wears the trousers magazine

ruth theodore: white holes of mole hills (2010)
February 2, 2010, 11:45 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Ruth Theodore
White Holes Of Mole Hills ••••
River Rat

Ruth Theodore is a plucker with, yes, pluck. Her cryptically titled second album White Holes Of Mole Hills once again finds her jumping in and out of clever turns of phrase and mastering light licks that send her fingers flying. Theodore is a Southamptonite who writes her life with a rambling set of verses that rhyme almost by coincidence. Her songs are performed in a similar style; half-rhymes littered sparingly and storylines taken seriously, with her breathy voice brushing them into shape. Accompanied by her “guest visitors” – musicians with clarinets, basses, drums, melodicas and a creaky piano accordion – Theodore vocalises beautiful tales of bones, planets, puddings and clocks.

Continue reading

charlotte gainsbourg: IRM (2010)
January 7, 2010, 9:06 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Charlotte Gainsbourg
IRM •••½

Don’t be fooled by the title. IRM isn’t the onomatopoeic version of a cringing sound, although it’s quite likely that Charlotte Gainsbourg was doing just that while undergoing a hospital scan (IRM is the French equivalent of an MRI) that provided the inspiration for this new album, originating from the strange feeling she had while reclining in the machine. Yet the capacity to verbalise and elaborate upon this fascination with the rhythm of the scanner has been almost entirely transferred, in this album, to the notorious Beck Hansen, who produced and wrote the songs for IRM while touting along some skilled musicians for instrumental accompaniment.

Continue reading

rupa & the april fishes: este mundo (2009)
December 15, 2009, 11:23 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Rupa & The April Fishes
Este Mundo •••••

Imagine a wagon loaded with all sorts of rustic paraphernalia: crimson odds and ends, shawls of eye-tickling paisley, dark metal spoons, perhaps a dark infant swaddled and balancing on top of the whole structure and peering around with a curious air. Now watch that wagon move, slowly, carefully, onward, hear it emit strange noises – an axle grinding deeply, gears exhaling, stray bells ringing in the forest. This type of vehicle would perhaps be the most suitable bandwagon for Rupa & The April Fishes. Rupa Marya, the lead “songstress”, had a travelling childhood and pocketed some languages on the way, moving from South Asia to France to America, and now she’s globetrotting again while promoting her band’s second album, Este Mundo. She’s joined by a diverse and equally skilled series of musicians whose instruments range from the accordion to percussive ‘contraptions’. Este Mundo sounds like Lhasa de Sela married to Cirque du Soleil under the watchful gaze of some Black Eyes (not Peas, no, but Les Yeux Noirs). The music is saboroso – intensely flavourful – like Mayan chocolate with chilli pepper bits melting in your mouth, igniting the listener’s earbuds and burning with zesty richness.

Continue reading

the tiny: gravity & grace (2009)
November 5, 2009, 10:15 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: ,


The Tiny
Gravity & Grace ••••½
The Tiny Music

We bipeds are frequently given to falling down flights of stairs and knocking into balusters, finding ourselves at the bottom with a muddled perspective and a throbbing head. But with their third album Gravity & Grace, The Tiny navigate the art of locomotion in a startlingly balanced manner. Cellist Leo Svensson and bassist Johann Barthling rise and descend the steps of instrumental range, while Ellekari Larsson sings in a voice that sounds tickled by a feather. The lyrics are pronounced in that sterling, silvery way that doesn’t come easily to native English speakers – Larsson, a wispy Swede, allows each word a space shot through with sonorous vocals and the precociousness of someone fingering a foreign language. Eleven songs, all a tad enchanted and fluid, fall upon the listener’s ears like autumn rain as Larsson’s voice vibrates lightly, creating ripples of sound.

Continue reading

a sunny day in glasgow: ashes grammar (2009)
September 23, 2009, 9:03 am
Filed under: album, mp3, review | Tags: , , ,


A Sunny Day In Glasgow
Ashes Grammar •••½
Mis Ojos Discos

The folks down at the Duodecimal Society may have one thing right – baker’s dozens are surely a standard measure, musically speaking (although, in this case, Toklas brownies are probably the goods served in this album’s domain). Ashes Grammar, the second full-length album from Philadelphia-based collective A Sunny Day In Glasgow, docks in at an impressive 22 tracks but can be easily compressed. Even Ben Daniels, a co-founding member, admits that originally the tracklist contained 13 songs; longer songs that some intense editing broke up further. The band itself accommodates all this output with eight members – Daniels, his two twin sisters Robin and Lauren, Josh Meakim, Annie Frederickson, Bryce Hickey, Mich White and the fantastically named Beverly Science – and some electronic software that splices, polishes, trims and cross-links their music together.

Continue reading

george pringle: salon des refusés (2009)
September 7, 2009, 6:57 am
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: , , ,


George Pringle
Salon Des Refusés ••••
Deth To Fals Metal

Georgina Pringle started off her musical career by dropping hints – a single here, an EP there, frequently paired with handmade artwork – trickling forth from a champagne flute of gin and tonic, squeezed out of the nauseous recollection of her experiences and unstoppered nostalgia. Like a mixed drink poured into a strange glass, her music causes lifted eyebrows, glinting eyes, intrigued minds, dancing hands and, eventually, intoxication. Having abandoned guitar and other hefty instruments for a GarageBand application on her Mac, Pringle totes her instrumental accompaniment in the form of an iPod that she plugs in at performances. Once the rhythm starts, she speak-sings lyrics into the microphone, her Oxford accent glazing over words that pour out in a gush of journal-style entries. On Salon Des Refusés (‘exhibition of rejects’), her self-released debut album, Pringle delivers on the promise of the past few years with a dozen stories of desperation, drinking and dried-up desire.

Continue reading

uuvvwwz: uuvvwwz (2009)
August 9, 2009, 11:35 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


Saddle Creek

Yes’m, the band name UUVVWWZ is, at first, quite the shocker – when surveying it with a quick eye and little time, the string of letters brings to mind a union subcommittee searching for a title in the dregs of alphabet soup. But this musical group didn’t aim to produce some wind-up abbreviation. Rather, the name was chosen for its rhythmic purposes and satisfying appearance on the surface of a brown paper bag. For clarification, the band provides a pronunciation guide, “double you double vee double double you zee”, and a convenient, abbreviated double unit, in the form of two Us bending towards each other like a magician’s oversized silver rings. The Nebraska-based band consists of four talented young musicians spinning themselves into something extraordinary: Jim Schroeder slapping and strumming the guitar, Tom Ambroz playing on drums, Dustin Wilbourn stroking the bass and Teal Gardner weaving them together with her vocals.

Continue reading