If the digital age of music has proven anything, it’s that tradition now thrives on opposition. For every genre and subgenre, there seem to be artists that aim to turn the well known on its head and create something entirely new and exciting. Anti-folk artists King Dude and Chelsea Wolfe are two such innovators, both employing a dark and strange brand of folk music that incorporates elements of folk music with themes of the macabre. Last year, the duo teamed up for an EP, Sing Songs Together, which saw each artist write one song apiece, then record both tracks as a duet. The project was a success. So much so, that the duo joined forces once more and recorded an excellent follow up EP, Sing More Songs Together…, released through Not Just Religious Music.
An almost sinister undercurrent runs through King Dude’s track, “Be Free”. The song revolves around a bastardized romance, with Wolfe and Dude as the two lovers recounting their lost love, like a demented inverse of Johnny Cash and June Carter. With lyrics such as, “If you want to be free, don’t you think about me/don’t you look in my eyes, don’t you hang around me” the track represents a wonderful meshing of both artists’ styles, creating a melancholy mood through its vivid lyrics and hypnotizing, yet simplistic beat.
Chelsea Wolfe’s track, “Bed on Fire”, fits more in line with Wolfe’s previous work, featuring lots of reverbed guitars, quasi-industrial background noise, and delay on the songstress’ haunting vocals. While King Dude’s presence is far less prevalent than on the opening track, “Bed on Fire” sees Wolfe doing what she does best and puts her songwriting skills at the forefront. Overall, it’s a far more subdued track and doesn’t quite pack the same punch as “Be Free”, but “Bed on Fire” is an excellent companion track nonetheless.
Ultimately, both duets make excellent additions to each artist’s repertoire, and serve as a perfect gateway into their other works. These tracks are similar enough that fans of each singer/songwriter will find themselves at home, and different enough that both demented ballads bring something new to the table.
While the 7” vinyl rendition of Sing More Songs Together… is nearly sold out, with only 1,000 produced, fans can – and should – still purchase the vinyl or stream the EP through the label’s Bandcamp page. Sing More Songs Together… makes for an easy recommendation, and listeners looking for something unique and different should seek out this EP immediately.