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+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
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+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
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Kelley Stoltz
The Sun Comes Through
Sub Pop

Everybody knew Kelley Stoltz loved The Beatles. With "Perpetual Night," the first song off his groundbreaking, underground Antique Glow, he borrowed a lick right out of "Here Comes the Sun." Here, on his five-song debut for Sub Pop, he lifts nothing as instantly recognizable, but still manages to conjure that expansive, hazy, warmly experimental (and perhaps substance-enhanced) aura of strawberry fields and magical mystery tours. It is not his best work — there's nothing as darkly beautiful as "Mean Marianne" or "Jewel of the Evening," no track as euphoric as "Are You Electric?" — but The Sun Comes Through has its own wavery charm.

The title track, which launches the album, starts with a Lennon-y strut, upright piano chords and vaguely gospel backing vocals supporting a surreal, picturesque narrative. You sense from the beginning that the track will explode at some point — there's simply too much dammed up behind not to — and in fact that moment comes with a crash of guitar after the second chorus. The cut breaks down completely halfway through, turning into a drone of feedback shot through with piano-school exercises. Yet the initial melody emerges from this wholly undishevelled, picking up exactly where it left off with the mantra "And the sun comes through the window and it's all right." The disc continues with the giddy tremolo of "You're Out of This World," a loosely constructed '60s-leaning ditty, built on those same piano scales that emerged from the vortex of "The Sun Comes Through." The lyrics "You're out of this world/ Glad you're my girl" loop continuously, past blips of guitar and slapdash drums, in a way that's joyful, ad-hoc and unmediated. "Away With the Swans" puts the piano again at the heart of the melody, with a stop-step motif that Stoltz later mirrors in the vocals. "Let's Go Out Tonight" is the EP's best cut, with its loosely driving guitar part and dance-worthy drum beat. It's a very happy track, but not a deep one, celebrating the joys of coupledom and, well, going out. Says Stoltz, "Now that the heavenly bodies align/ And I have one for my own/ I don't need to spend every night/ Sitting there at home," and that pretty much encapsulates this jittery "let's go dancing"-esque track. The EP ends with a wash of tremoloed guitars ushering in an indolent Brit-blues melody, as "Where You're Going" cranks to life. Again the vocals twist up and down the scales in time with the piano, again the swish of cymbals and chime of guitars build a sunny-day dream of psychedelia, not precisely shaped or rigorously pursued, but lazily beautiful on its own terms.

The Sun Comes Through is a place holder in some ways, keeping Stoltz fans happy until his next full-length comes out next year. It's not essential listening... and if you haven't checked out Antique Glow or The Past Was Faster, it might make sense to start with them. If you're up to speed, though, and looking for more, you'll enjoy the lo-fi eccentricity of these five songs from a very talented songwriter.

by Jennifer Kelly

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