Kelley Stoltz (Record Release Show)
The Mantles, Sopwith Camel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Extra fine songwriter and longtime bedroom-pop auteur Kelley Stoltz delivers on the promise so many of his records slyly hint at. Que Aura is the platonic ideal of a Kelley Stoltz record, which is a very exciting thing indeed. Stoltz embraces his best synth-pop tendencies, with this incredibly self-assured set of tender tunes, combining in his own hangdog fashion both a disco-lit abandon and the attendant post-party sighs of dread and remorse.
Great songs come out of Stoltz at an alarming rate on any given day but this particular collection is some of his most effortlessly catchy stuff yet. Ennui under the disco lights suits him very well—there’s a hearty sip of Pulp-ian white Brit shimmy with a wink, a dash of Fleetwood Mac’s cynically professional late ’70s sheen, and even a spritz or two of Echo and The Bunnymen, which should surprise no one who’s noticed Stoltz has been playing guitar with McCulloch and Company for the past year or so. This record cements Stoltz’s place in the power-pop pantheon where he belongs, right between Dwight Twilley and Martin Newell. Let the Hall of Fame know!
What makes the Mantles the Mantles? Maybe it’s the idiosyncratic motion and energy of Michael Olivares’ vocals, the way they alternately stroll and hop assuredly over the music. Or maybe it’s the band’s sound itself, familiar and classic yet increasingly distinctive, and growing-with acoustic texture; keyboard hooks and licks; and resonant and representative drumbeats-to its deepest, warmest, fullest, and most colorful on their third album, All Odds End (out October 16th on Slumberland Records), a record that is quintessentially Mantles from the sheer sonic splendor and elation-and biting words-of the album-opening “Island” on through to the final harmony of “Stay.”
The album exits with “Stay,” so you can loop right back and listen to it all over again, and live for a bit within songs that capture those heightened moments when you (and Olivares’ lyrical portraiture often favors a perceptive “you” over a needy. greedy “I”) are at the threshold of change. It’s right there in the snapshot-vivid lyrics of “Doorframe”: “Ooh nothing like standing in a doorframe all day.” While it’s tempting to see these transitional vignettes-marked by characters who are simultaneously coming and going-as reflective of day-to-day tumult in contemporary Bay Area, Olivares brushes off the idea: “We would have written the same songs even if we weren’t here.”
Still, the theme even extends to the making of All Odds End. The band reunited with Jason Quever, song-smith of Papercuts, and master of vintage audio production who recorded The Mantles’ much loved early single, “Don’t Lie”. Quever had all his boxes packed for a move to L.A. while recording and mixing the album, with his equipment his only belongings out of storage. The situation meant an already attentive, sound-romancing producer had an even more heightened focus on the song’s ingredients, and appreciation of how they form a greater whole. It spills right off of the layered “Island,” which grows as it goes along, motored and punctuated by the playfully assured interplay between Olivares’s vocals and Virginia Weatherby’s steadily propulsive, detailed (yes, that is a Vibraslap) drumming. It’s apparent in the stark, bracing “Lately,” where acoustic guitar has the sharp-to-blind beauty of morning sunlight.
For this album Olivares, Weatherby, and lead guitarist Justin Loney were joined by Matt Bullimore on bass, a New Zealand native and member of Oakland’s Legs, and Carly Putnam on keyboard. These two new members energize the band into exploring territory that ranges from the staccato bursts and messy wisdom of “Police My Love” (which draws from a crazy variety of lyrical inspirations), to the country lilt of “Undelivered,” to the casually anthemic SF-to-LA tilt of “Best Sides.”People move, bands fall apart, cities change, but the Mantles abide and grow stronger, embodying their many-faceted name-planetary core-deep; incandescent; enveloping-a bit more with each new day, year, song and album. The Mantles are more and more the Mantles, and listening with dedication is like getting gifts. All Odds End, but the group continues to bloom.
Michael Olivares: Guitar and Vox
Virginia Weatherby: Drums
Justin Loney: Lead Guitar
Carly Putnam: Keys
Matt Bullimore: Bass
Sopwith Camel's first gig was with The Charlatans in an old firehouse on Sacramento St. in San Francisco in February 1966. The opening act was a black Labrador named Pot Pan. The "Camel" was the first of the, "San Francisco Psychedelic Ballroom Bands" to get a hit and go on the road later in 1966, playing large concerts with major acts including: The Who, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Animals The Velvet Underground and the Rolling Stones. They also appeared on numerous TV shows with other acts such as: Marvin Gaye, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and The Stone Poneys (Linda Ronstadt). Sopwith Camel regarded their hit "Hello Hello" as a greeting from the San Francisco scene from whence they came.
The band, still from San Francisco features three original members: Martin Beard (bass & vocals), Nandi Devam; the artist formerly known as Terry MacNeil (guitar, keyboards & vocals) and Peter Kraemer (lead vocals, lyrics, flute and saxophone). Mike McKevitt (lead guitar, sitar & vocals) and Bruce Slesinger, (drums) have been with Sopwith Camel since 2009.