Release Date: Sep 24, 2013
Record label: Third Man Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Neo-Psychedelia
After over a decade of making music, and being let go by longtime label Sub Pop, Kelley Stoltz's seventh album Double Exposure is the most straightforward of his career. Stripping away a bunch of the Baroque psych pop touches that colored past efforts, and focusing both the music and the melodies on the basics and essentials, Stoltz and mixer Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring get a rich and alive sound. Songs like the rollicking "Kim Chee Taco Man" and "Storms" jump right out of the speakers and into your brain; the quieter songs like "Marcy" and "It's Summertime Again," the lugubrious ballad that ends the album on a decidedly blue note, have an easygoing charm, and album highlight "Are You My Love" has enough energy and verve to get you up off your couch and jumping around the room like a nut.
San Francisco mid-fi rocker Kelley Stoltz has spent a long time writing solid pop songs that often get dismissed for resting too much on the past. The ‘60s rock vibe of his last album, To Dreamers, or the Brian Wilson nods on Below the Branches, overshadowed what were actually distinct and unique spins on old sounds. Stoltz gleefully bounces from instrument to instrument, making hazy layers of pop bliss, but he never loses sight of his own keening voice.
The last Kelley Stoltz full-length album was 2010's To Dreamers, and in the time since it was released, Stoltz has been lapped several times by his prolific Bay Area peers. Thee Oh Sees, for example, have knocked out four LPs in the meantime. Sure, he's kept busy drumming for Sonny Smith (most recently on Antenna to the Afterworld), but it makes sense why he'd take more time on a record than his peers might: Stoltz has made his name as a studio wizard.
Poor Kelley Stoltz. For seven full-lengths and about 15 years, he has been the ultimate songwriter’s songwriter, a perennial touchstone, godfather and sometime producer for SF’s lo-fi scene who still makes a living tending bar and selling records. He works in an endless cycle of melancholy inspiration, getting so caught up in confecting jewel-like 1960s-psych-garage songs about love and its aftermath that his girlfriends inevitably get steamed and leave, providing yet more material for rueful romanticism.
Kelley Stoltz Double Exposure (Third Man) Kelley Stoltz, Michigander with a heart full of British singsong, delivers pure pop nostalgia on Double Exposure. Cool keys peek out through the distortion on the LP's longest track, the nine-minute "Inside My Head," a dark trench dividing the disc in two. "Marcy" and "Kim Chee Taco Man" recall Stoltz's roots as a Beatles-obsessed strummer on 2003's Antique Glow, but with an added, chest-thumping rhythm and blanket of dreamy distortion.