wears the trousers magazine


mattel announce ‘ladies of the 80s’ barbie range

271009_mattelIcons turned into tiny-waisted toys

Mattel, the brand behind anorexia’s poster girl Barbie, have recently announced their latest disempowering line, Ladies Of The ’80s. Released just in time to hit those Christmas shopping baskets, the range includes Debbie Harry and Joan Jett, who go on sale in December, and Cyndi Lauper who goes out in January, presumably because she’s ‘Good Enough’ to compete with all January sales items. Barbra Streisand will also have a mini-me doll out in November, though she’s not officially part of the range. True to form, Mattel have managed to turn these beautiful, iconic women into unrealistically proportioned, inert lumps of vinyl, a process that reduces their careers and achievements to disposable playthings in one fell swoop, undoubtedly aimed at young girls who would benefit more from the gift of a real guitar rather than the miniature, plastic one that Jett’s emaciated figure is accessorised with.

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barbra streisand: love is the answer (2009)
October 12, 2009, 9:33 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , , ,

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Barbra Streisand
Love Is The Answer •••½
Columbia

Love Is The Answer is the product of a partnership between Barbara Streisand and acclaimed Canadian jazz star Diana Krall. Given both artists’ pulling power, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the album debuted at #1 in the US Billboard chart, giving Streisand a new record of five decades in which she has scored a chart-topping album, and subsequently soared to the top of the UK countdown this weekend. Fans were bound to welcome the album, having waited four years since Streisand’s last outing, Guilty Too, which saw her rejuvenate her multi-platinum selling 1980 collaboration with The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb. Since Guilty Too was a firmly (and, perhaps, disappointingly) mainstream album, a return to Streisand’s jazzy, stagey roots makes for a welcome addition to her extensive discography.

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trouser shorts: madonna, nerina pallot, dirty projectors

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US website Examiner.com revealed yesterday that Madonna’s long-expected new ‘greatest hits’ album (effectively a severance deal following her move to a 360º contract with LiveNation after 25 years with Warner Brothers) will be titled Iconography. They cite September 22nd as a possible release date, and say that three new songs will be included. Rumoured titles for these are ‘Broken’, ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Celebrate’. 

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that Madonna recently topped Forbes’s annual list of top-earning musicians with a reported $110 million in profits earned between June 2008 and June 2009 off the back of last year’s Hard Candy and the still ongoing Sticky & Sweet tour. Céline Dion and Beyoncé rounded out the top 3, earning $100 million and $87 million in profits, respectively. Full list below.

01 Madonna $110 million
02 Céline Dion $100 million
03 Beyoncé Knowles $87 million
04 Bruce Springsteen $70 million
05 Kenny Chesney $65 million
06= Coldplay $60 million
06= Rascal Flatts $60 million
06= AC/DC $60 million
09 The Eagles $55 million
10 Toby Keith $52 million
11 Bon Jovi $50 million
12 Dave Matthews Band $45 million 

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Nerina Pallot is reportedly following in the footsteps of Emilíana Torrini by writing songs for the next Kylie Minogue album. As hinted in the tabloids this week, it seems that Nerina has contributed at least one song, ‘Better Than Today’, to the upcoming album, with more to come. Kylie has also recruited Girls Aloud/Saint Etienne production team Xenomania for six or seven songs. A ‘source’ told The Sun: “Kylie wants to come back with a bang. Her last album, X, sold quite well but it wasn’t the triumphant return to form many people hoped for. By working with Xenomania she hopes she can create a really coherent album which will connect her right back to the pop market.”

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Dirty Projectors gave us all a bit of a scare on Tuesday night when their tour van was involved in a serious collision just outside of Detroit as the band were on their way to a gig in Toronto, even flipping on to its side. Despite rumours that one of the band was “in a serious condition”, all concerned were in fact discharged from hospital soon afterwards and took themselves off home to New York to recover. The only casualty then was the band’s Canadian dates, which had to be cancelled.

The band will be over in the UK & Ireland in September. See them here:

11.09.09 End Of The Road Festival, Dorset
12.09.09 Bestival, Isle Of Wight
13.09.09 Scala, London
16.09.09 Whelan’s, Dublin 

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Marina & The Diamonds posted the new Rankin-directed video for much-blogged track ‘I Am A Robot’ on YouTube yesterday. The song is the lead track from the Greek/Welsh artist’s new digital EP, The Crown Jewels, released on Monday (June 29th) through Neon Gold Records. Body paint fans rejoice.

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Jesca Hoop and Simone White will play a one-off gig together on June 30th at the Garage in Islington, London, at a night put together by Uncut magazine. Tickets are on sale now. Jesca will be playing at Glastonbury on Saturday, with appearances scheduled at Hyde Park’s Wireless Festival on July 4th and new London riverside venue Tamesis Dock on July 15th. 

Simone, whose second album Yakiimo was released this week, also has some other dates coming up. Catch her at the following venues:

01.07.09 Start The Bus, Bristol
03.07.09 The Band Room, North York Moors
05.07.09 Freebutt, Brighton
06.07.09 12 Bar Club, London 

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Anyone who has seen Ane Brun perform with her trio of ‘Diamonds’ will be familiar with Jennie Abrahamson, a successful singer-songwriter in her own right. The Swedish artist’s second album, While The Sun’s Still Up & The Sky Is Bright, will be released in Scandinavia on September 16th. Watch the video for recent single ‘Late Night Show’ below:

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Seventies rock legends Heart are in the middle of recording a new studio album, their first since 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling. Guitarist Nancy Wilson told Billboard.com that she and sister Ann were working with producer Ben Mink (kd lang, Barenaked Ladies), and that the album was taking shape organically. “We’re recording with just a real woodshed, small acoustic element, people playing together at the same time and (in) the same room – like what they used to call a hootenanny,” she said. “There’s no ProTools feel to it at all. We’re just sitting around playing guitars together and going for a performance that is on the spot.” Song titles include ‘Hey You’ and ‘Closer’.

The Wilson sisters are also planning to release a children’s book inspired by the band’s 1978 album Dog & Butterfly. “Ann pretty much did the writing, and I kind of was her editor,” Nancy explains. “She made the initial drawings of the dog and I did the butterfly. She drew the characters, mostly, and I painted them. And then we had an artist come in and kind of fill in some of the other designs ’cause we’re kind of busy right now. It looks really good. It’s really simple.” The book will come with a CD that includes new versions of ‘Dreamboat Annie’ and ‘Dog & Butterfly’. 

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The previously reported collaboration between Canadian jazz artist Diana Krall and Barbra Streisand now has a name and a release date. Out on September 28th on Columbia Records, Love Is The Answer will be Barbra’s first new studio material since 2005’s Guilty Pleasures and “presents the artist as a cabaret and jazz singer of emotional clarity, depth and maturity.”

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Cher is to appear in her first major film role since 1999’s ‘Tea With Mussolini’ in upcoming musical flick ‘Burlesque’, which will also star Christina Aguilera. Cher will play retired dancer Tess who runs a declining neo-burlesque club and acts as a mentor to Christina’s character. Incredibly, it will mark her first silver screen appearance in which she’ll use those famous pipes. The film starts shooting in November with first-time writer/director Steven Antin leading the way.

Not to be outdone by her former rival Christina, Britney Spears is apparently in talks to star as the female lead in time travel/World War II drama ‘The Yellow Star Of Sophia & Eton’. She would play the titular Sophia who “creates a time machine and travels back to World War II where she meets a Jewish man called Eton at a concentration camp.” [source: National Ledger] Stranger things have happened I suppose!

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Alan Pedder




trouser shorts: patty griffin, shawn colvin, deerhoof

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Patty Griffin is rumoured to be recording (or planning to record) a new gospel-influenced album in a church with good friend Buddy Miller on production duties. The follow-up to 2007’s Children Running Through is expected to be out later this year. Before then, the pair head out on a short US tour with Buddy’s wife Julie Miller and Shawn Colvin as a preview of the Millers’ upcoming collaborative album – their first to be attributed to both spouses since 2001’s self-titled album – Written In Chalk, which features Patty on ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ and ‘Chalk’, and Emmylou Harris on a cover of Leon Payne’s ‘The Selfishness In Man’. It’s out on March 3rd in the US; UK release unconfirmed. Find out more here.

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Shawn has an album coming out too – an as-yet-untitled live collection, her first in a 20-year solo recording career – and is currently writing fresh material for the follow-up to 2006’s These Four Walls. That album may hit the shops by the end of 2009 if we’re lucky. She’s also in the middle of writing her memoirs, to be published by Collins in 2010, which she says will be a natural extension of the intimate, personal and often hilarious stories that she weaves into her live shows.

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Lovable strangelings Deerhoof are set to release an iTunes exclusive live EP on February 3rd, featuring versions of ‘The Tears & Music Of Love’, ‘Blue Cash, ‘Buck & Judy’, ‘Makko Shobu’, ‘Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back’ and ‘Milk Man’. Just one song from Apple O’ then. Speaking of ‘Buck & Judy’, a new animated video for the song premiered yesterday on the BLURT website.

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More video goodness, this time embeddable, this is the video for the new Emmy The Great single, ‘First Love’, the title track of her long-awaited debut album, out February 9th. Right now, if you pre-order the album from the Rough Trade webshop, you can get an exclusive edition featuring a bonus disc of acoustic performances of some of the album tracks. The single is out on February 23rd.

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Speaking of Rough Trade exclusives, if you pre-order the new Alela Diane album, To Be Still (out February 16th), you get a 12-track bonus disc called Calm As The Owl Glides: Songs For Stillness featuring songs by other artists handpicked by Alela herself, including tracks by Mariee Sioux, Cat Power, Karen Dalton, Kate Wolf, Fairport Convention and Jackson C Frank. Here’s the link.

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Lastly, here’s a bit of a hit out of leftfield. Diana Krall and her band are producing the new Barbra Streisand album – her 63rd! Completion of the as-yet-untitled album is due any day now and may be packaged and promoted in time for a May release. Diana and Barbra have recorded a duet – inevitably – and some of the songs will feature a full orchestra.

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Alan Pedder




trouser press: sarah mclachlan, shirley manson and more

in today’s trouser press:

– Sarah McLachlan splits with husband, writes new songs about it
– Shirley Manson debuts in Terminator spinoff, records new songs
– Tori Amos writes foreword for Nemi comic anthology
– newly curated all-female Christmas album out next month 
– Nicole Atkins covers Mama Cass, The Doors and more
– former Sneaker Pimps singer Kelli Ali returns
– Beyoncé announces release date for third solo album
– Barbra Streisand and Gina Gershon take on Sarah Palin
– Gabriella Cilmi dominates ARIA nominations
– Estelle up for five MOBOs 

* * *

Sarah McLachlan has revealed that she is separating from her husband of 11 years, Ashwin Sood, with whom she has two daughters. Talking to Billboard.com she said, “I wasn’t planning on saying anything, but it’s gonna come out at some point. I haven’t said anything about it because I’ve been terrified to, but I figure…there’s no good time to say it, so I just said it.”

She also revealed that the two new songs on her upcoming greatest hits album, Closer: The Best Of Sarah McLachlan, directly relate to the separation. New single ‘U Want Me 2′ she says is “about that really uncertain, confusing place at the end of a relationship when there’s no communication or closure, everything’s still up in the air and there’s a lot of anger and sadness. It’s sort of that working through ‘How do we move forward…with some dignity and grace.” The other new song, ‘Don’t Give Up’, she describes as “pretty self-explanatory, basically just a plea to give it another chance and keep trying.”

Closer is released on October 6th in single-disc and 2CD deluxe versions and Sarah hopes to have an album of new material out within the next 2 years.

‘U Want Me 2′

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