On Abyss, Chelsea Wolfe embraces the industrial music and doom metal that have always lurked as influences and adds them as blackened flourishes to her gothy experimental electro-folk. “Carrion Flowers” writhes slowly on a corroded beat that hits like a door slamming beneath her curling and cooing voice. Groaning guitar noise introduces “Iron Moon” as Wolfe’s entrÃ©e into the metal world (save for her celebrated cover of black metal band Burzum’s “Black Spell of Destruction”). The eerie, wiry strings and sludgy power chords of “Dragged Out” become a pummeling wash at the chorus, which is reminiscent of Sunn O))), for whom she’s opened in the past. The album’s opening is bold, but echoes of her past work radiate through Abyss, on its strings, which can be achingly beautiful on tracks like “Maw” but wail like banshees on “Crazy Love,” or on the wavering synths of “After the Fall” (seemingly the only thing left over from some of the synth-driven exercises of her last album, Pain is Beauty). The biggest holdover here, besides an overall grim aesthetic, is Wolfe’s voice, which can sometimes get buried but breaks through the din to emote beautifully on “After the Fall” and “Crazy Love.” Some fans might bristle at the changes she’s made, but most will likely find the heavier sound suits Wolfe’s compositions and voice quite well. Besides being great on its own as an album, Abyss hopefully will add another chink in the armor of the seemingly closed-off and overwhelmingly male world of critically respected, heavy guitar-based music.
Wavves – “Flamezesz”
Nathan Williams has had a busy year, putting out a split disc with noise-pop compatriots Cloud Nothings, an album from a side project with his brother and others called Spirit Club and a split EP with MNDR with another side project, Sweet Valley. But now we’ll finally get a new Wavves album as well. V is due Oct. 2 on Ghost Ramp/Warner Bros., and he’s unveiled the frantically poppy “Flamezesz” as well as the previously revealed, Elvis Costello-esque “Way Too Much.” V is now up for preorder on LP and CD. Hear it below via Complex.
Two veterans of the Bay Area shoegaze band Whirr make a wistful indie-pop record together that recalls the best of Sarah Records. Alexandra Morte’s vocals call to mind a young Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine, singing dreamily over acoustic guitars and light orchestral touches with cohort Nick Bassett. While it may not be the most original sound, Camera Shy’s eight songs are charming and sophisticated, emanating weary beauty on the rainy “Seemingly Ill” while charging through sunny environs on the jangly “Remember.” For fans of this kind of thing, Camera Shy are one of the best new bands around.
Patrick Stickles and co. return with an epic set of fist-pumping post-hardcore anthems. Centered around "Our Hero," The Most Lamentable Tragedy allows Stickles to remove himself to a degree from the narrative, and the result is that he sounds more liberated than ever, bellowing through self-effacing, existential tales of despair and coming out fighting. Despite its mammoth run-time and vague concept, The Most Lamentable Tragedy has plenty of scream-along moments, notably in the run of pub rock ballad "Mr. E Man" runs into the shake-you-by-the-shoulders fury of "Fired Up" and quick punk workout "Dimed Out" at the album's core. The only real tragedy here would be getting scared off by the album's length. It's at once an exhausting listen and one that leaves you feeling energized and ready to fuck shit up.
Wax Idols – “Lonely You”
Oakland/L.A. post-punkers Wax Idols put out an excellent first album called Discipline & Desire on Slumberland in 2013. Now the band, fronted by the huskily voiced Heather Fortune, has unveiled the smoldering “Lonely You,” a wearily lovelorn ditty about letting go and looking up that sounds like a lost late-’80s goth-pop jam. It seems to say that sometimes you have to set everything on fire to see what’s left. American Tragic is due Oct. 16 via Collect.
YG – “Twist My Fingaz”
YG’s searingly honest tales of growing up in tough Compton were matched to catchy G-funk beats on his excellent debut, My Krazy Life. “Twist My Fingaz,” the first song revealed from the upcoming Still Krazy, has an awesome throwback feel without feeling limited, grooving effortlessly as YG does his thing, gets his drink and dance on and doesn’t sweat the trouble outside.
Nina Gordon and Louise Post of reunited alt-rockers Veruca Salt walked onstage at Amoeba Hollywood July 13 with smiles miles wide. The band had just released its first album with the original lineup in 18 years, the well-received Ghost Notes, after reconciling two years ago following a bitter falling out in the ’90s. Given their ability to overcome such a storied history and long hiatus, the positivity flowing from the two singer/guitarists was palpable.
Gordon and Post held up their “set plates” (“There was no paper backstage, but there were plates,” Gordon explained) and began with the first song on Ghost Notes, “The Gospel According to Saint Me.” They looked at each other and smiled while harmonizing to the song’s autobiographical lyrics about the band’s breakup and reunion. Gordon’s lyrics about how “it’s gonna get loud, it’s gonna get heavy” may have felt ironic for an acoustic set, but they rang out to an appreciative audience of devotees who may have picked up on a small teaser to the American Thighs song “Victrola.”
The singers’ chemistry and tension was as fascinating to watch as their performances. At one point, Post asked for less Gordon in her monitor. “I love you, but it’s just too much,” she said, but later admitted, “I miss you,” as though summing up their history.