It’s been a long wait for Chromatics’ upcoming fifth studio album… unless you just heard them for the first time in that Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial, or perhaps the Alfa Romeo ad. Regardless, Dear Tommy, the follow-up to to 2012’s Kill For Love, was supposed to drop in 2015, but it was recently revealed that frontman Johnny Jewel destroyed all copies of the album after a near-death experience in Hawaii.
Jewel has kept busy since then, though, since he recently announced a new album, called Windswept, consisting primarily of solo material, some of which will be included in the upcoming Twin Peaks revival. The album is out tomorrow, and he’s shared a few tracks from it ahead of release, including the title track, “Television Snow,” and “Insomnia.”
“Insomnia,” which was shared this morning, is 90 seconds of sinister, horror-film strings. “Television Snow,” which is just a short and was revealed a couple days ago, is a bit warmer in tone, but still captures that creepy, synth-heavy Twin Peaks vibe perfectly. “Windswept” is a more substantial song that combines synth strings with smoky saxophone for a a tune that’s, dare we say, sexy. Based on sound alone, it’s basically all but confirmed that “Windswept” will appear in Twin Peaks, because it’s perhaps the most Twin Peaks song that exists.
Windswept also features “Blue Moon,” a Chromatics song that originally appeared on Jewel’s soundtrack for Lost River a couple years ago. Fortunately, it looks like we could be hearing some new Chromatics music very soon. Dear Tommy was destroyed, yes, but according to Jewel’s manager Alexis Rivera, the album has since been re-recorded and is on its way soon. That’s why the songs from the album that had previously been released have been removed from the internet (except for “Shadow“).
In a series of tweets a few days ago, Rivera went into greater depth about the current state of Jewel and Dear Tommy, saying that the new album has all the same songs, and that the only difference is that the new version of the record is better:
Enough people have asked about Dear Tommy and the status of the album, I think it’s time for an update. Christmas day 2015 Johnny almost died in Hawaii. I don’t want to go into details, but I’m sure he’ll discuss it in interviews at some point. When he came back home to California he destroyed all copies of Tommy. 15K CDs & 10K vinyl in the Italians warehouse in Glendale, all gone. When we announced Twin Peaks in March, you can see some of those broken Tommy records.
Is it weird to destroy & delete your album once it’s done? Fuck yes. It’s also financially insane. But it wasn’t the first time he’s done it. March of 2011: Glass Candy was playing in Guadalajara & Johnny gave me a box of Kill For Love CDs. He wanted the album out later that month. Then he got hired to score Drive, then that went absolutely snafu. Shit comes up all the time that changes things. Sometimes it’s a blessing. Johnny destroyed the CDs & vinyl of that version of Kill For Love in April 2011.
Publicly no one knew. But it kickstarted a creative streak. He worked more on Kill For Love, he worked on Symmetry’s Themes, he worked on more music that I hope we’ll hear sooner rather than later. He even referenced the other version of Kill For Love (and multiple changes) in an interview with @pitchfork in 2012.
Anyway back to Johnny almost dying. After he went on another streak. Doing Tommy. Producing new acts like Heaven. Doing films & Twin Peaks. As for Dear Tommy, now that we are getting closer to the release of the album, Johnny wanted the music from it to come down. Dear Tommy has the same titles, same lyrics, same track order, as when it was announced Dec of 2014. Nothing’s changed except it’s better.
We recently spoke with Rivera about what his job is like, so revisit that interview here, and check out the new Jewel songs above.