In just a few months Chelsea Wolfe will release a new album called The Birth of Violence. Today she’s released the second preview of the album with a video for the song “American Darkness,” which follows the initial single “The Mother Road.” The new album is a mostly-acoustic affair, as Wolfe indicated on Twitter before the record was officially announced. “American Darkness” and its brooding black and white video are influenced by both Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia and the singer’s interest in The Tarot.
In the video, Wolfe plays two archetypes of The Tarot, The Fool & The High Priestess. In the video she is joined by other archetypes including The Hermit, The Emperor, The Devil, The Empress, The Magician, The Lovers, Strength and Death. All of these characters are framed through a modern lens, wearing contemporary attire and seen in places such as their living room, the mountains overlooking the San Fernando Valley, their backyard or train tracks near industrial Downtown Los Angeles. The video was directed by Karlos Rene Ayala.
“[The video] began as a sort of homage to a scene in the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, where the characters are singing along to the Aimee Mann song “Wise Up,” but I wanted our version to be explored through the lens of The Tarot,” said Wolfe. “I’ve been reading tarot cards for myself for many years, and researching the symbolic expressions of the cards for this video made me want to dive even deeper. To represent that, I played both The Fool and The High Priestess cards in the video, to embody both the beginning of the journey, and the realization that the sacred knowledge I was seeking was inside me all along. We cast friends to play a few other tarot archetypes, and Karlos’ idea was to bring the symbols and signifiers into the contemporary; deconstructed, and made everyday – ‘the magical and the unexceptional.'”
This summer and fall Wolfe will be playing acoustic shows with support from Ionna Gika. The exception is her appearance at The Cure’s curated festival Pasadena Daydream, which will be held at the Rose Bowl about 10 miles northeast of DTLA. At that festival, she’ll be performing a traditional plugged-in set.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat