wears the trousers magazine


giant drag: swan song EP (2010)
February 24, 2010, 10:01 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Giant Drag
Swan Song EP •••½
Megaforce

Having switched out their male half a couple of times, Californian duo Giant Drag are back in their original and righteous state after a three-year break from releasing. The long promised Swan Song opens with its title track, a moody fuzzball of repetitive sliding guitar sounds that instantly recall Sonic Youth, providing the perfect base for singer and lead songwriter Annie Hardy to slur her cutesy melodies all over. The cutthroat comedy heard on 2006’s debut album Hearts & Unicorns and in their hilarious live monologues is still prominent, however, and with Hardy’s slightly bitter twang and Micah Calabrese’s thick bass synths, not all four songs are as delicate.

Continue reading



sounding off: january 2010 (iv)

In this month’s roundup, we’ll be looking at a bunch of stragglers from last year that we ran out of time to publish before Christmas, plus a few early 2010 releases in brief.

* * *

Sugaree
The American Dream •••
Leon Russell Records

Few may have heard of singer Sugaree but they are very likely to have heard of her father, legendary singer-songwriter Leon Russell, on whose label Sugaree’s debut has been released. Though that fact smacks of nepotistic opportunism, saying so outright would only be permissible if the album was a dud. The fact is The American Dream is something of a pop gem, a contemporary album that is a million miles from the country-blues music of her father. A short album, at just over thirty minutes, it mixes different genres – rock, pop and R&B – with an electro-dance vibe that pulls all its disparate references into a coherent, if sometimes samey, sound.

Continue reading



sounding off: january 2010 (ii)

In this month’s roundup, we’ll be looking at a bunch of stragglers from last year that we ran out of time to publish before Christmas, plus a few early 2010 releases in brief.

* * *

Lissie
Why You Runnin’ EP •••
Fat Possum

This debut EP by big-lunged Illinois-born Lissie Maurus offers an intriguing but slightly samey mix of blue-eyed soul and gospel. Majestically produced by Bill Reynolds, the five songs offer a strong platform for the singer to showcase her vocal gymnastics, as well as some more subtle, plaintive tones. It’s hard to know whether to take the home-spun hysteria of ‘Wedding Bells’ seriously, as the narrator bemoans the loss of her man to another (the hussy!) on what should have been her wedding day. The world of Lissie seems to be an irony-free zone, more at home on the banks of the Mississippi than in the cynical big city. But, still, worth a visit.

Continue reading



kría brekkan: uterus water (2010)
January 11, 2010, 8:59 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Kría Brekkan
Uterus Water •••
Paw Tracks

As she told Wears The Trousers in an interview last year, Kría Brekkan’s only goals as far as her ‘solo’ career is concerned are simple: “Just to practise more things and educate myself.” Three releases in, totalling just fifteen tracks and barely an hour of music, her self-education is certainly proving to be an intriguing one. Her latest 7″, limited to only 100 copies in Europe, finds the Icelander as wildly experimental, clashing and sometimes frustrating as ever. Standing outside of Brekkan’s own little bubble, it can be difficult to appreciate her work given its extreme insularity. But mere self-indulgence can be transcended into art if it can be mastered, and Uterus Water proves, as the hairs prickle up on the back of your neck, that Brekkan is approaching a kind of auteurship.

Continue reading



sacred harp: sacred harp EP (2009)
December 16, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , , ,

Sacred Harp
Sacred Harp EP •••½
The Perfect Hoax

Sacred Harp is a closed universe somewhere behind ours, an isolated bulb of grey light that throws its sparks only within itself, a small underworld shrouded in a densely clad forest in the middle of nowhere. It’s a forgotten instrument that nobody can play, a voice of sorrow that whispers incomprehensible groans to this empty hidden nothingness. Sacred Harp is also a fairytale world combined with a nightmare, a gloomy fantasy whose sad, unsatisfied heroes can be heard to moan about their destiny. It’s a cry of fragile abandon imprisoned in darkness. More tangibly, Sacred Harp is a trio hailing from Northern Europe formed of Dutch singer Jessica Sligter (whom we already know through her solo project, Jæ) and Norwegian and Finnish musicians.

Continue reading



eliza doolittle: eliza doolittle EP (2009)
December 8, 2009, 8:54 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: ,

Eliza Doolittle
Eliza Doolittle EP ••••
Parlophone

With such a quintessentially English name, it’s hard to imagine anything but a fresh-faced (if somewhat impish) London-bred girl behind this brightly coloured EP, and, as it turns out, that’s a fairly accurate image for this dark-haired, cheerful pop starlet. And like her namesake, the Cockney heroine of Pygmalion, Doolittle has had an auspicious, nurturing start. Her parents were both musical, with her father a piano player and her mother a singer, so it’s hardly surprising that this precocious talent was penning her first numbers aged 12. With a musical career firmly in mind, her teen years involved travels back and forth between London and New York, “writing with various collaborators, finding her musical feet”. Now signed to major label Parlophone, it seems obvious that she’s planted her roots and means to carry on blooming.

Continue reading



slow club: christmas, thanks for nothing EP (2009)
November 26, 2009, 1:29 pm
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Slow Club
Christmas, Thanks For Nothing EP •••
Moshi Moshi

A Slow Club Christmas is starting to become something of a tradition. Last year, Charles and Rebecca treated us to a rather lovely festive single in the shape of ‘Christmas TV’ and a knees-up at London’s Union Chapel. This year they’re repeating the event at the same venue, but with a Santa’s sack of five additional Christmas delights in their repertoire. Or should that be lumps of coal? As implied by the title, Christmas, Thanks For Nothing sees the band continuing to temper their characteristic humour with heavy doses of heartbreak that some might find a little hard to swallow.

Continue reading