wears the trousers magazine


wears the trousers albums of the decade #50–26

part one | part two | part four

Here’s the third part of our albums of the decade countdown, running from #50–26.

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50

Queen Adreena
Drink Me

[Rough Trade, 2002]

Casting aside the disparaging comparisons to “Kate Bush on crack” bestowed upon her in the wake of Queen Adreena’s debut album Taxidermy, KatieJane Garside upped the ante with Drink Me, tearing whatever hinges that were still attached right off with a blisteringly manic grunge-metal fervour. Among her Wonderland’s re-energised malice, the softer moments found Garside’s raging voice shrunk mouse-high, whispering seductively as if through the keyhole, or chillingly into a void. Richly imaginative and manically enjoyable, Drink Me remains one of the decade’s most vigorous and visceral thrills, disturbing to the very last note.

Alan Pedder

read our interview with KatieJane

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best of 2009: readers poll results #10-1

At last, here are the ten albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Happy New Year from all at Wears The Trousers!

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10

Alela Diane
To Be Still

[Names; February 2009]

What we said then: To Be Still is the kind of album that communicates directly with the hindbrain, directing you to the nearest couch, bed or convenient corner; once there, your instructions are to daydream, to ruminate through long-forgotten memories, or just to stare off into the middle distance… Alela Diane is truly the real thing: a singer-songwriter of immense talent, overflowing with creative ideas and real vision.” ••••½ Scott Sinclair

What we say now: She’s come a long way from the low-budget days of her early self-released albums Forest Parade and the later-reissued masterpiece The Pirate’s Gospel, and we’re thrilled to see Alela Diane finally breaking even and earning her dues. To Be Still saw Alela move away from the sparse folk of earlier efforts to a fuller band sound, a successful evolution that helped her transition from underground acclaim to more mainstream pastures, as evidenced in her well-received slot on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’. A bold and beautiful effort.

Download: ‘The Alder Trees’, ‘The Ocean’, ‘White As Diamonds’

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alela diane featuring alina hardin: alela & alina EP (2009)
October 14, 2009, 10:36 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , , , ,

a_lp_alelaandalina_09

Alela Diane featuring Alina Hardin
Alela & Alina EP ••••
Family

Having been consistently praised both by Wears The Trousers and by seemingly all other reputable sources, Alela Diane really needs no introduction. This year’s To Be Still has seen the folk star recording and touring with a full band – very much a family affair with her boyfriend on bass and father on guitar – giving the stripped back, haunting folk of 2007’s re-released The Pirate’s Gospel a fuller sound, easing more comfortably into the Americana aspects of her work. While her recent (and overdue) performance on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’ last month covered material from this third opus, attention surrounding the Alela & Alina EP has been eager to say the least, owing in part to its collaborative nature with newcomer Alina Hardin, who has been accompanying Diane on tours for some time now.

Their pairing has its roots in their hometown of Nevada City, where Alela attended school with Hardin’s older sister. Years on, as Diane recently divulged in an interview with us, a very demure Hardin approached her with some songs she’d penned, efforts which won the artist over immediately. She began her work with Alela as a touring backup singer, but Hardin’s voice complimented the headliner’s so well that each show found her stepping closer to stage centre, a timid walk that eventually culminated in this six-song EP, a blend of covers, collaborations and solo-scored numbers by both women. The result is an absolute pleasure, tailoring the skills of both the established star and her fledgling counterpart into a seamless, complementary blend of fresh folk magic.

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last.fm listening stats: week #38
September 29, 2009, 12:11 pm
Filed under: stuff 'n nonsense | Tags: , , ,

lastfm_aleladiane

Got a last.fm account? Join the Wears The Trousers listening group here. We’ll be publishing details of what members are listening to every week throughout the year.

Week ending 27/09/09

Unique to the group

01 Alela Diane (-)
02 Tori Amos (-)
03 Ane Brun (-)
04 Alessi’s Ark (-)
05 Neko Case (-)
06 Bat For Lashes (5)
07 Kristin Hersh (-)
08 Marissa Nadler (-)
09 Regina Spektor (-)
10 Sarah Blasko (10)

Overall charts

01 Tori Amos (6)
02 Regina Spektor (2)
03 Bat For Lashes (1)
04 Yeah Yeah Yeahs (7=)
05 Radiohead (4)
06= Neko Case (-)
06= Cat Power (3)
08= Fiona Apple (-)
08= Kate Bush (7=)
08= Lykke Li (-)

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This week’s stats are based on the compulsive habits of 263 listeners.



free music friday: alela diane & alina hardin
September 25, 2009, 9:15 am
Filed under: free music friday, mp3, review | Tags: , , , ,

wie_aleladiane3Alela Diane & Alina Hardin
‘Bowling Green’

When Alela Diane spoke to Wears The Trousers a few weeks ago, we quizzed her all about her upcoming EP with touring partner Alina Hardin (out October 5th), from which preview track ‘Bowling Green’ is lifted. In a nutshell, here’s what we learnt: the six songs were all recorded in just two days, in Portland, Oregon, between tours, using only six- and twelve-string acoustic guitars and basic home production, and is the first time they’ve worked up proper songs together. ‘Bowling Green’ is not a cover of The Everly Brothers’ 1970s country-rock hit previously covered by Neko Case on her 1997 album The Virginian; rather, it’s a much more genteel take on the old-timey folk number popularised by Alice Gerrard and Mike Seeger that’s beautifully spacious, allowing room for both voices to shine. Alina’s airy turn adds levity to Alela’s earthier, accented tones to create a flawless, floaty gem. MP3 after the jump.

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alela diane: song of the travelling daughter
September 2, 2009, 9:54 am
Filed under: feature, words in edgeways | Tags: , , , , ,

Picture 3

words in edgeways with alela diane

With a scuffed and dusty aesthetic straight out of postcolonial American literature, Alela Diane possesses a voice meant to be heard on crackling vinyl, every slight inflection evoking a cinematic description of West Coast windblown grasslands or a distant mountain idyll. It’s a voice that unfurls with mottled purpose; sometimes as steady as the flow of sap through the xylem of a hundred year old sequoia, at other times an almost yodeling cry of lyrical romance, but always filled with nuances, the true depth of which might go unnoticed in this age of electronic, clinical digestion of music.

Alela’s first release on vinyl was the limited edition 10” EP, Songs Whistled Through White Teeth, issued in December 2006 – a swift and low-key addendum to the second pressing of her first ‘proper’ album The Pirate’s Gospel, a label release that, on its third time out, turned the Californian singer-songwriter into a star. Four of these home-recorded songs ended up, in much more orchestrated terms, on this year’s reputation cementing To Be Still, the double LP pressing of which is a thing of crisp and faintly aromatic beauty.

Vinyl purists will no doubt be glad to hear that Alela considers herself among their number, having pretty much ditched CDs altogether and consigned her iPod to tourbus listening. When Wears The Trousers catches up with Alela over the phone from her current home in Portland, Oregon, she’s excited about a new EP she’s put together with touring partner Alina Hardin, a slim, shy, dark-haired girl with an airy tone and songs of a similarly folkloric disposition. Accordingly, it will cater primarily to the wax-faithful while also making waves in the intangible realm of MP3s.

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free music friday: headless heroes

fmf_alelaHeadless Heroes
‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ [Jon Hopkins remix] 

In just two short years Alela Diane has established herself as a firm Wears The Trousers favourite. Her second album The Pirate’s Gospel had us all swooning over her unique take on smalltown Americana, and this year’s To Be Still only confirmed her as a folk talent to be reckoned with. In between she somehow managed to find time to record an album of covers for last year’s Headless Heroes project. Masterminded by Eddie Bezalel and Hugo Nicolson, The Silence Of Love is a themed collection of reinterpretations spanning over 40 years of music released on Names Records. ‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ was originally recorded by recently rediscovered folk singer Linda Perhacs on her 1970 album Parallelograms. This remix comes courtesy of Jon Hopkins, a British born musician and composer who has worked with Coldplay, Imogen Heap, Massive Attack, and Brian Eno, and has a bunch of other recording accolades to his name. A captivating, ethereal number with daydream electro elements, the Diane/Hopkins version of ‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ is an unexpected treat, a worthy remix, and a good introduction to all the projects and artists concerned. MP3 after the jump.

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