Chromatics (band)

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This article is about the electronic music band. For the technology company, see Chromatics (graphics). For other uses of this term, see Chromatic (disambiguation).
Chromatics
Chromatics 2013 Austin TX.jpg
Adam Miller and Ruth Radelet of Chromatics performing in Austin, Texas, 2013
Background information
Origin Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Genres
Years active 2001–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website Official Facebook
Members
Past members

Chromatics is an American electronic music band from Portland, Oregon, formed in 2001. The band consists of Ruth Radelet (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Adam Miller (guitar, vocoder), Nat Walker (drums, synthesizer), and Johnny Jewel (producer, multi-instrumentalist). The band originally featured a trademark sound indebted to punk and lo-fi that was described as "noisy" and "chaotic".[1] After numerous lineup changes, which left guitarist Adam Miller as the sole original member, the band began releasing material on the Italians Do It Better record label in 2007, with their style streamlined into a electropunk-Italo disco indebted sound.

The band began incorporating elements of synthpop and post-punk on their third release, Night Drive (2007), which was met with critical acclaim, and their fourth album, Kill for Love, was released March 26, 2012. Several of the band's songs have been featured in television series such as Gossip Girl and Bates Motel, and their track "Tick of the Clock" was featured in the film Drive (2011).[2] In December 2014, the band announced their fifth studio album, titled Dear Tommy, that was prededed by a number of singles throughout the year.[3]

History[edit]

2001: A solo project on a 4-track[edit]

Chromatics' first 7", "Beach of Infants/Steps", was a solo project of Adam Miller. It was released by Hand Held Heart. Throughout the years since, Miller has remained Chromatics' sole consistent member. The tracks were recorded in Seattle, Washington, on a Tascam 4-track. By the time the 7" was released, Chromatics had scaled up to a four-piece.

2002–03: From the Vogue to the Soiled Doves to Chromatics[edit]

While barely out of high school, The Vogue garnered media attention around Seattle for creating art punk that drew comparisons to The Fall.[4] This band featured Johnny Whitney of The Blood Brothers on vocals and Hannah Blilie who went on to play drums in The Gossip. After The Vogue's keyboardist departed, the remainder formed Soiled Doves, releasing one 7" and one album. Although Chromatics began as a solo project for Adam Miller, he quickly added most of The Soiled Doves' lineup — moving from bass, Adam Miller became the vocalist; Devin Welch, guitarist, whom Miller had previously played with in The Vogue and The Soiled Doves; Michelle Nolan, bassist, the one new addition; and Hannah Blilie, drummer, whom Miller and Welch had played with in The Vogue and Soiled Doves. After releasing their debut album Chrome Rats vs. Basement Rutz in 2003 on Gold Standard Laboratories, all members except Miller left to form Shoplifting.

2003-05: Stripped down[edit]

Miller and a revamped lineup released the band's second studio album, Plaster Hounds, in 2004 on Gold Standard Laboratories. This lineup featured Adam Miller performing double duty on guitar and vocals, with Nat Sahlstrom on bass and the Get Hustle's Ron Avila on percussion. The lineup changed once again, as Miller played many of the same songs from the "Plaster Hounds" era with Lena Okazaki replacing Sahlstrom on bass and a drum machine replacing the free jazz-influenced percussive style of Avila. This lineup of Miller and Okazaki released a few CD-Rs, still in the lo-fi art punk style that had been established, but the addition of the drum machine hinted at the major stylistic shift to come.

While Miller's CD-Rs with Okazaki hinted at an electronic direction, Okazaki left the band and Chromatics went through their largest reinvention around 2005, becoming the quartet of Miller, Ruth Radelet, Johnny Jewel, and Nat Walker. This resulted in a gradual but dramatic shift in the band's sound and live performance. Chromatics have often toured the world with labelmates Glass Candy, since Jewel plays in both bands, as well as Desire, a side project of Jewel and Walker. Walker and Jewel also have an instrumental project called Symmetry.

2006–10: Night Drive[edit]

Chromatics' third studio album, Night Drive, was released in 2007 on Italians Do It Better, the band's most acclaimed release.[5] On Night Drive, the group ditched their "hairy noise-rock troupe" aesthetic in favor of a "neatly groomed pop-dance quartet". In their review of the album, Pitchfork noted that "the transformation of Chromatics has been so effortless that it's still easy to be wowed by the results", adding that "listeners who are only familiar with the band's forays into shambling punk will certainly be surprised by Night Drive's assured songwriting".[5]

Various songs from Night Drive have been licensed for usage in multiple Hollywood films, television shows, international television and internet advertisements, and runway shows.

Other releases have included the Nite and In Shining Violence EPs. In 2007, Chromatics' non-album tracks "In the City" and "Hands in the Dark", as well as a demo of Night Drive's "The Killing Spree", were featured on the Italians Do It Better compilation album After Dark.

2011–13: Kill for Love[edit]

Chromatics performing at La Route du Rock festival in 2012

Chromatics gained recognition for their song "Tick of the Clock" which was featured in the heralded 2011 film Drive and its soundtrack,[6][7] a feature film released in September 2011 by director Nicolas Winding Refn.[8] On December 23, 2011, Jewel and Walker—under the name Symmetry—released Themes for an Imaginary Film, which was described by Pitchfork as Jewel's "most ambitious project to date: a sprawling, 37-track, two-hour collection of cinematic noir-electro", featuring contributions from Chromatics and fellow Italians Do It Better acts Glass Candy, Desire and Mirage.[9]

On October 23, 2011, Chromatics released the title track from their then-upcoming fourth studio album, Kill for Love. Reviews described the single as a "really hypnotizing, fascinating song that will definitely get you psyched for the record—Ruth Radalet warmly croons her sweet, cryptic confessional lyrics while her band effortlessly weaves a bubbling, dreamy, New Order-esque soundscape."[10]

The Fader mentioned, "Maybe Kill for Love will inaugurate a sea change where artists come to terms with themselves and start being open about how they sound when they sing. In basement studios everywhere, young vocalists will blink three times and start x-ing out effects in Ableton, look at the mirror for the first time in weeks, deep into their beady, sun-deprived eyes and whisper, "God, there are no shortcuts... Kill for Love continues the band's penchant for popular-sound defiance that made Chromatics so exciting in the first place."[11]

After waiting patiently, Chromatics have begun to reach fans "five years after the release of their incredibly prescient Night Drive album."[12] On February 11, 2012, the band leaked a second track from Kill for Love, "Into the Black". Chromatics followed their second leak with three additional tracks, "Lady", "Candy" and on March 11, 2012 their fifth leak "Back from the Grave".

As fans anticipated the album, Jewel mentioned that the process of creating Kill for Love resulted in a total of 36 tracks that have been narrowed down to 17 for the album.[13]

Chromatics' fourth studio album, Kill for Love, was released on March 26, 2012. The album has been described as sounding like a "time warp ... a warm collision of past, present, and future."[14] On May 7, 2012, the group released an alternative version of Kill for Love for free download, featuring eleven songs from the original album with no drums or percussion.[15] Songs from Kill for Love have been featured in television shows such as Revenge, Gossip Girl, Parenthood, and Bates Motel. Kill for Love was named the eighth best album of 2012 by Pitchfork.

2014–present: Dear Tommy[edit]

On December 4, 2014, the band announced their fifth studio album, Dear Tommy.[16] The album was preceded by the singles "Just Like You", "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around", and "In Films".[17]

On February 3, 2015, Chromatics released the three-track single "Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)",[18] which is included in the trailer and soundtrack for Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, Lost River. The soundtrack was released on March 30 by Italians Do It Better, while the film was released on April 10.[19] The song "Shadow" was made available on September 9.[20] On November 5, Chromatics released seven cover versions of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".[21] The band released a music video for the title track "Dear Tommy" on August 25, 2016.[22]

Honors and awards[edit]

Chromatics were invited by Karl Lagerfeld to play the Chanel Spring Summer 2013 fashion show in Paris in early October. The band was put above the runway, overlooking the whole catwalk and creating a dreamy ambience. Chromatics performed about five new and old songs.[23]

Tours[edit]

Chromatics have played at numerous music festivals around the world, such as the Paris Pitchfork Music Festival and Barcelona Primavera in 2012.[24][25] In September 2013, the band opened for English band The xx at the Hollywood Bowl.[26]

Members[edit]

  • Ruth Radelet – vocals, guitar, synthesizer
  • Adam Miller – guitar, vocoder
  • Nat Walker – drums, synthesizer
  • Johnny Jewel – programming, production

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Cavecare (Hand Held Heart, 2002)
  • Nite (Italians Do It Better, 2006)
  • In Shining Violence (Italians Do It Better, 2007)
  • In the City (Italians Do It Better, 2010)
  • Running from the Sun (Italians Do It Better, 2012)[27]

Singles[edit]

  • "Beach of Infants"/"Steps" (Hand Held Heart, 2001)
  • "Arms Slither Away"/"Skill Fall" (K, 2002)
  • "Ice Hatchets"/"Curtains" (Gold Standard Laboratories, 2003)
  • "Healer"/"Witness" (Italians Do It Better, 2005)
  • "Tick of the Clock" (Italians Do It Better, 2013)[28]
  • "Cherry" (Italians Do It Better, 2013)[29]
  • "These Streets Will Never Look the Same" (Italians Do It Better, 2013)[30]
  • "Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[18]
  • "Just Like You" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[31]
  • "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[32]
  • "In Films" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[33]
  • "Shadow" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[34]
  • "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (Italians Do It Better, 2015)[35]

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Album
"Hands in the Dark" 2007 After Dark[36]
"Killing Spree" (Suite 304 Demo)
"In the City"
"Tick of the Clock" 2011 Drive[37]
2012 Taken 2[38]
"Looking for Love" 2013 After Dark 2[39]
"Camera"
"Cherry"
"Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)" 2015 Lost River[40]
"Blue Moon"
"Yes" (Symmetry Remix)
"Yes (Lullaby from Lost River)"

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dusted Reviews: The Chromatics - Plaster Hounds
  2. ^ Kevin Jagernauth (2011-08-01). "'Drive' Soundtrack Features Kavinsky, College, Chromatics & Cliff Martinez; Hits September 6th". Indiewire. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  3. ^ "Chromatics Announce New Album Dear Tommy". Retrieved 2015-09-23. 
  4. ^ Martin, Richard A. (October 9, 2006). "Meet the Vogue". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Harvell, Jess (October 11, 2007). "Chromatics: Night Drive". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 11, 2015. 
  6. ^ Gosling Noir – A Review of the Drive Soundtrack
  7. ^ Johnny Jewel's Chromatics Unveil "Kill for Love," Glass Candy Headlines Moonfest
  8. ^ 'Drive' Soundtrack Features Kavinsky, College, Chromatics & Cliff Martinez; Hits September 6th
  9. ^ Richardson, Mark (December 23, 2011). "Johnny Jewel, Glass Candy, Chromatics Release "Imaginary Film" Score". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ REC'D: Chromatics, Kill for Love - Pretty Much Amazing
  11. ^ Chromatics, Kill for Love - The Fader
  12. ^ Chromatics: Artists You Should Know
  13. ^ Johnny Jewel Reveals Details of "After Dark II" and New Albums from Chromatics and Glass Candy: Self-Titled Magazine
  14. ^ Italians Do It Better: A Review of Chromatics, Kill for Love
  15. ^ Minsker, Evan (May 7, 2012). "Chromatics Share Drumless Version of Kill for Love, Tour With Hot Chip". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ Gordon, Jeremy (December 4, 2014). "Chromatics Announce New Album Dear Tommy". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ Beauchemin, Molly (April 8, 2015). "Chromatics Share New Song "In Films"". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Yes (Love Theme From Lost River) – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  19. ^ Gordon, Jeremy (February 3, 2015). "Chromatics Share Music From Ryan Gosling-Directed Film Lost River Scored by Johnny Jewel". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Chromatics: "Shadow"". Pitchfork. September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  21. ^ Minsker, Evan (November 5, 2015). "Chromatics Ready "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" Maxi-Single, Share "Girls Just Wanna Have Some"". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  22. ^ Strauss, Matthew (August 25, 2016). "Watch Chromatics' New "Dear Tommy" Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 25, 2016. 
  23. ^ Watch: Chromatics Perform at Chanel Fashion Show
  24. ^ Pitchfork Music Festival
  25. ^ A Guide to the 2012 Harvest Festival
  26. ^ Hollywood Bowl Features the XX and the Chromatics
  27. ^ "Running From the Sun by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Tick of the Clock – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Cherry (Single) by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  30. ^ "These Streets Will Never Look the Same – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Just Like You (Single) – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  32. ^ "I Can Never Be Myself When You're Around – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  33. ^ "In Films – Single by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Shadow by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Chromatics". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  36. ^ Hoffman, K. Ross. "After Dark – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Drive [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] – Cliff Martinez". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Taken 2 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Nathaniel Mechaly". iTunes Store (GB). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ Thomas, Fred. "After Dark, Vol. 2 – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Lost River (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition] by Various Artists". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved April 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]