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Kelley Stoltz

Ah!(etc)

    “I was guzzling wine at my favorite bar in San Francisco, the Rite Spot, and the entertainment that night was some local opera singers singing along with a big video screen showing a collage of various operatic moments with subtitles. One particular subtitle, ‘Ah!-(etc)’ made me laugh, I thought it was a perfect description of life - the joy of existence against the etcetera of it all, the struggle. With a heavy head of rose’ it seemed like ecstatic poetry! I scribbled it on a napkin and thought it might make a good title for something” And so the mystery behind the title of Kelley Stoltz new record is solved. Less of a mystery is the quality contained therein… after 12 self-titled releases and a several more under pseudonyms, Stoltz is the word for “one-man-band-home-recording-pop-songs of idiosyncratic character.” A quick follow up to his more power pop and pub rock LP only “Hard Feelings” offering in the summer, “Ah-(etc)” finds Stoltz returning to his sweet spot, writing songs that never were, but should have been in the 60’s and 80’s.

    As with other LPs Stoltz makes virtually every noise on the album which was written and recorded in 2019 at his Electric Duck Studio in. San Francisco. A few friends popped in to play along… Stoltz former bandmate, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant adds electric guitar to “The Quiet Ones” a sort of Scott Walker lyrical take on strangers and neighbors. Karina Denike formerly of Dance Hall Crashers adds gorgeous vocals on the bossanova groover “Moon Shy”, where Sergeant pops up again in a spoken word role on the outro. Allyson Baker of SF’s Dirty Ghosts sings on “She Like Noise”, a song Stoltz wrote for her in celebration of her love of seeing live bands.

    The album was mastered by Mikey Young in Australia, Tour dates scheduled for summer 2021.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Kelley Stoltz returns for his newest 'Ah! etc', brimming with the clever riffs and latent sunshine psychedelia we've come to expect. It's a refreshing and beautifully accomplished LP, and will certainly go on to reveal many layers with each subsequent listen. Gorgeous.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A
    1. Team Earth
    2. The Quiet Ones
    3. Never Change Enough
    4. Dodged A Bullet
    5. Cold

    SIDE B
    6. She Likes Noise
    7. Some Other Time
    8. Moon Shy
    9. Darkness Too
    10. Chasing The Light
    11. Tomorrow
    12. Having Fun

    Dinked Edition Bonus 12” EP
    A:
    Gift Of Days
    Peace Together
    B:
    Pictures Of Me
    Casio Life

    Carlton Melton

    Where This Leads

      Agitated is more than pleased to announce the long over-due return to wax (and CD) by Carlton Melton, the new album from San Franciscan / Northern Californian space-trippers is here, and its ready to tune you out and turn you on.

      Nestled deep in the forests of Mendocino County in Northern California, huddled under the protective shade of towering redwoods and within earshot of frothy waves crashing against the Pacific coastline, squats a geodesic dome that has served as crucible for the experimental genius of Carlton Melton. Nature and Man operate under different logics. But here, Carlton Melton wholly entrusts this idyllic environment with the task of inspiring and guiding their musical improvisations.

      The Dome has been the ideal setting to facilitate their creativity. Without forcing a specific dynamic or theme, the band inhabits its womb-like confines to improvise, explore, dream. Their music draws on psychedelia, stoner metal, krautrock, and ambient atmospherics to convey, above all else, a mood.

      A prickly guitar melody will float lazily, a wall of dissonant feedback will resolve into a hypnotic drone, or a colossal riff will exhume the soul of Jimi Hendrix. One hears Hawkwind or Spacemen 3 jamming with Pink Floyd at Pompeii.

      Indeed, Carlton Melton have one foot in the ancient world and one tentacle in deep space. They are both the pack of proto-humans drumming with femurs in Kubrick’s 2001 and the film’s inscrutable monolith hinting at the universe’s mysteries. The “Stoned Ape” theory holds that early hominids ingested psychedelic mushrooms that provided an evolutionary boost to their brains, helping them blossom into Homo Sapiens. Imagine such cavemen trippin’ balls, their nightmarish visions sending them into feverish bouts of rage and then gentle moments of introspection. They very well could have heard the music of Carlton Melton rattling inside their skulls, first driving our ancestors mad then upward into a higher realm.

      Andy Duvall (drums, guitar), Clint Golden (bass), and Rich Millman (guitar, synths) have yet to play Pompeii, but they have already wowed crowds at European festivals such as the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, Roadburn, and Desertfest Antwerp. Live, they are jaw-dropping. On record, mind-altering.

      In fact, with each album, Carlton Melton adds a subtle new element, synapses firing new neural connections. In 2020, they release new full-length Where This Leads, marking ten years of the band’s working relationship with their UK label Agitated Records and five years of recording with Phil Manley in his El Studio in San Francisco. With Where This Leads, the band rewires the listener’s mind. “Smoke Drip Revisited” is a ticklish acid flashback, “Porch Dreams” a dabbling in country psych, and “Closer” a driving, freak-out of guitar heroics.

      One senses that the group is conveying a message that cannot be expressed verbally but only suggested through synth sighs, walloping rhythms, and soaring solos. Would Carlton Melton therefore be a group of stoned apes dizzily grasping for meaning or telepathic futurists communicating to us through crude man-made instrumentation?

      Well, lower the stylus to find out.
      - Eric Bensel, Paris July 2020

      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Stars Are Dying
      2. Butchery
      3. Waylay
      4. Dezebelle
      5. Smoke Drip Revisited
      6. Crown Shyness
      7. Three Zero Two
      8. Porch Dreams
      9. Closer


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