Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: chris catchpole, lali puna, our inventions
Sailing on in after a five-year hiatus with a track of electro loveliness comes Lali Puna, Valerie Trebeljahr and Notwist frontman Markus Acher’s four-piece from Weilheim, Germany. Their previous three albums were a little more edgy and abrasive than the forthcoming Our Inventions, which seems to herald a lighter, more wistful feel to their music. Downloadable below is a preview track from said album entitled ‘Remember’, in which Valerie asks “Will you remember me?” as though afraid of the answer. Lali Puna’s is a strange sort of indie electro, all hushed vocals and a looped soundtrack of flickering beats, the tone set firmly on the danceable side of nostalgia. ‘Remember’ has the feel of Broadcast or Black Box Recorder and sets listeners up rather nicely for the release of Our Inventions in April. MP3 below the jump.
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: chris catchpole, kristin hersh, throwing muses
‘Sunray Venus’ [demo]
Back in 2003, Kristin Hersh announced that the tour of that year was intended to be Throwing Muses final outing for the forseeable future, and while they have played live somewhat sporadically since, there has been no new output for the Muses, either live or recorded. But this week something special happened; a letter appeared on the band’s website, written by Hersh in her typically direct tone, announcing a potential new release. The letter is a lovely read, and takes forward some of the things that Kristin told Wears The Trousers in an interview in November 2008, specifically that Throwing Muses songs have been hanging around bothering their author for ages. “Songs don’t care how much studio time you can afford, though; they just keep singing themselves at you,” she writes. “And I know a Muses song when I hear it: intricate and dynamic, they’re easy to spot. When one came to me, I would learn it and then put it away.”
It seems that now is the time for Kristin and co. to unpack these hidden songs and share them with their ever-faithful fanbase. The band are hoping to release an album through CASH Music, the project that Kristin and ex-L7 frontwoman Donita Sparks set up in order to allow under-funded musicians to raise money in a non-profit format to finance releases. It’s a superb idea that has worked well for Kristin in particular, and the fans who subscribe to her ‘Strange Angels’ project, who get exclusive downloads, gig tickets and special content in return for their contributions. This will be the first time that a Throwing Muses record will have been funded this way and the project is still in its early days. As Kristin states, “Bernie and Dave are hearing these songs for the first time [online], when they’re posted, and will be working out their parts long distance, Bernie in Seattle and Dave in Rhode Island. I’m in New Orleans, of course, so we definitely have some details to iron out, but for now, we’re just thrilled to be thrilled again. There’s nothing we love more than working.”
Filed under: feature, special | Tags: aimee mann, albums of the decade, alex ramon, amy winehouse, beth gibbons, bjork, camille, cat power, charlotte richardson andrews, chris catchpole, diane cluck, fiona apple, goldfrapp, joanna newsom, lisa germano, loria near, mavis staples, MIA, neko case, nina nastasia, patty griffin, peaches, pj harvey, regina spektor, rhian jones, robbie de santos, rod thomas, shannon wright, terry mulcahy, the knife, tomas slaninka, tori amos, wears the trousers magazine, yeah yeah yeahs
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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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.
Filed under: feature, special | Tags: alan pedder, albums of the decade, alela diane, alex ramon, anais mitchell, ane brun, ani difranco, bat for lashes, bjork, broadcast, charlotte richardson andrews, chris catchpole, feist, fever ray, florence and the machine, gillian welch, hildur guðnadóttir, hope sandoval, jenny lewis, joan as police woman, kate bush, katy knight, kristin hersh, laura marling, marissa nadler, martha wainwright, portishead, rhian jones, robyn, rod thomas, shelby lynne, st vincent, the innocence mission, the warm inventions, the watson twins, tomas slaninka, wears the trousers magazine
Here’s the third part of our albums of the decade countdown, running from #50–26.
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[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.
Filed under: feature, special | Tags: afrirampo, alan pedder, albums of the decade, alex ramon, au revoir simone, carina round, charlotte richardson andrews, chris catchpole, hanne hukkelberg, invincible, josephine foster, laura veirs, leila, mariza, marnie stern, múm, meshell ndegeocello, metric, mika miko, mirah, missy elliott, nellie mckay, shiina ringo, stina nordenstam, tegan and sara, the cardigans, the indelicates, trevor raggatt, trey cregan, vivian girls, wears the trousers magazine, yo! majesty, yoko ono
As other people have already noted, among the rash of lists proclaiming the best albums and artists of the ’00s, the majority all had one thing in common: a distinct and depressing lack of albums by solo female artists and by female-fronted bands. We had anticipated a representation rate of between 20% and 30%, but it turned out to be even lower. NME and Rolling Stone awarded a lousy 12–15% of spots to women, and even Paste magazine, who often champion many of the artists Wears The Trousers holds dear, could barely scrape 14%.
In mid-November, eight Wears The Trousers writers and editors gathered around a table at the Candid Arts Centre in Islington, where we spent a long afternoon debating the 300+ nominations for albums of the decade gathered from all our contributors. More than six hours later, we had come up with a rough outline of the 100 albums we thought were worthy of championing. Inevitably, some painful sacrifices were made, evident in the fact that only three artists were permitted to have two entries in the list, and some additional fine tuning was required.
This week, we’ll at last be counting down those 100 albums, 25 at a time. Here are albums #100–76. Voice your agreement/disagreement/outrage in the comment box if you please.
Filed under: feature, special | Tags: alan pedder, alela diane, bat for lashes, best of 2009, charlotte richardson andrews, chris catchpole, fever ray, florence and the machine, john parish, neko case, pj harvey, regina spektor, soap&skin, st vincent, yeah yeah yeahs
At last, here are the ten albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Happy New Year from all at Wears The Trousers!
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To Be Still
[Names; February 2009]
What we said then: “To Be Still is the kind of album that communicates directly with the hindbrain, directing you to the nearest couch, bed or convenient corner; once there, your instructions are to daydream, to ruminate through long-forgotten memories, or just to stare off into the middle distance… Alela Diane is truly the real thing: a singer-songwriter of immense talent, overflowing with creative ideas and real vision.” ••••½ Scott Sinclair
What we say now: She’s come a long way from the low-budget days of her early self-released albums Forest Parade and the later-reissued masterpiece The Pirate’s Gospel, and we’re thrilled to see Alela Diane finally breaking even and earning her dues. To Be Still saw Alela move away from the sparse folk of earlier efforts to a fuller band sound, a successful evolution that helped her transition from underground acclaim to more mainstream pastures, as evidenced in her well-received slot on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’. A bold and beautiful effort.
Download: ‘The Alder Trees’, ‘The Ocean’, ‘White As Diamonds’
The Fame Monster ••••½
With such a secure and almost instant grip on pop music culture, it’s hard to believe that it was just over a year ago that the world at large got its first taste of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, slightly better known by her alias Lady Gaga. Critics and music lovers alike have been sent into a spin over whether Lady G of The Haus Of Gaga is to be despised, tolerated or worshipped, and even whether she is in fact a he (a debate which can be traced back to a certain YouTube clip involving a motorcyle and a low cut dress); everyone has an opinion to share. Thankfully what we have here is more than just a case of another singing clotheshorse: Gaga’s debut album The Fame has sold by the bucketload, and her singles, videos and public image have thoroughly savaged pop music like a pitbull in a fright wig wearing 12” Alexander McQueen heels.