wears the trousers magazine

free music friday: lou rhodes
October 30, 2009, 2:44 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3

fmf_lourhodesLou Rhodes
‘There For The Taking’

Lou Rhodes, contrary-voiced singer from electro band Lamb, is back with her third solo album One Good Thing in March, preceded by a UK tour. Recorded ‘live’ in a studio over two short weeks, the result is described as “a record of disarming honesty”. Lou drops names like Nick Drake and Nico, and it’s easy to see the comparisons with their substance-over-style mentality. ‘There For the Taking’ is a beautiful, floating song: a little Elliott Smith, a little Ane Brun. It’s pared right down to the bone, with pretty guitar wanderings and the lyrics providing an uplifting address to the listener. Think echoes of a wooden-floored room, a scrubbed kitchen table, soaring green hills. The lyrics are simple, but the edge of whisper to Rhodes’s voice makes it seem like she’s imparting secrets. The combination of acoustic guitar, an unusual voice and a smattering of strings isn’t breaking new ground, but does provide the perfect rainy-day soundtrack. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: danielle spencer
October 30, 2009, 2:38 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: ,

fmf_daniellespencerDanielle Spencer

After releasing her debut album White Monkey in 2001, Australian singer-songwriter Danielle Spencer dropped out of the public eye to concentrate on family life. Eight years later, she’s back with a new album Calling All Magicians, helmed by legendary David Bowie producer Tony Visconti and described as “thirteen stories of observations and experiences”. It’s hard to imagine what else inspires music other than observation or experience, but the songs are certainly heartfelt. The choral voices, spoken lyrics and string-heavy beginning of ‘Citizen’ has an air of Rasputina, but this swiftly turns around into a hodgepodge of styles. The sound is layered and changes pace frequently, making it tricky to get a hold on. The combination of sweet vocals and dense bass harks back to European metal bands like Drain STH and Lacuna Coil, but this is far friendlier. Spencer’s voice is adequately honeyed and the production values are high, but the song seems to build to a crescendo which never arrives. Calling All Magicians is out in January. MP3 after the jump.

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katiejane garside’s folk-noir duo ruby throat to release new album
October 29, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , ,

wie_katiejanegarsideOut Of A Black Cloud Came A Bird inspired by plane crash horror

News of fresh Ruby Throat material has come as a pleasantly unexpected surprise today as we were under the impression that all they had in the works was a re-release of their exquisitely crepuscular debut The Ventriloquist. Released on November 12th to coincide with their gig at Madame Jojo’s in London the same day, Out Of A Black Cloud Came A Bird will initially be available as a run of 500 limited edition ‘art packages’, with a standard(ish) gatefold package coming later. The evocative title seems to be a reference to the plane crash that Garside witnessed last year while hiking through the Himalayas, a traumatic experience she described to us back in September saying, “Everything I’ve done since has been infused with that experience. I’m trying to work with it; it’s given me a sense of urgency that I haven’t had for a long time.”

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wii #3: chantelle fiddy
October 29, 2009, 10:14 am
Filed under: feature, women in industry | Tags: , ,


women in industry #3: chantelle fiddy

After an autumnal mini-break, WII is officially back, shining the spotlight on the ladies working their magic within the music industry. This month we catch up with multitalented journalist Chantelle Fiddy, a resident columnist for RWD Magazine and freelance contributor to Mixmag, SuperSuper and The Guardian. Her earlier ventures included roles at Smash Hits, i-D, Tank, Arena and Sunday Times Style, but she’s not just a writer; Chantelle has also worked hand in hand with artists and labels, spearheading projects with The Streets, 679 Recordings, Island Records, Ministry Of Sound and award-winning TV show Dubplate Drama, and a keenness to share her skills with others resulted in a mentoring role at LIVE Magazine.

Keeping a firm hold on her first love for radio means she’s regularly a guest on air with Diesel U Music radio, Radio1, 1Xtra, BBC Asian Network and Capital FM, but it’s her recent work as editor of www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk and its biannual magazine that’s got her hyped at the moment. The edgy current affairs publication is aimed at turning 18-25 year olds on to social injustice and global development. It’s a project close to her heart, and one clearly made possible by the strong work ethic she rocks and the dedicated years of music journalism that have created this platform. Chantelle talks to Wears The Trousers about facing challenges head on, keeping things competitive whilst staying humble, and the restorative powers of cake baking.

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inara george: accidental experimental (2009)
October 28, 2009, 3:22 pm
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Inara George
Accidental Experimental ••••

Though she is perhaps best known as the Bird to songwriter/producer Greg Kurstin’s Bee, Inara George is a cottage industry unto herself. Having graduated from early outfits Lode and Merrick to go it alone, the Californian singer has chalked up an impressive catalogue in the four short years since her solo album All Rise, produced by ‘Donnie Darko’ soundtrack composer Mike Andrews. As well as The Bird & The Bee’s two albums and three EPs, she’s recorded an elegant second album with Van Dyke Parks (2008’s An Invitation, complete with 24-piece orchestra), toured with Eleni Mandell and Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark as The Living Sisters, and made a (currently shelved) album with Idlewild’s Rod Jones. In some respects, her new release Accidental Experimental comes full circle as George realigns with Mike Andrews for a rummage through some of her forgotten songs, including four reworked numbers from An Invitation and others she regards as source material for that album’s luxurious symphonies.

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ooioo: armonico hewa (2009)
October 28, 2009, 2:31 pm
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Armonico Hewa ••½
Thrill Jockey

Formed by Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We as an amateurish side project in the late ’90s, all-girl four-piece OOIOO frequently get described as ‘experimental’, a category that seems to be music journalism’s all-encompassing dumping ground for everything that’s, well, uncategorisable. They’ve been steadily trickling out albums every two to three years since, always labouring under unwieldy comparisons with their frontwoman’s primary outlet (an ensemble also described as experimental) but doggedly teasing out their sound with each successive release, building on its improvisational origins to form a style that’s very much their own. Their 2006 release, Taiga, was the band’s most direct and expansive album to date, so Armonico Hewa arrives with some expectation weighing on its shoulders. And with a title that’s derived from Swahili and Spanish to mean ‘air in a harmonious state’ — an idea that’s beautifully expressed by the album cover’s serene depiction of wind turbines surrounding a sunset-headed girl — could Yoshimi, Kayan, Aya and Ali be going a little soft on us?

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tori amos: midwinter graces (2009)
October 27, 2009, 9:40 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Tori Amos
Midwinter Graces ••••

If your immediate thought upon seeing the cover of Midwinter Graces is that Tori Amos might finally have Ascended up her own creative rectum, relax, hold your fire. The photo may have been digitally manipulated to within an inch of all-encompassing soullessness but the heart has not been cut out of her chest, and this is nowhere near the animatronic disaster the sleeve would suggest. First things first: Midwinter Graces is not a Christmas album. It doesn’t mention Christmas once, at least not explicitly by name. Instead it’s a veneration of the winter solstice, which, in the Wiccan tradition, celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, not the birth of the Son, and signifies a return to light after the longest day of the year has elapsed. In a neat/unfortunate parallel, whereas Amos’s recent albums have seemed eternally lengthy, Midwinter Graces nips guilelessly in and out, never outstaying its welcome, and consequently leaves a rosy glow.

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