Second Stage: Little-Known Bands You Should Hear

Second Stage: The Stares

The Stares, Meridians
courtesy of the artist

The meandering, dreamy indie music from The Stares is deceptive at every turn. The band weaves together a conflicting knot of emotions on songs that are both sad and sweet, complicated and simple. On first listen, the group's sound seems stripped-down and plain. But the more you hear, the more a distinct and subtle texture emerges.

The group's personnel, as listed on The Stares' second record Meridians, includes five members, with an additional six as guests, but the roster listed on their Facebook page is even more extensive.

Singers Angie Benintendi and Drew Whittemore co-front the band with beautifully vulnerable voices.  And while the band clearly has access to a boatload of members and sounds (including baritone guitar, French horn, oboe d'amore, sitar, and vibes) they choose their instrumentation carefully and deliberately. It'd be very easy for a band with this much arsenal to become muddled, but The Stares do it artfully so the end result isn't overwhelming.

With a mix this clean, every tiny detail of the song becomes apparent and important. You can hear as much on "Ceviche," a song with rich interplay between the two singers.

It would also be easy for music like this to sound a bit overplayed.  But it comes off as both sincere and, in some cases, slightly haunting.

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