.
The songwriting partnership of Ashley Eriksson and Eli Moore is the locus of LAKE's creative engine, but the additional members are as integral and
longstanding. They are the diversely talented Andrew Dorsett, Markly Morisson, and Lindsay Schief. The creative sound that surrounds LAKE is storied in collaboration, sonic adventure and an allegiance to exploring the limits of crafting pop songs. They have toured, recorded and allied with some of the most pioneering figures in contemporary independent music: R. Stevie Moore, Chris Cohen, Karl Blau, and Phil Elverum's Mt. Eerie, for example.
Lead track Do You Recall? offers wide and subtle nods to working-class 80's classics like Mellencamp's Jack & Diane, or Hornsby's The Way It Is. Featuring drum machine and nostalgic guitar riffs, the lead and group vocals float through droning synths like wind to a bounded world.
Dog in the Desert one of the album's centerpieces, was initially inspired by the text-works of conceptual artist, Richard Long, and his "art made by walking in landscapes" (richardlong.org). Eriksson's voice, and the dark plodding instrumentation of the song, take Long's images and shape them into a meditation on abandonment, loss and reconciliation with nature.
Tellingly, the earthbound bass groove on Dog in the Desert is a quotation of Steely Dan's Black Cow. It is not the only song to directly live sample Fagen and Becker: Perfect Fit mashes up the chordal rhythms of Peg to excellent effect.
It's clear that LAKE enjoys to boldly tread and rework the classics in this way, most notably in Mark Morrison's first personal LAKE offering Takin' My Time, a direct reference to the Isley Brothers song "Caravan of Love." This smooth R&B pop seducer - a wild crowd favorite at LAKE's local Olympia outings - is a bit of an aside from The World Is Real's more meditative core.
Other highlights on The World Is Real: Bury the House takes its 60's styled psychedelic setting for a playful, self-deprecating riff on LAKE's own new age-y ideals: Bury the house / under the garden / make an attempt to go outside. Composure and "I Wish For You" have the pop attributes of Pet Sounds and Smile era Beach Boys - faintly forlorn, but still warm and sweet. And the community oriented compassion exhibited by LAKE's members is beautifully summarized in the opening lines of album closer Reconcile: How do we exist under the sun
but not in bliss? / What could have been? / Act on it.
Lovers of hybrid pop will hear the bright whirring electronic keys that notably set McCartney II apart from the rest of Paul's catalog, as well as the bittersweet organ and keyboard influence of Yo La Tengo, and the minimalist funk of Talking Heads on
this record. However, precise comparison is difficult: The World is Real avoids easy genre comparisons. An album full of the articulation of discontent and loss, LAKE captures these emotions in tandem with the pop music joys they have so expertly reigned in for many years.1. Do You Recall?
2. Bury The House
3. Combat Culture
5. Go Back
6. Dog In The Desert
7. Perfect Fit
8. Takin' My Time
9. I Wish For You
10. In The Stubborn Eyes Of A Demon
11. Reconcile$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now