Down The Rabbit Hole With Kelley Stoltz

  • Finding a review of Kelley Stoltz’s “Circular Sounds” in the, I dunno, February or March issue of Uncut may have been a mistake.  Until then, blissfully ignorant of his work, I was just an ordinary fiend, listening to my Beatles and Beefheart, taking my Kinks straight up without a chaser, leaving room in my heart and my iPod for the Eels and Devendra Banhart.  But then I made the mistake of listening to “Circular Sounds,” and let me tell you, we can call off the rest of 2008.  The best album of the year was released in February.  
  • My bigger mistake, though, was pulling on the thread and dragging up “Below The Branches,” the album Stoltz released in 2006.  So it’s maybe better than “Circular Sounds.” It is, minimally, its equal.  Ah, but was I content to leave things there? Oh, no.  I had to keep pulling, had to get “Antique Glow” and “The Past Was Faster.”  Not as good as the two most recent albums, mostly because of production values, or the lack thereof.  The early ones seem more of the DIY, homegrown, low-fi variety, while the two most recent albums seem to have been delivered to us like tablets from the pop-rock deities.
  • So, it’s been down the rabbit hole with Kelley Stoltz.  And here’s a quiz to determine whether you’ll soon be joining me, whether you can talk your way past the doormen, that seven foot monster with his midget pal.  Do you like the Kinks?  The Beatles, particularly the Lennon songs? Is your idea of a good Paul McCartney song “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” Have you found yourself moved by the pure bohemian beauty of Devendra Banhart’s songs?  Were you ever at least mildly amused by the sensibilities of Camper Van Beethoven?  Do you like Nick Drake in small doses?  Did you ever hear Henry Badowski’s absolutely bizarre 1981 album “Life Is Grand”?  Do you like any of the Elephant 6 bands, particularly Beulah, Apples in Stereo, and Olivia Tremor Control?  Will you admit, either publicly or at least to yourself, that you kind of liked one or two Harry Nilson songs?  Do you, as I do, hate the Beach Boys, while admitting that Brian Wilson’s weirdly overwhelming impact on recent white pop music is not all bad?  At any time in the last five years have you listened to David Bowie’s”Pin Ups” album, especially his version of “See Emily Play”?
  • Answer yes to any two of the above questions and you can join me down the rabbit hole in Kelley Stoltz’s Wonderland where pop music is crafted by hand, and is delivered by a divine messenger.  Hurry.  Wouldn’t want to be late.

One Response to “Down The Rabbit Hole With Kelley Stoltz”

  1. Looking forward to seeing Kelley tonight!
    I have that Badowski on vinyl….”Swimming With The Fish In The Sea”!
    I’ll take Nilsson’s Pussycats album. Any day.
    I love the Beach Boys, esp. from Pet Sounds thru’ Surf’s Up…
    CvB…small doses.

    Now……on to Mt. Fuji…!!!

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