wears the trousers magazine

best of 2009: readers poll results #20-11

Still counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 20–11 right here.

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Pink Martini
Splendor In The Grass

[Heinz; October 2009]

What we said then: “With Splendor In The Grass, Pink Martini has produced an album which wears its heart, and multiple influences, on its sleeve. Nothing feels out of place here. The recording, production and sequencing are superb, and the performances are exquisite throughout. A beautifully executed record, it is laidback, sweet and life-affirming.” •••• Matt Bregazzi

What we say now: Some canny voting here! This magnificent album from multi-talented collective Pink Martini truly lives up to its title. Blissful moments of pleasure melt into one another as they romp through several decades’ worth of music and popular culture, even securing ‘Sesame Street’ actor Emilio Delgado for a duet cover of The Carpenters’ ‘Sing’. Anyone still in doubt after the album finale that China Forbes possesses one of the most sublime contemporary voices in music really needs new ears. Fact.

Download: ‘New Amsterdam’, ‘Over The Valley’, ‘Sunday Table’

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annie: don’t stop (2009)
October 20, 2009, 10:49 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Don’t Stop •••½
Smalltown Supersound

Before Little Boots and La Roux were even a twinkle in the eyes of music bloggers, Norway’s own electro princess Annie Strand was breaking ground with her fresh-faced blend of dance-friendly, adjectival pop. Her 2004 debut Anniemal got amateur and professional critics alike in a spin, mostly for the sheer likeability of its saccharine-free tunes, sweet but with an undercurrent of Scandinavian melancholy. But while that album’s most prominent tracks ‘Chewing Gum’ and ‘Heartbeat’ continued to air on dancefloors, the album stalled without a string of live performances to give it the required momentum and Annie departed from 679 Recordings, disillusioned but not defeated. Accordingly, the title of Don’t Stop was already something of a manifesto when Annie signed to Island Records to release it last year, only to gain even more significance in the light of her well documented split from that label too. Now with a newly-inked deal with Norwegian cult label Smalltown Supersound, Annie attempts to shrug off the five-year gap between albums with a hip-swaying sashay of emancipation. Quitting was never an option, and the blonde haired, Berlin dwelling artist is finally rolling with her artistic vision battled for and won.

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free music friday: annie
October 16, 2009, 5:46 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: , , ,

‘I Don’t Like Your Band’

After some major stop-start action caused by problems with previous stable Island Records and legal woes that saw her fighting to retain creative control over the songs she recorded while under contract with them, Norway’s top electro popstar is finally ready to release her second album Don’t Stop through cult label Smalltown Supersound. Five years on from her debut Anniemal, Annie has lost none of her ability to churn out refreshingly lively, big-hearted pop tunes. ‘I Don’t Like Your Band’ follows the same club/radio/party friendly dynamics that made her earlier hit ‘Chewing Gum’ so catchy. Cheery, brimming with tongue-in-cheek humour, and impossible not to tap your toes along to, it’s a perfect return to form. Putting her woes behind her, Annie manages to cross both effective, wholesome pop and indie credibility in one swift stroke. And with the rising wave of female electro-pop artists – La Roux, Little Boots et al – the climate seems perfect for the blonde haired, airy-voiced singer to belatedly step back into the fold. MP3 after the jump.

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annie: can’t stop the pop


words in edgeways with annie

Sharp as the horns on a Viking helmet, Norwegian popstar Annie Lilia Berge Strand is far from the bubblegum princess some people might imagine her to be. In the 10 years (!) since she released her first single ‘Greatest Hit’, our colourful friend has been busy redefining the concept of tenacity. Her first album Anniemal was nearly scuppered by the tragic death of her boyfriend and musical partner in 2001, but was eventually completed and released in 2004 through 679 Recordings with promises to make her a star. But despite huge critical acclaim for the album, only one of the singles entered the UK Top 40 and the label lost faith and Annie was out in the cold.

By 2007, she’d picked herself up and inked a new contract with Island Records, but changes in management at the label and a lack of shared vision with the new team meant delay after delay to the release of her second album Don’t Stop. In the end, Annie realised that she’d be better off leaving the label altogether and trying to win back the masters, which she eventually accomplished. Now she’s back with a new version of Don’t Stop that will absolutely-definitely-no-question-about-it be released in November through Norwegian independent Smalltown Supersound.

Wears The Trousers met up with Annie some months before this latest resurgence in her rollercoaster career to get some insight – okay, a LOT of insight – into the world of Annie, the themes behind the album, and how she’s still secretly planning to take over the world. “I’ll just keep going out there,” she grinned. “I’ve probably failed millions of times but I still keep on going. That’s the whole idea behind Don’t Stop. That’s it exactly!” [Be warned – this is long!]

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annie’s old new album coming in november… honest!
August 13, 2009, 9:35 am
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , , ,

261108_annieThere’s just no stopping her

Just when we were starting to think we’d never see the day that Norwegian popstar Annie would finally get to release her second album Don’t Stop, along comes an unlikely partnership with Oslo-based electronica / experimental jazz label Smalltown Supersound that promises to deliver said record into our eager hands on November 17th. Intriguingly, none of Annie’s three most recent singles ‘I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me’, ‘Two Of Hearts’ and ‘Anthonio’ has made the cut of this new set, reworked since the singer departed her former label Island Records. ‘I Can’t Let Go’ and ‘Sweet’ have also been bumped off, while new songs ‘Hey Annie’ and ‘I Don’t Like Your Band’ are to be found in among the familiar titles of ‘My Love Is Better’, ‘Songs Remind Me Of You’ and ‘Marie Cherie’. There’s no word yet on what the first single will be. Watch this space.

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trouser shorts: peaches, the gossip, love is all


In case you need a reminder why Peaches is just so damn well amazing, the Canadian electro-rocker has conveniently posted a mini-documentary recapping her career so far up on her website. Billed as “A Brief History Of Peaches”, the video features several clips from old TV interviews and plenty of performance footage of Ms Nisker in hotpants and knickers. Classic quote: “All of us have sex appeal and all of us feel sexy; it’s not just people who shave every part of their body, with blonde hair and big tits.”

Watch right to the end and you’ll catch a glimpse of what’s to come when the new Peaches album, I Feel Cream, is released on May 4th.

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As tattle tale goes, this news is so yesterday, but it seems we will have a brand new Gossip album on June 21st. Pointedly titled Music For Men, the band’s fourth album will be their first for major label Columbia. Recorded in Malibu, California, and produced by Grammy-kissed studio boffin Rick Rubin, the album is said to feature, in Beth Ditto’s own words, “a shit-load of love songs”. Speaking to NME.com about the album, she said: “Writing down the tracklisting, we had about 14 songs and seven had the word ‘love’ in the title. I had no idea I was so romantic.”

The first single, ‘Heavy Cross’ will be released on June 15th. Tourdates are coming.

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Fresh from last month’s long overdue UK release of their second album A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, Love Is All have recorded a new covers EP made entirely of classic Swedish pop songs. Bearing the straightforward title Love Is All Play Swedish Covers, it finds the band repeating the formula followed for their Wishing Well +5 tour EP in which each of the five members got to pick one song to record without the input of their bandmates. The EP will be sold in a limited run of 200 copies on the band’s upcoming European tour, packaged with a small fanzine. Taking advantage of the new 10-song Myspace player, you can listen to all five covers here. Currently the band only have two UK dates, both in London:

09.05.09 Proud Galleries, London
10.05.09 The Lexington, London 

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Listen to the new Annie single, ‘Anthonio’, produced by Richard X. Out on May 4th.

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Stevie Nicks is apparently harbouring a desire to form “an all-girl choir” featuring Michelle Branch, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines, she revealed to WWD.com. Currently in the midst of a lengthy US tour with Fleetwood Mac, Stevie also told WWD that she’d like to “do something crazy with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake” and revealed her love for R&B tunes that move her feet. The singer released her first live album in the UK last week; The Soundstage Sessions features 10 (of 18) songs recorded in front of a small audience in Chicago, including a duet with Vanessa Carlton on Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Circle Dance’ and a solo cover of Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Crash Into Me’.

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Alan Pedder

annie’s still not stopping
March 25, 2009, 7:17 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press, video | Tags: , , , , ,

261108_annieNew single coming in May

Lovable Norwegian popstar Annie promised us a brand new single, ‘Ánthonio’, back in January to make up for the all that unfortunate business last year that resulted in her quitting major label Island and vowing to do things her way from then on. That single has finally materialised in the form of a brief snippet via Popjustice, and has an official release date of May 4th. Co-written with Hannah Robinson and producer Richard X, the 12″ vinyl version will be released through Mr X’s newly christened Pleasure Masters label and will feature remixes from Fred Falke, Designer Drugs and Berlin Breakdown.

Writing from her home in Berlin – where a Wears The Trousers contingent has spent the last five days, hence the lack of updates – Annie revealed that she plans to release her many-years-promised, 2008-leaked second album Don’t Stop through her own label, Totally, later this summer (exact date TBA) with an as-yet-unconfirmed, moderately tweaked tracklist. The brilliant ‘My Love Is Better’, originally recorded with backing vox from Girls Aloud, will precede the album release in July and will feature remixes from Justin Robertson and Emperor Machine.

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