wears the trousers magazine

basia bulat: heart of my own (2010)
January 12, 2010, 7:46 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Basia Bulat
Heart Of My Own •••
Rough Trade

With the notable exceptions of ‘honour killing’, ‘collateral damage’ and ‘happy hooker’, there are few phrases which make me want to punch a wall more than ‘citizen of the world’. All the same, it may be a fitting description for Basia Bulat’s Heart Of My Own, an album conceived and born during her extensive travels across the sparsely beautiful Yukon and the Nevada desert, as well as Europe and Australia. The result is an album whose passport is packed with stamps of influence: full of drums which roll like prairie hills and strings which sweep as majestically as a mountaintop panorama, mingled in with borrowed choirs, a dash of Balkan spirit and the itching bluegrass of someone else’s homeland.

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30 albums you need to hear this spring (I)

part two part three

January is a month for looking forward as well as back. So while we are in the process of revealing our top 100 albums of the 2000s, this week we’ll also be taking a look at the 30 albums we are most excited about this Spring, in release date order. The new decade is getting off to a solid start as some familiar faces return and new ones jostle for recognition.

In part one, we look at new releases from Scout Niblett, Beach House, Basia Bulat, Chew Lips, First Aid Kit, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Patty Griffin, Husky Rescue, Laura Veirs and Corinne Bailey Rae.

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free music friday: basia bulat
September 25, 2009, 11:57 am
Filed under: free music friday, mp3, review | Tags: , , ,

fmf_basiabulatBasia Bulat
‘Gold Rush’

We meant to post this for last week’s Free Music Friday but the weekend was upon us before we knew it, and who wants free music on a Saturday? Oh, right, you. Well, sorry. Anyway, if you haven’t heard already, January 2010 will mark the welcome return of Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat, whose debut album Oh, My Darling was high up on our year-end faves back in 2007. Her new album Heart Of My Own was once again recorded at Montreal’s famous Hotel2Tango studios under the watchful eye of Howard Bilerman, and was largely written during her extensive touring. Indeed, some of these songs she’s been playing out for nearly two years, and you can download a couple of radio performances of those below. But we’ve also got the proper studio version of preview track ‘Gold Rush’ for you. If it’s not quite as euphoric as last year’s single ‘In The Night’, it’s just as full and energetic, with Basia’s sweet, reedy vocals leading the charge of swirling strings, banjo and cantering drums. And check out those backing vocals. Lovely lovely lovely. MP3 after the jump.

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where’s the gigs: the slits, micachu, basia bulat


The Slits (or at least a band resembling them) release new album Trapped Animal, their first full-length in over 25 years, on October 20th through Narnack Records. Following their recent headlining gig at Offset Festival, the band hit the road early next month for a 10-date UK tour. Expect mayhem.

07.10.09 Arts Centre, Colchester
08.10.09 Korova, Liverpool
09.10.09 Ifor Bach, Cardiff
10.10.09 Concorde 2, Brighton
11.10.09 The Corporation, Sheffield
12.10.09 Deaf Institute, Manchester
13.10.09 Stereo, Glasgow
14.10.09 Rainbow, Birmingham
15.10.09 Talking Heads, Southampton
16.10.09 ULU, London

* * *

Micachu & The Shapes are also jogging round the country at the same time. Catch them at the following venues:

07.10.09 Nation Of Shopkeepers, Leeds
08.10.09 Deaf Institute, Manchester
09.10.09 Captain’s Rest, Glasgow
10.10.09 Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
12.10.09 Audio, Brighton
13.10.09 Arts Centre, Norwich
14.10.09 Fiddlers, Bristol
15.10.09 Scala, London 

* * *

Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat is currently putting the finishing touches to her second album, rumoured to be out by the end of the year, and will be dropping by London for a one-off date at Cafe OTO on November 25th. Also appearing at Cafe OTO in November is psych-folk mistress Josephine Foster. She’ll make her first UK appearance in quite some time with a one-off show on the 14th.

* * *

Alan Pedder

EPs of the year: readers poll results (part III of V)

EPs of the year: #15–11


Mara Carlyle
Ancient & Modern EP

Released: June 2008

Eclectic is a horrible word, ungainly in its pronunciation and far too often shoehorned into reviews, and certainly unsuited to a talent like Mara Carlyle. Ancient & Modern is variegated. It’s a mosaic of iridescent splendour, a miscellany of wonder. Co-produced with Emilíana Torrini and Hot Chip cohort Dan Carey, the EP runs the gamut of history in the fashion we’ve come to expect of Carlyle, from 16th Century secular madrigals to modern urban pop reworkings via the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In a word, it’s magical [full review].

iTunes £1.99



Basia Bulat
In The Night EP
Rough Trade

Released: February 2008

Basia Bulat’s 2007 debut Oh, My Darling may have missed out on this year’s Polaris Prize – the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury – but we bloody loved it. This follow-up EP rejigs the formula with marching rhythms, a fuller band sound and a more confident vocal performance. Not quite convinced by the extended version of album opener ‘Before I Knew’, but the title track and Sam Cooke cover ‘Touch The Hem Of His Garment’ made this a worthwhile purchase.

iTunes £2.37



Anni Rossi
Afton EP

Released: October 2008

Listening to Afton provides something of a skimmed psychoanalysis of a lady with quick fingers and hazy consciousness. Described as a viola pop wunderkind, Anni Rossi dips into mountain rivets of obscure Americana both vocally and metaphorically. Like a ventriloquist, she may be the voice of her puppet but the viola is still the centre of attention, the stringed friend on her shoulder twittering as brilliantly as her vocal assault is disarming. Afton may be difficult to grasp but it clearly has its fans [full review].

FREE MP3: Anni Rossi, ‘Wheelpusher

iTunes £4.74



Slow Club
Let’s Fall Back In Love EP
Moshi Moshi

Released: August 2008

Sheffield duo Slow Club were one of the best finds of the year and it’s great to see this EP getting so much love. With Moshi Moshi labelmates Tilly & The Wall not quite delivering the goods with their latest album, Let’s Fall Back In Love arrived as a stompy, silly and cheery reprieve from glossier summertime fare. Recalling a less scatologically obsessed Moldy Peaches, guitarist Charles and percussionist Rebecca are purveyors of a noise that’s both big and clever. Unpredictable rhythms and frenetic strumming collide beneath strong and characterful vocals full of entertaining interplay.

iTunes £4.74



Cat Power
Dark End Of The Street EP

Released: December 2008

We didn’t have a great deal of positive things to say about this EP of leftover covers from the Jukebox sessions, which admittedly we didn’t find much joy in either, but we haven’t given up on Cat Power just yet. Neither have you it seems, as Dark End Of The Street received a sizable chunk of votes despite only being on general release for two days before the polls closed [full review].

iTunes £4.74

trouser press: amanda palmer, the bird & the bee and more

in today’s trouser press:

– Amanda Palmer gets run over in Belfast, plays on
– the future of The Bird & The Bee is not just about Ray Guns
– indie rock royalty auction off signage for charity
– big band singer Connie Haines dies
– Polaris Prize goes to none of the people we wanted to win
– new Serena Ryder album details
– Madonna fined £135k for being tardy
– Mindy McCready starts 60-day jail sentence
– three decades on, Labelle are back!
– Lederhosen Lucil is… Krista Muir
– Enya to release “a broader seasonal album”
– Céline gets the essential and ultimate essential treatment

* * *

Who killed Amanda Palmer? No one, but if you’ve ever doubted that she’s one tough cookie then cease your disbelief now. The punk cabaret artist went ahead and played a gig for young fans in Belfast on Sunday night despite having a rather nasty accident with a moving car earlier in the day that left her with a broken toe and three broken metatarsals in her right foot. After spending the afternoon in Belfast City Hospital she hobbled over to Auntie Annie’s on crutches so as not to disappoint her fans.

“I had an accident today,” she said while on stage at the venue. “I did what most stupid Americans do and walked on the wrong side of the road and ended up getting run over…I have to say I’m very grateful for the free healthcare that you have in Northern Ireland. This is the first show I’ve played where I’m completely on drugs.”

The accident wraps up a week full of dramas for the singer after her Dresden Dolls bandmate Brian Viglione confirmed the band’s ‘demise’ through a posting on their official forum. Apparently she wasn’t expecting that. Amanda’s post on the whole mess makes for insightful and thought-provoking reading. 

* * *

That Inara George just can’t sit still for a minute. In the 18 months since the first Bird & The Bee album, her ongoing collaboration with in-demand songwriter/producer Greg Kurstin has sprouted two EPs of all-new songs – 2007’s Please Clap Your Hands and this year’s One Too Many Hearts – and she’s only just released her second solo album, An Invitation, a richly orchestrated collaboration with family friend Van Dyke Parks. As someone who has been known to work on three different releases at once we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that there’s a new Bird & The Bee album coming out in the not too distant future (January, to be precise). It’s called Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future, for reasons I am sure will become perfectly clear at some point. Is it me or are they slowly morphing into The Avengers? Anyway, the 14-song album only pinches two EP songs (‘Birthday’ and ‘Polite Dance Song’); the rest are brand new.

Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
01 Fanfare
02 My Love
03 Diamond Dave
04 What’s In The Middle
05 Ray Gun
06 Love Letter To Japan
07 Meteor
08 Baby
09 Phil
10 Polite Dance Song
11 You’re A Cad
12 Witch
13 Birthday
14 Lifespan Of A Fly

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trouser shorts: björk, tegan & sara and more

The long-awaited video for the Björk/Antony duet ‘Dull Flame Of Desire’ finally emerged from the darkness of the cutting room yesterday and, well, it’s not quite what we were expecting, but then it rarely is with Björk. The video is divided into three parts, each created by a different director, who you may remember were hand-selected by Björk from the hundreds of entrants in the ‘Innocence’ video contest run earlier this year. Christoph Jantos from Berlin, Masahiro Mogari from Tokyo, and Marçal Cuberta Junca from Girona were the lucky few, and this is how their bits were stitched together:

Great idea in theory, but in practice…well, what do you think? The limited edition packs for ‘Dull Flame Of Desire’ are in the shops from next week.

* * *

Maybe it’s just my ears playing up but I’m sure that when twin sisters Tegan & Sara were in town last they said they were going to disappear for a while to concentrate on their next album. We definitely weren’t expecting this sweet and simple new video for ‘Call It Off’, the third single to be taken from latest full-length The Con, in which the duo riff on the telecoms interpretation of ‘call’ by wrapping poor Tegan up in a web of colourful telephone cords. Cute.

* * *

Other videos we’ve been liking this week:

‘The Pilgriming Vine’, the latest single from the increasingly lovable Basia Bulat

El Perro Del Mar’s excellent ‘Glory To The World’

Ladyhawke and friends’ homemade alternative clip for latest single ‘Dusk Till Dawn’

and ‘Up’, the new single from hotly tipped British girlband The Saturdays

* * *

Alan Pedder