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restocked!! Michigan trio Wolf Eyes are known for bursts of harsh noise, but they've also made lots of interesting music on the way to those climaxes-- during the pregnant pauses, eerie bits of calm, and gradual build-ups that explode into raucous release. Stare Case, the "blues roots" duo of Wolf Eyes' John Olson and Nate Young, deal primarily in that restrained territory, where minimalism and quietude bulge with possibility. On Lose Today, the implied eruptions never come, but always seem to be just over the horizon, creating a constant tension even when the pair sound comfortably stoned.
Much of that tension comes from an unlikely source: Young's bass, an instrument he hadn't played on record before Stare Case began in 2010. It's the center of the five songs here, and it's always slow and sparse, with plucks doled out like ominous ticks of a time bomb. On top of that heavy foundation, Olson spreads swaths of electronics and horns, while Young sings in a manner straighter and clearer than his more strenuous Wolf Eyes vocalizing. "You never lost, 'cause you never wanted to/ But maybe you just never had a plan," he moans wearily on the title track, echoing the way Jandek turns a few simple, lonely words into something thoroughly creepy and hypnotic.
Jandek may seem like lofty company to put Stare Case in this early-- Lose Today is technically their debut full-length. But they've already made reams of low-run cassettes and CD-Rs via Olson's American Tapes label. All that public woodshedding has honed their approach-- they've clearly grown into a fully formed entity rather than a side project. Olson in particular has become a deft sonic commentator. When he slyly inserts sax runs in "Days Like Faces", or sticks in small ripples of electronic noise during "Bed That Eats", he shows an uncanny knack for sounding loose and random at first, but remarkably precise on closer inspection. His interjections have a kind of storytelling feel, turning abstraction into narrative.
It's hard to guess what turns the Stare Case plot will take next. I've listened to a lot of their rumblings in the past year and have yet to tire of the way their music lurks and lurches around, like the unexplained creaks of a decaying house's dimly lit basement. It seems likely that they'll eventually unleash the loud detonations that Lose Today implies and previous releases have veered toward. The impressive patience that Olson and Young have exhibited so far has certainly earned them the right to fire away. (Pitchfork)