£20.49Instinct. We all know what it is, but are hard pressed to acknowledge just how it guides us. Instinct subtly defines our identities, despite our attempts to defy it. The Endless Shimmering, the fifth album by Belfast, Northern Ireland quartet And So I Watch You From Afar, is the sound of a band operating on its purest instincts.Visit product page →
Every individual is an algorithm of prior lives and experience acting as its own sovereign entity. Every band is itself a combined algorithm of those instincts, driven by unconscious will to replicate itself in the world as if it were flesh and blood like the people who embody it.
The Endless Shimmering is visceral and expressive — decidedly alive and purely instinctual; not conceptualized or postured. It’s ASIWYFA — guitarists Rory Friers and Niall Kennedy, bassist Johnathan Adger and drummer Chris Wee — manifest as a being beyond itself. “We laid everything bare and put everything we had into the songs,” Adger says. “And we hope people can feel that and use that without us having to be to overt in how we present it. The album was charged with a lot of what we were all going through as individuals, but we wanted to allow it to become people's soundtrack to whatever they need in their life at this moment.”
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable difference on this album is that the ensemble vocals of the previous recordings Heirs and All Hail Bright Futures is dialed back considerably to allow the music to come to the fore. The difference gives the musicians freedom to stretch out and truly shine as performers. The decision was made early on that this record would not be rushed toward completion and the band allowed themselves the time to let it come together organically.
“We wrote around 30 tracks before deciding these 9 tracks would make the record,” Friers explains. “We then spent a long time playing them everyday to allow them to become almost as if we'd already toured them, ingrained in our muscle memory.” The band flew to Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, RI in March 2017, aiming specifically to record live performances of the songs. Just as they arrived, a major snow storm brought the Northeast coast to a standstill.
“We tracked, ate, washed and slept at the studio,” Friers says. “And 9 days later we had recorded and mixed the entire album just as the snow began to melt.”
1. Three Triangles
2. A Slow Unfolding Of Wings
3. Terrors Of Pleasure
4. Dying Giants
5. All I Need Is Space
6. The Endless Shimmering
8. I'll Share A Life
Release Date: 20/10/2017
£25.49“2LP with custom etching on side D + DL. CD Digi.Visit product page →
“When musicians have this intensity in them, they often get to it sooner and stay put. Ms. Wolfe sounds like she’s using it by choice, not disposition; she can use different kinds of darkness as colour or tincture." - NY Times
“The reigning dark priestess of goth-scarred art rock.” Rolling Stone
Hiss Spun is Chelsea Wolfe’s sixth album. Following her acclaimed 2015 album Abyss, Hiss Spun is at once dynamic, heavy, and raw. NPR shared the song “16 Psyche,” saying, “Wolfe has always possessed a talent for dynamic song writing, particularly concerning the theatre of the soul. But the masterful "16 Psyche" is a full-on ride, and one that finds her at her most commanding and climactic yet."
Recorded by Kurt Ballou (Converge), the album was conceived as an emotional purge, a means of coming to terms with the tumult of the outside world by exploring the complexities of one’s inner unrest. “I’m at odds with myself,” she explains. “I got tired of trying to disappear. The record became very personal in that way. I wanted to open up more, but also create my own reality.” Hiss Spun features prominent guitar contributions by Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, Failure) and a guest spot from Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, SUMAC).
Digging beneath the mess of the world to find the beauty underneath is perhaps the most consistent theme in Chelsea Wolfe’s expansive discography. “I wanted to write some sort of escapist music; songs that were just about being in your body, and getting free.” “You’re just bombarded with constant bad news, people getting fucked over and killed for shitty reasonsl, 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.” Hiss Spun was recorded by Kurt Ballou. While past albums operated on the intimacy of stripped-down folk music or the throbbing pulse of supplemental electronics, Wolfe’s latest offering wrings its exquisiteness out of a palette of groaning bass, pounding drums, and crunching distortion. It’s an album that inadvertently drew part of its aura from New England winter, though the flesh-and-bone of the material was culled from upheavals in Wolfe’s personal life. Aside from adding low-end heft with gratuitous slabs of fuzz bass, long-time collaborator Ben Chisholm contributed harrowing swaths of sound collages.
The album opens with the sickening bang of “Spun”, where a lurching bottom-heavy riff provided by Chisholm and Troy Van Leeuwen serves as a foundation to a sultry mantra of fever-dream longing and desire.
The first third of Hiss Spun—whether it’s the ominous twang and cataclysmic dynamics of “16 Psyche”, the icy keyboard lines, restless pulse and harrowing bellows of Aaron Turner on “Vex”, or the patient repetition and devastating choruses of “The Culling—all carry the weight of desperation, lost love, and withdrawal. Wolfe’s introspection and existential dread turns outwards to the crumbling world around us with “Particle Flux”, an examination of the casualties of war.
The electronic thump of “Offering” serves as an ode to the Salton Sea and the encroaching calamities stemming from climate change. The obsession with white noise and global destruction carries over into “Static Hum”, where the merciless percussive battery of Wolfe’s current drummer Jess Gowrie helps deliver the dire weight of a sonnet dedicated to a “burning planet.”
By the time the album closes with “Scrape”, Wolfe has come full circle and turned her examinations back inward, reflecting over her own mortality with arguably the most commanding vocal performance in her entire oeuvre.
Every Chelsea Wolfe album is cathartic, but never before has both the artist and her audience so desperately needed this kind of emotional purging.
2. 16 Psyche
5. The Culling
6. Particle Flux
7. Twin Fawn
9. Static Hum
11. Two Spirit
Release Date: 22/09/2017
£19.9930/09Visit product page →
CD Packaging: 4 panel Digipak. Single LP w/ printed inner sleeve + DL.
Sophomore solo album from Emma Ruth Rundle, (Marriages (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and Red Sparowes (Guitar)).
“…a sophomore effort of Cat Power-like tenderness and PJ Harvey-level intensity” The Fader
"...a sort of old-souled wisdom, conjuring the vastness of a sea." – Pitchfork
Emma Ruth Rundle’s 2nd solo album, Marked for Death, mines feelings of loss, defeat, heartache and self-destructiveness to emerge with the most honest and compelling accomplishment of an already prolific career. She shapes vast, evocative landscapes of sound, combining them with lyrics of devastating candor. Self-determination and resiliency, disguised in this case as coming to terms with overwhelming defeat, are key aspects of her personality.
Transforming pain into works of great beauty makes her the compelling artist she is. A more adventurous production than her solo debut Some Heavy Ocean (2014, Sargent House), the eight compositions on Marked for Death, helmed by engineer/co-producer Sonny DiPerri, emphasize dynamics and vocal melodies, variable tuning, and a dense layering and texturing of guitars. Nevertheless, fear and self-doubt linger in the shadows of Rundle’s mind, providing an incessant counterpoint to her ambitious talent and sultry, albeit de-emphasized, allure.
Exemplified by the candid, unglamorous cover portrait, Marked For Death takes a persuasive argument for its creator’s utter helplessness in the shadow of defeat. And through a potent dose of dark, hypnotic rock every bit as satisfying as her work with Marriages and Red Sparowes, Marked for Death’s most resonant element is Emma Ruth Rundle herself, settling in to her role as singer/songwriter.
Her rich voice, alternately jostled and cradled by the sounds conjured from her guitar, feels more present, perhaps even more deliberate, than ever before.
1. Marked for Death
4. Hand of God
6. So Come
7. Furious Angel
8. Real Big Sky
£15.99Pink, the landmark 2006 album by Boris, which earned widespread critical praise including Pitchfork’s Top 10 Albums of 2006 will be reissued in a deluxe edition to commemorate the album’s 10th anniversary.Visit product page →
LTD 3LP with 6 page booklet in a die-cut cardboard box. Includes original version of Boris’ classic album on LP1 and LP2, plus 9 previously unreleased “Forbidden Songs recorded during the Pink sessions on LP3. PINK Vinyl has original japanese track list and extended versions of tracks "Farewell", "Pseudo-Bread" and "My Machine".
Limited 2CD with 8 panel folder and 16 page booklet with lyrics for placed in a plastic jacket. The deluxe 3LP box set and 2CD features an entire album of previously unreleased tracks recorded during the Pink album sessions in 2004-2005. The bonus Forbidden Songs collects 9 tracks of the same hyperactive, accessible and aggressive caliber of the original album, available here for the first time, mixed (with additional editing and arrangement) in 2015 and mastered in January 2016.
Like the original U.S. vinyl release, the Pink (Deluxe Edition) LP set has three longer edits of songs that were truncated on the original CD issue (“Farewell”, “Pseudo-Bread” and “My Machine”). Otherwise, both the LP & CD versions have the same audio as the 2006 release. And, Pink (Deluxe Edition) also features the artwork of the original Japanese release, made by the band members themselves.
In 2006, Pink was Boris’ 10th album and a major breakthrough that earned new fans outside of the underground metal community — the track “Farewell” was even featured in Jim Jarmusch’s classic film The Limits of Control. The album landed on countless “best of the year” lists from underground metal sites to mainstream rock magazines. And the praise was certainly well deserved for its more accessible sound and explorations into shoegaze and ambient structures alongside brutal noise, searing psychedelia and apocalyptic doom.
Pink succeeds at what most bands cannot do: swiftly changing styles from song to song, while always sounding distinctly like themselves. The seamless, explosive set of fan favorites from the classic longtime lineup of drummer/vocalist Atsuo, guitarist/vocalist Wata and bassist/guitarist/vocalist Takeshi still sounds as mindblowing as it did a decade ago. And, Forbidden Songs continues with the same unbridled creativity and ferocity. These songs aren’t outliers, they’re rather more like the director’s cut version of the original album.
Boris will perform Pink in it’s entirety on their European Headline tour in Fall 2016. Expect reviews in all the major publications and websites!!
3. Woman On The Screen
4. Nothing Special
7. Pseudo Bread
9. Six, Three Times
10. My Machine
11. Just Abandoned Myself..
Pink Sessions "Forbidden Songs"
1. Your Name Part 2
2. Heavy Rock Industry
5. Room Noise
8. Are You Ready? (STREAM)
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“Guidance features a more bad-ass Russian Circles, a group that seems less elegiac, and more ready to plant their feet solidly on the ground, fighting back bloodied and bruised against each body blow.” – Pitchfork
"...the album – the group's sixth – is moody, dense and dynamic, the gripping soundtrack to an un-filmed drama." – Rolling Stone
With their sixth album Guidance, Russian Circles carry on in their quest to conjure multi-dimensional dramatic instrumental narratives and to scout out new textures from their respective instruments. Songs aren’t constructed out of highbrow concepts; they’re forged out of gut instinct and base emotional response. Nor was the band—as is often the case with artists later in their career—interested in testing their fans’ patience or securing a new broader audience with a radical reinvention. Instead, Russian Circles use Guidance to continue examining the polarity of quiet and loud, complexity and simplicity, ugliness and beauty.
Every Russian Circles album has had its share of new sonic vistas, and Guidance finds the band still searching out new sounds while continuing to play to the collective strengths of guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook. Starting with the meditative restraint of album opener “Asa”, Guidance sets off on a path of metallic savagery (“Vorel”, “Calla”), arpeggio tectonics (“Mota”), mercurial anthems (“Afrika”), somber segues (“Overboard”), and seismic Americana noir (“Lisboa”).
With the help of engineer/co-producer Kurt Ballou and his God City Studio, Russian Circles were able to capture this broad tonal palette and wide array of emotional motifs into a cohesive journey through the tumultuous corners of human existence. We often expect artists to fall into patterns and formulas, but for Russian Circles the creative method is still a mystery.
Songs develop at their own pace. Inspiration comes from strange sources. If anything, the process of writing is every bit the enigma it was back when the band crafted their first song in 2004. Life itself is a struggle with the unknown and a search for meaning, and the creative process for Russian Circles has mirrored that pursuit.
The radical dynamic shifts and straightforward production of Enter, the lockstep metallic attack and pensive comedowns of Station, the symphonic grandeur of Geneva, the grit and grime of Empros, and the oscillation between melancholy and wrath on Memorial were all incremental steps towards an ideal, and Guidance brings the band that much closer to that realization. In the interim between albums, a veteran handed off an envelope of war photos to the spouse of a band member.
The photos depicted a man being led to his execution. There was no context for the traumatic scenes, no history, no background. Yet the dignity this anonymous figure exuded in his fatalistic march resonated with the band. Here was someone that knew his fate and marched boldly towards his destiny.
The band used these photos for the Guidance album art, knowing that we all march towards our own conclusions, and we can only hope that we face our futures with the same honor and nobility. If the band’s fourth album Empros (Greek translation: Onward) was a statement of perseverance, Guidance became a statement of striding into the future undeterred by what lies ahead.
£19.99TTNG were formerly “This Town Needs Guns”.Visit product page →
CD Digipak. Single LP + download card.
Oxford, England’s TTNG return with their third full-length. Though this is their first record since becoming a trio, you’d never guess it from their sound, which has become more refined and realized than ever before.
TTNG have managed to subtly embrace more conventional pop ideals without sacrificing the intensity and musicianship they’re admired for. Comprised of Tim Collis on guitar and his brother Chris Collis on drums, TTNG’s line-up is completed by vocalist Henry Tremain, who also assumed bass duties after the recording of their last album, 2013’s 126.96.36.199.0. In the years since then, the band has toured the US and Europe multiple times, including a North American run with TWIABP & Foxing in late 2015, support for American Football’s sold-out UK shows in spring 2015, and, most recently, a sold out UK/EU co-headlining tour with Foxing in April 2016. Turning their attention to the studio in late 2015, TTNG decamped to the American Midwest, ground zero for the kind of articulated alternative rock they themselves have been mastering for a decade.
Recorded live to tape over 10 days at Chicago’s legendary Electrical Audio studios by Greg Norman (Mclusky, Russian Circles, Pelican, etc.), and mastered by Shellac’s Bob Weston, Disappointment Island proves that the band’s success comes from their ability to write songs whose appeal endures well after the sheer awe of their technical prowess subsides. It’s easy to understand how people can focus on the band’s complex time signatures and elaborate fretwork, but as their fans will tell you, there’s much more to TTNG.
“Everyone assumes we write in odd meters to be awkward and weird,” muses Henry Tremain. “Actually, we’re just writing the music we want to write, and it happens to come out like that.” In this case, TTNG have created an album filled with solemn subject matter where, much like the disparity between the name and setting of Disappointment Island (a real and beautifully unspoiled locale in the Pacific Ocean), the lyrical themes stand in stark contrast to the exciting, propellant music the trio creates together.
TTNG have existed in several incarnations and have found success in each, but their current evolution pushes what has always made the band great into new and exciting territories. Disappointment Island is TTNG’s most poignant, deliberate accomplishment, successfully arriving at a place that is simultaneously authentic and reverential.
1. Coconut Crab
2. A Chase of Sorts
3. Consoling Ghosts
4. In Praise of Idleness
5. Whatever, Whenever
6. Destroy the Tabernacle!
7. Bliss Quest
8. There's no 'I' in Time
9. Sponkulus Nodge
10. Empty Palms
£19.99CD Digipak, Single LP + download card.Visit product page →
Landscapes both seen and felt, real and imagined, lie at the heart of In All That Drifts From Summit Down, the vast debut full-length release from nomadic duo A Dead Forest Index.
Comprised of brothers Adam Sherry (vocals/guitar) and Sam Sherry (drums/piano), the group crafts ethereal and intensely intimate compositions that defy trends and labeling, instead shaping an aural experience as organic as it is unpredictable. Forsaking instrumental complexity in favor of richly dense vocals and an otherwise minimal palette, the band evokes heaviness with the atmosphere they create rather than through blunt force. Teaming-up with Sargent House on the heels of a recent European tour supporting labelmate Chelsea Wolfe, A Dead Forest Index are poised to introduce their sound to a global audience in 2016.
A Dead Forest Index was initially the solo project of Adam Sherry, begun in 2008. By 2010, it had evolved into a collaboration, with Sam Sherry supplying percussive depth to his brother’s distinctively hymnal approach to vocals, itself characterized by cyclical harmonies and experiments with drone. Untethered by place (or, for that matter, era), they’ve spent the past few years developing their sound, touring extensively between 2012-2014, and issuing the EPs “Antique” and “Cast of Lines” in the process.
The latter was released by Jehnny Beth of Savages’ Pop Noire label, a precursor to the collaborative Savages/A Dead Forest Index composition and performance titled “In What I’m Seeing; the Sun” for the Barbican’s Station to Station Festival in 2015.
Their debut album, is a testimony to the sublime divinity of nature and the cold reality of time’s passage. Unfolding over 13 tracks, the album imagines natural phenomena as poetic metaphor for the human condition, the lyrics evoking stone, cold air, unyielding emptiness and erosion, while the enveloping warmth of Adam Sherry’s layered, choral vocals makes for an intriguing contrast.
1. Tide Walk
2. No Paths
3. Summit Down
4. Cast of Lines
6. Swims Out
7. In Greyness the Water
8. Silver Thread of Sun
9. Myth Retraced
11. Sand Verse
12. Upon Dark Hills
13. Homage Old
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Available on limited light Blue Double Vinyl and CD.
“Her darkest, heaviest and most personal album yet . . . a haunting, doomy exercise in loud-quiet dynamics.” Rolling Stone
Sleep paralysis plagues singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, and that strange intersection of the conscious and the unconscious has inadvertently manifested itself within her work.
Across the span of her first four albums, there is an underlying tension, a distorted and nebulous territory where dark shadows hover along the edges of the sublime and the graceful.
But until now, Wolfe’s trials and tribulations with the boundaries between dreams and reality have only been a subconscious influence on her work. With her fifth album, Abyss, she deliberately confronts those boundaries and crafts a score to that realm she describes as the “hazy afterlife… an inverted thunderstorm… the dark backward… the abyss of time.”
Chelsea Wolfe’s material has always felt intensely private, from the almost voyeuristic bedroom-production aesthetic of her debut album The Grime and the Glow to the stark themes and atmospheres of 2013’s Pain Is Beauty. “Abyss is meant to have 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,” says Wolfe.
To conjure this in-between world, Wolfe continued her ongoing collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and co-writer Ben Chisholm and drummer Dylan Fujioka, with Ezra Buchla brought on board to play viola and Mike Sullivan (Russian Circles) enlisted to contribute guitar. The ensemble traveled to Dallas, TX to record with producer John Congleton (Swans, St. Vincent).
In the back of her mind burned the words of designer Yohji Yamamoto: "Perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” The resulting eleven songs reflect that philosophy as they smoulder with human frailty, intimacy, quiet passion, anxiety, and deep longing. “Sleep and dream issues have followed me my whole life,” remarks Wolfe as she revisits notes from the writing and recording sessions. In a way, these issues have become a part of Chelsea Wolfe’s identity, for whom the notion of sleep as an escape has been subverted.
Abyss captures this dichotomy, this battle between the soothing and the upsetting, and demonstrates why Chelsea Wolfe has become one of the most intriguing songwriters of the decade.
1. Carrion Flowers
2. Iron Moon
3. Dragged Out
5. Grey Days
6. After the Fall
7. Crazy Love
8. Simple Death
10. Color of Blood
11. The Abyss
£19.99"All in all ‘Untitled’ is an outstanding album ... a true insight into the beginning of the band and how they arrived upon the sound that we all know and love." - Musical MathematicsVisit product page →
Following stints in hardcore projects No Regard, Hoods, and Stabbed in the Throat, guitarist Nick Reinhart, drummer Jeff Worms, and bassist Nate Latona started Tera Melos in 2004. Months after forming, they started playing shows, making an immediate impact on the Sacramento live circuit with chaotic live performances.
Originally self-released in 2005 and pressed in limited numbers "Untitled" by Tera Melos is a benchmark classic for experimental, progressive punk rock. The rawness of the album perfectly captures the bands youthful energy and love of both jazz and punk.
The band have gone on to follow up with critically acclaimed albums "Patagonian Rats" and "X'ed Out" (both released on Sargent House) the development of their sound can be clearly heard with each release, but, the explosive energy is a theme through all of their releases. Their impressive live performances have ensured they have been kept busy since the release of their debut touring many times across USA, Europe and Asia.
Due to popular demand current label Sargent House have brought their much loved debut album back with a limited run on translucent pink vinyl.
1. Melody 1
2. Melody 2
3. Melody 3
4. Melody 4
5. Melody 5
6. Melody 6
7. Melody 7
8. Melody 8
£19.99Re-press of Enter includes gatefold jacket with download card, and first time available to retail via Sargent House.Visit product page →
Russian Circles have sold over 80,000 albums worldwide to date.
Russian Circles was formed in Chicago in 2004 by guitarist Mike Sullivan and drummer Dave Turncrantz.
The trio's 2006 debut, Enter, quickly established the band amongst heavy instrumentalist peers. With the addition of former Botch and These Arms Are Snakes bassist Brian Cook on their second album Station, Russian Circles solidified its lineup.
To date the band has released 5 critically-praised albums and continues to headline tours worldwide. In celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary, Sargent House is proud to announce a re-issue of the band’s critically acclaimed debut full length, 2006’s Enter.
Recorded over the course of five quick days in 2006 with Greg Norman (Guided By Voices, Pelican, Neurosis) at the renowned Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, Enter contains only six tracks, but they pack a lot into them -- the album clocks in at 44 minutes.
Each song flows into the next as if the record were one single composition in six movements.
3. Death Rides A Horse
5. You Already Did
6. New Macabre
£21.99CD Packaging: Digipak, Vinyl Standard 12” LP + download card.Visit product page →
Sargent House is excited to re-issue both of Chelsea Wolfe’s first two albums, The Grime and The Glow and Apokalypsis, on CD and LP for the first time. Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk—a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph.
Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within. Originally hailing from Northern California, Wolfe's formative years were spent tinkering in her country musician father's home studio, however, she long lacked the confidence to share her work. Then, in 2009, an overseas excursion as part of a nomadic performance troupe ignited her passion for performing and initiated a renewed interest in writing and recording. After performing in cathedrals, basements and old nuclear plants to whoever would listen, she returned home with a new drive.
She began toting around an 8-track and recording as the mood hit, eventually editing her findings into a breathtaking debut album, 2010's The Grime & the Glow. Marrying the gentle intimacy of folk, the atmospheric voodoo of death rock, and the bleak, sullen nihilism of black metal, Wolfe's sound effectively cast a genre all her own: a cavernous rumble, marked by stuttering drums, ethereal synths, and a wash of guitar, all very much in the service of one of the most hypnotic, celestial voices in modern music. Described as both healing and harrowing, enchanting and narcotic, the album established Wolfe as a force on the rise. Inspired, Wolfe then relocated to Los Angeles and recorded her second album, 2011's Apokalypsis, which found her in an actual studio with her live band.
The songs captured therein maintained the strikingly visceral elements of her debut, further showcase Wolfe’s unique songwriting ability, while adding a serious heaviness of sound that balanced eloquently with her transcendent voice. Its release was subsequently met with critical adoration, and rightly landed on numerous best of 2011 lists.
1. Primal/Carnal2. Mer3. Tracks (Tall Bodies)4. Demons5. Movie Screen6. The Wasteland7. Moses8. Friedrichshain9. Pale On Pale10. To The Forest, Towards The Sea
£14.99Visit product page →CD Packaging: Digipak,
Vinyl Standard 12” LP + download card.
Sargent House is excited to re-issue both of Chelsea Wolfe’s first two albums, The Grime and The Glow and Apokalypsis, on CD and LP for the first time.
Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk—a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within.
Originally hailing from Northern California, Wolfe's formative years were spent tinkering in her country musician father's home studio, however, she long lacked the confidence to share her work. Then, in 2009, an overseas excursion as part of a nomadic performance troupe ignited her passion for performing and initiated a renewed interest in writing and recording. After performing in cathedrals, basements and old nuclear plants to whoever would listen, she returned home with a new drive.
She began toting around an 8-track and recording as the mood hit, eventually editing her findings into a breathtaking debut album, 2010's The Grime & the Glow. Marrying the gentle intimacy of folk, the atmospheric voodoo of death rock, and the bleak, sullen nihilism of black metal, Wolfe's sound effectively cast a genre all her own: a cavernous rumble, marked by stuttering drums, ethereal synths, and a wash of guitar, all very much in the service of one of the most hypnotic, celestial voices in modern music. Described as both healing and harrowing, enchanting and narcotic, the album established Wolfe as a force on the rise.
Track List :
1. Advice & Vices
2. Cousins of the Antichrist
4. Deep Talks
7. The Whys
10. Bounce House Demons
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Perhaps the most immediately apparent characteristic of the fifth Russian Circles album, Memorial is its wide range of emotion.
Vacillating from somber-yet-soaring melodies on one track to pummeling metal heft on the next.
Memorial sounds like an album with split personalities. "We've always tried to balance our metal-influenced sounds with more nuanced, pretty, orchestral elements," Cook says. "But this time, it's far more polarized in that the heavy parts are much more blown out and exaggerated while the pretty moments are far more restrained, delicate, and atmospheric." In the two years since Russian Circles released their landmark fourth album Empros, the Chicago trio toured worldwide nearly incessantly, encountering many heavy acts whose music seemed needlessly complicated.
"We set out to make a straightforward, intense, heavy record," Cook explains. "We subconsciously gravitated toward darker and more somber sounds. We wanted to get away from the overtly flashy." In search of such a streamlined sound, the trio focused on each individual song having its own emotional and musical characteristics. As such, Memorial almost feels like stages of grief. That notion might be aided by 1) the album's clever structuring, in which it ends in the same place as it starts, and 2) special guest vocalist Chelsea Wolfe lending her hauntingly somber vocals to the album closing title track.
To a degree, the monolithic, juxtaposed moods on Memorial is the band's reaction to the proliferation of iPod culture affecting how bands write music. Today, most musicians are trying to mash together disparate elements with results sounding as unpalatable as cooking a meal
"I want to hear a band with a broad palette," Cook says. "But it should find that weird balance with breadth and width. We wanted to make a record with more extreme peaks and valleys. I'm hoping that we can get away with making a schizophrenic record."
3. 17774. Cheyenne
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CD Packaging: Digipak. Vinyl Packaging: Gatefold Jacket + download card. Chicago post-metal trio Russian Circles return with not only their fourth and heaviest album to date – but also, with Empros they're poised to take the crown as innovators reinvigorating the staid trappings of genre.
Empros picks up where the anthemic riffs and melodies of 2009's Geneva left off and injects evermore slithering rhythms amid skull-crushing heft with all the visceral intensity of Godflesh, Swans and Neurosis. Put simply, Empros is Russian Circles' Master of Reality: a radical revision of both heavy and melody that is monolithic in its clarity and perfection.
Or, like a lone surviving wooly beast emerging from a brutal winter's frost, Empros is the sound of a band shaking the ages from its shoulders with all the brutal force of a behemoth awakened. Russian Circles -- guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz and bassist Brian Cook – recorded Empros at Phantom Manor in Chicago with Brandon Curtis of The Secret Machines & Interpol, who also produced the band's previous album Geneva.
Empros marks the band's first full-length to be released worldwide exclusively via Sargent House -- the band's longtime management company and record label that had previously released only the vinyl editions of its three previous albums.
6. Praise Be Man
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Double Gatefold 2 LP 45RPM 180 Gram Vinyl.
The relationship between the calm before the storm and the storm itself is a crucial element of post-rock. The patience and restraint to allow the music to build slowly and organically is an incredible virtue within the genre, and it's a virtue that Russian Circles have been growing into over the course of their career.
On Geneva, their third full-length outing, we find a band that has matured as songwriters. With a larger, more atmospheric set of tools at their disposal, the band crafts songs that are more about buildup than release. Instead of down the usual "build, build, build, destroy" route that's so common, the songs grow organically, with changes unfolding so naturally that the big finish is more of a logical conclusion than an explosion.
Brian Cook's (of Botch and These Arms Are Snakes) impact on this record is more apparent than it was on Station. His gritty, fuzzed-out bass provides a dynamic contrast to the lighter moments, providing a bit of sonic dirt for the more ethereal guitar parts to play in.
This influence might also have something to do with Russian Circles' further tempering of their metal tendencies. While Geneva has its heavier moments (like "Fathom" and "Geneva"), they're not as out-and-out metal as their past work, more reminiscent of Pelican's later work or the sludgy harmony of Zozobra. If you weren't already on the Russian Circles bandwagon, this is the perfect opportunity to jump on.
4. Hexed All
6. When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad
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Northern California native Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling.
Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk — a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within.
In a way, Wolfe is on a journey to the surface of her own music. 2012 finds releasing her first acoustic emanation on Sargent House, titled Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs.The experience is a secret shared, a side of our heroine rarely seen or heard, and the making was as intimate as it gets: recorded in the woods of Northern California and at Wolfe's L.A. home, co-produced by her bandmate Ben Chisholm, with players Ezra Buchla of Gowns (viola), Andrea Calderón of Corima (violin) and Daniel Denton of Gothic Tropic (bass).
2. The Way We Used To
3. Spinning Centers
5. I Died With You
7. Our Work Was Good
8. Hyper Oz
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CD Digipak with 20 page booklet. Vinyl is 2LP in Gatefold jacket + download card.
Pain is Beauty is the third studio album from the Los Angeles-based artist and is a self-described love letter to nature. Many of the album's 12 tracks veer in a decidedly more electronic direction than previous recordings, while at the same time capitalizing on Wolfe's trademark penchant for the morose and otherworldly.
As Wolfe explains: "[The album] becomes an exploration of ancestry, how the mythology, landscapes and traditions of our ancestors affect our personalities today. Honesty is what initially drew me to music, and I've been more honest and open with myself than ever through these songs.
There is peace in truth. There is clarity in solitude. And there is power within simplicity and focus. Love is not always easy. Tormented love is something I understand more than society's skewed idea of what love should be. Love is indelible, severe, earnest, merciful. To push forward against the odds is to make history".
Chelsea Wolfe makes records that transcend time, avoid pigeonholing, and most importantly, allow a glimpse into the soul of a true visionary. Her work is free of the contrivances of lesser artists, the trivial "concepts" and pandering for attention at any cost. Hers is a dignified way of doing things, proven without any doubt by the sheer quality of her work.
Pain is Beauty presents not so much an auditory experience as it does an encompassing atmosphere with which the listener can surround themselves, a soul-stirring link with infinity.
1. Feral Love
2. We Hit A Wall
3. House Of Metal
4. The Warden
5. Destruction Makes The World Burn Brighter
9. Ancestors, The Ancients
10. They Clap When You're Done
11. The Waves Have Come