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.
Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but there are already many albums announced, including a few that are sure to be some of the biggest of the year.
Young soul singer Leon Bridges’s powerful voice and guitar licks have earned him comparisons to Sam Cooke and a viral hit with the sweetly swaying, vintage-R&B-style “Coming Home.” It’s one of those times when it looks like the hype is on point; Coming Home announces the arrival of a huge new talent.
Chelsea Wolfe – “Iron Moon”
Chelsea Wolfe has talked of the influence of black metal on her music, but until now, that was more in spirit than in sound. “Iron Moon,” the first single from her new album, Abyss (due Aug. 7 on Sargent House), lives up to its metallic name with crushing chourses of heavy detuned guitar, while the song’s verses are sparely orchestrated and ethereal. As to those extreme dynamics, Wolfe told Rolling Stone the record is supposed to evoke “the feeling of when you're dreaming, and you briefly wake up, but then fall back asleep into the same dream, diving quickly into your own subconscious.” You can see live Amoeba videos with Wolfe here and read an interview I did with her here.
De Lux – “Someday Now”
Moon Block Party’s Desert Daze fest is happening May 2 at the Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca, California. Tickets are $55 for general admission, $75 with camping and $85 with village camping, and you can pick them up with only a $2 service fee from Amoeba Hollywood.
The show features such bands as Warpaint, RJD2, Minus the Bear (performing They Make Beer Commercials Like This), The Budos Band, Dan Deacon, Chelsea Wolfe, Diiv, Psychic Ills, Deap Vally, Bass Drum of Death, White Lung, Vetiver, Teebs, Carlos Nino and more.
This Sunday, April 6th, Game of Thrones' fourth season is set to get real. Really real. Real to death. And when HBO plays the Game of Thrones everyone wins, except maybe the cast. NO SPOILERS or anything but -- in the spirit of keeping it real -- everyone knows by now that no one in this high fantasy saga is "safe" by any meaning of the word. In a recent interview Scottish actor Rory McCann, who portrays Sandor "The Hound" Clegane in the series, claims to cautiously read through the ninth episode script for each season while quaffing a glass of whisky, prepped for death and distress not unlike that major drama bomb that dropped back in S1E9. Of course it doesn't help that the show's writers sometimes insert fake death scenes into scripts just to freak out their already nervous troupe, prompting stars to worry in advance about life and work after landing a hit series. British actor Kit Harington, John Snow on the show, explains, "We all flip through the scripts when we get them to see if we live or die, but the writers are very cruel; they sometimes write fake scenes to kill someone off and then that actor will be kind of out of a job and scared." Even hunky Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa, undeterred by the premature demise of his beloved character, Khal Drogo, in season one, has attempted to write his own way back on to the show, saying, “It’s a fantasy world, sweetheart. You never know!” Yeah, no.
To give non-readers an idea of just how much death the series deals in, on the left is an image of the five (of the planned seven) published books, collectively known as A Song of Ice and Fire, with each death marked by a brightly colored post-it, like a bizarre murder rainbow. It's difficult to assess who is more relentless, author George R.R. Martin or whoever went through the trouble of tallying every death in the books. At the moment, the HBO series is only halfway through that green book in the middle, A Storm of Swords, which means that the seasonal thinning of the cast will be no less brutal than anything we have previously seen. On a more positive note, the scope of the show stands to expand further this season, revealing new faces and places on the map we've only ever heard mentioned before while also returning to some of the previously established family seats n' things that have been out of play for a while.