Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle have released a new single titled “Anhedonia” via Sargent House. Rundle contributes guitar to the single in addition to vocals, and the track had been mixed by Ben Chisholm.
“I wrote ‘Anhedonia’ after I experienced it during summer of 2019, then tucked the song away and moved forward with my acoustic album and subsequent North American tour,” Wolfe said in a press statement. “When COVID-19 hit and stay-at-home orders began in 2020, my European tour was canceled and I had to fly home. Restless, I started listening through my archives of unfitted songs and little unused ideas. When I heard ‘Anhedonia’ again, it hit me how strangely relevant the lyrics felt to current times.”
Haunting isolated vocals begin the track, the acoustic guitar strumming as twinkling instrumentals add their shining sound in the background. The static-filled vocals and reverberating hums amplify the depth of the track, the instrumentals and vocals dancing over one another to create a cascade of sound.
“I’d been wanting to work on a song with Emma for a long time, so I recorded it and sent it her way,” Wolfe said in the press statement. “She graciously added her gorgeous vocals and lead guitar, and then Ben mixed it, adding his signature sound landscape as a fortress around the song. As I listened back to the final version, I was finally able to set free those emotions which I couldn’t feel back in 2019. I had worried about releasing the song, not wanting to romanticize the condition of anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure), but I also understood that it could be cathartic for others who are struggling, as it was for me, to sing and dance my way out of a depression.”
“I know it comes back to three/That human, that demon showed me,” the song begins. The breathy sounds add to the track’s heavy feel, “So don’t come looking for me/I’ve got my walls up now.” Wolfe and Rundle complement each other throughout the single, their vocals highlighting one another and displaying their strengths.
“I was moved to tears when she sent me ‘Anhedonia,’ which made getting through the tracking very emotional and slow on my end,” Rundle said in a press statement. “I love the way guitars I tracked morphed in Ben’s mix. The whole song swirls in a poignant eddy of sorrowful sound and still takes a hard swing at my heart hearing it now.”
Wolfe will appear on Xiu Xiu’s upcoming duet album Oh No, and she has also had several appearances in the DC: Dark Nights: Sonic Metalverse series, where she voices Wonder Woman. She has released several covers of the past year, including The Cramps’ “Sheena’s in a Goth Gang” and “In Heaven” from David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Wolfe is also a member of the band Mrs. Piss, who released their debut album Self Surgery back in May.
Rundle shared the collaborative she made with Thou, The Helm of Sorrow, earlier this month. The EP was announced in December with its first single, “Hollywood.” The Helm of Sorrow followed Rundle and Thou’s collaborative album, May Our Chambers Be Full, which included the singles “The Valley” and “Ancestral Recall.” In November, she revealed that she had two new albums planned, which includes an improvised avant-garde album that will be accompanied by a visual art book.
Photo credit: Ekaterina Gorbacheva