Kelley Stoltz

kelley-stoltz-music-issue-550I’m not sure how Kelley Stoltz has escaped my ears, but it’s a damn shame. Pure lo-fi pop bliss this guy makes. I listened to a track off a new album called Double Exposure that he’s releasing on Third Man Records and that song was a mix of vintage synths and buzzy guitars. Something like The Cars jamming with White Fence. Very cool song. But at the moment I’m listening to his 2010 Sub Pop release To Dreamers. It’s pretty phenomenal. A scuzzy, scrappy mix of Byrds jangle, Kinks pop confection, and the spirit of late 60s garage rock. Hell, even the song “I Remember, You Were Wild” could’ve been a hit for Rick Springfield. No joke, check it out.

I am a bit perplexed, though. I don’t know how my mind differentiates one lo-fi scrappy pop rock musician from another. Why is it that I totally love Kelley Stoltz, but I just can’t get on board with Ty Segall? What’s the deal? I know Segall is a righteous dude, yet I can’t listen to more than a song or two before I want to turn the channel. His music just doesn’t do it for me. It could be that after awhile my mind just shuts down when song after song is a scrappy, fuzzy guitar. Kelley Stoltz, for example, has that scrappy production, but he mixes the songs up with synths, 12-string electric, and crunchy fuzz pedals. I need some variety. Yeah, maybe that’s it. I like the variety. I think that’s why The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society was such an important album for me when I was 18 years old. There were so many different things going on, yet it all remained cohesive. Pastoral pop, folk, psychedelia, and good ol’ rock n’ roll.

I don’t know. I’m probably just full of s**t.

All I know is that Kelley Stoltz is killing it for me this morning. I’m glad I came across him, and I look forward to hearing that new album. Until then, I’ll keep spinning To Dreamers until something else tickles my fancy.

21 thoughts on “Kelley Stoltz

  1. Maybe you’re full of it. Maybe not. Try some laxative and see how Ty and Kelley sound afterwards. Then you’ll know.

    I think you hit on half of it when you described Stolz as ‘pop’. On the other hand, Segall is ‘punk’. They both range beyond those narrow terms, even intersecting, but, when you get down to it, one is pop and one is punk. While you’re obviously not anti-punk, you’re definitely pro-pop.

    As a side note, the percussion on “Rock & Roll With Me” is very Hubner-esque. Is that your side job?


    1. Damn, I think you might be onto something there. I think it’s the pop quotient. If one is more pop than the other, I’m always going with the pop. I’ve heard some Segall stuff that I really like, but overall I can’t enjoy an entire album.

      But then I can listen to Sleep, High On Fire, Earthless, and White Hills till the cows come home. Maybe because there’s no promise of a pop hook. It’s balls to the walls sludgy, doomy stoner rock.

      I’d like to take credit for that drum beat. I really would. Hell of an opener.


      1. Yeah, I come from a more punky place, so Segall fits me a little better.

        I’ll give you credit for the drums, even if logic/reality/spirits-in-the-sky disagree.


      1. I’ll be a millionaire by Christmas!

        I’ve not heard a great deal but I do like the Kelley Stoltz that I’ve heard – I think he’s got a good ear for a peppy melody.


  2. I dig the new Kelley Stoltz record, but my favorite record of his is Antique Glow. It’s a lot more diverse than the new record with an emphasis on 60’s garage psych. If push comes to shove, I pick Segall over Stoltz only because I have been diggin his tunes for awhile. The new Ty Segall record “Sleeper” reminds me of Goodbye Bread which is my go-to Segall record.

    P.S. there is no denying the fact that Thee Oh Sees are the most prolific, face melting psych band of the universe.


    1. I recently bought Sleeper and it’s definitely the one Segall record that I can say I’ve connected with. Maybe I should give Goodbye Bread a better listen?

      Thee Oh Sees take the face-melting award.

      I’ll give Antique Glow a listen.


  3. You know how I feel about Ty. But in case you don’t, I think he and Bradford Cox are pretty much the best two dudes we have making rock songs right now. Listen to “You Make the Sun Fry” or “Thank God for the Sinners” over and over again and soon enough I bet you’ll think of them as new rock n’ roll anthems. Howling pieces of rock n’ roll bliss that should someday appear in some sort of Richard Linklater stoner film.

    Goodbye Bread was the album where I fell deeply in love with Ty. Then Twins just blew that love way out of proportion. I also really, really like Melted, but that one took me longer to warm up to. And Sleeper. If you like classic rock, I think Twins is a good one to really jump into hardcore and hit the repeat button until it either hits or you can’t take it anymore. That one, to me, feels like a lost classic rock classic.

    Kelley’s cool too. Two very different things, though. Anyhow – just super happy you’re giving Ty the country try.


    1. His songwriting ability and complete adoration for straight up rock n’ roll isn’t lost on me. I do want to hear what you hear. I haven’t yet, but I’m definitely getting closer.

      And I couldn’t agree more about Cox.


  4. Greg: Ironically, I hven’t been able to get into Twins as much as I thought I would. I love about half of it, and then there are just some songs that don’t stick. My introduction to Ty was Melted, and I think was the record where his melodies started taking precedent over the riffs.

    Hubner: I am interested to hear what you think about Antique Glow. I love the eclecticism of that record: garage, psychedelic, pop, classic rock and folk. It’s literally all over the map, and way more psychedelic than the last couple records. Also, you should definitely give Goodbye Bread a better listen: reminds me of a long lost classic-rock record from beginning to end.


    1. I’ve listened to Antique Glow, and I think it’s a great album. Very diverse in the psych/garage canon. But after listening to ‘Double Exposure’ about five times I have to say there’s no comparison in my mind. ‘Double Exposure’ is a masterpiece. And as far as Segall/Stoltz comparisons go I have to go with Stoltz eight days a week. As much as I’ve gotten to like Twins and even Goodbye Bread to some extent, Stoltz appeals to me so much more. When Segall writes something as beautiful as “Marcy” or the sublime “Down By The Sea”, then we’ll talk.

      Not ripping on Segall. Not in the least. This is just a personal taste sort of thing, fellas.


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