wears the trousers magazine

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 

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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.

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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

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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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anjani thomas: “sometimes you just get very lucky!”
July 8, 2008, 10:24 pm
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: , , , ,

interrupting yr broadcast: anjani thomas

What do you do when your manfriend heads off on a lengthy world tour, his first in 15 years, and leaves you behind? Well, if you’re a respected jazz musician in your own right and your lover is none other than Leonard Cohen, the incomparable elder statesman of both literature and song, you take yourself off to a cabin in Wyoming and write a new album. At least, that’s what Anjani Thomas has done.

The 48-year old Hawaiian first encountered Leonard in 1984 when producer John Lissauer hired her to sing backing vocals on what was to become one of the most revered (and most covered) songs in history, the enduring ‘Hallelujah’. Not a bad legacy on its own, you might think, but Leonard was so impressed with Anjani’s keyboard skills that she was invited to accompany him and Jennifer Warnes as they toured behind the song’s parent album, Various Positions. And still he kept coming back for more.

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