Boomkat Product Review:
Dazzlingly diverse material that locks in to Wolf Eyes' history of untethered collaboration, with a handpicked selection of belters from the long-running noise troupe's recent box of private-press 7"s. Features Aaron Dilloway, Raven Chacon, Gretchen Gonzales, Alex Moskos, and core duo Nate Young and John Olson, going full gnarr in the best way.
It's tuff to know what to expect of Wolf Eyes in 2023 and that's probably for the best. The band has been through so many personnel shifts over its almost three-decade history - and that's without accounting for Nate Young's own insatiable desire to push his art into ego-destroying territory whenever possible. At this stage in the group's evolution, a patchwork of collaborative experiments might be the most accurate representation of its legacy, and it doesn't take long to fall into the warped rhythm. 'Dank Boone' from Short Hands is the first proper blast of sound, and it's a mailed-in cut-n-paste face/off between Young, Olson and Canadian DIY mainstay Alex Moskos, aka Drainolith (look that one up, we're not kidding). This unmistakably North American confusion of funk, Hamburger bar rock and psychedelic blues is exactly what Wolf Eyes have been so good at chipping away at in their twilight years, and with Moskos's additional shreds, spits the drip into a bubbling sewer of pure Deadhead menace.
The blotter sludge recedes on 'Passive Tempos', a hiccuping hacked drum machine duel between Moskos and Young that sounds something like Container failing to correctly imitate Suicide. Techno this ain't. If you've been pining for Aaron Dilloway's tape-mangled dungeon fug, he's up to his old tricks on 'Locked Rivers', jamming with long-time American Tapes associate and Universal Indians guitarist Gretchen Gonzales and capturing the cacophonous, dissonant mid-point between La Monte Young and Smegma. Olson and Young revive Stare Case on 'Lost Head', lavishing despondent vocals on top of collapsing guitar and bass jerks and deranged oscillator hypnotics. The most unsettling and possibly most fwd-thinking moment comes from Moskos, Olsen and Young under the moniker Animal Sounds. It's maybe a nod to Young's earliest Wolf Eyes material, when he took Robert Redford's "The Language and Music of the Wolves" and juxtaposed it with drum machine bumps and environmental recordings; here, the trio offset tropical caws with LFO-damaged Carpenter-esque electronics and fluctuating horn whirls.
And if you're worried there's not gonna be enough balls-to-the-wall pandemonium, put that expectation to bed. Raven Chacon matchup 'Tulsa Once' is the kinda ruff-stubbled contact mic 'n broken circuitboard gurgle that's had us in withdrawal sweats since the CDR era, and closer 'Feedback 6' brings us right back to "Burned Mind" with its slashed amp scratchiness and anxious foghorn blasts. That's the poison.