Last summer, a demo of a song called ‘Risk’ started getting played on True Detective’s second series. A few months later, it found its way online, with zero fanfare. Cut forward to December 2015, and Tame Impala and Pond man Cam Avery released a lush ballad called ‘We’re Just Making It Worse’, which had some uncannily similar-sounding vocals from a female counterpart on it. She seemed to recall Dusty Springfield in style, and her name was Alexandra Savior – the same singer from ‘Risk’ earlier in the year.
Perhaps you’d missed the clues, but they’ve been there for a while now. In the Discogs credits on the True Detective soundtrack, ‘Risk’ lists its composers as Savior and Alex Turner, with the Arctic Monkeys and Last Shadow Puppets man apparently playing drums, keyboards and guitar on the track, as well as engineering it.
T. Bone Burnett, who helms much of the music on True Detective, said the following about the track on a commentary album:
“Alex Turner is an incredible singer, writer and musician, and he’s working with this girl Alex Semitone [nee Savior] who [has a] very interesting sense of melody, tone and art. They came over one day with this song they’ve been working on, and it sounded exactly like this season of True Detective. So I said let’s finish it up, and they brought over the multi-tracks, so we mixed it over here at Electromagnetic. And it’s a killing tune. I love Alex Turner – I hope to do a lot more things with him on down the road.”
But ‘Risk’ wasn’t just a one-off. Last week Alex and Alexandra took their project overground, with Turner joining Savior and her band (made up of LA stalwarts Papa) onstage at a tiny, 100-capacity sit-down venue in Hollywood called The Hotel Café. There’s also an album, reportedly called ‘Strange Portrait’, in the works – but more about that later. First, here the two of them are covering ‘Tush’ by ZZ Top:
So who is Alexandra Savior? When I last chatted to Turner, around this time last year, he let slip (off the record) that while all of his other projects were currently on hold, one thing he was getting stuck into was writing with and producing an unnamed female singer. The songs they were coming up with, he added, felt different to his Monkeys and TLSP output.
He wouldn’t budge when I asked what her name was, but it’s safe to assume now that it was Savior. Indeed, a quick look at ASCAP.com, which publishes the legal details of songwriters and their songs, reveals 12 tracks when you type her name into the database. All of them, incidentally, have Turner listed as a co-writer, with one (‘Audeline’) also featuring long-time Arctic Monkeys/TLSP producer James Ford.
Although it’s still not confirmed whether any of the below will end up on an album, or even be released with these titles, here are the 12 tracks as they appear listed on ASCAP.com, in alphabetical order:
‘Cupid Shoots To Kill’
‘’Til You’re Mine’
Savior also co-wrote ‘Miracle Aligner’, one of the standout tracks from the new Last Shadow Puppets album, as Turner confirmed to Zane Lowe in a Beats 1 interview recently: “I had some help from my friend Alexandra Savior on this one, she and I wrote a lot of it together. But it ended up being most at home under the Shadow Puppets umbrella.”
She’s been touring too, supporting (of course) Last Shadow Puppets in America, and playing New York dive bar Baby’s All Right this Thursday. On Baby’s’ website they’ve posted a description which seemingly confirms Turner’s involvement, and gives us the album title.
UPDATE: The website has now taken the post down.
Although there’s no word on a release date yet – or even any UK dates – there’s already a bunch of live videos from Savior’s recent shows online. Along with ‘Risk’, they should be enough to whet your appetite: