Off The Record is a recurring, feature here on the Drunkard, that marries two of my greatest interests; music and travel. Having a locals perspective when visiting a new locale is the difference between experiencing it through the lens of a tourist and of that of a native.
Off The Record gathers some of my favorite artists, asks them to reflect on their city of residence, and choose a handful of places they could not live without, be them bookstores, bars, restaurants or vistas.
Today’s installment of Off The Record, again finds us on the West coast (see: Richard Swift) with Sub Pop multi-instrumentalist, troubadour, Kelley Stoltz. Stoltz’ 2006 album Below The Branches, awash in 1970s nostalgia, remains a neo-pop favorite, and his just-released, new LP, Circular Sounds, finds the artist building upon those same influences, further moving away from his earlier, home-recorded, efforts. A resident of San Francisco since the late ’90s, Stoltz’ takes us on an impromptu tour of his neighborhood, including one of my favorite vinyl nooks (and, as it turns out, his employer) Grooves.
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+ Kelley Stoltz – Five Favorites – San Francisco, CA
Grooves – The vinyl record shoppe where I work – with piles of records and more coming in everyday. The owner Ray Andersen is one of my best buddies and he is a real source of fun and musical history as well as suggestion. Ive learned about a lot of records there from the Pygmy forest music to Poulenc to the silver apples… When I am away and getting a bit of “road rash” I long to behind the counter cleaning off a Sergio Mendes record and listening to something new-to-me.
Golden Era Restaurant – This is a real nice fake meat place… I had my last birthday there. I’m mostly a vegetarian, a pescatarian really as I eat fish – I love the taste of mercury. Nah, but this place has no living creatures of any kind served for dinner. Just good broccoli, that snappy fake pepper steak that has its own thing going on…it’s great.
The Rite Spot – Nice little Italian joint with a super nice bartender. Lots of good local quieter!! music acts playing piano, doing jazz or you might see Toshiro Hirano here – the Japanese western yodeler doing country numbers or this 2 piece called ramshackle romeos doing covers of “Midnight Cowboy” and by the time I get to phoenix on theremin and saw. Perfect for a Sunday evening come down.
Bernal Heights Hill – I love to ascend the martian landscape on the south side of this hill … dark brown rocks straight out of a nasa shot…head along the western edge around a bend and see all of San Francisco down below you…spread out nice and flat in front, with rolling hilly-ness to the left and the bay and its aquatic commerce world to the right. You can see both bridges, My apartment, fog patches, tiny trolleys & all that traffic…especially cool at night when the lights are on and its golden bulbs are flickering all over.
Omar – This guy is the whistling street musician genius of Valencia Street – local shop keepers love or hate him, and depending on his mood he may be doing covers of the entire side 2 of Abbey Road and singing, “there’s god and then there’s not paying attention…like through the 3rd dimension or what’s the deal? your boy Remington Steele…” one of the tunes from his fantastic (really) album “Democracy Is A Good Idea” or he may be seen yelling at the local hipsters and/or gentrifying yuppie types who are all the same when he’s unhappy. He claims MTV stole his guitar tuning. Plus he looks like William H. Macy….watch out he may be performing in the next doorway. Listen for the whistle