R. Stevie Moore

Four From Phonography

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R. Stevie Moore's Phonography was a minor classic of pre-punk D.I.Y. pop, but its initial 1976 pressing was limited to a mere 100 copies, which meant its potential sphere of influence was rather limited. So the Nashville-born Moore pulled up stakes and moved to northern New Jersey, where his uncle Harry Palmer, then the president of Atco Records, offered to reissue Phonography on his own HP Records. Prior to the full-fledged reissue, Palmer released the 7" EP Four From Phonography, a teaser that attracted a fair amount of attention in New York's burgeoning new wave scene, receiving excellent reviews in magazines like Trouser Press and New York Rocker and radio airplay on stations like the iconoclastic freeform WFMU. Four From Phonography distills the album into 11-and-a-half minutes, and wisely showcases not just Moore's knack for catchy power pop in the form of "I Wish I Could Sing" and the early Sparks-like "She Don't Know What to Do With Herself," but also his experimental bent. "Theme From A.G.," a witty recasting of the theme from The Andy Griffith Show, and the manic "Goodbye Piano" are nowhere near as weird as some of the other Phonography tracks, but they're a good sight more bizarre than anything you were going to get from Todd Rundgren, or even the Ramones.

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