R. Stevie Moore

Hobbies Galore

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Newcomers to R. Stevie Moore's almost overwhelming recorded oeuvre can often throw up their hands in frustration when trying to decide where to begin. As a result, Moore has occasionally put his best stuff on compilation albums, many of which are in fact excellent introductions (1993's Contact Risk is particularly fine). For 2003's Hobbies Galore, however, Moore handed over the compilation reins to his friend Mitchell Friedman, who compiled and sequenced this 24-track collection from the artist's preceding 289 self-released albums, boiling them down into one 80-minute selection of prime R. Stevie Moore. There are none of the spoken word interludes, the found-tape oddities, the oddball covers, the just plain weird experiments, the 20-minute instrumentals, or the comedy skits: just two dozen songs that highlight R. Stevie Moore's very real talent as a pop singer/songwriter and amazingly inventive one-man-band D.I.Y. pioneer. Longtime Moore fans undoubtedly have at least as many personal favorites that are just as suitable for a collection like this ("Manufacturers" and "California Rhythm," for example), but there is no arguing about what's here. From haunting ballads like the hushed title track and the dreamily romantic "Play Myself Some Music" to sturdy power pop like "Why Should I Love You," "Part of the Problem," and the jangleriffic "I Wanna Hit You" to the quirky Sparks-like art pop of "Don't Let Me Go to the Dogs" and "I Wish I Could Sing," every song is a winner. This is, at long last, the absolutely perfect introduction to R. Stevie Moore for the curious but daunted.

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