wears the trousers magazine

interrupting yr broadcast: dum dum girls
February 26, 2010, 2:34 pm
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This week marks the UK live debut of SoCal’s Dum Dum Girls, the solo project turned all-girl outfit fronted by Kristin Gundred – or Dee Dee as she’d prefer to be known – and “of course!” she’s excited to be hitting our shores, despite an earlier propensity for crippling stage fright. The moniker, which she adopted from the beginning of the Dum Dum Girls journey, is part of a semi-persona created to protect a rather shy individual from the on-display world of musicianship and ever-peering fandom. Her early online presence was marked by a desire to remain anonymous, and the very few pictures that surfaced made sure to obscure some of her face, a romantic, partial aloofness that gave her dreamy, lo-fi-ish punk a coveted, secretive aura.

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free music friday: alessi’s ark
February 26, 2010, 10:07 am
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Alessi’s Ark
‘Hands In The Sink’

Not a track from her upcoming EP, Soul Proprietor (due April 5), but a wee little taster for the forthcoming 21-track compilation from Communion, the popular club night turned music community formed by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, Cherbourg’s Kevin Jones and producer Ian Grimble in 2006, ‘Hands In The Sink’ is a soft acoustic ditty about the humble joys of domesticity from Alessi Laurent-Marke. It’s slight but charming, and slots in nicely with other featured tracks from the likes of Peggy Sue, Johnny Flynn, Jeremy Warmsley and Broadcast 2000, to name but a few. The compilation, out Monday, also features tracks from a couple of ladies who are new to our ears: Elena Tonra and Rachel Sermanni – check them out. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: the new pornographers
February 26, 2010, 10:01 am
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The New Pornographers
‘Your Hands (Together)’

On listening to the first few seconds of ‘Your Hands (Together)’, you would be forgiven for thinking you had just tuned into the latest incarnation of ‘CSI’. The Who-esque opening guitar riff promises to take you on a journey to an anthemic climax, but sadly the trip is cut short by a slightly repetitive beat which never quite steps up to the desired level. The two lead vocals are the highlight of the track; perfectly harmonised and complementing each other in both tone and attack, together Carl Newman and Neko Case create a veritable feast for your eardrums. While the thundering bass keeps the momentum for a time, the classic rock guitar riffs would benefit from some melodic counterpart. This is not true air-guitar fodder but does a fine job of raising the heart rate, if not the sign of the horns. ‘Your Hands (Together)’ is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Together, out May 4 through Matador. MP3 after the jump.

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incoming: bettye lavette
February 26, 2010, 9:42 am
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Bettye LaVette
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

[Anti-; May 25, not final artwork]

Inspired by the reaction to her cover of The Who’s ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ at a performing arts awards show in 2008, Bettye LaVette began to compile a new record comprising wholly of covers of songs by British rock acts, from The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd and beyond. Interpretations is the result; thirteen songs given a raw, soulful makeover that illustrates, as the label puts it, “the inexorable ties between British rock ‘n’ roll and the American blues and R&B, which when combined, catalysed popular music”. Bettye previously covered Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s ‘Talking Old Soldiers’ on 2007’s The Scene Of The Crime, and here takes on ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’. Says Elton himself, “Bettye LaVette has always been a wonderful singer – I have been a huge fan for many years…I am truly touched by her picking these songs and can only hope that this album brings more attention to this incredible artist.”

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interrupting yr broadcast: dessa

If you didn’t catch Dessa’s song ‘Dixon’s Girl’ in our December batch of Free Music Friday giveaways, you are strongly urged to get on the case. Even better, though, would be hunting down a copy of her recently released debut album, A Badly Broken Code [review], which came out in January on independent hip hop label Rhymesayers. It’s a layered, searingly honest debut filled with the kind of poetic wordplay you’d expect to find in works of literature, which is really no surprise since Dessa is both a published author and slam poetry victor. She’s currently on tour in the US with fellow Doomtree crew member P.O.S., but spoke with us in between shows about everything from gender dynamics in hip hop and the growing pains that come with earning touring spurs, to her recent fascination with Brits winner Florence Welch and a desire to perform over here in the UK; an offer we simply shouldn’t refuse.

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incoming: carrie newcomer

Carrie Newcomer
Before & After

[Rounder; March 15]

With a rack of studio albums, a live release and a retrospective already under her belt, Carrie Newcomer ought to be more familiar to us than she is. Perhaps Before & After, her tenth solo effort, will be the album to change that. She describes it as “unguarded and naked”, claiming to have “peeled back another musical and emotional layer” by “endeavoring to be fearlessly uncluttered and subtle”. Mary Chapin Carpenter duets on the title track, with a second duet, ‘Do No Harm’, featuring Darwin Song Project participator Krista Detor.

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incoming: judith owen
February 25, 2010, 5:07 pm
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Judith Owen
The Beautiful Damage Collection

[Courgette / ADA Global; March 1]

While the sleeve of last year’s Mopping Up Karma [review] made Judith Owen look like Joanna Newsom’s housekeeper, the cover of The Beautiful Damage Collection could double as an Oil Of Olay ad. As the appellation of ‘Collection’ indicates, it’s a retrospective of sorts; three new recordings, including covers of Arthur Hamilton’s ‘Cry Me A River’ and Henry Purcell’s ‘When I Am Laid’ (aka ‘Dido’s Lament’), join handpicked selections from Judith’s six previous albums re-recorded with legendary arranger, Robert Kirby. Sadly, Kirby passed away in October last year; in his memory, Judith will be performing his orchestrated songs at The Purcell Room in London tomorrow [tickets] for what promises to be a very entertaining evening. Guests include Judith’s husband Harry Shearer (‘Spinal Tap’, ‘The Simpsons’), Claire Martin, Danny Thompson and Ian Shaw. The title of the album was inspired by Judith’s collaborative show with Ruby Wax, Live At The Priory, which used Judith’s songs and comedy to explore Ruby’s road to recovery from depression. Watch the Jamie Lee Curtis-directed video for ‘Here’ below.

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