wears the trousers magazine


free music friday: anaïs mitchell
February 12, 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: , , , ,

Anaïs Mitchell
‘Flowers (Eurydice’s Song)’

We’ve been harping on about Anaïs Mitchell’s new album Hadestown for well over a year now, so it’s with great pleasure that we’re finally able to bring you a freebie from it. It’s worth reiterating first that this project was originally conceived and performed as a stage musical based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, retelling the tale from the perspective of a commercially exploited Depression-era mining town seen through a vintage futurism lens. It then took on a life of its own in the recording studio with a hugely impressive cast of characters. With Greg Brown as Hades, King of the Underworld, Ani DiFranco as his wife Persephone, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver as Orpheus, Anaïs as Eurydice, The Low Anthem’s Ben Knox Miller as the messenger Hermes, the original Hadestown cast as the Chorus, and Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden (aka The Haden Triplets) as the Fates, Hadestown has come a long way from its humble beginnings, and it’s definitely an album that demands to be heard in one sitting.

In ‘Flowers (Eurydice’s Song)’ – the only solo Anaïs track on the album – we find Eurydice in the throes of a deep regret, having been lured into Hadestown on the promise of a better life. Here she pines for the natural beauty of the world outside the walls of the industrial hell of Hadestown (“Flowers, I remember fields of flowers / soft beneath my heels / walking in the sun”), and for her husband Orpheus. Beautifully orchestrated by Michael Chorney, it’s magical stuff. MP3 after the jump.

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anaïs mitchell & erin mckeown: live at the luminaire 23/01/10

Anaïs Mitchell / Erin McKeown
The Luminaire, London ••••½
January 23, 2010

She’s done it again. Almost exactly a year to the day that Anaïs Mitchell last stepped off of the Luminaire stage to rapturous applause and ear-splitting whooping, Vermont’s finest export (better even than Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) takes a bow and shyly soaks up the deserved adulation. This time, though, she can’t take all the credit. This evening was made extra special by the presence of Erin McKeown, the petite, dynamo veteran of six studio albums and the latest signing to Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. Aside from offering excellent value for money, this co-headlining tour from the labelmates (or “stablemates”, as they jokingly refer to each other) offers an unprecedented chance to see these two top-tier singer-songwriters play together, collaborating on several of each other’s songs as the set progresses.

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incoming: anaïs mitchell
January 21, 2010, 4:17 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , , ,

Anaïs Mitchell
Hadestown

[Righteous Babe; April 26]

Billed as a “folk opera”, this is one album we’ve been waiting for over three years. Originally conceived as a stage musical, first performed in December 2006 in her home state of Vermont, Anaïs has gradually been refining the narrative of this epic piece of work. Based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Hadestown reimagines the story of Orpheus’s journey to the Underworld to rescue his stricken wife, retelling the tale from the perspective of a commercially exploited Depression-era mining town seen through a vintage futurism lens. Speaking to Wears The Trousers in 2008, Anaïs said, “A lot of the vintage ideas for Hadestown came out of the 1930s. It’s a time that is very evocative for me, I think for the whole folk world, the Dust Bowl and the Depression, and the obviousness of the corruption and exploitation of workers. I think it still goes on now, but it’s less obvious, it’s more globally oriented.”

With this recording starring Greg Brown as Hades, King of the Underworld and “a sadistic wall-building boss-king”, Ani DiFranco as his wife Persephone, portrayed as “the proprietess of a speakeasy”, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver as Orpheus, Anaïs as Eurydice, The Low Anthem’s Ben Knox Miller as the messenger Hermes, the original Hadestown cast as the Chorus, and Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden (aka The Haden Triplets) as the Fates, Hadestown has come a long way from its humble beginnings, its impressive cast really doing Mitchell’s songs and Michael Chorney’s score justice and then some. “It’s beyond belief, hearing these songs come out the mouths of my heroes […] I’m so grateful to the singers for telling this story like they did,” says Anaïs.

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january gig guide

So, January, yeah. Rubbish, isn’t it? Dark, cold, still bloated from Christmas, the annual humiliation of failing to keep your resolutions for longer than a fortnight, nothing to do…wait! Nothing to do? The gig year doesn’t usually heat up properly until March or so but there’s plenty worth seeing. We’ve trawled the listings to pick out something to warm your cockles for every black, freezing night of the month, starting tonight!

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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.

* * *

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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wears the trousers records presents…

artwork

Beautiful Star: The Songs Of Odetta
a benefit compilation curated by Wears The Trousers magazine

released November 30, 2009 (download / limited edition CD)

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marissa nadler week: tribute to odetta

300409_odetta

When legendary folk singer Odetta passed away early last December at the age of 77, the Wears The Trousers editorial team experienced an intense period of mourning, listening obsessively to her vast back catalogue and watching way too many YouTube clips of her finest moments.

During one of these nostalgic immersions we hit upon the idea of curating a tribute album to the great lady, the idea being to get some of our favourite contemporary artists to take on the folk, blues and spiritual traditionals that made up Odetta’s impressive repertoire, with all profits going to women’s charities. We wanted to show that Odetta’s influence stretched far and wide, transcending both race and genres of music.

One of the first people we went to was Marissa Nadler who eagerly signed up and, with a little encouragement, opted to record a version of the gorgeous ‘All My Trials’. While the ins and outs of the final album are still being decided, with a view to a release in August, we’re thrilled to preview Marissa’s contribution as part of our theme week.

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