wears the trousers magazine

trouser press: björk, shirley manson and more

in today’s trouser press:
– Björk records new duet with Thom Yorke
– Shirley Manson wants women to rock more
– fans buy Kristin Hersh a new guitar
– Grace Jones wins Q award, gropes journalist
– more Peaches album news
– free Sia download 
– Katy Perry dishes the dirt on her preacher parents
– Janet Jackson back on the road after mystery illness 
– country women duet with Elvis, for Christmas!
– new advice-themed compilation features Jenny Owen Youngs and more

* * *

Unless you’ve been hiding under a big ol’ rock all year, you’ll probably have heard about the huge push to raise awareness of the threatened Icelandic environment propelled by writer Andri Snær Magnason’s influential book ‘Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual For A Frightened Nation’ that reached its peak in July with the Náttúra concert, the largest musical event ever seen in Iceland. Or so we thought. A new peak may about to be scaled with the imminent release of a surprise new duet between Björk and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, also called ‘Náttúra’, on October 20th. Described as “more of a protest and rallying cry than a lecture”, the song “highlights a grass roots movement in Iceland to reclaim the country’s natural resources and wilderness from the hands of big business and pollution.”

That’s all the information we have at the moment, other than that the song will be released through Björk’s long-time label One Little Indian, and, obviously, that it’s the second time these two musical greats have traded lines, the first being on the Oscar-nominated ‘I’ve Seen It All’ from the Selmasongs soundtrack to Lars Von Trier’s Palme d’Or-winning ‘Dancer In The Dark’. Oh, and that we’re officially excited.

For more background on Iceland’s environmental woes, which presumably loom even larger in the light of the country’s near-bankruptcy, read what Björk had to say on the matter earlier this year.

* * *

She may be busy terminating miserable lives as a shapeshifting baddie in the new series of ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ but Shirley Manson still has time to share her opinions on the current crop of female musicians. Speaking to MTV, she lamented the present lack of powerful women in rock.

“We’re in a conservative era,” she said. “My era was insane, and there hasn’t been an influx of that since. It really upsets me. All the women are expected to be cute and pretty and fun and as super-unthreatening as possible. There’s a place for gorgeous girls making cute music. People want that, they need that, and I’m all for it. But I’m scared by the imbalance in music. There aren’t any females portrayed in a particularly empowered position, and that really disappoints me.”

Reserving particular distaste for the Pussycat Dolls and a cautious word about Katy Perry, she added: “It’s time for young girls to come up and challenge who is sitting on the throne. We want to see the young blood. The youth. The vigor. It’s time for change.”

With regards to Shirley’s solo career, it’s still on the cards and she’s even talking about doing some low-key surprise live appearances with her new band, made up of various friends. “I’m excited,” she said. “I think it’ll be new and fresh for me. I just want to make a noise.”

Read the full article here.

* * *

Kristin Hersh was left speechless this weekend when her fans clubbed together to buy her a new, specially commissioned guitar. Kristin originally ordered the $3600 Collings acoustic guitar back in 2005 but it has been sitting unclaimed since construction was completed last year due to money woes, until Saturday. In just one day, enough fans responded to a plea for donations in exchange for access to exclusive videos of previously unheard material to be shot when the new guitar arrives to ensure that the guitar would be winging its way to Kristin within the week. In an emotional message of thanks, Kristin and her husband/manager Billy wrote: “We’re in tears, your messages were lovely. Your generosity is mind-blowing…We are so touched by your caring and generosity. You’re the best family. You’re gonna get so much music, it’ll make your head spin!”

You may remember that Kristin is one of the musicians at the forefront of the CASH music initiative, which allows fans to buy studio time for their favourite artists. A new album, tentatively titled Speedbath and due for completion in March, will be the first commercial release funded by the project. On the topic of commercial releases, Billy reports that Kristin’s memoirs ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ have been submitted to a literary agent and “the reaction’s been really good” and that e-book and audiobook releases of her children’s book ‘Toby Snax’ are also in the works. “The audiobook is turning out to be pretty special,” he writes. “Kristin’s reading the story and accompanying herself instrumentally, with another surprise thrown in for good measure. Pretty damn cute.”

* * *

Grace Jones was in London last week promoting her new album Hurricane (her first in 20 years) and causing quite a stir in the process. Arriving at the Q Awards dressed all in black and wearing an eye mask with horns attached and little lights at their tips, she collected her Q Icon prize with a joke about her strict religious upbringing in back in Jamaica: “I’m from a line of Bishops and because of the religion they say, ‘There shall be no false idol worshipping’,” she quipped. “I was going to say that during my speech but I’m not sure anyone would have gotten it. But really this is great, it’s like worship me!”

Grace discussed her childhood and the many colourful years since with journalist Miranda Sawyer in an interview published in this weekend’s Observer Music Monthly, which you should definitely read. Miranda got more than she bargained for when, at the end of their boozy night out, Grace apparently groped her breast and asked for her phone number before running off into the night howling at the moon. Brilliant article.

* * *

Last month we picked up on The Lipster’s story about the forthcoming Peaches album featuring the likes of Gonzales and Simian Mobile Disco. Now the lady herself has been speaking out about the as-yet-untitled release, telling Australian radio station Triple J: “It’s like a big variety show. There’s a ballad and then there’s some real hard stuff and some disco. I recorded a lot of it in London with Simian Mobile Disco. I’m finishing off a track now with Digitalism. I decided to just collaborate with everyone. I did a lot of writing with Gonzales, which is great because we never actually got to write anything for Peaches albums before.”

The follow-up to 2006’s thunderously, gloriously rude Impeach My Bush is expected to hit the shops early next year.

* * *

Speaking of The Lipster, they turned us on to this brilliant new dance track by New York DJ Lauren Flax featuring Sia on vocals. How, you ask? By telling us where to get it for free! You can too, here. But if you want to know what you’re getting into first, listen away:

* * *

Katy Perry has revealed that her strict Christian preacher parents Mary and Keith aren’t as squeaky clean as they appear. Apparently Mary, who earlier this year condemned her daughter’s song ‘I Kissed A Girl’ as “shameful and disgusting” for “promoting homosexuality”, was a teenage tearaway who ran away to Zimbabwe and dated Jimi Hendrix after meeting him in a Spanish nightclub. Keith, meanwhile, is said to have been a drug dealer specialising in a type of LSD called Strawberry Fields (named after the Beatles song). Speaking to Blender magazine, Katy said “My dad would have died from one tab of Strawberry Fields too many if he hadn’t found God.” So much for better living through chemistry.

* * *

Janet Jackson is back on the road after spending a week resting under doctor’s orders after an undisclosed illness forced her to postpone four gigs in the US and Canada with a brief spell in hospital. A statement from tour promoters Live Nation read: “Janet, who has been under her doctor’s care and recuperating over the last week, is excited about getting back on the road and again being able to share with her fans what she feels is one of her best stage shows ever.”

The Rock Witchu tour is the 42 year old singer’s first North American jaunt in 7 years.

* * *

A new Elvis Presley duets album is on its way, just in time to magically appear under your mum’s Christmas tree. He may have been dead for rather a long time (31 years) but since when has that ever stopped Eva Cassidy or Tupac? For this new collection, cleverly titled Christmas Duets, RCA have revisited the original studio masters to extricate Presley’s vocals in order to team him up with 11 different ladies of folk and country, including Gretchen Wilson (pictured), LeAnn Rimes, Olivia Newton-John and Carrie Underwood.

Available as a limited deluxe edition CD as well as a regular disc from November 2nd, the album is billed as the first ever Christmas compilation of its kind. Previous Elvis holiday albums have sold over 25 million copies in the US alone.

Watch a video about the making of the album here.

Christmas Duets
01 Elvis Presley & Martina McBride – Blue Christmas
02 Elvis Presley & Carrie Underwood – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
03 Elvis Presley & LeAnn Rimes – Here Comes Santa Claus
04 Elvis Presley & Wynonna Judd – Santa Clause Is Back In Town
05 Elvis Presley & Sara Evans – Silent Night
06 Elvis Presley & Amy Grant – White Christmas
07 Elvis Presley & Gretchen Wilson – Merry Christmas Baby
08 Elvis Presley, Karen Fairchild & Kimberly Schlapman – O Little Town Of Bethlehem
09 Elvis Presley & Anne Murray – Silver Bells
10 Elvis Presley & Olivia Newton-John – O Come All Ye Faithful
11 Elvis Presley – First Noel
12 Elvis Presley – If I Get Home On Christmas Day
13 Elvis Presley – Winter Wonderland

While we’re on the subject, congratulations to Lisa Marie Presley who gave birth to twin girls on Tuesday. Her next delivery will be an as-yet-untitled third album, due next year.

* * *

New York-based nonprofit arts magazine Esopus has enlisted the likes of Jenny Owen Youngs (pictured) and up-and-coming duo Wye Oak for a new compilation to come packaged with their upcoming 11th issue. The 11 songs, like the issue itself, are all based on the theme of ‘advice’, so you get song titles like ‘To Lilly At Age 15 20 25′ and ‘Never Ever Fall’. Find out more about the issue, including how to order it, here.

Esopus 11: Advice
01 The Muslims – Inside Job
02 Shearwater – Helix
03 Wye Oak – In Defense of Fetish
04 Brazos – Passenger
05 FACA – Two Tango
06 Nina Katchadourian – Castaway
07 Lucky Dragons – To Lilly at Age 15 20 25
08 Jenny Owen Youngs – Thanks, Mesopotamia!
09 The Wingdale Community Singers – Never Ever Fall
10 Come Rad Comrade – Spinning Us Around
11 Stuart Dahlquist – New World Order Rising

* * *

Alan Pedder


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[…] with Steve Rizzo, it’s the first song to feature “The Guitar That Love Built” [?]. Perhaps the finest antidote to all the commercialism of Valentine’s Day we can think […]

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