Maybe Glen Campbell’s passing still has me shaken, but I’m grateful these days for albums that refuse to lean on passing trends or zeitgeist neuroses. This week, Kelley Stoltz delivers such goods with his new album, Que Aura. The first single “Same Pattern” demonstrates his skill at wrapping a synthesizer around a simple melody, but this ain’t cold wave, this ain’t techno — just wisely considered, effectively arranged rock. Does it sound 80s, 90s, noughties? Man, I can’t be bothered.
Stoltz has been recording indie artists and his own music at his San Francisco home studio for awhile now, and it shows in his ease on a range of styles and moods. But this music communicates genuine character; behind occasionally daffy gesture, Stoltz conveys a sense of having seen it all before and knowing what’s real when all is seen and done. If you seek the musical remedy of a man and his rock music, Que Aura is one to take with you into the trenches.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.