wears the trousers magazine


words in edgeways with laura veirs
February 11, 2010, 2:01 pm
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“Playing in here could turn me into a religious woman!” Laura Veirs jokes from the stage of the majestic Union Chapel in north London. It’s the last UK show of her tour to promote her seventh and, in the eyes of many critics, best album, July Flame. It’s a fine venue with, naturally, incredible acoustics and imposing architecture. And, tonight at least, it’s really cold. Lip-numbingly cold. The entire audience is clad in hats and scarves; they’re even selling hot drinks alongside the merch table in the foyer. For this entire leg of the tour Laura and her band have been travelling through a country in the grip of its biggest freeze for a hell of a long time. In stark contrast the album she’s showcasing every night on stage evokes a totally different atmosphere. Taking its name from a variety of peach, the album serves as a springboard into a sultry, sun-saturated world full of the magic of midsummer: Will o’ the Wisp, fireflies, Chinese lanterns and heady, sweltering nights. It’s joyous.

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words in edgeways with allison moorer
February 10, 2010, 2:54 pm
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Released this week, Allison Moorer’s seventh studio album Crows finds the Alabama-born singer-songwriter in rejuvenated form, turning in a thematically rich set of songs that take her into a sonic space she hasn’t really explored before. Produced once more by Nashville producer R.S. Field, who helmed her stately 2002 release Miss Fortune and contributed to its follow-up The Duel, Crows is a classy collection that, at its very best, exudes reflective Southern soul and a sensual grace that mainstream country artists just can’t rival. Wears The Trousers caught up with Allison over email recently to find out more…

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words in edgeways with lisa germano
January 26, 2010, 1:57 pm
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Entering her third decade as a recording artist, Lisa Germano remains as individualistic and untouched by the fickle hand of trend as ever. Having refined her songcraft into an instantly recognisable collision of broken dreams and fractured, but never extinguished, hopes, Lisa’s latest album Magic Neighbor finds her at her most blackly humorous, the title track transforming the rather sordid real-life tale of a woman who had her two cats put down so that she could install a new kitchen – yeah, don’t even try to make sense of that – into an unnerving, witchy piano ballad (“He must be god, he can turn cats into pieces of furniture”). Where her previous album, 2006’s In The Maybe World, was largely fixated on mortality, Magic Neighbor is full of subtle twists that give it an openness we haven’t heard in her music for a long time. It’s as if Lisa’s curiosity about the lighter side of life finally got the better of her, the result being a slightly bemused self-awareness that most people could easily identify with.

Given the overwhelming sense of isolation that much of her music conveys, it’s easy to forget that she is one of the world’s most in-demand session violinists who has worked with a Who’s Who of indie rock and pop, but Germano’s recent collaboration with Radiohead’s Phil Selway on his forthcoming solo album has been keeping her busy and away from the phone. In lieu of a more personable chat, then, we sent her some questions over email to find out more about the making of Magic Neighbor, and exactly what she would do to that murderous woman if she had occult powers.

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words in edgeways with rickie lee jones
December 21, 2009, 9:53 am
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It’s been 30 years since Rickie Lee Jones burst onto the music scene with the release of her eponymous debut album, a diverse collection that incorporated elements of pop, jazz, R&B and showtunes. Over the course of these three decades, Jones has remained resolutely – and wonderfully – impossible to categorise, exploring a variety of styles and genres, from the expansive electronic influences in 1997’s Ghostyhead to the experimental, improvisational rock of 2007’s The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard, with customary aplomb.

Now back with the brilliant, soulful Balm In Gilead [review], where her inimitable voice weaves itself around warm and inviting melodies, Jones took time out from her well-received concert tour to answer questions for Wears The Trousers over email. Disarmingly honest, funny, and insightful, Jones reveals herself to be as open and expressive in interview as she does in her music.

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indigo girls: why music still needs lilith fair
November 12, 2009, 3:29 pm
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words in edgeways with indigo girls

While Sarah McLachlan’s recent announcement that legendary women’s music festival Lilith Fair is to be resurrected in 2010 was greeted with elation in several quarters, certainly within these pages, it also had its critics. “Hop aboard the marginalising train,” sneered St Vincent’s Annie Clark in an interview with online magazine Spinner, claiming it doesn’t serve anyone to view music in gender terms. In its three year lifespan, from 1997 to 1999, Lilith Fair was repeatedly in the firing line; it was too folksy, too white, too mainstream. Yes, the headliners were often women who had achieved massive commercial success, but how else were McLachlan and co. to get enough people through the gates? As for being too white, if it wasn’t for Lilith Fair, we might not have heard about acts like Bic Runga, Lhasa de Sela or Yungchen Lhamo until much later, while established artists like Queen Latifah, Angélique Kidjo and Meshell Ndegeocello were no more ‘token’ than the few women you would typically find on any other festival’s playbill.

With the debate no doubt preparing to rage once more as the 2010 event gets underway, who better to add their voice to the clamour than feminist royalty and Lilith Fair veterans, Indigo Girls. Touring the UK after a two and a half year absence to promote their latest, independently released, album Poseidon & The Bitter Bug, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray sat down for a chat with Wears The Trousers in an airless, strip-lit dressing room in London’s Shepherds Bush Empire, and I waste no time in cutting to the chase. Is there still a place for a women’s music festival in 2010? “Yes!” comes Emily’s emphatic response. “It’s still a male dominated industry; it’s still a male dominated world in terms of who’s got the power in politics, power in money. Not that those are the most important things, but that’s the reality.

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katiejane garside: the deepest red

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words in edgeways with katiejane garside

It’s early afternoon in Highgate and somehow I’ve wandered into Jane Eyre territory. In the classic Victorian novel, Charlotte Brontë communicates her heroine’s internal conflicts through the landscape and its Gothic inspired weather, and the early evening’s decidedly bipolar elements are reflecting my own fluctuating excitements. Dazzling sun and torrential rains are taking abrupt turns to confuse the high street travellers into a permanent flux between sunglasses and umbrellas, and it’s in the middle of this unpredictable tempest that KatieJane Garside arrives, like an orphan of the storm; I can’t help but smile at the synchronicity of it. She pushes through the door with wide eyes and pink-streaked blonde locks swinging beneath a broad, leather cowboy hat, shorter than I’d anticipated, with a petite yet determined gait. But it’s her sturdy lace-up boots that I notice before anything else. Infamous for her fey appearance, she virtually always performs barefooted, crooning and shrieking with an otherworldly delirium, so it seems almost inversely anachronistic to see her wearing something as mundane as hiking shoes.

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kate walsh: letting off the happiness
September 15, 2009, 1:12 pm
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words in edgeways with kate walsh

After recording his BBC Radio Four show Loose Ends, legendary broadcaster Ned Sherrin used to treat his production team to a slap-up, boozy, lingering Saturday lunch in an old-fashioned, un-gastro’d central London pub. In tribute to Sherrin, who died in 2007, the team have kept on the tradition. This week Kate Walsh is joining them, having appeared on the show playing tracks from her excellent new album Light & Dark. Braving the clatter of glasses and the boisterous “It’s the weekend!” whooping (literally) of the merry punters, she sits down with Wears The Trousers for a chat.

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