wears the trousers magazine


free music friday: sia
November 20, 2009, 11:45 am
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: ,

Sia
‘You’ve Changed’

‘‘That’s why I’m here, that’s my department. I’m from the ballads department,” said Sia back in March when speaking to Australian newspaper The Herald Sun about her songwriting collaboration with Christina Aguilera, unselfconsciously expressing a self-evident truth. Sia’s three albums to date have been rather heavy on all things down- to mid-tempo, so prepare to be shocked by ‘You’ve Changed’, the first song to emerge from her eagerly awaited new album We Are Born, produced by The Bird & The Bee’s Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue). She ‘leaked’ it herself on Twitter earlier this week, and now it’s officially out there for everyone to excitedly bop along to. Elastic and colourful, ‘You’ve Changed’ finds Sia tucking away some of her wonderful eccentricities for a straight up disco song akin to something Basement Jaxx might have conjured up in their prime, with an assured vocal performance that’s beautifully soulful exactly where it needs to be and playful where it counts. It’s impossible to imagine this not being a hit on dancefloors, and if this is the quality of the material they are happy to just give away, We Are Born must be a corker. Ballads’ loss is everyone’s gain. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: beach house
November 20, 2009, 11:45 am
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Beach House
‘Norway’

Purveyors of the most dizzyingly dreamy pop music around, organist/singer Victoria Legrand and guitarists Alex Scally are back with another track of breathtakingly fragile beauty, lifted from their ultra-hyped 2010 release Teen Dream. It’s not surprising to discover that ‘Norway’ was written on a long bus journey through the Norwegian mountains – it’s as cinematic and achingly expansive as its namesake. Victoria may sing beguilingly about “the season of the sun”, but you can almost feel the frostbite. A perfect example of how to do widescreen glacial pop, the song’s rushing melody rides waves of cascading, muted synths and twitching, fairground electronics before breaking into a heartbreakingly yearning chorus of the sort to shame Nico, swathed in layers of spiralling guitars and pounding drums. In short, it’s fantastic.

Perhaps the one flaw in Beach House’s previous works is that, by wrapping their songs in layers of gauzy, tissue-paper wooziness, they often obscured the raw emotion throbbing behind each of their tracks. ‘Norway’ lays it bare and is all the more heartbreaking for it. Gone are the trickling, twee organ notes and plucked guitar chords of old, Beach House have gone panoramic. And it suits them. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: sleigh bells
November 20, 2009, 11:44 am
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Sleigh Bells
‘Infinity Guitars’

Christmas is coming, and if the name Sleigh Bells is conjuring up saccharinely festive images of assorted reindeer, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, carol services and liberally strung tinsel, you’re about to be horribly mistaken. Formed of guitarist Derek Miller (formerly of hardcore band Poison The Well) and vocalist Alexis Krauss (once part of twee teen-pop group Rubyblue), Sleigh Bells are as far from pious as it is possible to be. After Poison The Well split up, Derek fell into waitering; Alexis, who was then, dauntingly, a fifth grade teacher, was one of his customers. A mere week after their meeting, they began to record together under the name of Sleigh Bells. If that sounds hasty, their sound is equally as brisk and rough around the edges. ‘Infinity Guitars’ opens on the kind of toothy, jagged guitar line that would make the Pixies envious, before breaking down into a pounding, hammered drum beat, punctuated by Alexis’s ragged, vessel-bursting howl. It’s the kind of raw, primal passion only matched by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at her most livid. Like any band capable of summoning such a joyously loud racket, Sleigh Bells have driven bloggers wild with comparisons being made to artists as weird and wonderful as T-Rex and Run DMC. Call them what you like, Sleigh Bells are here and they’re damned good fun. Christmas just got a whole lot louder. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: lissie
November 20, 2009, 11:44 am
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Lissie
‘Everywhere I Go’

Hailing from a blue-collar town perched on the muddy banks of Mississippi, Lissie seems born to be a beguiling singer-songwriter. She is in possession of the kind of wholesome, flaxen-hair-and-freckles good looks rife in troubadouresses, while her Myspace describes her as a “son-of-a-gun in a sundress”, and details nostalgic, sepia-tinted summers of “a thick humidity, fat with mosquitoes” like a lost Steinbeck novel. Thankfully, her style is equally matched, if not overtaken, by her substance. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Lissie effortlessly crafts Americana-tinged blues in the same mud-streaked vein as early Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. ‘Everywhere I Go’ is lifted from her Fat Possum-released debut EP, Why Are You Runnin’, and seems worn and age-old. Lissie’s high, rising peal of a voice slowly raises the track from gritty blues to a kind of soaring, transcendent spirituality unmatched by anything in the folk scene today.

It’s undeniable that Lissie won’t remain any kind of a secret for long; her brand of folk has universal appeal, and will feel just as at home trickling out of coffee shop speakers as it would ringing from a church pulpit. And when the success does come Lissie’s way, there’ll be a difference. She’ll have earned it. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: scanners
November 20, 2009, 11:43 am
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fmf_scannersScanners
‘Salvation’

Scanners are a London-based quartet for whom a storm is brewing. Or at least that’s how it sounds. Most notable for Sarah Daly’s brooding utterances, the sound of Scanners is impulsive, dramatic and completely immediate in its effect. “I’ve been waiting for the dark to come”, Daly croons on ‘Salvation’ as if taking part in some kind of hypnotic séance-like experiment, the repetitive but memorable backing track manifesting like a ghost at a Wedding Present gig. “I’ll take you to my grave,” the searing message continues, conveyed through moaning vocals amid an equally haunting melodic synth crescendo that sneaks up on the listener with spine-chilling success. Seemingly with a more definite agenda than on their debut album Violence Is Golden, ‘Salvation’ finds Scanners taking a darker, more urgent approach to a previously tamer formula. Expect more of the same on their forthcoming album Submarine, produced by Stephen Hague of New Order fame, out early next year. Exciting stuff indeed. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: miss the occupier
November 20, 2009, 11:43 am
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fmf_misstheoccupierMiss The Occupier
‘The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things’

Hailing from Glasgow, Miss The Occupier are a nice example of what’s going on up in Scotland the noo. With riot grrl Roz Davies at the helm,  the trio appear hellbent on claiming back the best bits of female-fronted guitar-based music that was so rich in the early ‘90s. Not for them the kiddy-pleasing musings of fellow Glaswegians Bis; there is something moody and dangerous about Miss The Occupier’s edgy slacker-pop that translates a moody energy, ensuring justifiable comparisons with The Breeders or Throwing Muses. Sharing its name with a JT Leroy novel, ‘The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things’ has been knocking around for a while in the band’s live sets, building to a raucous cacophony in almost orchestral fashion, the melody held captive for a moment by the driving beat and guitars. Not yet available to buy, grab this freebie to find out why those north of the border have already begun to give Miss The Occupier their full attention. Finally, the girls seem to be stepping forward in a time where Scottish music seems to have been dominated by big ginger beards and bigger tattooed forearms. About time too. MP3 after the jump.

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