Release Date: Mar 6, 2012
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop
Ramona Gonzalez has been dishing lazy disco dream beats from L.A. since her 2009 debut, but her music would get murked in the lo-fi production that was so trendy before this decade. One Second of Love is disco R&B that’s lazy in all the right ways, with a title track single you’d want playing at every after-hours New Wave night, the upbeat drum machine and synths giving a real weight to her slurry love songs.
"I'm a broken record/you have heard this before," goes the first line of "This Story," the opening track of One Second Of Love, Ramona Gonzalez's second album as Nite Jewel. It's a line that carries a lot of weight and several meanings within the album as a whole. Sure, there's the easy angle of interpreting the line as commentary on One Second Of Love's synths and aesthetics that retro-lean so far back that their heads are touching the ground, but the line speaks equally of Gonzalez's pastiche songwriting technique, which pulls cues from the indie world just as much as it does from mainstream pop, R&B, and funk.
It makes a certain kind of sense that Nite Jewel's music sprung from the underbelly of L.A. Despite its unpolished aesthetic and Ramona Gonzalez's professed aversion to more conventional ideas about glamour (there she is, spewing neon vomit at a swanky photo shoot in the clip for "Artificial Intelligence"), her music exists in the realm of gauzy fantasy: it is a dream world made reality. Up until now, all of the slinky, lo-fi electro-pop that Gonzalez has made as Nite Jewel has been molten and surreal, conjuring Dali paintings with drum machines and keyboards melting in place of clocks.
Nite Jewel's 2009 debut LP Good Evening felt like a homespun soundtrack from some imagined '80s movie. Its faded colors and bedroom murkiness fell somewhere between Arthur Russell's least completed disco sketches and the gauziest moments from Nite Jewel's own late-2000s contemporaries like Grouper or Panda Bear. The songcraft was strong, but the questionable recording fidelity obscured the record's strengths from some ears, earning tag-lines like "Mush-funk" and "Murk pop" from some critics.
Opening your album with “I’m a broken record/ You have heard this before” is nothing if not a brave statement. The truth, though, is that we haven’t heard this before, at least not in LP form. One Second of Love is quite a different beast from Nite Jewel (a.k.a. Ramona Gonzalez)’s 2009 debut, Good Evening.
When conversing about music, the reason why the mere mention of the word “eighties” flares all sorts of emotions and reactions is due to its warped outlook on what life was about. No other time period came even close to matching a collective sense of elation with the thriving economic prosperity of the time. Its sounds were supposed to demarcate Reagan’s motto of deregulating economy.
Her synth-heavy sound designs are straight out of the ‘80s and her alias, Nite Jewel, suggests the type of cartoon superheroine who might’ve punished evildoers on a show that aired between Jem and Transformers, but Ramona Gonzalez is undeniably a creature of indie-pop’s present. Between Chairlift’s Something, Grimes’s Visions, and Frankie Rose’s Interstellar, 2012 has already yielded a formidable triad of female-fronted pop albums that dwell, to greater or lesser extent, in the dreamy, synthetic environs of early synth-pop. Though her early recordings skewed toward lo-fi and lounge music, One Second of Love, with its heavily processed drums and cold synth tones, is definitely on trend.
One Second of Love is a very pretty album. Unfortunately, it’s not always an especially engaging one. Ramona Gonzalez, the brains behind Nite Jewel along with producer-husband Cole M.G.N., has been futzing around the Los Angeles synth scene for a while now as a maker of subtly seductive lo-fi pop music. Her sophomore album represents a break from that norm as her music is injected with a healthy dose of fidelity and minimalist dynamics, more purposely assigning boundaries between her vocals and the music that joins them.
Ramona Gonzalez has completely dumped all the woozy lo-fi trappings of her early work in favour of a glossy, sharply focused sound on her new Nite Jewel album. Her vibe has always had an element of 80s synth funk, but that aspect is no longer buried in the mix, making this her most accessible offering yet. There's still a drifty, dreamy quality, but now it's somewhere between Kate Bush and Sade rather than the off-kilter experimental pop she was known for.
Like last year's rising underground star Zola Jesus, Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez) is a philosophy graduate making arresting electronic pop. Unlike Zola Jesus, Gonzalez eschews the dark side for something glossier. On One Second of Love, her second album, the 80s funk-pop of the title track meets the warped R&B of "She's Always Watching You" in the psychedelic circles of Ariel Pink, a bandmate of her husband's.
Ramona Gonzales, under the moniker Nite Jewel, has found herself on the radar of blogs and magazines a lot over the past two years. Her previous outings of bedroom disco were full of airy keyboards and her hazy cooing vocals. On One Second of Love, Gonzales puts some meat on her sonic bones by genre-hopping between icy folk ballads, R&B, and even ’50s pop through the lens of David Lynch collaborator Julee Cruise.
Nite JewelOne Second of Love[Secretly Canadian; 2012]By Andrew Halverson; March 12, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetNostalgia is a slippery slope; there is a constant battle between the heavy ideals of appreciation and evolution. Artist and era admiration will always have its place by the fire, and while evolution may be what we strive for the most, it is easily the more tedious endeavor when creating art. Even I battle with myself in regards to what works as a tolerable release of inspiration since being too "retro" can be both an advantage or disadvantage in the music world with the diminishing importance of radio and the internet surrounding every bit of its coverage.
A triumph of candour, clarity and considerable charm, this is a precious second LP. Iain Moffatt 2012 Now, we like the Joan Collins-does-disco adult pop of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and we like the slightly cyclonic confessional grown-up pop of Sophie B Hawkins, but which one's best? There's only one way to find out... Actually, while we'd admit that that particular fight would have more than its share of curiosity value, it's pretty clear that there's no rush to decide the outcome, since it now turns out that, to all intents and purposes, there's essentially the best bits of both on the same album.
Past album covers for L.A.’s ’80s-revivalist Ramona Gonzalez, aka Nite Jewel, have featured the young singer alternately out of focus, looking off camera and amid an attack of narcolepsy. The sleeve of her new LP marks a departure from those avoidant images with a smoky, head-on gaze. It looks like the part-waver, part-goth, part-glam songwriter is ready to prove something.
TODD SNIDER “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables” (Aimless). The murder ballad has been around for centuries, but Todd Snider offers an of-the-moment spin on his latest album, “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables.” Fearful 1-percenters who agonize about how they’re perceived by everyone else may ….
Since releasing her first demo under the moniker Nite Jewel in 2008, Ramona Gonzalez's music has matured from a self-conscious bedroom project into a confident outlet of fully-realized funk and electro indie. A promising up-tempo single from last year, "It Goes Through Your Head" appeared to hint at Gonzalez's trajectory, but whatever good vibrations she channeled on that track have been dampened and retooled, on her first LP for Secretly Canadian, One Second of Love. Instead of ebullience, the disc finds footing in the hard lessons of romantic realism, from the suspicion seeping through "She's Always Watching You" to the gorgeous if resigned anticlimax of closer "Clive.