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Circular Sounds


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Audio CD, February 5, 2008
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Amazon's Kelley Stoltz Store

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To Dreamers

Biography

While Kelley Stoltz's nigh-religious reverence for all things Beatles, Beach Boys and Kinks has been at the fore on recent albums Below the Branches and Circular Sounds, his new album, To Dreamers, blends a bit more post-punk abandon into its layered everyman pop. Tasteful horn adornments blow against tom-tom beats and 12-string guitars meet reverbed mellotrons, under Stoltz's warm ... Read more in Amazon's Kelley Stoltz Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • ASIN: B00109TG8W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,836 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Everything Begins
2. Tintinnabulation
3. The Birmingham Eccentric
4. Gardenia
5. Mother Nature
6. To Speak To the Girl
7. Put My Troubles To Sleep
8. When You Forget
9. Your Reverie
10. I Nearly Lost My Mind
11. Something More
12. Reflecting
13. Morning Sun
14. You Alone

Editorial Reviews

The fourth LP from San Francisco's Stoltz. Its fourteen songs are a stereophonic advance on the lo-fi psych-fuzz of 2004's "Antique Glow" (Beautiful Happiness) and the mid-fi of the piano-rock of 2006's "Below The Branches" (Sub Pop). Both made #24 in MOJO magazine's "Best Albums" list for their respective years. "Circular Sounds" is very much a pop record in the classic 60s mold. Radio-ready yet retaining the organic warmth that gave his earlier work its character.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paisley Umbrella on April 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I'm not sure why some people consider lo fi to be cool. The word conjures up listening to feedback on one of those 1 speaker portable blasters or those super cheap earbuds that many of us listened to as kids. It doesn't seem to coincide with good music, but an image. Lo fi is really a great aesthetic of not using digital recording equipment or instruments. In other words, one can a get a rich, clear recording out of analog equipment that if it's done right, is a high fidelity recording and a great reproduction. It doesn't necessarily sound lo fi. Many artists that we listen to have this approach, and we're lucky for that. Michigan born, San Francisco based Kelley Stoltz is known for making lo fi recordings of the more solo, basic nature of lo fi. His earlier releases have a strong following both in The States and Australia, and his psych pop sensibility has earned him a certain amount of criticism of being an "indie" type who goes for a certain sound but lacks the inspiration to make it his own. His previous work has had a basic, stripped down approach that has been compared to Velvet Underground, Ray Davies and plenty of other rock 'n' roll pioneers. Although one can hear those influences on his fourth and also self produced release Circular Sounds, there's a greater range in experiment and instruments, mostly played by Kelley himself and a few guests. Circular Sounds is a rich, warm, great sounding and thoroughly modern piece of blues rock influenced, hi fi psychedelic pop. Applying the term "pop" to him is pretty loose, however. A more apt description would be a basic blues approach without an emphasis on electric guitars, so it's still basic, not as loud, and carries psychedelic nuances with different instruments.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dag Nabbit on February 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Circular Sounds is the beautiful, smart, talented child of Stoltz's last two albums -- Antique Glow and Below The Branches. This album is the best part of 60s psych, 70s songwriters, and 80s British post-punk all melted down, torn apart and re-imagined. The result is something is fresh, innovative, deeply personal, and startlingly original.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a fan of Kelley Stoltz' Echo & the Bunnymen tribute "Crock-O-Dials" (also reviewed by me and earner of a rare five-star record rating), and of the biggest influence I hear here, mid-period Kinks, I figured I'd like this CD. I did, but its charms proved low-key and modest. It's the kind of music you'd have on in the background to put yourself or keep yourself in a pleasant state of mind on a grey day-- or to sustain one's lazing on a sunny afternoon.

The post-punk touches of his Echo versions, however, cannot be heard on "Circular Sounds," and the Ray Davies quaver replaces that of Ian McCulloch impressively, if at a lower level of assertion, let alone aggression. The diminishment of menace in the gentler, less reverberating and clanging music that this CD makes as an homage to the later 60s makes it much less dangerous, and much more tamed. Again, this is not so much a criticism as an observation.

Since I prefer more unpredictability in my off-kilter rock, I'd be playing "Crock" more than "Circular." It's a relief not to hear a talented singer-songwriter and pretty much one-man band (although he has the help here of a bigger label and uses other players on some tracks) who apes Brian Wilson, as so many of Stoltz' peers have the past fifteen years in search of pop craftsmanship, but the tunes tend to blend together rather than leap out as a result. The similar textures and tempos make this more of a mood enhancer than a sonic reducer.
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Format: Audio CD
Circular Sounds, the fourth album from San Francisco based artist Kelley Stoltz, finds him partying like it's 1969 (or so). As with his other albums, it's mostly a one man show, with Stoltz playing the vast majority of the instruments himself. That said, Circular Sounds has a pretty full sound, with nothing much suggesting the low fi home recording style for which Stoltz has been known. The reference points for the music seem pretty clear, the Byrds, the Beatles, the Kinks and the Beach Boys among them, but Stoltz still manages to put his personal stamp on the genres that influence his songs. It's actually a pretty delightful album, with a nice mix of psychedelic pop and garage rock material, and other points between. Standout cuts: "Tintinnabulation," "Gardenia," "When You Forget" and "Your Reverie."
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