Chelsea Wolfe is a California-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who with the release of 2010’s The Grime and the Glow, 2011’s Apokalypsis, 2013’s Pain Is Beauty and 2015’s Abyss Wolfe received attention both across the blogosphere and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of gothic rock, folk, neofolk, electronica and metal while thematically digging beneath the ugliness, messiness and pain of the world to get to the beauty underneath; in fact as a result, her music has been featured in the promotional material for several TV series, including Game of Thrones, Fear the Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder.
Reportedly inspired by a Henry Miller quote “What I want is to open up. I want to know what’s inside me. I want everybody to open up. I’m like an imbecile with a can opener in his hand, wondering where to begin — to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it,” Wolfe’s forthcoming sixth full length album, Hiss Spun the California-born and based singer/songwriter and guitarist adopts Miller’s quest to become empowered by embracing the mess of the self, to control the tumult of the soul in hopes of reigning in the chaos of the world around oneself. Interestingly enough as Wolfe explains in press notes, she had wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body and getting free; however, “you’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and kill for shitty reasons or no reason at all, and it seems like the world has been in tears for months, and then you remember it’s been fucked for a long time, it’s been fucked since the beginning. It’s overwhelming and I have to write about it.”
Recorded by Kurt Ballou in Salem, MA during the beginning of this year, Hiss Spun was reportedly inspired by a brutally cold New England winter, major upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life, Wolfe coming to terms with years of vulnerability, anger, self-destruction and a dark family history and its weight upon her and her life and as a result, the material may arguably be the heaviest, darkest and most feral Wolfe has ever written. Additionally, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributes swaths of sound collages recorded while the artist and her backing and were on tour — the rumble of street construction while they were on tour in Prague; the howl of a coyote outside Wolfe’s home; the scrape of machinery on a floor of a warehouse at a down-and-out friend’s workplace, as well as samples from the bomb blasts of the Enola Gay, the shrieks and mating calls of primates, the fluttering pages of a book of Walt Whitman’s poetry are all manipulated and seamlessly placed within the music. The overall effect was to be a cathartic emotional purge and as you’ll hear on “16 Psyche,” the latest single off Hiss Spun, the song manages to sound as though it draws from the work of Tool and A Perfect Circle with an oceanic quality — but underneath the pummeling drumming and roaring distortion-heavy guitars and anthemic hooks, is an earnest, palpable ache and yearning.