Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

 |   |  1 min read

Kelley Stoltz: Pinecone
Kelley Stoltz: To Dreamers (SubPop)

Let's say this for San Francisco's Kelley Stoltz, he's done his homework: his thoroughly enjoyable album Circular Sounds (here) came off like a potted history of pop for them what missed the classes on UK 1965-68 and the Beginners Guide to Songwriting (with special reference to Boyce and Hart, Harry Nilsson and Paul McCartney).

This time out with a full cast of players he adds a bit of glam rock and electro-pop (Keeping The Flame) to his alt-folk influenced power pop, and in the opener makes a clever vocal reference to the Dwight Twilley Band's Looking for the Magic (so he's studied that end too). But of course he's far too smart to let matters rest there and that song also lends an ear to Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music.

Nilsson is back (the beautifully arranged, Fifties-framed Pinecone), so is pastoral pop, bedroom rock (Fire Escape), a little bit of Big Star . . .

But as before, Stoltz needs to be taken on his own account -- and he's real good. Unlike others such as the Young Veins who are so heavily-referenced as to be almost a parody (enjoyable though), Stoltz brings his own irony (the lyrically funny Baby I Got News For You, pure chime-pop '64) and a mix-up of styles to create something his own.

Certainly he appropriates the Taxman/Start bass line with a twist, an inversion of the chords of That's Entertainment for the poppy I Don't Get That (more Wonders than Jam) and so on. And yes part of the enjoyment can be in spotting such things . . .

But at close of play you've been taken through 13 cheerfully memorable songs and you'll happily give Stoltz a B+ for his well-presented and thoroughly researched homework. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

ONE WE MISSED: Various Artists; Stand Up People (Vlax/Southbound)

ONE WE MISSED: Various Artists; Stand Up People (Vlax/Southbound)

Our rationale here is that we did not so much "miss" this, as just didn't write about it when it was released in New Zealand during the last quarter of 2013. And what is it? Well,... > Read more

kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

kd lang: Watershed (Nonesuch)

I read a curious review of this recently in which the writer said if you came to this expecting kd to return to her country roots you'd be very disapppointed. Why anyone would expect that of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Start Me Up

A FAST 15 MINUTES: Start Me Up

Here's something new for you at Elsewhere when you have 15 minutes to spare. Have a listen to this, a short programme about how songs can be started with a hook, a riff, nagging repetition and... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Pauline Scanlon

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Pauline Scanlon

The size of the planet is simply a matter of perception. See from distant space we are tiny but on a boat in the middle of Pacific and even just that bit seems enormous. The speed at which we... > Read more