When: Sat., May 11, 9:30 p.m. 2013
On the new No Answer: Lower Floors (De Stijl), Michigan miscreants Wolf Eyes have beautifully stratified their bleak, unrelenting noise. It’s their first widely available album in four years (the band’s roughly 20 other releases during that time have all been highly limited), and like its predecessors it seethes with queasiness and dread. But the music has a remarkable new clarity too, as if all its chaos and collisions had been distilled and concentrated into a sort of essence of bad vibes. Wolf Eyes’ current lineup consists of longtime core members John Olson and Nate Young plus “Crazy” Jim Baljo, who replaced Mike Connelly last year and contributes precisely deployed coloristic tones to give the tracks an extra vitality. Young’s morbid, dreary synthesizer is the dominant element, recalling Throbbing Gristle at their most depressing—much like Young’s excellent recent solo work as R=Regression—but it’s Baljo who fills out the spectrum, using gurgling, smeary washes of acidic gunk and old-school industrial thrumming, all of which heightens the music’s sense of claustrophobic motion. The programmed drums alternate between chintzy and realistic from track to track, and sinister spoken-word declamations sink under waves of reverb. Particularly impressive is the icy dirge “Confessions of the Informer,” which maintains its harrowing emotional detachment for 12 excruciating minutes. Wolf Eyes are already good at exploding, but it’s even more powerful when they sound ready to but hold it in. —Peter Margasak Yakuza and Bloodyminded open.