Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea Wolfe’

Sargent House – 13th September 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

(Hiss) Spin it any which way, but following her last two inordinately powerful albums, which saw Chelsea Wolfe expand and deepen the depth of tempestuous noise and emotional force, the ‘eagerly awaited’ cliché was never more apt when Birth Of Violence was announced. Those two albums have left me emotionally raw and breathless since release, and I continually return to them as being simply stunning. It’s the perfectly poised juxtaposition of fragility and full-tilt riffage and noise that has impact on numerous levels and renders them with a special kind of intensity. Did I anticipate more of the same? I did I want more of the same? Could I handle more of the same?

It probably wasn’t entirely strategic, and probably more a reflection of the creative ebbs and lows, but nevertheless it makes perfect sense and sits with Wolfe’s creative arc to pull back the noise to deliver a reflective and largely acoustic album this time around. It does mean that despite what its title suggests, Birth Of Violence is altogether more sedate, and doesn’t grab you by the throat within a minute of hitting play. But then, in a world of noise, some reflection and hush is beyond welcome and necessary.

‘The Mother Road,’ unveiled back in June, opens with extraneous noise, but it’s acoustic guitar and a clean, untreated vocal that stand to the fore. Without the explosive crash of percussion and melting guitars one would reasonably anticipate based on recent for, we’re left to feel the pull of Wolfe’s tone and delicate intonation. But then it builds subtly to a rich swell of sound, a subtle adaptation of the post-rock crescendo that’s not overtly noisy, but isn’t exactly quiet either, culminating in a whirling swirl of noise around her emotionally fragile vocal.

The somewhat folksy title track finds Chelsea soaring, semi-operatic but also breathy and vulnerable and transcending to another plane, while ‘Deranged For Rock ‘n’ Roll’ finds heavy, murky percussion crash in behind her unusual pronunciation of ‘rock ‘n’ roll.’ She doesn’t sound particularly deranged, but more sedated. A lugubrious violin whines while the sound swells and surges and Wolfe soars to deliver a breathtaking climax.

‘Dirt Universe’ climbs slowly down to the gloomy depths of Leonard Cohen around Songs of Love and Hate: dark, lugubrious, and yet quietly intense. So intense.

It may be acoustic-based and considerably less noisy than its immediate predecessors, meaning it has less immediacy and less velocity overall, but Birth of Violence is an elegant and also striking album. Of course it is, it’s Chelsea Wolfe.

AA

Chelsea_Wolfe_-_Birth_of_Violence_grande

Advertisements

After a spellbinding performance at The Cure’s Pasadena Daydream Festival this past weekend in LA, Chelsea Wolfe is just one week away from releasing her latest album Birth Of Violence via Sargent House on September 13th.

Birth of Violence is a return to the reclusive nature of her earlier recordings where we see Wolfe withdraw into her own world of enigmatic and elusive autobiography. But the album also exists in the present, addressing modern tragedies such as school shootings and the poisoning of the planet.

On the song Wolfe tells us “Deranged for Rock & Roll” is my love song to music. Every time I ever tried to walk a different path, music always called me back home to it. It’s in my blood; it’s my one source of true peace. I love its chaos and its rough edges, and I love the way it can bring understanding and comfort. I belong to music, and it to me. I feel Gilbert’s video illustrates that unnamed pull towards something so well. My character is destined to sing the same song over and over in this purgatory of a desert bar, while different people come through the town and begin to feel the pull as well, drawing them into this vortex to stay for good.”

Video director Gilbert Trejo (Pixies, DIIV) says “From the beginning we knew this video took place outside of society. The melody invokes compulsion, a certain type of purgatory, the inability to just buckle down and fly the straight path. Everyone’s purgatory exists side by side, and we affect one another without ever knowing.”

Watch the video here:

Chelsea Wolfe Acoustic Tour:

10/18: San Diego, CA – Observatory North Park

10/19: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom

10/21: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall

10/22: Estes Park, CO – Stanley Hotel

10/24: Chicago, IL – Metro

10/25: Detroit, MI – Senate Theater

10/26: Toronto, ONT – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

10/27: Montreal, QC – Le National

10/29: Boston, MA – Royale

10/31: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer

11/01: New York, NY – Brooklyn Steel

11/03: Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

11/04: Charlotte, NC – McGlohon Theater

11/05: Atlanta, GA – Terminal West

11/06: Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge

11/08: Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre

11/09: Austin, TX – Levitation

11/10: Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall

11/12: Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf

11/13: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress

11/15: Los Angeles, CA – The Palace Theatre

11/16: San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom

11/18: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom

11/20: Seattle, WA – The Showbox

11/21: Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre

* All dates with special guest Ioanna Gika

The spellbinding new album from Chelsea Wolfe is out in just under a month and today she has given us another glimpse of her more folk leaning sound. Her new single, ‘Be All Things’ is an emotional journey and shows Wolfe at the top of her songwriting game.

Of the track, Chelsea Wolfe says “’Be All Things’ is about navigating the world as a woman: reconciling the soft and the strong, balancing the warrior and the goddess, and wanting to be everything and nothing at the same time. Telling stories through song allows me to explore so many facets of myself; so many lives within. Some days I want to be quiet and reach my roots into the earth, and some days I want to spring up from the ground and be all things.”

“The video is a culmination of footage taken in a few magical locations,” says Wolfe. “Around southwestern Iceland, while shooting the Birth of Violence album cover, inside Moaning Cavern in Northern California – a marble cavern 450 feet deep that I visited as a child and sang in as an adult, sending my voice out as heavy as I could against the powerful dampness and sparkles of the ancient cave walls. A special spot in nature not far from my home where the Manzanita grows up like a red and green tunnel, and a historic California hotel from the Victorian era where many from the past rested their heads.”

Watch the video here:

Chelsea Wolfe has returned with another stunning track from her forthcoming album, Birth Of Violence out September 13th on Sargent House. The song is accompanied by this video which Wolfe tells us is an “expression of freedom and beautiful humans being themselves.”

She continues, “It began as a sort of homage to a scene in the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, where the characters are singing along to the Aimee Mann song “Wise Up,” but I wanted our version to be explored through the lens of The Tarot. I’ve been reading tarot cards for myself for many years, and researching the symbolic expressions of the cards for this video made me want to dive even deeper. To represent that, I played both The Fool and The High Priestess cards in the video, to embody both the beginning of the journey, and the realization that the sacred knowledge I was seeking was inside me all along. We cast friends to play a few other tarot archetypes, and Karlos’ idea was to bring the symbols and signifiers into the contemporary; deconstructed, and made everyday – “the magical and the unexceptional.” I loved that. At the same time, we really wanted to challenge the binary of the traditional tarot cards, and give them more diversity, which is something important that many cool artists and witches are doing. I’m such a fan of Karlos Rene Ayala as a writer, director, documentarian and friend, and have looked forward to making a video with him for a long time.”

Watch the video here:

Wolfe will be embarking on an extensive, acoustic North American tour this Autumn starting with a special performance at Pasadena Daydream Festival with her full band. All tour dates are listed below.

Chelsea Wolfe Acoustic Tour:

31/08: Pasadena, CA – Pasadena Daydream Festival * (Non Acoustic Set)
18/10: San Diego, CA – Observatory North Park
19/10: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
21/10: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall
22/10: Estes Park, CO – Stanley Hotel
24/10: Chicago, IL – Metro
25/10: Detroit, MI – Senate Theater
26/10: Toronto, ONT – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
27/10: Montreal, QC – Le National
29/10: Boston, MA – Royale
31/10: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
01/11: New York, NY – Brooklyn Steel
03/11: Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
04/11: Charlotte, NC – McGlohon Theater
05/11: Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
06/11: Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
08/11: Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre
09/11: Austin, TX – Levitation
10/11: Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
12/11: Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
13/11: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
15/11: Los Angeles, CA – The Palace Theatre
16/11: San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom
18/11: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
20/11: Seattle, WA – The Showbox
21/11: Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre

* All dates with special guest Ioanna Gika except 8/31

Chelsea Wolfe has always been a conduit for a powerful energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that sombre beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key elements. As a result, her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever on her forthcoming album, Birth of Violence to be released on Sargent House September 13th.

Today she’s unveiled the album’s opener and lead single, ‘The Mother Road’, a harrowing ode to Route 66 that immediately addresses Wolfe’s metaphoric white line fever. It defines the nature of the record-the impact of countless miles and perpetual exhaustion-and the desire to find the road back home, back to one’s roots.

Listen to ‘The Mother Road’ here:

AA

Chelsea Wolfe Acoustic Tour:

31/08: Pasadena, CA – Pasadena Daydream Festival * (Non Acoustic Set)

18/10: San Diego, CA – Observatory North Park

19/10: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom

21/10: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall

22/10: Estes Park, CO – Stanley Hotel

24/10: Chicago, IL – Metro

25/10: Detroit, MI – Senate Theater

26/10: Toronto, ONT – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

27/10: Montreal, QC – Le National

29/10: Boston, MA – Royale

31/10: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer

01/11: New York, NY – Brooklyn Steel

03/11: Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

04/11: Charlotte, NC – McGlohon Theater

05/11: Atlanta, GA – Terminal West

06/11: Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge

08/11: Dallas, TX – Texas Theatre

09/11: Austin, TX – Levitation

11/10: Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall

12/11: Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf

13/11: Tucson, AZ – Club Congress

15/11: Los Angeles, CA – The Palace Theatre

16/11: San Francisco, CA – Regency Ballroom

18/11: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom

20/11: Seattle, WA – The Showbox

21/11: Vancouver, BC – Vogue Theatre

* All dates with special guest Ioanna Gika except 31/08

CWolfe

Album Artwork (Cover Photo by Nona Limmen)

Solemn Wave Records – 22nd February 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Over a decade into this music writing thing and I still get a massive buzz receiving albums I’m excited about hearing ahead of release. Mostly because like many other music fans, I get impatient and overhyped with anticipation. And then… well, what then? When a work is so rich and resonant, and communicates on a level which transcends words. Describing not sound, but sensation is more than a challenge, especially when that sensation is overwhelming.

Single release ‘Sabbath’ gave me something of an Evi Vine rush and raiding the back catalogue only amplified my anticipation for BLACK//LIGHT//WHITE//DARK, and never mind the suspense, it’s a belter. No doubt much will be made of the roll-call of contributors, including The Cure’s Simon Gallup on bass and Peter Yates of Fields of the Nephilim on guitar, but the songs ultimately speaks for themselves here.

A mere six songs, yes, but when the first is a slow-burning behemoth that treads the delicate line walked by Chelsea Wolfe, it’s immediately apparent that these are songs of a rare intensity. ‘I Am the Waves’ explores brooding, hushed and downright downbeat passages which glide into deep, immersive washes with serpentine guitar lines snaking around trepidacious drums and haunting, fragile vocals. ‘Afterlight’ ups the tempo and the tension, rolling drums and extraneous electronics creating a dense swell of sound. Evi sounds twitchy, anxious, her voice adrift in multidirectional reverb. The atmosphere is fractured and strained: you don’t just listen to this, you feel it. BLACK//LIGHT//WHITE//DARK leads the listener to some dark places, but then a function of the most powerful art is often to challenge, to affect, rather than to simply exist and entertain.

The sprawling yet elegantly-poised nine-minute ‘Sabbath’ is still a standout, its contrasting passages of fragility and crushing weight the perfect counterpoint to one another. It drives and surges, on and on, a dense, textured wall of sound that’s completely immersive. Its only shortcoming is that it is, well, just too short.

‘My Only Son’ presents a more minimal aspect, a delicate piano providing the primary accompaniment to wistful, reflective lyrics. It’s well-placed, bringing things down a notch – but the incidental strings and voices bring contrast and discord, meaning it’s never an option to really settle into a sense of relaxation and comfort, and the low-rumbling electronics which open ‘We Are Made of Stars’ deepen the unsettling atmosphere. Stretching out to forge a suffocating dark ambience, voices whisper hauntingly in the distance, before the eleven-and-a-half-minute finale, ‘Sad Song No. 9’ dredges every last ounce of aching beauty from the deepest melancholy. And when the bass booms in and the guitars kick in, it soars majestically. It’s a perfect conclusion to an album worthy of the word masterpiece.

AA

AA

389607

Solemn Wave Records – 6th December 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

We’re inching into winter and again my inbox seems to be getting darker and gothier in its content – or perhaps it’s just my SAD-attuned headspace. Either way, this is one extremely welcome arrival.

As a prelude to the album ‘Black Light, White Dark’, Evi Vine have given us ‘Sabbath’ as a single release, featuring The Cure’s Simon Gallup on bass, along with guitar by Peter Yates of Fields of the Nephilim. It’s a slow burner, and it’s epic and then some: fully nine brooding minutes of slow, smouldering atmosphere and hauntingly evocative melodies which burst into dazzlingly kaleidoscopic curtains of sound.

It’s one of those songs that lures you in with its grace and delicacy: Evi’s nuanced, emotionally rich and moving vocal, reminiscent by turns of Jarboe, Chelsea Wolfe and – perhaps at a short stretch – Julianne Reagan (she can swoop and soar, and I suspect her choice as backing singer by The Mission is no coincidence) is alluring, ethereal, simultaneously creating a sense of vulnerability and otherness. And as the sonic storm swells into a dense and richly-layered mass, the effect is intensified, until finally, the surging sound is all there is… nine minutes simply isn’t enough. Allowing the hypnotic bass and deliberate groove to take over and transport me downstream as the guitars build and build, deeper, louder, more and more, until I’m drifting, I find this is a song to loop, and loop…

The six-minute single edit is even more not long enough, and probably isn’t short enough to get much radio play either – even though it absolutely deserves all the audience it can reach. The fact mainstream audiences aren’t likely equipped to handle the intensity is their loss, but also a sad reflection on things. Because this is music to embrace, and be blown way by.

AA

Evi Vine