wears the trousers magazine

wears the trousers albums of the decade #25-1

part onepart twopart three

Here’s the fourth and final part of our albums of the decade countdown, 25 albums so fantastic they should have sold millions (and, lo, some of them did!)…

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Shannon Wright
Maps Of Tacit

[Touch & Go / Quarterstick, 2000]

Distilling everything that was good about her former band Crowsdell and her first album flightsafety, and stripping them of their twee chirpiness and indie-pop sensibilities, Shannon Wright created her finest, and darkest, work in Maps Of Tacit. A multilayered tour de force, the guitar is aggressive without being brash and the creepy, stirring piano swirls with all the innocence and foreboding of a decaying calliope; the overall effect is both intricate and cinematic. Together with some creative use of sampled sounds, dense poetic lyrics and Wright’s alternately silky and caustic vocals, it all adds up to a delightfully chilling labour of love.

Terry Mulcahy

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trouser shorts: jolie holland, annie lennox, rickie lee jones


What do Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Jolie Holland and UK pop icon Annie Lennox have in common? Not much at first glance, perhaps, but apparently both are set to appear on David Gray’s latest album, Draw The Line, duetting with the wobbly headed Mancunian on separate tracks. Jolie crops up on ‘Kathleen’, a song David describes as one of the album’s quieter moments, adding “It’s got some charm to it, that one. It’s just held its own amongst these bigger numbers. Holland’s vocals just lifts the song out. She’s a star; she’s a rare thing.” Annie also gets major props from the singer, who says she “absolutely transformed” album closer ‘Full Steam Ahead’. 

Draw The Line is released on September 21st.

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Rickie Lee Jones has completed her as yet untitled 11th studio album, tentatively pencilled in for a September release. Reunited with producer David Kalish, who worked with Rickie on her 2003 comeback album The Evening Of My Best Day, the record is said to be influenced by everything from Bob Dylan’s band recordings to Appalachian folk and 1960s soul.

Speaking about the album, Rickie says: “It’s songs I wrote over the past 25 years,” she says. “Some of them that didn’t get finished. Sometimes you have to know who you’re talking to when you write your lyric. Finally I knew who I was talking to and was able to finish it.” Working titles include ‘Bonfires In Hell’, ‘Rehab’, ‘The Downtown Serenade’ and ‘Charlotte’s Birthday Suite’ – a song she wrote for her daughter’s 21st birthday.

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The iconic Siouxsie Sioux is set to DJ at London venue Matter on July 4th as part of club night Circus that runs from 10pm to 6am. Hosted by the inescapable Jodie Harsh, the night will also feature sets from Frankmusik, Kissy Sell Out and Dan Gillespie Sells, frontman of The Feeling. More info available at Thisiscircus.com.

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Beth Gibbons is encouraging Portishead fans to join her in participating in the SunWalk, a charity event in Bristol that’s raising money for breast cancer charity Walk The Walk. Kicking off from the grounds of Ashton Court in the city, walkers in the July 5th event can opt to tackle 5, 10 or 21 kilometres in aid of the cause. Find out more here.

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Current Wears The Trousers cover star Ane Brun recently recorded her first live session for the Daytrotter website, who put the files up over the weekend. Download free, exclusive acoustic versions of ‘The Treehouse Song’, ‘The Puzzle’, ‘Changing Of The Seasons’, ‘Linger With Pleasure’ and ‘True Colors’ here. Registration required. Last week’s Anni Rossi session is also well worth listening to while you’re there!

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Yelle have recorded an exclusive French-language cover of Robyn’s ‘Who’s That Girl’ for the iTunes Foreign Exchange series of split digital singles that gets bands from different countries to cover each other’s songs. Robyn returns the favour by transforming Yelle’s ‘A Cause Des Garçons’ into the English-language ‘Because Of Boys’. It looks as though the Robyn song isn’t available in the UK iTunes store just yet, sadly, but the Yelle one is. You can also hear it over on their Myspace. The first instalment of the series, released in May 2007, saw German rockers Wir Sind Helden pair up with US band +44. 

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Most famous internationally for composing the soundtrack to penguin documentary ‘La Marche De L’empereur’ (although her full recordings were limited to the European release), French artist Émilie Simon will follow-up the worldwide release of her compilation The Flower Book with her first album of all-new material since 2006’s Végétal. Released digitally on September 14th and physically on September 21st, the entirely self-penned The Big Machine was recorded in New York with producer Mark Plati (David Bowie, Natalie Imbruglia) and will be preceded with the online-only release of first single ‘Dreamland’ on June 8th. Listen below:

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Alan Pedder

portishead to screen new video in cinemas
December 11, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press, video | Tags: , , , , ,

080708_portisheadCould it be magic?

If you’ve already seen the YouTube clip for the new Portishead single, ‘Magic Doors’, out next week, you might well have switched it off after a minute or two of being bombarded with apparently unconnected images and occasional flashes of the lyrics. I did, but at least it got me to dig out my copy of Third – Uncut magazine’s album of the year – again. As it happens, the band have also made a short film to go along with the single, which could be (a) an extended cut of more mystifying imagery, (b) something that makes sense of the original video or (c) something altogether different, with the YouTube rubbish a cunning, if bizarre, marketing ploy.

We won’t have long to wait to find out, as the ‘Magic Doors’ short is being screened in art-house cinemas nationwide from tomorrow until January. Much like 1994’s ‘To Kill A Dead Man’ spy movie short, ‘Magic Doors’ was made by the band themselves. The full list of cinemas screening the film is below, but you should check with the picturehouses themselves regarding times and such.

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trouser press: portishead, juana molina and more

– Portishead in working-on-new-album shocker
– Juana Molina to release her fifth album in October
– Polaris Music Prize shortlisted nominees announced
– All-star tribute to Judy Collins out in August
– Leonard Cohen’s touring partner Sharon Robinson to release debut album
– Ladyfest Manchester 2008 fundraising compilation goes on sale
– Joanna Newsom and Feist immortalised in a children’s activity book

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Perhaps buoyed by the astonishingly positive reception afforded to their comeback album, Third, Portishead have reportedly begun working on a follow-up. Speaking to BBC 6Music, guitarist Adrian Utley said the band were already “getting a bit of a plan together,” adding that the limited touring behind Third was so that the band could focus on other projects and spend more time with their young families. His bandmate Geoff Barrow had already expressed a desire to write some new tunes in a blog posting in May; Beth Gibbons, as ever, has maintained a dignified silence on the matter.

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