King Dude & Chelsea Wolfe Sing More Songs Together: Track debut “Be Free” now streaming

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The hypothetical Venn Diagram of Chelsea Wolfe and T.J. Cowgill would have a dense gravitational pull towards the center; for the past several years, both artists have worked with charred, neo-folk instrumentation, a gothic warble, and at times the spirit of an old country jukebox. “Be Free” is the pair’s new collaborative 7” from the Not Just Religous Music label—helmed by the Gira-reminiscent Cowgill, aka King Dude—and again proves their voices to be complementary. It’s a cold, sad, fiercely-strummed march, booming open and closed like Wolfe’s staggering Pain Is Beauty LP. “Don’t you dare take my hand if you want to be free,” Wolfe and Cowgill sing to one another, articulating the sentiment in various iterations. It’s a timeless negotiation between desire and emotional freedom and the necessity of not looking back, and also one of the most direct pieces of songwriting either artist has casted out.

Pre-Order the 7” HERE

Pitchfork Album Review: Helms Alee “Sleepwalking Sailors”

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“Pleasure Center” works like a rollercoaster: At the start of Sleepwalking Sailors,the third album by Washington state trio Helms Alee, Ben Verellen’s electric guitar picks up speed by slowing down, its single note swelling into a carbuncle of feedback. The drums canter in, and the band clips along amicably enough—that is, at least, until they race temporarily into bursts of irascible distortion and screams. Helms Alee backs out, but only to rush in again. This back-and-forth continues across the song’s full three minutes. Bass builds and disappears. Guitars lash and abate. Momentum flashes and fades. It’s also a multivalnt thrill ride, where the song twists not only through parts but also turn through varied styles—a touch of stoner metal in the tumescent bass, of math-rock in the latticework guitar, of hardcore in the clinched vocals, of girl-group pop in the supporting harmonies. The song swivels so much that you can imagine the band drawing blueprints to build it. But the complexity does not limit the tune’s impact or approachability, making it a new feat of communion for Helms Alee.

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Deafheaven’s Sunbather makes it in Pitchfork’s TOP 10 of 2013 in both Albums and Tracks

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imageimage Drunk texts, filmic interludes, a real-time drug deal, and an obsession with money—this is neither Drake nor Kendrick, but rather Deafheaven, the California band behind one of this year’s most moving rock records. On Sunbather, Deafheaven radiantly fuse post-rock, shoegaze, and black metal into an aggressive swell of pastel-shaded guitars, blast beats, and confessional screams. But those mixed-in rap tropes are telling. Perhaps more than any other group making widescreen guitar music this year, Deafheaven were triumphantly post-genre. The band’s approach is singular in its warm duality—a downpour of emotional energy with drama, melody, and blaring light. The sounds get under your skin like a second skeleton.

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Pitchfork Review: Russian Circles “Memorial”

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It’s impressive what Russian Circles can do with a basic guitar, bass, and drum setup. There are plenty of metal-leaning instrumental bands who dial up big climaxes, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that creates such an array of textures and emotions with so little. Bassist Brian Cook also uses keyboards, and on the Chicago trio’s excellent fifth album, Memorial, they bring in guest cello and violin. But the core, buttressed by imaginative arrangements and strong compositional skills, is strong enough that there would be more than enough chills without these add-ons.

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Pitchfork Album Review: Chelsea Wolfe “Pain Is Beauty”

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The slightest decision can haunt an artist. This much is true of Chelsea Wolfe, an L.A. singer-songwriter whose records have synthesized doom folk, wasteland noise, and noirish experimentation. Wolfe’s 2010 cover of “Black Spell of Destruction” by black metal outfit Burzum may follow her forever. Her own music, though difficult to categorize, shares something essential with that genre. It’s austere and atmospheric, expressed with the reverb through which Wolfe often pushes her voice; she’s opened for extreme bands like Sunn O))), Boris, and Swans and has cited Gorgoroth’s “Of Ice and Movement” as a treasured song. Shortly after the Burzum cover came another one that’s gained less traction on the web: a surreal, pitch-shifted take on the 1997 Notorious B.I.G. classic “Hypnotize”, found on a collection of rap covers from Ben Chisholm’s ghostly White Horse project. Chisholm also happens to be Wolfe’s bassist and co-producer on Pain Is Beauty, her best and most emotionally direct work yet.

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