Kelley Stoltz has been a mainstay in the Bay Area indie music scene for years, not only as a highly valued producer and cheerleader, but as an artist in his own right. He started releasing his own music before Y2K, and since then he’s worked with seemingly hundreds of artists, from garage-rockers Thee Oh Sees to singer-songwriter Sarah Bethe Nelson. And he has just released three separate records: Two full albums, “In Triangle Time” and “The Scuzzy Inputs of Willie Weird,” and one four-cut EP. I’d say that they show three different sides to Stoltz. But the fact is that between them, they show about a dozen.
Can we piece them together into one nice whole? Well, one person’s multifaceted is another’s ill-defined.
Of the three releases, “In Triangle Time” is the “real” album, and the best bet for getting to know his many talents and many directions. “Cut Me Baby,” the opening track, puts an oddball mystique into a nicely honed pop context -- a little Brian Eno, a little Lee Hazelwood, a little, oh, Nick Lowe. Throughout the album, as those who have followed Stoltz would expect, he’s not shy about showing his affection for Brian Wilson’s layering and Syd Barrett’s psychedelia, the latter prominently on the centerpiece, “Pyramid of Time” (as well as on the EP’s “Perception”). And yet, the quasi electropulse of “The Hill” may well be the “Triangle” album’s unexpected, magnetic peak.
Now, as for his other full-length release, “The Scuzzy Inputs of Willie Weird,” well, the title says it all. Among the whimsical songs: “Hot Igloo,” “Goodbye Porcupine Hat” and “Seagulls Sing Hari Hara.” Two “Weird” songs, though, seem like statements of philosophy: one is the closing “I Don’t Care What the World Does,” which sounds like he doesn’t. The other is “He Who Laughs Last,” a cheery, goofy calling card.