wears the trousers magazine

free music friday: headless heroes

fmf_alelaHeadless Heroes
‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ [Jon Hopkins remix] 

In just two short years Alela Diane has established herself as a firm Wears The Trousers favourite. Her second album The Pirate’s Gospel had us all swooning over her unique take on smalltown Americana, and this year’s To Be Still only confirmed her as a folk talent to be reckoned with. In between she somehow managed to find time to record an album of covers for last year’s Headless Heroes project. Masterminded by Eddie Bezalel and Hugo Nicolson, The Silence Of Love is a themed collection of reinterpretations spanning over 40 years of music released on Names Records. ‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ was originally recorded by recently rediscovered folk singer Linda Perhacs on her 1970 album Parallelograms. This remix comes courtesy of Jon Hopkins, a British born musician and composer who has worked with Coldplay, Imogen Heap, Massive Attack, and Brian Eno, and has a bunch of other recording accolades to his name. A captivating, ethereal number with daydream electro elements, the Diane/Hopkins version of ‘Hey, Who Really Cares?’ is an unexpected treat, a worthy remix, and a good introduction to all the projects and artists concerned. MP3 after the jump.

Continue reading

free music friday: alela diane

fmf_alelaAlela Diane
‘White As Diamonds’

Hailing from Nevada City in California – the same neck of the woods that spawned her friend Joanna Newsom – Alela Diane began her career with debut album Forest Parade, but it was her self-released follow-up The Pirate’s Gospel that really got the underground acoustic scene falling in love with her unique brand of soulful folk. Having made enough impact to earn a label-backed re-release in 2007 with new artwork, the album finally garnered the attention and critical acclaim it deserved, rightfully introducing Alela’s nature-inspired works to a wider audience. 

‘White As Diamonds’ is the first new song we’ve heard from her highly anticipated third album To Be Still, due for release on February 16th, and follows hot on the heels of her collaborative covers record under the guise of Headless Heroes. From the first soaring violin note, the track is as emotionally charged as her earlier offerings, with the country lilt that runs through her catalogue amplified to subtle effect. Inspired, she says, by the silence of snow, and gilded with a busier vibe then her usual acoustic pieces, the song sees drums, crashing cymbals and cellos accompanying her signature traditional folk sound. Rich with exalting melancholy and exquisitely poetic lyrics, ‘White As Diamonds’ is a pleasure, and a promising taste of the album to come. MP3 after the jump.

Continue reading

trouser press: kristin hersh, alela diane and more

in today’s trouser press:

– Kristin Hersh brings The Shady Circle to London
– Alela Diane is the voice of Headless Heroes
– remixers ruffle the feathers of Au Revoir Simone
– Melanie Garside returns as Maple Bee
– lost Gershwin tunes brought to life by Victoria Hart
– Loreena McKennitt gets festive, again
– Martha Wainwright and others cover Leonard Cohen, again
– Madonna lashes out at Sarah Palin
– Canadian artists raise environmental awareness pre-election 

* * *

Having toured her autobiography-as-performance art show ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ (which, it appears, will eventually come out as a book), Kristin Hersh brings her latest project, The Shady Circle, to London in November. A follow-up of sorts to her Appalachian folk song collection Murder, Misery & Then Goodnight, The Shady Circle is basically just Kristin, an electric guitar, an amp and songs and stories galore.

Curious? Well, we’ve had a root around the internets and found a lovely live recording of a house concert in which several Shady Circle songs were performed – ‘Willie Moore’, ‘Waiting For The One Train’, ‘Children Oh Children’, ‘Dusty Road’ – as well as a few Kristin/Throwing Muses originals. And the best bit? It’s free and legal to download. Get part one here and part two here.

London’s The Borderline plays host to The Shady Circle on November 23rd.

* * *

If you haven’t yet become acquainted with the supremely talented Alela Diane, whose 2007 album The Pirate’s Gospel was deservedly hailed as a masterpiece, then another opportunity is waiting in the wings. Alela is the voice of Headless Heroes, a new covers project dreamt up by A&R man Eddie Bezalel (Alice Smith, Mark Ronson) and brought to life by a crack team of musicians.

Billed as a “simply beautiful collection of lost classics and unearthed gems sung with arresting clarity”, The Silence Of Love (out November 10th) is the ensemble’s debut album that tackles bittersweet songs of love and loss spanning 40 years. Classics from Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs and The Gentle Soul mingle seamlessly with more modern selections from Daniel Johnston, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The Jesus & Mary Chain.

Alela describes the project as “pure fun”, adding: “It was quite liberating to just sing! And not worry about it being my record, or it being different from the type of music that I’m used to making…I was able to use all different parts of my voice, from what I do in my own songs, to what I learned while singing in the school choir.”

The Silence Of Love
01 True Love Will Find You In The End
02 Just One Time
03 Here Before
04 Just Like Honey
05 To You
06 Blues Run The Game
07 Hey Now Who Really Cares
08 Nobody’s Baby Now
09 North Wind Blew South
10 See My Love

Continue reading