By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
For Chuck Moore, Cartalk’s debut album, “Pass Like Pollen,” has been years in the making. It’s a relief for the collection to be available to fans.
“I couldn’t wait for it to be out in the world,” Moore said. “We had it mastered at The Bakery last August. It’s been done for over a year. It’s been a long time. I wrote the songs in 2017, 2018.”
The indie-rock, alt-country album comes with a slew of new singles, including last summer’s dreamy “Noonday Devil,” which Moore calls a launching point into Cartalk.
“That’s a great introduction because it was the introduction to the band,” Moore said. “As far as the sound, it’s grungy—a little bit of an alt-country kind of vibe with the banjo.
“‘Los Manos’ was the single and it came out over a year later. That’s a reintroduction and I think that is some important lyric writing for me. It definitely has the wave of distortion in that song, which is something I was trying to capture.”
“Las Manos” opens in a crowded Los Angeles venue as vocalist Moore’s admiration for a fellow musician is sparked. The song details a crush and the regret of leaving without a phone number.
“‘Pass Like Pollen’ distills the aftermath of a relationship—both the beautiful fragments I want to hold on to and the dismal ones I hold a light to so I will never forget what loss of self-worth looks like.”
A Pasadena native who now lives in Highland Park, Moore picked up a guitar at around 10, and in high school was the resident charming musician.
“I was the kid in high school who brought their guitar to school and sang in the halls,” Moore said. “I’d sing Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel. I’d be late, but I’d charm the teachers walking in singing. ‘I know I’m late, but I’m singing to you right now.’”
Moore went on to study music licensing and songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a few years.
“I’ve been writing songs in my bedroom since I was a kid,” Moore said. “I wanted to have a band. I’m very lucky to have my family and friends, who have been there for me and believed in me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people in my life.”
Moore feels releasing the album during a pandemic is bittersweet, as, in a “normal” world, a release party would have been scheduled.
“I’ll probably have a party at the house with friends and family,” said Moore, who’s working a sophomore effort. “I can still celebrate, just in a different way. I can see people at a safe distance.
“The music is going to get in the hands of people. I’m still making announcements. I’m thankful I’m able to do that. I’m trying to make the most of it, as we all are. I didn’t want to wait until next spring to put it out. There was a minute where I wasn’t sure. My friends are putting out music, though. We need art and music right now—more than ever, really. I just decided to go with it and put this out.”
When the pandemic ends, Moore is looking forward to visiting Vroman’s Bookstore again or hanging out at Laemmle’s Playhouse.
“That’s the perfect Pasadena day for me,” Moore said. “Just kind of cruising around, walking around Lake Avenue. Peet’s, that was my spot in high school. My best friend and I still go to that Peet’s once a week or so and sit outside and recount the days of our youth. It’s pretty wild to live so close to where you grew up. I’m proud to be from Pasadena—no doubt.”