Are You Plugged In?

So not only is Kelley Stoltz great, he’s GREAT. Check out this, which I just found out and pulled from Wikipedia:

In tandem with the release of “Below the Branches” was an industry first: “Below the Branches” was the first record in history to make an on-package claim about renewable energy use with the Green-e logo. Stoltz tracked his electricity use and with the help of the Green-e program, offset the all the electricity used to record his record with green tags from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. In Kelley’s words: “Using renewable energy to offset the electricity I needed to power my guitar amps and my recording machines was a simple and effective way for me to do something about my impact on the environment. Green-e certifies that I am buying 100 percent renewable energy. Hopefully, people will see their logo; check into what they do, and make renewable energy a part of their lives, too.”

How about that? And I also remembered that starting last week, our house here in Maynard is now driving all of its electricity, heat, cooling and whatever from 100% renewable energy sources, via an NStar program. That’s right – either solar, wind or all those other methodologies are now powering this house for just a few extra bucks a month.

To close the circle on today’s green post, I’ll attach this totally, insanely great song by Kelley Stoltz, called, fittingly, “Are You Electric?” And no, it’s not about renewable energy.


Runnin’ A Blender In A Lightning Storm

Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman are two names you have probably never heard before if you’re just a regular consumer of music. But for us music-obsessed nerds, their story is the one we all dream of. Bruce and Jonathan, music geeks galore, connected in the early 1980s through the local music scene in Seattle and ended up starting Sub Pop Records, in an effort to simply better expose the great music they thought Seattle was producing. By 1988, they had an office. By 1991, they had $2.5 million in the bank, thanks to a little trio who called themselves Nirvana. Sub Pop is now celebrating their 20th anniversary and if you want a good, interesting read today, then I suggest you head on over to Pitchfork, where both Sub Pop founders are subject of an excellent interview about the innerworkings of a small record label. A lot of this stuff is exactly what we went through at Tar Hut (besides the, uh, large sums of money they ended up with), so it really resonates for me. But even if you’re not at all into the business of music or independent record labels, it’s just a pretty captivating read to see what they went through and how they reacted to their success and how they adjusted to the post-Nirvana world.

Sub Pop is still a terrific label – by no means a one-hit wonder. Band of Horses, Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Mudhoney, The Shins and the GREAT Kelley Stoltz are all on the label and still producing inventive, relevant music. Good for them!

Music Minute(s)

It’s been a while since I posted any MP3’s. Nothing new has really been grabbing my attention lately, so I’ll just post some stuff I’ve had for a while that deserves to be heard. What, you didn’t know? Everything I listen to deserves to be heard! Come on, give it a chance! Leave feedback if you want.

I don’t think I’ve posted about Cat Power. Her last two albums have been extremely listenable, due to the fact that she’s in a phase of channeling that marvelous female ’60s soul sound. Bless her heart. This one is called “Aretha, Sing One For Me” and it takes, oh, about 20 seconds to love it.


I know I’ve posted in the past about Kelley Stoltz, but to me his new album is about the best thing going right now. What a sense for crafting a song! This one for me is a showstopper. It’s called “Put My Troubles to Sleep” and about 2:10 into it there’s this fuzz-guitar that comes in and it just gets me every time. It’s not loud or aggressive, it’s just….I don’t know. Classy?


The Black Keys also continue to impress me. Their latest album, “Attack & Release” is my favorite work of theirs thus far. It’s the albums where they expand their repitoire and explore sound when I really dig them. They did it with the “Chulahoma” EP and they really hit a home run with this new album. Here’s “All You Ever Wanted.”


I will NEVER stop loving music.

Love Each Minute, Live Each Hour

Kelley Stoltz

You’ll hear a lot from me this year about Kelley Stoltz. Stoltz is a San Francisco musician (weaned in Michigan) who has quietly been releasing stellar records over the past few years and just yesterday released “Circular Sounds,” on Sub Pop, a label that is really starting to hit it on all cylinders with some of their recent signings.

At first listen, Stoltz’s newest is a return to the “Antique Glow” sound, although this one is a little more polished. Stoltz loves to fool around with noise, but never so much that it becomes the albatross that we call “experimental.” Yet, I can’t help but picture the guy sitting in his living room with the metal top to a trash can in one hand, half a broomstick in the other – and a big smile on his face as he figures out how to incorporate it into a song.

While he manages to tinker lots, the beauty of it is that he keeps it extremely tuneful, poppy and it’s just a pleasure to listen to. The songs on the new album are threatening to be his best. Here’s “Birmingham Eccentric,” a song which may just stick around in your head for a while after you hear it. Enjoy.


Monday Music

A couple of quick music notes:

I’ve been an on-again, off-again fan of Nick Cave & Bad Seeds since 1993’s “Live Seeds.” It’s rare that a live album would lead me to someone’s recorded work, but in this case I was so transfixed by the gothic lyrics and the personality of the songwriting that I had to check out the man’s studio work. I saw him live at Boston’s Roxy sometime in the ’96-97 timeframe and it was a tremendous show. The last couple of albums he’s done have left me a little cold, but if his newest song is any indication, I might be back on the bandwagon. That link is to the video, by the way, which is rather amusing and very……Nick Cave-ish. The song is called “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!” I love the guy’s personality (and moustache, too). Check it out.

I am also very very excited for the new Kelley Stoltz album coming out in February on Sub Pop. Here’s a guy who’s flown WAY under the radar for the last couple of years. He could be described as Beatle-esque, but that would probably be pigeonholing him a little too much. When I hear Stoltz, I hear a talented guy who likes to fiddle with all kinds of various noises, yet wraps it all up and makes it extremely tuneful. His newest song is below – his fabulous output continues: