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Old Loves and New Crushes
glamglare newsletter #3
When I wrote about picking your favorite band last week, I did not mention that – of course – your favorites change over time. So if you asked me in the 80s or 90s, my answer would have been Depeche Mode with equal conviction.
That is why the death of Andy Fletcher a couple of weeks ago rang a sad note. While he was the guy who played synth behind the two frontmen, Martin Gore and Dave Gahan, he is credited everywhere as an essential founding member of the band.
Depeche Mode probably will continue touring and maybe release new music in the future. Still, it is a moment of sad nostalgia when you witness a favorite band fading away. However, for me, this started long before the first death of a band member, probably with their ninth album “Exciter” in 2001. I still rushed to the record store to buy the CD, but the old excitement would not come anymore after a few listens.
While Depeche Mode successfully transformed from the synth-pop boy band of the 80s to the heavier, grown-up sounds of the 90s, they didn’t seem to have it in them to innovate for another decade. Maybe it was also because Elke and I just had moved to New York, and we were ready for something new.
Still, thinking of Depeche Mode triggers memories like a flashback montage in a movie. Like, the moment I heard “Stripped” for the first time on the radio during my post-graduation trip on the waterfront of St. Tropez. Or when Elke and I listened to “I Feel You” on the way to a wedding in the countryside.
And then the shows, of course. Seeing Depeche Mode playing “Never Let Me Down Again” live is one of the most energetic moments you can experience on a large stage. There was a time when I would not have missed a show, even when we’ve already lived in New York.
But that has changed too: when Depeche Mode played several shows with my current favorite band Warpaint at Madison Square Garden and Barclay Center, we passed. We have decided that we would not pay the fantasy prices for nostalgia show tickets just to see some flashing lights in the far distance.
There is too much great new music to enjoy now.
Song Picks of the Day
Dol Ikara - Saraph
Dol Ikara is the project of Claire Roddy. Her latest song, "Saraph," is a dark, sprawling synth-pop track where so much is going on that it pays off to listen multiple times. Claire explains:
“’Saraph' was conceptualized with a single floating note triggered on a Moog modular system; I sang the entire vocal melody in a single go, and it eventually built into this dramatic and anthemic track."
Watch a clip about all the different synthesizers and other gear used for making "Saraph:"
Listen to our Song Pick of the Day below:
IMBER - Heat
It's a beautiful day when you can listen to new music by IMBER, the musical project of Bristol-based songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Imber. In November of last year, we premiered his beautiful single "Familar Faces." For his new single "Heat," Ben enlisted family to join his indie-electronic project and teamed up with his brother James, who also plays multiple instruments and sings. "Heat" is their first collaboration, out via Kitsune Musique. Asked about "Heat," the brothers say:
"Heat" is the first song we wrote together during lockdown in 2020. We were in the same house during this period and found this song was inspired by losing a lot of the things we were working towards, but this allowed us back to our roots where we had the opportunity to write music together again.
We love the gorgeous track and are looking forward to more collaborative music to come. Exciting! Listen to "Heat," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with IMBER here.
Pitou - Big Tear
Pitou is a singer/songwriter from Amsterdam, and she does both in unusual and engaging ways. For her new song "Big Tear," she uses a blend of acoustic instruments that sound unsettling and soothing at the same time. Here's what Pitou reveals about her songwriting approach:
"I tend to write songs that serve a personal purpose. A bit of hopefulness or light that I need, a reminder of something I should give more attention to, a guideline for how I'd want to live my life, or just the processing of something that's happened. The underlying theme is often 'how to be human'. I suppose the upcoming album could also be seen as a sort of 'How To Human' guide, one that I needed at the time."
Watch the mysterious video for "Big Tear" or listen to the song below:
Elizabeth M. Drummond - Crisis
"Every morning there's an ache. It's no big deal, just seems my heart just wants to break," sings Elizabeth M. Drummond, and sets the mood for her beautiful debut single. However, this is not an emo anthem, yet a light and super lovely song, that takes surprising turns along the way. There's something sweet to Drummond's vocals and if they sound familiar, no surprise here as she is the founding member of the Australian folk band Little May. With Little May, Drummond toured the world and of course also performed in New York where I saw them, back in 2014. While "Crisis" marks her debut as a solo artist, Drummond is by no means a newbie to the music world and it shows because the track is exquisite!
Asked about her solo debut, Drummond says:
I wrote "Crisis" when I had moved cities after leaving Little May and a long relationship. I felt like everything I ever identified with had just exploded in front of me. I also realised I had been living on auto-pilot for as long as I could remember, and that I had been ignoring what I actually wanted for my life. At this point, I had started to feel a huge amount of relief and humour in surrendering to the idea that things couldn't get any worse. In many ways I felt like I had become "no one", and this started to become liberating. This song marks that time and those feelings for me.
She wrote the song while traveling between Sydney and Melbourne, and it was in Melbourne, she took "Crisis" to her friend James Seymour for his opinion, who joined her to co-produce the track. Drummond says about the collaboration:
We co-produced the rest of the song to get her at Small Time (a studio in Brunswick, Melbourne). We threw everything at it, and most of it didn't work. Liam Gough (from The Teskey Brothers) played drums on this one. His playing really informed where everything else was going to sit dynamically. Zac Barter played strings on it, and that really added another layer of depth and weirdness to the song that I loved. As much as I like the song, I'm relieved I never have to produce it again - it was a bit of a pain in the arse.
Watch the super cool video directed and edited by Richard Clifford, and check out "Crisis" Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Elizabeth M. Drummond here.
Strama - Focus
The London-based singer, songwriter, and producer Strama has just released "Silver Lining," The six-track EP features elegant, soulful tracks that let her gorgeous vocals shine. A good example is the closing cut, "Focus," with its chill beat and nocturnal vibes. As a woman who takes full charge of her creative process, Strama acknowledges that there is still an uphill battle to be fought in the industry:
"I'm excited to become part of the new wave of women contributing their creativity in the industry. Producers like Charlotte Day Wilson and Hannah V are killing it right now. Women and gender minorities are so under-represented in the industry. I will say though, I'm not a fan of the label 'female' producer, it suggests there's a difference in ability and skill between genders when there obviously isn't."
Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, "Focus," on YouTube:
Simon Alexander - Along Came June
Sweden knows no shortage of great musicians and iconic pop bands but not every Swedish musician creates pop and not everybody is a star although for us Gothenburg-based Simon Alexander is a star. We first featured the singer/songwriter in 2018 with his single "Last Dance," and later in 2020 with "Heading Nowhere." Add another two years and we're excited to feature "Along Came June" now.
The allure of "Along Came June" becomes instantly apparent thanks to its catchy guitar strumming and soaring chorus, paired with a touch of nostalgia and a lot of longing. Asked about the track, Alexander says:
"With summer comes a plethora of emotions - especially for young adults living freely and learning about the ways of life. "Along Came June" is a song about watching your own back to avoid being taken advantage of - 'cus with summer also comes the more animalistic side of man."
The emotional whirlwind is beautifully captured in the song's melodic, impassioned vibe. Stunning!
Listen to "Along Came June," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Simon Alexander here.
I See Rivers - Your Love
The Norwegian, Wales-based trio I See Rivers released their wonderful debut album "Deep and Rolling Green" in October 2020. Now they are back with a new song and ready to play their music live throughout the summer.
"Your Love" is an anthemic track about trying too hard to make a relationship work. But there is not much sadness here, rather a relief about being rid of something that does not work. With three-way vocals and effortlessly gorgeous instrumentation, Eline, Gøril, and Lill turn this song into a true delight. Learn more about I See Rivers in our Q&A 2020. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, "Your Love," below:
This video deserves a million views: talker - Summerlin
Actually, every video by Celeste Tauchar, aka talker, deserves at least a million views. Because Celeste is not only a super-talented songwriter and musician but a gifted video maker who comes up with fresh ideas for pretty much every song she makes.
I chose “Summerlin” because it is the first video she produced herself and features exciting locations near Las Vegas. It is one of the videos she filmed for her latest EP “In Awe Of Insignificance.” You can learn more about the making of them in our feature.