Listening to Chelsea Wolfe’s music is a religious experience. Seeing her live is a revelation. Last night, the LA queen of bleak, doom-laden folk heaviness took the stage at Berghain’s Kantine and proceeded to make the crowd move faster than those Actual Pain leggings (holla, haha). Hovering before the microphone, Wolfe began the first plaintive notes of ‘Movie Screen’, and as her looped voice swept all other sound from the room, so too was my mind swept away. There was such power, such beauty being unleashed, that to speak or think of anything else seemed like sacrilege (and not the cool fun kind either). When the raw, jagged edges of ‘Demons’ followed, a sea of black-clad bodies surged to-and-fro in time, connected and commanded by Wolfe’s fallen-angel voice.
In what felt like an achingly short amount of time, Wolfe and her band had moved through a set that included the shimmering, shimmying ‘Mer’ and the glorious, sprawling epic closer from her LP Apokalypsis ‘Pale On Pale’ before slinking offstage. Only to return a moment later, as the crowd supplicated to her for more. The snotty little anarcho kid in me shrieked in pleasure when she began her cover of Rudimentary Peni’s ‘Echo’. Injected with new energy, I began my ritualistic, spastic head/body sway. This was the real magick, the feeling of true musical connection between artist and audience, honest and beautifully dark. Then, a brief blur. The show ending. A brief conversation, a moment where Wolfe recognized me and gave me a hug, some response on my part that was probably nonsense, and the promise of a return at a future date.
Do I overgush? I’m never usually one to play the fanboy. But speaking as a musician myself as well as a promoter and attendee of numerous shows large and small, the feeling that Chelsea Wolfe’s music gives is one that is rather rare. “I was worried that there wouldn’t be many people here.” Wolfe said to me after the show, but her music had taken me to a place where I felt like she and I were the only ones there anyway. I left with the largest smile on my face in a long time.
We love listening to Tearist, and we love wearing Actual Pain. Combine the two and it’s a whole lotta love….soaked in bad vibes, of course. The LA band, infamous for their confrontational live shows and brutal synthpunk sounds, have crafted a fantastic mixtape for the Seattle label. With artwork by Denver’s SHAMS, the mix not only contains personal faves like Aaliyah, Swell Maps, The Sugarcubes, Blood Orange, ASAP Rocky and Colin Newman, but also features a collaboration between Yasmine Kittles and Lil B. We’ve already played it twice; better get started if you want to catch up! Grab it here.
Miguel – Strawberry Amazing
Blood Orange – Bad Girls
Lil B – We Can Go Down (feat. Yasmine Kittles)
Kool A.D. – A Ganglion of Lightnings
The Sugarcubes – Water
Depeche Mode – The Things You Said
Aaliyah – One In A Million (Klaar remix)
Jim Jones – Everybody Jones
Grauzone – Kälte Kriecht
Swell Maps – Big Empty Field (No.2)
Cam’ron – Cookies & Apples Juice
Lloyd Banks feat. ASAP Rocky – Make It Stack
John Maus – My Whole World’s Coming Apart
Colin Newman – Alone
Dinosaur Jr. – Thumb
Shoutout to Pendu’s Ekstatic Vision for hooking us up with a few of these rarities. I saw Salem and Gatekeeper play a show for him in early ’10 and it was sick as hell. Promoters need to understand that these are bands that you can’t just stick on any old stage. They need confined space, darkness, fog, and plenty of bass. That’s part of the package, man. You wouldn’t eat a hamburger without a bun, because then you’d just have meatloaf. And who wants to listen to Meatloaf? Crummy people, I bet. Here’s some videos.
1. Death Grips – The Fever (Aye, Aye)
Fucking destroyers. Death Grips are one of the most killer live shows around.
2. Sewn Leather – Live At Drop Dead Festival
Probably the most bad-ass video you’ll see in this plane of existence or the next. A full hour-long performance by Sewn Leather at last year’s Drop Dead Festival. He breaks his nose around the ten minute mark. Ever wonder what Trve Pvnk looks like? This is the real shit. If you’re in Berlin, be sure to catch him April 14th with Modern Witch at PURGE!
3. Julia Holter – Moni Mon Amie
Laurie Anderson better step back. Ekstasis is one of the best experimental pop albums I’ve heard in….well, forever maybe. I’m immortal, by the way. Fucked up but true. Pay it forward.
4. Nardwuar vs. Grimes
Our favorite pop weirdo Claire Boucher gets interviewed at SXSW and talks about Dandi Wind. ?
5. Pony Time – Lori + Judy
Directed by Actual Pain‘s Emily Denton!
6. Cyst Impaled – HACKTHEPLANET
I was having a long conversation with Darlene from Roseanne (in character, natch) and she made a good point about The Rise of Tumblr Culture & The Post-Physical Reality.
7. Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk
I haven’t listened to these guys in a minute. Still doing their thing, I see. This is super chill and really lovely. Am I the only one who didn’t really like The Life Aquatic, even despite the inclusion of the great ‘Staralfur’ at a key moment? I don’t know. I just miss comedic Bill Murray. That Ghostbusters sequel is guaranteed box office poison without him.
8. Blouse – Ghost Dream
This is a psychedelic masterpiece of rendered neon objects bukkaked all over your shit. You ever feel like a video is just kind of sneaking out of your computer at night and creeping up next to your ear and going ‘take drugs take drugs take drugs’? You probably shouldn’t leave this on in a baby’s room.
Chicago is seriously boning for that weirdo industrial electro. I’m on this one hard. You need to get on these guys too if you aren’t already.
Daniel Jones is a music promoter and creator of the subculture reconceptualization tumblr Gucci Goth.
Actual Pain always seems to make me tilt my head, sigh, and say in a soft, loving voice “You complete me.” The Seattle-based label always kills it with their cheeky, occultish clothes, but this year they’ve truly outdone themselves. Borrowing more from pop culture than ever, their Spring 2012 collection is entitled ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and features some of the best blackened and reconceptualized art yet. I’m particularly in love with the ‘Devil Television’ shirt, a necessary selection while watching the new season of Beavis & Butthead. Though my aesthetic eye might gravitate towards high fashion, my grungy body and its associated pizza stains will always crave clothing closer to this. Because really, how will your life ever be complete without a pentagram weed leaf shirt?
King Dude may be busy stocking (and perpetually re-stocking) his wonderful Actual Pain store, but he hasn’t been slack releasing new music either. The charismatic Seattle singer, TJ to his friends, has just released a brand new LP called Love, previously released only as a limited cassette to celebrate his recent European tour. Celebrate your Winter Solstice right and get yourself some new tunes to carol this year; great for gray dire days and coven lovin’. Stream and download it below!