Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley, Brad Kopplin and Shawn Biggs
Kelley Stoltz is a past dweller, a man of different eras and frames of reference, all of which have sentimental deference for the times when tape flowed like rivers, when folks were left with nothing but their talent to fall back on. These were the days when songs about girls and yellow submarines were the new NEW things - in a way - and pop music could be organically scientific, not scientifically marketable or effective as it is these days.
Centric to all of Stoltz's albums is that plush warmth that only comes from a tender loving care for the completely head-scratching thin line that separates the greater heaps of pop songs that do nothing for someone and the small heap of pop songs that mash you up, tie your arms together behind your back with itchy rope and lie you down over a train track bed, hostage to what repeats through your ears. You're willing to just take the wheels across the chest, cutting you into three, as long as the songs continue singing through the air through the initial impact. It's not the best way to describe how Stoltz's songs affect you - this whole bloody murder scenario - but it might be the way that they affect him initially.
Book lovers have that musky swell of aging paper - the library's perfume - to intoxicate them and car fanatics get dizzy on the fumes of burning rubber or hot gasoline fuel, but Stoltz must prefer to be arrested, beat into submission by a harmony and left seeing starbursts and flashes until he can pick himself back off the ground. He finds in himself those fragments of existence that even in their present stages can feel nostalgic. The encounters that immediately feel like they'll be able to be related to in fond ways decades from now - the odd people that become the quirky stuff of your own personal legend - are at the core of much of what Stoltz brings to the dinner table. His sound, really, is nothing of any huge departure from what we've heard since the early 60s when Beatlemania, The Turtles and The Zombies gave girls fabulous reasons to crush and boys even better reasons to learn how to communicate in brief 2 1/2 -minute chunks, do it in tune and then subsequently fit into snappy leisure suits and tight, leg-hugging trousers cut high enough to show plenty of boot. Stoltz is a worshipper to the pop sound, and his latest, Circular Sounds, is another document to prove his allegiance.
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Kelley Stoltz Official Site
Sub Pop Records