It has been said that one day music archeologists will uncover the music catalogue of Michigan native, Kelley Stoltz, buried in a chest at the feet of the Golden Gate Bridge and unveil its riches to the un- anointed masses. Thereby, restoring the balance of injustice heaped upon this vastly underrated musician. I find this such a sad proposition, considering that over the past three years, Mr. Stoltz, has released some of his strongest and most accessible work. Why then should he have to wait to receive his due? Artists that mine similar veins of psychedelic tinged pop/rock songs have found massive success; Ty Segall, Tame Impala, Thee Oh Sees come immediately to mind. But too few music fans out there know of the melodic riches in the songs of Kelley Stoltz.
His unique mix of the Velvet Underground, Syd Barrett, the Beatles, and Captain Beefheart garnered him the attention of Sub Pop Records in 2005, who subsequently released three LPs and two EP, in a span of five years. In 2013, he released the seminal album, Double Exposure, on Third Man Records and most recently, in 2015, he released, In Triangle Time, on (Thee Oh Sees leader, John Dwyer) Castle Face Records. He has toured with artists as far ranging as The Raconteurs and Echo and The Bunnymen and currently resides in the indie pop psychedelic hot bed of San Francisco, California.
Jumping in on an artist with such a vast amount of releases can be daunting, but I encourage fans of any of the aforementioned artists to purchase Kelley Stoltz 2013 album, Double Exposure or the more recent, In Triangle Time. Either one is a perfect album to start and experience the singular songwriting and deft production that is Mr. Stoltz' hallmark trait. I would equate Double Exposure and In Triangle Time with (hear me out Beatles fans) the sequential releases of Rubber Soul and Revolver, in as much as, the albums are married in similar ideas and evocative of the same headspace, but In Triangle Time is just slightly more refined in its approach as a whole, much like Revolver is similar to Rubber Soul, but even more concise in its vision. Simply put, In Triangle Time, arrives with the building blocks of Double Exposure, but adds and expands on them.
On Double Exposure, the melodies and propulsion of songs," Kim Chee Taco Man" and "Storms" , will welcome you into the rich, textural world of Kelley Stoltz' genius. His unique mix of Nuggets-era pop meets the Velvet Underground and the Beatles is hard to get out of your head. He is clearly a man in love with the art of songwriting as the foundation to his craft. The elements and techniques he uses in the overdub and mixing stage serve only to highlight the songs and further his insular notion of pop music. For me, this is what separates Kelley Stoltz from other "psychedelic revivalists" who often rely too heavily on the bells and whistles of the idiom, but lack the songs themselves. Case in point, "Are You My Love", a deceptively simple gem: sung in a rich Eddie Cochran timbre, tight harmonies , cascading guitars, straightforward surf rhythm, but presented with enough echo and left of center production to place it squarely in the "Psych-Box".
In Triangle Time, is an all encapsulating universe, not out of league with Brian Wilson fronting elements of Ariel Pink, War on Drugs and 13th Floor Elevators. Guitars, keyboards, hooks, and melodies (mostly performed by Kelley Stoltz himself)
make the bones of this outstanding album. "Star Cluster" and "Wobbly" are but two of the standout tracks on this album, that deserves to be listened to on vinyl, in one sitting. Stoltz doesn't play it heavy like Thee Oh Sees, preferring mid to uptempo
precision over bombast, but he adds enough lysergic honey to make the journey especially engaging.
If you're hooked on those two albums, then start making you're way back through his catalog and keep an eye out for when his tour rolls through your town. Perhaps, Kelley Stoltz won't have to wait for future generations to appreciate his many gifts. For now, lets hope he just keeps bestowing them on us.