wears the trousers magazine

warpaint: exquisite corpse (2009)
December 17, 2009, 11:19 am
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Exquisite Corpse [reissue] ••••
Manimal Vinyl

This small album full of long players has so far proven enormously successful for the women of Warpaint. Based out of LA, they’ve generated quite a bit of buzz for a band on their first release, but rest assured, in this case the praise is warranted. Armed with moody hooks and hypnotic melodies, Warpaint seems bent on marching to the beat of their own eerily alluring drum. Originally self-distributed online early this year, and then a few months later on the iTunes store, Exquisite Corpse was recently reissued through Manimal Vinyl, complete with bonus track ‘Krimson’. The success of this second, wider release has finally garnered Warpaint some much deserved thoroughfare, including their recent deal with Rough Trade Records to release a full-length album early next year.

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thao with the get down stay down: know better learn faster (2009)
November 22, 2009, 10:57 am
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Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Know Better Learn Faster •••••
Kill Rock Stars

Know Better Learn Faster, Thao Nguyen’s third full length release, marks her second album recorded with backing band The Get Down Stay Down (Adam and Willis Thompson) and with producer Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Spoon). Fresh off the release of her collaboration with The Portland Cello Project, this album sees an expanding of scope, in terms of both the musical production and the depth of her lyrics, while losing none of her taste for the whimsical. As Nguyen herself said: “The album is named Know Better Learn Faster because you can’t. By the time you realise you should, it’s too late. And I enjoy the predicament and the totally devastating, unfunny humour of that.”

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gliss: devotion implosion (2009)
September 28, 2009, 9:59 am
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Devotion Implosion ••••

Released in the US back in April, this second album from LA-based trio Gliss stays safely within pre-established genre boundaries while creating a stylishly dense and seductive collection of songs. Multi-instrumentalists Victoria Cecilia, Martin Klingman and David Reiss continue their trend of seamlessly trading tools and vocals throughout the album, making for a surprisingly varied yet steady pace. Toe-tapping from start to finish, Devotion Implosion rarely goes too far in either the up or down tempo direction, preferring instead to maintain an air of cool sophistication. The nearly impossible to decipher vocals gently float through the songs like an accompanying instrument, forming the centrepiece of the music rather than anything so conventional as lyrics.

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piney gir: the yearling (2009)
September 21, 2009, 9:37 am
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Piney Gir
The Yearling •••½

Yank turned Brit, Piney Gir tips a hat to her Midwestern upbringing in her latest release, The Yearling. Using her effortless Kansan charm, Piney (real name Angela Penhaligon) spins yarns of relationships and heartbreak with a deceptively cheerful tone. Blessed with a mighty fine voice and compositional chops, her latest effort is, on the whole, a deftly entertaining one. The album, almost twee in tone, is winsome and lovelorn even as it flashes a winning smile. Playfully combining genres and eras, Penhaligon fits in nicely with acts like The Ditty Bops, Madeline Adams, or a twangier version of The Softies. Throughout her career, she has leaned towards the lo-fi or DIY end of things, of which The Yearling is a perfect example; here, production duo ‘The Age Of Reason’ enlist the use of creaky doors, tupperware containers and even bees to help create the various textures.

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the xx: xx (2009)
August 17, 2009, 9:14 am
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The XX
XX ••••
Young Turks / XL

Hailing from southwest London, the four members of The XX may have only just squeaked past their 20th birthdays but their music is honest and perceptive to a level few artists, even those twice their senior, ever manage to reach. Perhaps one reason is the band’s insistence on simplicity; from the lyrics to the production, every unnecessary thought or sound is stripped away, leaving raw, unprotected songs that have no fancy tricks or bombastic measures to hide behind. Recorded in the back room at their label’s West London office, often late at night after shifts at their day jobs, the noise of passing trains and sirens are still audible, further underlining their commitment to a no-frills production.

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sounding off: july 2009 (ii)
August 4, 2009, 10:40 am
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Bird Talk
No Bird Left Behind ••½

Formed in 2007, Bird Talk are two girls and two boys who play indie-rock that draws on new wave, punk and lo-fi dance styles to create a sound that bears a passing similarity to the likes of Los Campesinos! and the harder-edged side of Tilly & The Wall. Available at a price of your own choosing, their debut album No Bird Left Behind shows great potential that’s sadly never quite realised. Lead vocals are half sung, half spoken by Melissa ‘Jumpy’ Marquez over the thrust of a capable rhythm section from Jacco Kuipers (bass) and Anthony ‘Shimby’ McCreery (drums), but it’s the addition of Emily Engelhard on keyboards that adds depth to these songs – her sweet and often swinging interjections neatly contrasting the harshness of Marquez’s bark.

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sounding off: july 2009 (i)


All Of Your Friends
All Of Your Friends Are Dead ••••
The Calm Before The Music

All Of Your Friends are a group of five pals from Winnipeg who have gathered together once a week since 2006 to play music. All Of Your Friends Are Dead is the product of these meet ups, a self-recorded album of songs that simply tell stories of being and having friends. They’re calling it “sociopop”. And just like real friends, they’re giving the album away for free.

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