Whenever I hear stories of how James Murphy didn’t really take off with LCD Soundsystem until he was 32 years old or how Quentin Stoltzfus was about to be sued by a wedding band for using their name before he returned 6 years later and made music with a few members of The Walkmen; it gives me hope that this old man can still make something out of himself. Maybe all I need to do is move to New York and grow an old man beard while drinking PBR with the local hipsters. Don’t laugh, it could work out and I’d become the new Samuel Jackson! But if I am being honest with myself I’ll more than likely end up like his character in Coming to America where he gets beat up by African students while trying to rob a McDowells. “Don’t stall me fat boy! All of it!’
Well once Stoltzfus returned to the scene he formed the band Light Heat and continued to make reincarnated 60’s music but with a modern day indie feel to it. Their sound is not like the latest trend of 60’s lo-fi that we here in Best Coast, The Soft Pack, or even The Raveonettes; who all make good songs themselves by putting a different spin on that era’s sound. But Light Heat with their mix of guitars, organs, drums, and pianos create a sound that is a true throwback and acts as a tribute to that era.
Stoltzfus comes in with his high pitched voice after a driving instrumental opener in Dance the Cosmo Light, sounding a lot like the Beatles when they were young. Right away this sets the tone for what is to come throughout this long awaited album. He soon follows it up with the dreamy Are We Ever Satisfied which has the sound that Scott Weiland so desperately attempted to reach on his first solo effort. The problem Scott ran into is that he took the 60’s too much to heart; you can’t be completely wasted on heroin when recording and performing Scotty. You’re only allowed to choose one. Then on Satisfied, Stoltzfus lets the drums and organs dominate while he allows his voice to act like an additional instrument to enhance the song. And as you’re listening to it, you can’t help but feel like this is the perfect song to take a drive down the coast to.
Once Elevation starts up you realize that this is a record hipsters will jump all over! It’s retro enough to sound authentic and the band itself is still a relative unknown; so they can claim them and still seem cool to their friends while talking about them at the local dive bars. Despite the fact that I may be considered a hipster for liking them, I love their song Lies as it is the most challenging piece on the album. They throw in every instrument you can imagine on this track and it comes complete with what sounds like photon noises in the background. And with the amount of percussion that’s on this album, I can see why The Walkmen are fans.
By the time The Mirror comes on you realize that from an experience standpoint these guys remind you of NYC’s The Cavemen. This is small venue music; it’s too mellow to try and see at a festival unless that festival is headlined by Willie Nelson himself. And if that’s the case, everyone will be moving in slow motion.
In spite of that, I like this trip down memory lane and suggest that you check it out.