Chelsea Wolfe

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The Quietus Interview with Chelsea Wolfe



The photographs available of American singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe are hugely varied, but all seem to obscure her in some way. They’re akin to peering through a window into an unlit room, her pale face inconspicuous behind mourning veils, half-hidden beneath snakelike tendrils of black hair, or just blurry portraits of an arcane figure. Her sound is equally as nebulous and difficult to define. It’s folk, but with the pathos and epodic slant of a troubled soul. It would seem that Wolfe dwells rather a lot on death.

Following her debut album The Grime & The Glow and 2011 follow-up Apokalypsis, a particularly excellent performance at Roadburn festival gathered her fans from across various styles of metal. Black metal in particular feels like an obvious reference point, though admittedly that’s more to do with its misty and chilly atmospheres than its walls of caustic distorton. Wolfe’s supernatural songs are redolent of isolated pine forests, half-light percolating through tree canopies, and the malodor of rotten petiole. They suggest that death is just as lonely as we feared - yet their ghostly traces hint towards the way that our selves endure through the memories of others around us.

To coincide with the release of her Latitudes session Prayer For The Unborn, the Quietus spoke with Wolfe about haunted keyboards, photography and yes, mortality.

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Chelsea Wolfe performing “Echo” from the Rudimentary Peni Covers EP Prayer for the Unborn

Tiny Mix Tapes Album Review: Prayer For The Unborn EP (Rudimentary Peni Covers)


Somewhere in between recording last year’s somber acoustic fever dream Unknown Rooms and her as-yet-untitled foray into electronics scheduled for later this year, Chelsea Wolfe scraped together the Prayer for the Unborn EP for Southern Records’ Latitudes imprint. While nominally a set of Rudimentary Peni covers, the offerings here aren’t so much folksy reworkings of British death rock as they are wholly new creations germinated from RP’s stunted seed.

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Tight to the Nail Review: Chelsea Wolfe’s -Prayer For The Unborn (Latitudes session)

I think, by now, if you’re not listening to Chelsea Wolfe then all I can say is that you need to rectify that immediately and then come back and thank me.

The LA based singer/songwriter is currently on a roll of epic proportions; with 2 LP’s released  since 2010 (including 2011’s absolutely stunning Apokalypsis) an acoustic collection of unreleased songs and a live LP from her performance at Roadburn this year she shows no slowing down with this collection of tracks due to be released by Southern Records as part of their on-going Latitudes sessions series. Her seamless mix of folk, doom, drone and ethereal pop with a sprinkling of occult devilishness has seen her lauded with much critical acclaim and appealing to a hugely diverse audience. Put it this way, I was introduced to Chelsea Wolfe by way of a Holy Terror Mixtape; nestled alongside the cathartic aggression of Integrity, Rot In Hell and Gehenna but sounding perfectly at home.

By far my most anticipated of these Latitudes sessions since we started covering them (click here for both so far), the promise of anything that Chelsea Wolfe has put her name to is usually cause for great excitement, and this is no different. Rather than present new material or revisit her existing work, Wolfe has instead chosen to record 5 cover songs by 80’s UK anarcho-punk band Rudimentary Peni to make up this release. Far from just an arbitrary choice, this selection of songs link in with that bands own history with Southern Records and have even been recorded in the same studio with the same engineer (!) who worked with Rudimentary Peni on the original recordings. And for a set of 5 covers that could easily feel thrown together, it’s incredible just how cohesive this all feels; creating, as Wolfe so easily does, an all consuming atmosphere; a tangible force through music.

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Chelsea Wolfe Records Rudimentary Peni Covers for Special Vinyl Release // Southern’s Lattitude Sessions

Chelsea Wolfe
recorded with the legendary Harvey Birrell at Southern Studios in London on April 9th, 2012 for an upcoming special vinyl release for Latitudes, Harvey, was the original engineer on some of the Rudimentary Peni songs she covered for the release - We will have more news and a release date soon!

Check out Chelsea Wolfe’s Tribute to Rudimentary Peni COVERS HERE

And Don’t Miss Chelsea Wolfe On their European TOUR Now!

Chelsea Wolfe Releases A Tribute to Rudimentary Peni


“Previous Peni incarnations have never sounded like this, though one did actually out peni the Peni!” – Nick Blinko of Rudimentary Peni after listening to this recording.

All Lyrics by Rudimentary Peni
Musical Interpretations and performance by Chelsea Wolfe

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