Snap Sounds - Page 2

The fall albums we've been playing on a loop





There's always been this brutal, animalistic thread woven throughout Chelsea Wolfe's output, and Pain is Beauty is no exception. The LA-via-Sacramento artist's otherworldly vocals tend often to translate into a wild creature elegantly whipping through a foggy forest. (Indeed, Wolfe described her newest LP as a "love-letter to nature.") Her powerful soprano hollers are matched to ethereal whispery echoes, maintaining a balance between lightness and darkness, which has become a common theme in her work, as it is in nature. And this vocal balance is a mainstay in Wolfe's music, no matter what's backing it instrumentally. Her previous release, 2012's Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs, was, obviously, acoustic, but the sparse record is still deeply unsettling. With Pain is Beauty, the singer-songwriter returns to a darker, grittier sound. And yet, there's a more electronic twist on her early doomy experimental guitarwork (as with breakout 2011 record Apokalypsis), bursting with both synths and strings this time, without missing the black-hearted emotional core rooted in all living things. -- Emily Savage





Jangly noisepop cacophony with pro-feminist and anti-homophobia lyrics — this Cardiff band's debut full-length, Weird Sister, hits all the right hot spots and makes them tingle. Plus there's the name, Joanna Gruesome, a cheeky play on a gentle fellow musician. But Weird Sister speaks for itself, with standout tracks like opener "Anti Parent Cowboy Killers" matching dissonant guitars and pounding drums with lovely melodious vocals that rise into screams at the hook, akin to the Vaselines in bed with L7. There's also classic K Records-evoking twee ode "Wussy Void," and jagged noiseball "Graveyard," which starts off with what sounds like helium seeping out of a balloon. The record includes songs from a 2011 EP, "Sugarcrush," "Madison," and "Candy," further deepening the getting-to-know-you state of the Welsh quintet, a group to which you do need to start paying attention. —Savage