Tag: Italians Do It Better (Page 1 of 3)

GLÜME Get Low

If LANA DEL REY is the “Gangster Nancy Sinatra”, then Los Angeles-born GLÜME is the self-styled “Walmart Marilyn Monroe”.

Like a tattooed Norma Jeane Mortenson dropped into Twin Peaks, GLÜME is a shimmering new starlet in the Italians Do It Better stable with her debut album ‘The Internet’ is due out later this year.

While ‘The Internet’ does not include her marvellous chilling cover of THE FLEETWOODS’ ‘Come Softly To Me’, it will feature a previous single ‘Body’ and her latest offering ‘Get Low’.

‘Get Low’ is an intriguing slice of accessible avant pop about the high of falling for someone and how it effects your brain chemistry and nervous system. While that may seem exceedingly cerebral, GLÜME suffers from autonomic dysfunction and a heart condition. So the feelings conveyed are from her own personal experience and reflect how her love ride can feel like a roller coaster.

Directed by We Suffer For Fashion Films with choreography By Mark Marchillo, the video accompaniment for ‘Get Low’ is mysterious but glamourous and sees GLÜME tap, fan and ballet dancing while also plonking away on a primitive electric keyboard. Applying some rumbling electronic bass, stabbing vintage synths and simple but prominent digital drum beats, ‘Get Close’ comes over like a wonderful experimental B-side by a fragile girly OMD!

Described as “black lodge music for the blue youth of the internet age”, with song titles like ‘Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Crushed Velvet’, ‘What Is A Feeling’ and ‘Don’t @ Me’, expect GLÜME’s debut album to be a melancholic but enticingly celestial affair.


‘Get Low’ is released as a digital single by Italians Do It Better

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/glume/

https://www.facebook.com/babyglume

https://twitter.com/babyglume

https://www.instagram.com/babyglume/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
19th February 2021

DESIRE Zeros

Releasing ‘II’, their only album to date in 2009, the reputation of DESIRE was reinforced when one of its tracks ‘Under Your Spell’ was included on the influential soundtrack to the film ‘Drive’ starring Ryan Gosling.

Fronted by the vivacious French Canadian Megan Louise, DESIRE also feature Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker of CHROMATICS.

Jewel is also the founder of the highly regarded independent record label Italians Do It Better and after a period looking after royalty accounting, Megan Louise became company president.

A second DESIRE long player has been eagerly awaited for some time now and in 2020, a series of singles including ‘Boy’ ‎and ‘Liquid Dreams’ ‎were released as teasers although as with CHROMATICS ‘Dear Tommy’, it did not actually materialise.

But there were several excellent tracks released among these trailers. There was the deviantly amorous ‘Black Latex’ which was a spoken word art piece in French and English inspired by Andy Warhol, while the brilliantly naive escapist electronic disco of ‘Escape’ imagined BANANARAMA fronting NEW ORDER.

Talking of NEW ORDER, when DESIRE embarked on the ‘Double Exposure’ world tour with CHROMATICS and other Italians Do It Better label mates in 2019, they performed a faithful note-for-note cover of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’. On stage, Megan Louise literally got into the spirit of the song’s title and passionately kissed her live keyboardist Aja of IDIB act HEAVEN in full-view of her beau Johnny Jewel. But for the new DESIRE single ‘Zeros’, Megan Louise has found a new keyboard partner-in-crime in Korean-born model Soo Joo Park.

A gorgeously dreamy electronic dance track produced and mixed by Johnny Jewel, the seductive opening line “Hey Mr Midnight, I’ve been waiting for you” signals the intent and its sunset noir cinematics are captured in the accompanying video shot in the desert of Palm Springs. Directed by Kirill Nong, it sees Megan Louise and Soo Joo Park burying their past. Reflecting the lockdown fatigue many are feeling, there is resignation that things are “Adding Up To Zero Every Single Day”.

Of ‘Zeros’, Megan Louise said: “As the calendar pages fly by, we are all reaching for a new normal on what sometimes feels like an endless loop. The cyclical music echoes flashback sequences of a recurring dream, chanting ‘Falling like a feather… Never touch the floor’. We sampled the incessant strikes of a grandfather clock, stopwatches and digital alarm clocks to keep the time. From sunrise to sunset, every single day is adding up…”


‘Zeros’ is released by Italians Do It Better as a digital single available on the usual platforms

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/desire/

https://www.facebook.com/PRIMITIVEDESIRE/

https://twitter.com/primitivedesire

https://www.instagram.com/desire_megan/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th February 2021

Introducing GLÜME

From the Italians Do It Better stable, home to the likes of CHROMATICS and DESIRE, comes rather a lovely eerie ‘Twin Peaks’ styled cover of ‘Come Softly To Me’ from the mysterious but glamourous GLÜME.

Her bio says GLÜME was born and raised in the City of Angels. She worked as a child actress and then juggled her time between training her voice, exploring music and wrestling with her health, a situation that perhaps adds a vulnerable edge to her doll-like demeanour and leaves her feeling incompatible with the outside world.

Written and made famous by THE FLEETWOODS in an almost acapella rendition in 1958, GLÜME’s version of ‘Come Softly To Me’ (exec produced by Italians Do It Better head honcho Johnny Jewel) is more chilling and metronomic, capturing the innocence of forgotten yesterdays in the pursuit of today.

In some respects, the hypnotic arrangement with its lush but tragic Marilyn Monroe meets Julee Cruise delivery and the original acapella hook transferred to synth has the air of a 21st Century take on ‘I Know How You Love Me’ by THE PARIS SISTERS; it was used when Becky was being driven away by Steven in his Thunderbird convertible during episode 5 of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’.

The first GLÜME single ‘Body’ was positively Autumnal, capturing an aural wash of fading colours with its mix of synths arpeggios, digital drum machine, distortion and six string strum in a manner not unlike COMPUTER MAGIC who herself covered ‘Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart Rockin’ from episode 14 of the original ‘Twin Peaks’.

Meanwhile, adopting a Marilyn does Britney approach, the B-side of ‘Body’ saw GLÜME perform a stripped down interpretation of ‘Baby One More Time’ with accompaniment from Johnny Jewel on guitar. As GLÜME puts it herself: “…I’m Not Whispering…It’s A Scream!…”


‘Come Softly To Me’ and ‘Body’ are released as digital singles via Italians Do It Better

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/glume/

https://www.facebook.com/babyglume

https://www.instagram.com/babyglume/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th October 2020

CHROMATICS Teacher

In Autumn 2019, CHROMATICS broke a seven year silence between albums with the release of ‘Closer To Grey’.

However, scrutiny revealed ‘Closer To Grey’ to have a ‘VII’ subtitle in blood red on the artwork, despite it being their sixth long player. That was because an album called ‘Dear Tommy’ had been announced in 2015 and yet to be released as album number six.

Legend has it that producer and Italians Do It Better head honcho Johnny Jewel decided he wasn’t happy with the record, so destroyed all 15,000 CDs and 10,000 vinyl copies that had already been pressed.

One record that suffered a similar fate was ‘Techno Pop’ by KRAFTWERK which was actually advertised in the German press in 1983 before being delayed and reworked. It was then released as the disappointing ‘Electric Café’ in 1986 with some additional new tracks, while its original lead single ‘Tour De France’ was omitted. Then in a bizarre revisionist twist, it was remastered and renamed ‘Techno Pop’ with a slightly amended tracklist in 2009!

The ‘Dear Tommy’ saga has become much talked about by observers and fans with speculation rife that it had been shelved. But in the interim, the quartet of Johnny Jewel, Ruth Radelet, Adam Miller and Nat Walker have continued to release singles while also touring the world.

The ‘Dear Tommy’ announcement has been trailed by a purple hazed video for a great new airy synth driven song entitled ‘Teacher’, of which Johnny Jewel says “The apple obscured in fog is enigmatic & open to the interpretation of the viewer. Are we sinking into the unknown or rising from beyond the grave?”

As with KRAFTWERK, the original ‘Dear Tommy’ lead single ‘Shadow’ has now been dropped from the revised tracklist having become ubiquitous, thanks to its inclusion’ in ‘Twin Peaks: Revisited’; also missing are ‘Cherry’, ‘Camera’, ‘In Films’ and ‘I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around’ which have all now been previously released in one form or another.

But included are the previous singles ‘Time Rider’ and ‘Just Like You’, while many of the eighteen tracks announced appear to be completely new with only a few like ‘Fresh Blood’, ‘She Says’, ‘Endless Sleep’ and the title track remaining from the original ‘Dear Tommy’.

A release date for ‘Dear Tommy’ has yet to be confirmed so this saga could go on. However with so much expectation, this album is in danger of underwhelming audiences like ‘Electric Café’ did. With that in mind, it therefore something of a strange coincidence that CHROMATICS and KRAFTWERK had both been due to perform on the same bill at London’s All Points East festival in May.


‘Teacher’ is released by Italians Do It Better via the usual digital outlets

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/chromatics/

https://www.facebook.com/CHROMATICSBAND/

https://twitter.com/chromatics

https://www.instagram.com/chromaticsmusic/

https://twitter.com/idib

https://www.instagram.com/italiansdoitbetter/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
22nd April 2020

JORJA CHALMERS Live in London

Jorja Chalmers’ debut LP ‘Human Again’ was something of a conceptual observation on the human condition, a musical reality check following the artifice of adulation.

Conceived and sketched in hotel rooms around the world while in her dayjob as the sax / keys player for ROXY MUSIC’s Bryan Ferry, it captured the comedown of emptiness and alienation often arising from living the dream and touring to packed houses around the world.

The primarily instrumental suite was released in September 2019 by Italians Do It Better, home to CHROMATICS, DESIRE and HEAVEN, as well as being co-mixed by head honcho Johnny Jewel. While the Australian multi-instrumentalist has been something of a live veteran, having been part of the London music scene as a member of HOTEL MOTEL in the mid-noughties, Jorja Chalmers’ set at The Lexington was her first ever solo performance.

Backed by Ali Renault, best known as the synth man from Italo-influenced duo HEARTBREAK, the intimate London space was ideal for the introspective downtempo nature of the ‘Human Again’ material.

The organic spiritual tones of ‘Black Shadow’ began proceedings to create an uneasy ambience and a desolate air of mystery in keeping with its title.

But the set was not just about instrumentals as ‘She Made Him Love Again’ saw Chalmers put her breathy but spooky voice to good effect. A song of a sombre synthy disposition in the vein of the ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack, a more prominent deep intervention of sax than on the record added an extra human quality, echoing the cult movie’s own blues.

The more rhythmic ‘Red Light’ added vocal ad-libs to counter its sinister claustrophobic Cold War atmosphere, all very Berlin in its mood with a variety of chilling dissonant keyboards.

New number ‘Don’t Think’ recalled the electro-dubby wash of lost Glaswegian trio ONE DOVE while the doomy metallic chill on ‘Copper Bells’ was given resonance, thanks to the meaty combination of pulsing arpeggios and a layer of Klaus Schulze-like string machine.

On the ‘Human Again’ title song, our heroine took to her sax and mic again. Like a forlorn Enya wandering into ‘Twin Peaks’, her emotive declaration that “I’ve been on my own for so long” captured the feeling of solitude in company, an often discussed post-gig condition.

Closing with two new songs, the comparatively boisterous ‘Warrior’ fused a distinctive marimba line with sax.

But the sexy synth ‘n’ sax of ‘You Should Love Me Tonight’ was even more of a surprise.

Very avant pop in its construction, this slinky tune was a considerable departure from the more understated tracks collected on ‘Human Again’, coming over like a brilliant art school take on Cyndi Lauper.

It was a captivating half hour presentation which showed that material from the ‘Human Again’ album could work effectively within a live context and hold the attention of an audience. But having displayed a song-based prowess in the newer material, where Jorja Chalmers will take her music in the future is deliciously intriguing. So watch this space!


With thanks to Frankie Davison at Stereo Sanctity

‘Human Again’ is released by Italians Do it Better in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats, available from https://italiansdoitbetter.com/product/jorja-chalmers-human-again/

https://www.instagram.com/jorjachalmers/

https://twitter.com/IDIB

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4AB4sOhd7x98tjAMB4SgNY


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
31st January 2020

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