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The Wild Stares



While they had next to no commercial success and lukewarm critical response during their decade-plus career, The Wild Stares doggedly stuck with their idiosyncratic, discordant style, recording some remarkably creative, irreverent, hard-to-classify rock music. The skeletons of their songs are built from Justin Burrill's somewhat Fall-inspired jaggedy guitar parts and nervous rhythms that constantly threaten to bore a hole in your cranium. From that foundation, The Wild Stares' songs grow in all directions. Principal songwriter and frontman Steve Gregoropoulos sings loopy speak-sing vocals that range from inspired dementia to strangled anger to back-of-the-bar poeticism. On many songs he is joined by bassist Fran Miller, whose lunatic soprano simply turns up the music's weirdness factor.

Though they were signed to Boston's much-lauded Ace of Hearts Records, The Wild Stares weren't able to find an audience in Boston and eventually relocated to Los Angeles. After a few years there Miller quit the band and the remaining members recruited a number of other musicians to form the 10-member free jazz/neoclassical/rock ensemble Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra (or W.A.C.O.).

"Looking for You" is one of The Wild Stares' most accessible songs, driven by a satisfying bass line and lovelorn vocal angst, while made slightly unsettling by Miller's ethereal, barely audible backing vocals. The song comes from The Wild Stares' brilliant and eclectic Land of Beauty, subtitled "Los Angeles: 1989" because of when and where it was recorded, though Ace of Hearts didn't actually release the record until 1992.

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