Archive for The Kinks

Kelley Stoltz Returns, Better Than Ever

Posted in Music with tags , , , on October 13, 2010 by johnbuckley100

Kelley Stoltz’ To Dreamers picks up where the most excellent Circular Sounds left off, which is to say, at the portal to Heaven.

Philosophers have debated since back in the day just what, exactly, constitutes Heaven.  It’s kind of a big question.  For the gang at Tulip Frenzy — who two years ago voted Circular Sounds the 2nd Best Album of 2008 — it’s fair to say that a record constructed, nay, handcrafted as a bespoke paean to the songwriting of Ray Davies, with such alchemical ability that can render a harpsichord a backing instrument in a garage band, is a good place to begin.

Look, some people keep searching for the New New Thing, and maybe it reveals conservative leanings that we think the post-British Invasion sounds of albums like Between The Buttons and Revolver just might represent the Apogee of Man. So of course we believe that in Kelley Stoltz we have found a kindred spirit.  We’d say he doesn’t get out much, but just recently we’ve heard his drumming with Sonny and the Sunsets, so we know he isn’t a shut-in, living with cats and his collection of vintage 45s.  And yet it is clear that this is a gentleman who has spent many an hour in quiet and solitary contemplation of the classics — you know, The Kinks Kronicles and the like.

If you can listen to the Buddy Holly-esque “Baby I Got News For You” without feeling a thrill, or can hear Little Girl” without wondering aloud how ONE MAN CAN MAKE THAT ENTIRE SONG, then you have evolved to a higher plane than us.  We fully anticipate “Keeping The Flame” will find its way into our noctural reveries — maybe that’s why he calls the album To Dreamers. We could see Devendra Banhart nodding his locks to “Ventriloquist,” and honestly, “Fire Escape” sounds like what “All Day And All of The Night” would have turned into if Ray Davies had chewed on speed served up by the Diggers.

Not everything on To Dreamers is better than Circular Sounds — that would be difficult because Circular Sounds will, we feel confident, have a permanent place in God’s own jukebox.

So maybe let’s just leave it here: there are some albums and some artists that you should play at 2:30 AM, while contemplating whether it’s worth even waking up in the morning.  Kelley Stoltz is not that artist, and To Dreamers is not that record.  Of course ad agencies go nuts when a new Kelley Stoltz album comes out — I can think of ads for hotel chains and regional banks constructed from ditties from the guy’s last two albums — for this is the soundtrack to a bright Saturday morning with the coffee ready to pour and the dog thumping her tail on the floor, ready to play. And yeah, that’s pretty close to our idea of Heaven.

Kelley Stoltz “Circular Sounds” Gets A Jump on The Best Of 2008 Lists

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on February 18, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Because they’re friends, the reference point for San Francisco-based pop genius Kelley Stoltz has tended to be Brendan Benson.  And I can see that: they’re both incredibly clever pop classicists who can craft bespoke masterpieces out of threads pulled from old Beatles and Kinks records. On “Circular Sounds,” Stoltz’s brand new album, (his fourth) you could easily see him fitting into the Elephant Six Collective, with “Everything Begins” bearing resemblance to something by Beulah, and more than a few other songs invoking the late great Olivia Tremor Control.  But I mean this as the highest compliment: Stoltz is the pop Wes Anderson.  No, not for anything having to do with preciousness, but because of the way he conjures the greatest small moments from the exceedingly weird 1970s.  There’s a Spirit/Randy California-ish ring to the guitar, but Ray Davies and the Kinks — heroes of Wes Anderson —  would seem to be the songwriting model invoked most often.  Here is a completely realized vision: power pop (lower case ‘p’s) based on beautiful songwriting so removed from current trends and sensibilities that if you told me this was some great lost record from 1973, I’d fall for it completely.  Just as I fell for “Circular Sounds.”  Doubt me? Go to the iTunes store and listen to “When You Forget.”  If you can resist, you’re probably the type that can eat one potato chip.

%d bloggers like this: