wears the trousers magazine


map to the treasure: a buyer’s guide to laura nyro
January 25, 2010, 2:36 pm
Filed under: buyer's guide, feature | Tags: ,

map to the treasure: a buyer’s guide to laura nyro

These days it’s a term we all know well, but back in the late ’60s Laura Nyro (1947–1997) was among the first in an exciting new wave of artists called the “singer-songwriters”. Not only that, she was among the very best of them, imbuing her often personal, introspective songs with a sophisticated metropolitan pop/soul sheen. Nyro was a New York poet through and through, standing apart from her Laurel Canyon peers by incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, gospel and Broadway styles into her broad pop sound. To mark this week’s reissue of her 1971 sizzling collaboration with soul trio Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle, Wears The Trousers takes a look through the entire back catalogue of this inventive, experimental and unique artist, and rediscovers why she is so well respected as one of the most arresting, and challenging, pop artists in history.

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kristin hersh week: buyer’s guide
February 10, 2009, 7:34 pm
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a player of three acts: a buyer’s guide to kristin hersh

Since 1986, under the banners of Throwing Muses, her own name, and 50 Foot Wave, Kristin Hersh has released some 20 albums. And what with bipolar disorder, a lost custody battle for her first-born son, a dissolving band, and in her own way overcoming the unhappy beast that is the music industry, Hersh has weathered a lot. The frenetic use of loops, cowbells, shifting time signatures and frantic, dark, unsettling stream-of-consciousness poetry of Throwing Muses’ untitled debut still inspires shock and awe, and throughout her career Hersh has delivered several other albums that are no less astounding.

Mercurial in the extreme, each of Hersh’s guises has a distinct personality, and in her longstanding concerns as lead Muse and a solo artist, these personalities have themselves matured. Hersh is frequently a challenging artist, viewed by many as an acquired taste. Her style may not be immediately everybody’s cup of tea, but perseverance is recommended. All her work retains certain traits – oblique lyrics, a Proustian gift for evocation, and highly skilled but understated musicianship – and the catalogue we’re about to delve into really does offer something for every music fan.
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a buyer’s guide to christmas albums

christmas

a buyer’s guide to christmas albums

originally published Christmas 2006

Aware of its public service remit and the need to protect the health and welfare of its readership, Wears The Trousers has taken a deep breath and dipped a toe into the murky waters of the Christmas album. And what dangerous territory is the seemingly innocuous holiday record! Certainly not for the faint of heart or the intolerant of insulin. Sugar, schmaltz and saccharine certainly seem to be the alliterative order of the day. However, hidden in amongst all the tacky tinsel it is possible to find a star or two to follow. But first let’s lay down some ground rules. We’ll assume that there’s already a copy of Now That’s What I Call The Best Crimble Album In The World…Ever! Vol. 27 lurking in your collection alongside a Carols From [insert name of Oxbridge college here] freebie spewed from one of the tabloids – well, that’s all your Slade/Wizzard/Bing Crosby/chorister needs catered for and Saint Cliff’s seasonal output is mercifully excluded from Wears The Trousers’ catchment. This is ‘proper’ Christmas albums we’re talking about; even Laura Nyro’s sublime Christmas & The Beads Of Sweat doesn’t qualify. But then again, you’ve already got a copy of that…haven’t you?!

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nanci griffith: in for a five and dime, in for a dollar serenade
April 26, 2008, 3:22 pm
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a buyer’s guide to… nanci griffith
Trevor Raggatt puts her albums under the microscope.

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rickie lee jones: the duchess of coolsville
April 26, 2008, 2:09 pm
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a buyer’s guide to… rickie lee jones
Alan Pedder puts her albums under the microscope.

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kd lang: so understated she doesn’t even need capital letters
April 26, 2008, 7:06 am
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a buyer’s guide to… kd lang
Shelley Ali puts her albums under the microscope.

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aimee mann: from big hair to the boxing ring
April 26, 2008, 6:39 am
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a buyer’s guide to… aimee mann
Trevor Raggatt puts her albums under the microscope.

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