Sargent House

Chelsea Wolfe - The Grime And The Glow

Recorded on a portable eight-track -- a Tascam 488, to be exact -- with friends, Chelsea Wolfe's The Grime and the Glow revealed all she could do with the simplest of tools. The Tascam's gritty recording quality adds a distant, timeless quality to these songs, transforming "Cousins of the Antichrist" into a mysterious, ancient folk song with gorgeous harmonies and making the bluesy "Noorus" more ghostly than fiery. A bit like White Chalk-era PJ Harvey in its desolate minimalism, the album's studies in beauty, noise, and terror find raw moments like "Deep Talks" and "The Whys" jutting up against more delicate and considered ones such as the seance-like interlude "Benjamin" and the album opener, "Advice & Vices," where Wolfe's girlish delivery of lyrics like "One thing leads to another/One heart bleeds for another" seems downright innocent compared to what follows. Wolfe balanced The Grime and the Glow's extremes on later releases, but its best moments -- like the honeyed, narcotic "Halfsleeper" -- rank among her most unforgettable songs.