03 March 2008

Storm & Stress

Disdain. That was the look on my friend Mike Fusco’s face when I showed him my purchase. In my hands was Storm & Stress’s 2000 album, Under Thunder And Fluorescent Lights, and I couldn’t have been happier. Being a huge Don Caballero fan, this side project was the next logical step for me. I try not to let people’s gray faces sway me when I’m making musical purchases. I’ve discovered a few friends who are gaga over Storm & Stress but they are few and far between. When I approached my future bandmate, Nafa, back in 2001, Storm & Stress was one of the things I passed along as one of my influences.

I quickly backtracked to 1997 with Storm & Stress’s self-titled album and was fairly confused at first. This is not easy listening. It took a while for this album to sink in but once it did, I could be found wasting away, with headphones on, in my local library. The constant absorption of this stuff (which I could barely understand) probably did irreparable damage to me but I doubt I’d be the same without it.

The last track on the self-titled album (not to ruin the finale for you or anything) is called “Orange Cone Made No Noise”. The rambling vocals let me know I’m in trouble. Then the eruption of instruments makes me shake and I get nostalgic for good old days that never happened. Deceivingly alienating, this is actually the warmest and most loving music in the world.

If you can make it to 2 and half minutes then you’ll be rewarded with a soft, soaked, and sinking life preserver. The guitar (played by Ian T. Williams) and the bass (M Eric Topolsky) spend a great deal of this song turning around too quickly and bumping into each other. And I wasn’t aware that drums could tease, rumble, sputter, and romp before I heard drummer Kevin Shea. I am in love with the 8 minute mark.

It just dawned on me that this track is over ten minutes. For some reason that’s funny to me. Ian Williams mentioned in an interview I read somewhere that there is a great deal of humor and tongue-in-cheekiness to Storm & Stress. Pretentious? Sure. Why not? I feel surprisingly levelheaded about this positive noise and it still reels me in and destroys me with smiles.

Tuba City interview with Ian Williams

"Orange Cone Made No Noise"


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