wears the trousers magazine

best of 2009: readers poll results #20-11

Still counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 20–11 right here.

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Pink Martini
Splendor In The Grass

[Heinz; October 2009]

What we said then: “With Splendor In The Grass, Pink Martini has produced an album which wears its heart, and multiple influences, on its sleeve. Nothing feels out of place here. The recording, production and sequencing are superb, and the performances are exquisite throughout. A beautifully executed record, it is laidback, sweet and life-affirming.” •••• Matt Bregazzi

What we say now: Some canny voting here! This magnificent album from multi-talented collective Pink Martini truly lives up to its title. Blissful moments of pleasure melt into one another as they romp through several decades’ worth of music and popular culture, even securing ‘Sesame Street’ actor Emilio Delgado for a duet cover of The Carpenters’ ‘Sing’. Anyone still in doubt after the album finale that China Forbes possesses one of the most sublime contemporary voices in music really needs new ears. Fact.

Download: ‘New Amsterdam’, ‘Over The Valley’, ‘Sunday Table’

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best of 2009: a conversation with cortney tidwell
December 31, 2009, 2:08 pm
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: , , ,

The image that graces the sleeve of Nashville-raised singer-songwriter Cortney Tidwell’s second album Boys – a pseudo X-ray of a young child’s head filled with a jumble of overlaid, faded photographs – has a ghostly, unsettling aura about it, and it’s a very similar sense of damaged nostalgia that carries on into the music, creating a fractured and disparate album full of secrets and personal turmoil. Not necessarily something you might imagine coming from the imagination of a happily married schoolteacher and mother of two, but then Cortney has never really fit into any neat preconceptions. Wears The Trousers caught up with Cortney over email a while ago to chat about the new album, about working with her husband, and how the children in her life inspire her music.

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best of 2009: a conversation with cassie ramone

Though they were pretty busy touring at the time, we managed to get a quick Q&A with Vivian Girls guitarist and lead singer Cassie Ramone a couple of months ago. The all-girl, indie-punk trio, who shot to indie-fame with their 2008 self-titled debut, had lost original founding member Frankie Rose (who went on to enjoy a brief stint with fellow Brooklyn rockers Crystal Stilts and is now working on her own project Frankie Rose & The Outs) and were enjoying the fresh input of current drummer Ali Koehler. Having just released their anticipated second album, Everything Goes Wrong, Cassie filled us in a little on navigating the line-up changes, what life is like as a Vivian Girl on the road, and the inspirations behind the new album. As their year-end poll position attests, it turned out to be one of 2009’s most loved releases.

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best of 2009: readers poll results #30-21

Still counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 30–21 right here.

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Blue Roses
Blue Roses

[XL; April 2009]

What we said then: “Featuring a faded photograph of a barren coastal scene on its cover and no further clues as to what you might expect to find inside, this mysterious album leaves it to the music to do the talking. What is concealed inside is an instant classic debut; a patient and timeless record that offers a welcome antidote to the frantic absurdity of modern life… Blue Roses sounds blissfully unaware of the latest music industry trends. Unlike current flavour of the month Natasha Khan, [Laura] Groves seems to understand that it takes more than an ’80s drumbeat to channel the spirit of Kate Bush, creating something altogether more original and rewarding than many of her peers.” •••• Richard Steele

What we say now: It’s lovely to see Blue Roses this high up on the list – great recognition for a fantastic debut that we think will stand the test of time. The follow-up EP, Does Anyone Love Me Now?, released in December, is well worth getting too.

Download: ‘Cover Your Tracks’, ‘I Am Leaving’, ‘I Wish I…’

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best of 2009: wears the trousers meets hildur guðnadóttir

If you’ve seen Spike Jonze’s eyebrow-raising video for ‘Triumph Of A Heart’ or watched the infamous YouTube clip of Björk drunkenly belting out karaoke 2 Unlimited, you’ll know that plying Ms Gudmundsdóttir with alcohol can have unpredictable consequences. As it turns out, parting Björk from alcohol can also bring about cataclysmic changes in the forces of music. As Wears The Trousers hears it, one evening back in Iceland, roughly 12 or 13 years ago, Björk walked out of a bar leaving an untouched beer on the table (perhaps she didn’t feel like dancing with a giant cat that night, or scraping her face on the pavement), and as she did, the two teenagers – one boy, one girl – who had been sitting either side of her on the couch both jumped at the glass at the same time. The boy was Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason; the girl, Hildur Guðnadóttir; and together they would go on to share many more beers as they embarked upon a convoluted and ceaseless musical journey.

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best of 2009: readers poll results #40–31

Here we go, counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 40–31 right here.

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Tori Amos
Midwinter Graces

[Island; November 2009]

What we said then: “[Tori] Amos has spent a lifetime exploring the perceived divisions between the sacred and the profane, the Christian and the Pagan, or to put it in her terms, “marrying the Marys”. On Midwinter Graces, she takes this preoccupation to its logical (and perhaps most literal) conclusion, stripping back carols commonly regarded as Christian to their pre-evangelised forms, and working in some naturalistically rooted observations of her own… She thinks nothing of editing a lyric or verse here and there to suit her thematic needs, and it’s this return to some of the fearlessness of old that impresses most. And, unlike some of her recent material, there’s never the sense that the message is taking precedent over the music.” •••• Alan Pedder

What we say now: The woeful artwork may have landed her on more than one ‘worst album covers of 2009’ list, but Midwinter Graces has done a lot to reinvigorate Amos’s fanbase. Hell, it even got some glowing reviews from the mainstream music press. The revelation that standout track ‘Winter’s Carol’ is to be the finale of Amos’s next project, a stage musical production of writer George MacDonald’s children’s story, The Light Princess, has perked up interest in the long-promised project. 2010 could be another interesting year to be a Tori Amos fan.

Download: ‘Jeanette, Isabella’, ‘Star Of Wonder’, ‘Winter’s Carol’

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best of 2009: readers poll results #50–41

Here we go, counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 50–41 right here.

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Cate Le Bon
Me Oh My

[Irony Bored; October 2009]

What we said then: “There’s nothing embryonic about this accomplished collection of songs; Me Oh My is fully formed and well matured, showing just how far Le Bon has come since her early performances… A big warm cwtch of a record.” ••••• Richard Steele

What we say now: Me Oh My has lost none of its off-kilter shock and awe in the short time since it hatched into the public domain. A hugely promising debut, it was perhaps just too damn strange from the outset to reach a Laura Marling sized audience, but wider recognition surely can’t evade Ms Le Bon for long.

Download: ‘Hollow Trees House Hounds’, ‘Sad Sad Feet’, ‘Terror Of The Man’

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