If one were to consider just his consistently strong solo albums, San Francisco musician Kelley Stoltz would rightly be labeled an impressive talent. Over the past decade and a half, he's released seven LPs of finely-tuned rock-pop for labels that include Castle Face, Third Man, and Sub Pop. Influenced by classic artists like the Kinks and the Beach Boys, Stoltz conveys a unique and ever-evolving interest in pop, mixed with elements of psychedelia and garage rock. Even more impressively, his solo albums have been truly solo affairs, self-recorded at his own Electric Duck Studio, with Stoltz playing most of the instruments throughout.
In addition to working as a talented solo artist, though, Kelley Stoltz has also contributed to the music of many other local bands. As a producer, he's worked with acts across a variety of genres, from intense local punk band Life Stinks to the pure pop of The Moore Brothers and Bart Davenport. As a multi-instrumentalist, he was a long-time member of Sonny & the Sunsets, and part of Stephanie Finch’s band. A full consideration of Stoltz's contributions to local music would surely land somewhere between daunting and overwhelming.
Given his experience, we asked Kelley to select and comment on some notable highlights among the many local projects that he's contributed to over the years. True to the breadth in his resume, he picked albums offering a wide variety of sounds, from the first record he produced for another band -- 2007's God's Boat, by The Passionistas -- to a new EP from Useless Eaters that arrived earlier this year.
The tracks here are bookended by a couple of Stoltz's own songs, from different points in his career. All told, the mixtape bears testament to one musician's many significant contributions to the Bay Area music scene.
Track Listing and Comments from Kelley Stoltz
Kelley Stoltz - "Cut Me Baby"
From In Triangle Time (Castle Face Records, 2015)
The Mantles - “Hello”
From Long Enough To Leave (Slumberland Records, 2013)
Kelley Stoltz: "The most fun I had, personality-wise, for months on end. Great tunes!"
The Passionistas - “Wild West”
From God's Boat (New and Used Records, 2007)
KS: "My first 'production' job. I approached them after seeing their live version of 'Amazing Grace' at the Make Out Room. Good lads."
The Moore Brothers - “Heard About You”
From Aptos (American Dust Recordings, 2009)
KS: "It's fun to watch masters at their craft."
Thee Oh Sees - “It Killed Mom”
From Sucks Blood (Castle Face Records, 2007)
KS: "My inexperienced mic-ing techniques made for a spooky recording. I remember my Tascam 388 tape machine went down on day one and Glenn Donaldson brought his by to save the day."
Life Stinks - “Strange Prison”
From You’ll Never Make It (Ss Records, 2015)
KS: "Did this [and the band's Life Stinks LP] as a tag-team production effort with my old Aussie pal, the legend Mikey Young. Named after a bomb Mel Brooks movie. Stooges, Velvets, Flipper - snot with a heart."
Useless Eaters - “Temporary Mutilation”
From Temporary Mutilation EP (Slovenly Recordings, 2016)
KS: "Razor-sharp punk tunes from Memphis via SF and back. Any group who is willing to use my 1950s ripped-out-of-a-grandma-style-double-decker-organ drum machine on a track is alright with me."
Sonny & the Sunsets - “I Wanna Do It”
From Hit After Hit (Fat Possum Records, 2011)
KS: "Various tracks [on several Sonny & the Sunsets albums], too many to recall, drumming, singing, guitaring -- Sonny let me live my dream and be a touring drummer! Sorry I was such a pain."
Stephanie Finch and the Company Men - “Tina Goodbye”
From Cry Tomorrow (Belle Sound, 2010)
KS: "Stephie is the better half of Chuck Prophet's group, a sweetheart and great singer -- I played drums, bass and all sorts in her backing band. Made at Decibelle Studio, a cool room that once recorded the Dead Kennedys and George Winston."
Bart Davenport - “A Young One”
From Palaces (Antenna Farm Records, 2008)
KS: "Recorded at Kevin Ink's hi-fi studio, I remember pushing for a Philly soul vibe on 'A Young One' and it became a hit! I glockenspieled my brains out on that track."
Sarah Bethe Nelson - “Fast-Moving Clouds”
From Fast-Moving Clouds (Burger Records, 2015)
KS: "Cool songs made with friends, teen mania ensues. Glad to see the album get a sweet write-up in the New York Times, a first for an Electric Duck Production."
Maraudeur - “The Crocodile”
From Tape 2 (self-released, 2015)
KS: "A single and an album to be released -- cool punky new wave from the happening town of Geneva, Switzerland. Look for it."
Kelley Stoltz - “Mean Marianne”
From Antique Glow (Jackpine Social Club, 2003)