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Antique Glow

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Album Review

Kelley Stoltz's stellar debut, The Past Was Faster, was recorded at home on a four-track, with Stoltz playing just about every note on the record. The modus operandi for Antique Glow is still the same, but the results are even better. He traded in his four-track for an eight-track, so the production values are a good bit higher. In addition, while many of the tunes on The Past Was Faster sounded like homages to Stoltz's many influences (Velvet Underground, Syd Barrett, Nick Drake), those influences are much more thoroughly assimilated on Antique Glow. Not that the songs sound similar to each other, it's that the different styles now all reflect Stoltz as much or more than the inspiration, giving the album a better flow and Stoltz a more personalized sound. And what a wonderful sound it is. A lazy, folky psychedelia, similar to Syd Barrett, but with homemade Wall of Sound production. Even upon first listen, these songs have such a familiar quality, you'll think you've been hearing them for years. Stoltz has a great knack for wordplay, and can turn out some wonderful and strange lyrics. There's a lot going on in some of the tracks (guitars, bells, theremins, double-tracked vocals, who knows what else), but the music never sounds cluttered; Stoltz really has mastered the art of self-recording, supplying tons of detail in the music but never stepping on himself. He likes to record as he's writing, and doesn't do a lot of takes on anything. This freshness comes through on the album, along with a sense that this all comes easily to Stoltz; the songs are well-crafted but retain a certain loose feel, which can be a difficult balancing act. Antique Glow puts Kelley Stoltz's talents into even sharper focus than his debut, not only as a composer/performer but as producer/engineer as well. As the major labels clamor to sign (and probably drop) the next Dave Matthews Band knockoff, let's hope Kelley Stoltz stays at home, kicking out the homemade jams without regard for the outside world. Recommended.


Born: 1971 in Michigan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Kelley Stoltz grew up in the Detroit area, but eventually found his way to San Francisco after taking a detour to New York City, where he worked in the mailroom at Jeff Buckley's management company. Armed with a four-track recorder and a wealth of lo-fi pop songs, Stoltz began recording his own material, performing all the parts himself and drawing comparisons to artists like Brian Wilson and Captain Beefheart. Those songs caught the ear of Monte Vallier, who helped Stoltz clean...
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Antique Glow, Kelley Stoltz
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