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Storm and Stress

Unlike Sturm und Drang, the German literary movement for which they are named, Storm and Stress eschews forms and patterns. Ian Williams and Eric Topolsky of Don Caballero join drummer-percussionist Kevin Shea to create the oddly decompressed, antigravitational world of Storm and Stress. The band is characterized by bursts of free expression that walk a tightrope between avant-jazz freedom and a desperate but sincere desire to "really be a rock band." The record, which was put to tape by experimental auteur Jim O'Rourke, also features guest appearances by Jim Black and Micah Gaugh. All of these musicians are sailors on the open sea of the kind of guitar, bass, and drum experimentation that is Storm and Stress's subject. The band's second record, Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light, is truly an uncomposition, one in which recognizable forms, formats, and sounds are deracinated and deconstructed. The experience of navigating this peculiar sonic maze is disorienting like a dream: you think you recognize something familiar in there, but all semblances of rational order have been removed entirely.