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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In Print: R. Stevie Moore, Bedroom Pop Pioneer; Resurrecting Progressive House, and More

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2011 at 11:20 AM

From SF Weekly's latest print music section:

R. Stevie Moore
  • R. Stevie Moore

Original of the Species: Leaning towers of discs seem to stalk R. Stevie Moore's every move. At least, this is what we've gathered from the dozens of publicity shots that have promoted the homemade avant-pop albums he's issued since the mid-1970s. Moore is the original of his own species: the bedroom rock star. The videophone we used to interview him gave us a view of his workspace. This makeshift studio appears in many of the articles we've read about him, dating back to 1978. And here, on our very own laptop, we were greeted by the familiar scene: Moore at the eye of a plastic and cardboard storm.

It's an apt setting for the songwriter, who at 59 resembles a wry yogi, with an impressive mane of white hair and a beard. His speaking voice is deep and resonant, recalling a bygone era of investigative journalism on the nightly news. With similar omniscient authority, he announces his observations, like this one, which struck us as the single most useful tip we've heard for writing a good song: "It's all about the chord progressions," he says. "It's all about adding that little twist at the end of the second phrase. It's like putting puzzles together. And so many bands and genres stop -- and they don't take that extra step."


The Resurrection of Progressive House: Boundaries between genres in dance music are as hard to pin down as boundaries between neighborhoods in San Francisco, but Andy Schneider has found his niche. He calls it vintage progressive house, and he's made it the lodestar for his "obsessive mission to curate and preserve a moment of the past." Vintage progressive house, if you're wondering, is "all about tuneful melodies, big resonant drums, intricate textures, and, if you listen closely enough, a good amount of sound design subtlety."

To Schneider, a self-appointed "electronica-naysayer," listening closely is what it's all about. "What allowed this style to be so successful was, in my opinion, how well it worked as normal music," he says. "That is, there was enough happening in terms of structure, depth, songcraft, emotion, etc., that it appealed to armchair listeners who weren't all hopped up on whatsits. Whereas you'd be able to walk into most clubs at any point of the DJ's set and get all there is to get out of the music, this style requires that you devote your attention from start to finish. If the DJ is good, it'll be well worth the effort."

Also, we recommend shows from the Kills, El Elle, Poirer, and A-Trak.

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Ian S. Port


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