Updated: Feb 10
Today the American rock singer-songwriter Alison Mosshart releases her first solo spoken word album "Sound Wheel", along with it she releases her first book entitled "Car Ma" a piece collection of paintings, photographs, short stories, and poetry, related to the automobile and car culture.
While we're used to covering music releases, today we moved a little off-axis to present Alison Mosshart's new art project, a release that while perhaps not what fans of the singer from The Kills and The Dead Weather expected, it's still as rock 'n' roll as anything Mosshart has ever done. In this way, Alison joins the list of musicians who released an album in this format, like Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, or the great Patti Smith with "The Coral Sea". Storytelling never goes out of style, and that's why today we're going to show you some of the best songs without music.
Alison Mosshart has been in the music scene for over 20 years leading great projects and alongside exceptional musicians like Jack White, who also in some way, is part of the new project of Mosshart, as "Sound Wheel" is released through his record label.
But if there is one thing we know about her, it is that she is an empowered artist, not only on stage but also in other fields such as painting and photography. In 2018 she did a painting exhibition called "Los Trachas" in the city of Los Angeles with her friend, the actor Danny Zovatto. It was all inspired by L.A. there were lots of cars and things. When that show was over, the woman that runs that gallery told her “Oh, we’re doing this fanzine project. Do you want to make a fanzine?” And she thought that sounded really great, and it would be a very funny thing, so she immediately she said, "Why not?" and she started making this fanzine, when she realized, it was 112 pages deep, and she thought, "ok I think I made a book instead of a fanzine, I'm very excited about this, I think we should do something bigger". Alison never intended to make a book, but at this moment, she found a way to unite all her passions, she had the interesting works of art abstract that she painted, the photographs that she collected over time and that's how the idea of creating a book and a spoken word album about cars, rock n' roll, love, America, performance, and her life on the road.
It was the coolest thing to hear my grandmother’s voice."
Within several of the interludes on the album Alison used many pieces from a tape recorder she used as a child and her time in college, within it she found conversations with her friends and her family from over fifteen years ago. "Finding them in my studio when I was making this record was the coolest thing ever," she said in an interview.
"I really have feelings for cars: they have good energy or they have bad energy or they make me feel super powerful or incredibly protected or incredibly inspired."
Last April, without even knowing about Sound Wheels, Alison gave us a hint with the release of "Rise", a song that even though it takes you to the sound of The Kills at times, at the same time has nothing to do with it. My first impression when I heard the song was "ok, it's a track to listen to with headphones", because the beautiful self-centeredness of her voice, invites you to be so. The song was released with a video clip where she is shown, provocative (as always), singing in the foreground in front of the camera, interspersed with images from the Lowrider culture of the United States.
But the official announcement of her new project, would not come until June, along with this one, Alison shared the first taste of Sound Wheel with "Returning The Screw", alongside a self-directed music video. The single is austere but is still mostly sung rather than a spoken affair. You only have to listen to the first 10 seconds of the song to understand that Alison Mosshart always plays in the first division. The track and the video are everything that a Quentin Tarantino movie, the minimalism of the single, is starring for its particular and empowered timbre of her voice that sounds like a voice recorded on cassette with just a few guitar chords and powerful rock and roll female chorus. The track has been released on a 7-inch single vinyl last week.
That makes Sound Wheel worth listening to is the idea that this album, can stand on its own, or it can stand as the audiobook version of Car Ma, or it can stand as a companion piece. You can call it spoken word because it’s got passages from the book, but it’s a weird sonic sculpture. I don’t think it’s following any of the normal standards of this spoken word thing.