We' ve been huge fans of San Francisco singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kelley Stoltz for some years now; he's done two live sessions on WFMU that were nothing less than joyous occassions, but his records have been quite overlooked by the indie/alt-whatzit culture too for some reason we can't figure out. Oddly enough he's been bigger in Australia than his own homeland, but that's thankfully changing with some higher profile on the Sub Pop label where he's released an EP The Sun Comes Through, and a brand new full length album entitled Below the Branches and has started to bring in audiences all over the place (in fact we couldn't even get in to see him this past March at one of this stops). The music evokes some of the best moments of some admittedly popular influences, Syd Barrett, Beatles, Bowie, Beach Boys, Velvets, and some lesser-borrowed sources (Flying Nun/New Zealand pop, Neutral Milk Hotel) but Stoltz has commanded his own ground quite well. His exhuberant (though definitely moody and eccentric) pop is totally great, and for a guy with as much talent and architecture in his song structures, it's affirming to hear him opt to go the fuzzy/rough approach to keep things loose rather than head into the studio with a slick producer. In fact, one of my fave releases Kelley has out is a completely self-produced and self-recorded-at-home covers album of Echo and the Bunnymen's 1980 debut Crocodiles, rechristened Crock-O-Dials. It was a CD-R for a while, finally released on the UK label Beautiful Happiness, and here are some MP3's up on Kelley's newly refurbished site we wanted to share: "Going Up" (MP3), "Rescue" (MP3), "Villiers Terrace" (MP3), as well as one of his originals from his Antique Glow CD from a few years back: "Underwater's Where the Action Is" (MP3). You can also check out his live sessions on WFMU, the first from my show on 11/11/03 (Real Audio) where he played originals with his band, then a slew of Bunnymen covers (you don't see the raincoats and dry ice in the studio, though you can hear me running the tape of Gregorian chants on the intro!) joined by Pavement's Spiral Stairs (now of Preston School of Industry), and then a more recent session (Real Audio) on Joe Belock's Three Chord Monte on 3/27/06. Meanwhile, Kelley has gone and recorded his take on the Bunnymen's second album, Heaven Up Here and recently told me he bought a sitar which means that Porcupine is on the way too (he hasn't posted MP3s of the Heaven Up Here stuff, but you can check out Real Audio of his versions of "All I Want" and "With A Hip"). Recently the Muldoons (a Detroit punk band comprised of a sixth and third grader on guitar with their dad on drums) played on Joe's show as well and covered Kelley's "Are You Electric" (full Muldoons session in Real Audio here), as the Muldoons' record was put out by Jack White's nephew who also did a Stoltz 7". The Detroit-SF connection continues this summer as Kelley hits the road opening for the Jack White's Raconteurs.