Release Date: Mar 31, 2009
Record label: Human Ear
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Pop
Had it been released in the 80s, Good Evening might've made Ramona Gonzalez (aka Nite Jewel) an international star or at least earned her a spot on the Romancing The Stone soundtrack. Today, her Billy Ocean-era drum sounds, mumblecore vocal delivery and hazy mid-tempo keyboarding will likely be deemed ridiculous strictly-for-hipsters fare. [rssbreak] But a few spins of the Californian's barely 30-minute album persuade the listener that her oversized plastic glasses are but a facade.
Forget chillwave and glo-fi and nostalgia for a version of the Eighties that didn’t exist. Nite Jewel’s Good Evening is a great Los Angeles album. It’s impossible to imagine this music being made anywhere else. It’s as L.A. as John Lautner’s Chemosphere, the Venice Beach boardwalk and ….
How far from an actual disco can dance music get? Chromatics and Junior Boys make a sort of dance music suitable for transit-- steeped in typical club-friendly sonics, their records are the soundtrack to the drive home from the club rather than the night out itself. Taken to its logical extreme, is it possible to make a sort of dance music as a completely disembodied observer? Los Angeles' Ramona Gonzalez, under the name Nite Jewel, seems set on finding the answer. Like the phrase "Nite Jewel" itself, Good Evening is minuscule and precious, both of which are charming descriptors, but its fragility is taken to an almost palpable extent.
Pop music is such an amazing thing that sometimes the best an artist can do by it is to screw it up as much as possible. Though it's been shown time and time again that with pop, execution matters at least as much as vision, there are still plenty of folks who, rather than learn sweet dance routines and try to get Pharrell to return their calls, would just as soon put on a pair of bifocals. Nite Jewel is one of these people.Nite Jewel, neé Ramona Gonzalez, comes to us with a simple lo-fi approach to the music of the masses: muddying up her tracks to the point where they're a far cry from anything that would ever play on the radio.
At first glance, the idea of bedroom dance music seems almost contradictory. After all, what good is a beat without a crowded floor on which to exploit it? Dig a little deeper, though, and it turns out that clubland’s darkened interiors and anonymous throngs are indeed lonely places, making dance far more introspective than any casual observer would ever expect. Los Angeles resident Ramona Gonzalez understands this paradox all too well, so much so that the tracks she cooks up as Nite Jewel harness moody beatscapes as they move away from the floor, through open doors and out into the humid black.