The latest music video from Brooklyn-based musical duo Charming Disaster, “Radium Girls” received an award for “Best Animation Music Video” from the International Music Video Awards. The album this song appears on, Our Lady of Radium, represents a departure from the occult themes that the Goth-Folk duo have become known for on their past releases. On the new album, Charming Disaster’s Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris apply their playfully dark artistic sensibility to the life and discoveries of pioneering scientist Marie Curie, as well as the tragic story of the “Radium Girls” and other consequences of Curie’s work.
Our Lady of Radium will be released March 4th on CD, 12-inch vinyl LP and via download, simultaneously with a limited-edition lyrics and art book that includes Charming Disaster’s research notes and original illustrations by artist Susan Saas.
Our Lady of Radium includes nine songs exploring moments from Curie’s life and research: “the ancient folklore of the mountains where radioactive ores were mined; the romance of equals between Marie and Pierre; the famous spirit medium whose séances they attended; Marie’s grief following Pierre’s tragic death; the physical characteristics of radium itself; and the personal scandal that almost destroyed her”. The album also depicts the tragedy of the “Radium Girls,” who were poisoned in the course of their employment, painting watch dials with radium-based paint.
This project began in 2017, when Bisker and Morris were awarded an artist residency by Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology in Bellaire, MI. The duo undertook extensive reading and research into Curie and her work, and wrote a cycle of nine interwoven songs telling fragments Curie’s story.
Charming Disaster was formed by Bisker and Morris in 2012, inspired by the “gothic humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, the murder ballads of the Americana tradition, and the dramatic flair of the cabaret”.