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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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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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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last.fm listening stats: week #48
December 8, 2009, 2:43 pm
Filed under: stuff 'n nonsense | Tags: ,

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 06/12/09

Unique to the group

01 Ani DiFranco (2)
02 Marissa Nadler (-)
03 Tori Amos (3)
04 Lisa Hannigan (-)
05 Ane Brun (1)
06 Linda Draper (-)
07 Jesca Hoop (-)
08 Bat For Lashes (-)
09 Martha Wainwright (9)
10 Regina Spektor (-)

Overall charts

01 Regina Spektor (3)
02 Tori Amos (1)
03 Bat For Lashes (-)
04 Radiohead (6=)
05 Metric (-)
06 Yeah Yeah Yeahs (5)
07= Cat Power (8=)
07= Tegan & Sara (8=)
09 Sufjan Stevens (-)
10 Björk (-)

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This week’s stats are based on the compulsive habits of 282 listeners.



free music friday: erin mckeown

020709_erinmckeownErin McKeown
‘Foxes’

After three impressive releases through Nettwerk Records, Virginia-born Erin McKeown has spent the last few years extensively touring the world and putting out nice, if unspectacular, stopgap releases like 2007’s live album Lafayette and last year’s rarities collection Small Deviant Things, Vol. 1. In all then, it’s been four long years since she put out an album of all-original work. That’s about to change. Freshly signed to Ani DiFranco’s label Righteous Babe Records for upcoming album Hundreds Of Lions, it makes perfect sense for Erin to be among their wonderfully diverse stable of artists. ‘Foxes’ is the first track to be lifted from the album, set for release on October 13th. Tight, muted, chopping chords and lo-fi, melodramatic piano notes create a playfully building melodramatic tension, dexterously managed by Erin’s able alto. MP3 after the jump.

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ani difranco working on new album

180708_anidifranco1Really though, when isn’t she?

As she kicks off her latest US tour tonight in New Hampshire, Ani DiFranco will be looking to road test a bunch of new songs intended for her 19th studio album, the follow-up to last year’s Red Letter Year. In addition to the already familiar ‘Promiscuity’, Ani revealed to Billboard.com that she’s focusing her attention on the political climate on some of the songs. Having been in very vocal opposition of the Bush Administration since that fateful day when Florida swung it, it’s inevitable that she would have plenty to say on the election of Barack Obama.

One of those songs, she says, was written the morning after the historical victory and goes by the name of ‘Nov. 4, 2008’. That one will be played every night of the tour, until she wraps up in July and heads into the studio. Another political number is ‘Splinter’, which she describes as “a sunny little groove”, while her personal side comes through on the ballad ‘Albacore’, which she wrote to celebrate her recent marriage to producer Mike Napolitano, father of her two year old daughter Petah.

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last.fm listening stats: week #1
January 16, 2009, 10:29 am
Filed under: stuff 'n nonsense | Tags: , , , ,

lastfm_anidifranco2

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

Week ending 11/01/09

Unique to the group

01 Ani DiFranco
02 My Brightest Diamond
03 Kat Flint
04 Nina Nastasia
05 Heather Nova
06 Sarah Slean
07 Basia Bulat
08 Dar Williams
09 Lisa Germano
10 Ane Brun 

Overall charts

01 Ani DiFranco
02= Radiohead
02= My Brightest Diamond
02= Tori Amos
05 PJ Harvey
06= Fiona Apple 
06= Laura Marling
06= Portishead
06= Björk
10 Fleet Foxes 

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This week’s stats are based on the compulsive habits of 96 listeners.