If you only listen to one song today, make it “Iron Moon” by Chelsea Wolfe (2015, from the forthcoming album Abyss).
Chelsea Wolfe is a doom-folk/goth rock singer/songwriter from Los Angeles. You might even say that she treads a fine line between metal-tinged industrial music and gothy doom-folk. You might be as likely to put her alongside Trent Reznor as you would alongside Zola Jesus.
She’s been active since 2006, had has released three albums starting with her debut The Grime and the Glow, which was released in the last week of December 2010. Her 2013 album Pain is Beauty won critical acclaim and comparisons to Zola Jesus. On August 7, she’ll release her fourth proper album Abyss via Sargent House. Somehow, even though her music is right up my alley, she slipped completely under my radar. For five years.
Although I’d heard her name, I didn’t know anything about Chelsea Wolfe until the 2015 Hopscotch Music Festival announced its lineup. At the time of the lineup announcement, there weren’t any details of the new album. As part of my festival homework, I read the bio and listen to at least one song for each of the 140 artists. My interest was certainly piqued by “We Hit a Wall”, from Pain is Beauty, and I quickly snatched up a copy of that album.
Since then, I’ve managed to get my ears on the entirety of Abyss, and it’s kind of blowing me away. It’s dark, heavy, invasive, jarring, and completely gloomy. And it’s completely in your face. It sounds the way Japanese horror films look. Every time I start recovering from having the wind knocked out of me, I get pushed hard in the chest. There’s something intoxicating about that struggle.
So far, two of the new songs have been made public. “Carrion Flowers” is magnificent in its own right, but I really like this one for its loud/quiet/loud thing. The contrast between the loud and the quiet is quite amazing. This is that song.
“Iron Moon” by Chelsea Wolfe
During the “quiet” bits, when it’s mainly clean, unplugged guitar and Wolfe’s vocals, I’m reminded a bit of Elizabeth Mitchell from Ida. Beautiful and quiet. There’s just a slight hint of vocal fry to the nearly whispered bit, and I absolutely love that.
The “loud” bits feature really heavy bass, heavily affected guitars, and vocals that are almost shouted. I love the contrast of emotions and energies.
Chelsea Wolfe will be playing on the last night of the Hopscotch Festival. Saturday September 12 in the Lincoln Theatre from 11:30pm to 12:30am. I don’t have any conflicts in that time slot, so I’ll be there for sure.
You can see all of the Hopscotch ticket-buying options here.
All of your pre-order options for Abyss can be seen here.