wears the trousers magazine

words in edgeways with lisa germano
January 26, 2010, 1:57 pm
Filed under: feature, words in edgeways | Tags: , ,

Entering her third decade as a recording artist, Lisa Germano remains as individualistic and untouched by the fickle hand of trend as ever. Having refined her songcraft into an instantly recognisable collision of broken dreams and fractured, but never extinguished, hopes, Lisa’s latest album Magic Neighbor finds her at her most blackly humorous, the title track transforming the rather sordid real-life tale of a woman who had her two cats put down so that she could install a new kitchen – yeah, don’t even try to make sense of that – into an unnerving, witchy piano ballad (“He must be god, he can turn cats into pieces of furniture”). Where her previous album, 2006’s In The Maybe World, was largely fixated on mortality, Magic Neighbor is full of subtle twists that give it an openness we haven’t heard in her music for a long time. It’s as if Lisa’s curiosity about the lighter side of life finally got the better of her, the result being a slightly bemused self-awareness that most people could easily identify with.

Given the overwhelming sense of isolation that much of her music conveys, it’s easy to forget that she is one of the world’s most in-demand session violinists who has worked with a Who’s Who of indie rock and pop, but Germano’s recent collaboration with Radiohead’s Phil Selway on his forthcoming solo album has been keeping her busy and away from the phone. In lieu of a more personable chat, then, we sent her some questions over email to find out more about the making of Magic Neighbor, and exactly what she would do to that murderous woman if she had occult powers.

Continue reading

wears the trousers albums of the decade #25-1

part onepart twopart three

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!)…

* * *


Shannon Wright
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.

Terry Mulcahy

Continue reading

best of 2009: readers poll results #50–41

Here we go, counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 50–41 right here.

* * *


Cate Le Bon
Me Oh My

[Irony Bored; October 2009]

What we said then: “There’s nothing embryonic about this accomplished collection of songs; Me Oh My is fully formed and well matured, showing just how far Le Bon has come since her early performances… A big warm cwtch of a record.” ••••• Richard Steele

What we say now: Me Oh My has lost none of its off-kilter shock and awe in the short time since it hatched into the public domain. A hugely promising debut, it was perhaps just too damn strange from the outset to reach a Laura Marling sized audience, but wider recognition surely can’t evade Ms Le Bon for long.

Download: ‘Hollow Trees House Hounds’, ‘Sad Sad Feet’, ‘Terror Of The Man’

Continue reading

new meshell ndegeocello album in october
August 27, 2009, 3:07 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , , , , ,

270809_meshellndegeocelloLisa Germano guests

Sixteen years into her recording career, Meshell Ndegeocello’s remarkable back catalogue stands out as one of the most formidable of the last two decades, both in terms of artistic vision and with deference to her critical acclaim (10 Grammy nominations, but sadly not the sales to match). Operating on the fringes of the industry, she remains a powerful advocate for music created with intelligence and integrity. Her eighth album, Devil’s Halo, reasserts her strengths without hesitation, taking her music back to pure, organic musicianship. Giving electronics as wide a berth as it is possible to do in 2009, Meshell found her creativity in music “created and performed by people’s hands”. World renowned as a badass bassist, she’s joined by co-producer / guitarist Chris Bruce, drummer Deantoni Parks, keyboardist Keefus Ciancia and Lisa Germano on cello. Occasional touring bassist Mark Kelley contributes backing vocals, as does Oren Bloedow of New York dream-pop duo Elysian Fields.

Continue reading

free music friday: lisa germano
August 21, 2009, 7:14 am
Filed under: free music friday, mp3, review | Tags: , , ,

191108_lisagermanoLisa Germano
‘The Prince Of Plati’

If it weren’t for her instantly recognisable quavering croon and the moody, magical piano that automatically evokes every one of her previous records, you might start to wonder if ‘The Prince Of Plati’ is really a Lisa Germano song. But while lyrics like “Hey, why so serious? / Why so blue?” are worthy of a double take, there’s still a concentrated vulnerability at its core. In Lisa’s own words, her eighth album Magic Neighbor, out September 21st through Young God Records, is “a positive record about trying to be happy with all the sad shit in the world,” and ‘The Prince Of Plati’ certainly hints at that. On the surface, it appears to be about trying to overcome the tensions and difficulties in a relationship between two people with a bad case of the blues. Like ‘The Red Thread’ from 2006’s In The Maybe World, the lyrics seem to dance from one side of a conversation to another, but it’s supportive rather than hard and confrontational, hitting its emotional peak with “Can I tell you a story? / Okay / Get away from all this blue blue blue / Do the things we did before we thought we knew” – it sounds trite on paper, perhaps, but Lisa has a wonderful knack of imbuing every word with rare depth and profundity simply through her careworn enunciation.

On first listen, it sounds like the kind of song Lisa could perhaps have composed in her sleep, but to pay closer attention is to revel in the beauty of the overlaid melodies. Guitar, piano and violin mingle together in a deliriously languid concoction, shifting beyond their expected patterns and somehow sounding both chaotic and serene. On the evidence of this song and the one other we’ve heard, ‘Snow’, Magic Neighbor is not the sound of Lisa reinventing her pretty, unique little wheel, simply pushing it gently out of the shadows and letting the sunlight beam through the spokes. MP3 after the jump.

Continue reading

trouser shorts: lisa germano, noisettes, the donnas


Some more details have emerged about Lisa Germano’s long-awaited new album Magic Neighbor. Originally pencilled in for the Spring just gone, the album will now come out “mid-September”, according to Young God Records boss Michael Gira. Writing on the label’s website, he says: “Lisa hid herself away for a long while, and I was beginning to despair, then suddenly this beautiful music started coming my way. I think this is one of her best albums yet. The depth of feeling in her words and singing is truly remarkable, and she never fails to tug at my heart. Somehow it’s both sad, wistful, and hopeful, all at once…For some reason her music reminds me of early Disney songs – fuzzy and dreamy. Thinking about it today, I also thought of the great – and neglected – music that Tom Waits did with Crystal Gayle for the movie ‘One From The Heart’.”

Preview the deliciously strange new album track ‘Snow’ here.

* * *

Noisettes have announced a new 11-date UK tour for October. They’ll play the following venues:

11.10.09 Garage, Glasgow
12.10.09 University, Newcastle
14.10.09 Waterfront, Norwich
15.10.09 Solus, Cardiff
16.10.09 Anson Rooms, Bristol
18.10.09 O2 Academy, Leeds
20.10.09 Ritz, Manchester
22.10.09 O2 Academy, Oxford
23.10.09 O2 Academy, Birmingham
24.10.09 Opera House, Bournemouth
26.10.09 O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

* * *

As previously reported, The Donnas have been putting together a compilation to celebrate their sweet 16 years as a band. Full details have now emerged, and fans are in for a treat with two previously unreleased songs (‘We Own The Night’, ‘She’s Out Of Control’), live versions of the rocking ‘Take It Off’ and ‘Fall Behind Me’, and various reworkings of tracks that date back as far as their 1997 self-titled debut. Greatest Hits Vol. 16 is released next week through the band’s own label, Purple Feather.

Greatest Hits Vol. 16
01 Get Off
02 Perfect Stranger
03 We Own The Night
04 She’s Out Of Control
05 Take It Off [live]
06 Fall Behind Me [live]
07 Get You Alone [2009 version]
08 Play My Game [original version remix]
09 You Make Me Hot [2009 version]
10 Get Rid Of That Girl [2009 version]
11 Hey I’m Gonna Be Your Girl [alternative version 2009]
12 I Wanna Be With A Girl Like You [alternative version 2009]
13 I Don’t Want To Go To School [2009 version]
14 Teenage Rules [original version]
15 I Don’t Wanna Break Your Head [original version]
16 High School Yum Yum [2009 version]

* * *

Good news! Two-time Free Music Friday alumna and all-round winner Ellie Goulding has signed to Polydor Records. She’ll be working with them to put out her debut album.

* * *

If you’re passing through St Pancras International in London between 6:30 and 7:30 pm tonight, keep an eye and ear out for the revamped train station’s first ever live music session featuring sets from unsigned Londoner Jem Cooke and recent Voice On The Verge interviewees Kill It Kid. Dubbed ‘The Station Sessions’, the weekly event aims to provide a platform for raising the profile of up-and-coming artists. Other acts scheduled to take part in the coming weeks are Basement Jaxx singer Vula, Katie Vogel and Kerry Leatham [via Music Week].

* * *

Metal band Kittie have signed a new worldwide deal that will see them release three albums through E1 Music, starting with their fifth release In The Black on September 15th. Lead singer Morgan Lander told Canadian website chartattack.com that the new album “is everything that Kittie is supposed to be: heavy, fast, brash and nasty, yet at times introspective, feminine and emotional. One thing it is not, however, is compromising of the sound and style that we have come to be known for. This shit is HEAVY!”

* * *

Our friends over at roots music website freshdeermeat.com tipped us off about a lovely little acoustic performance they recently filmed in Bristol with special guest Maria Taylor singing ‘Cartoons & Forever Plans’ from her recent album LadyLuck. The first in what’s been dubbed ‘The Travellin’ Light Sessions’ is below for your viewing pleasure.

* * *

Alan Pedder

new lisa germano album coming soon
November 19, 2008, 10:33 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press, video | Tags: , , , , ,

191108_lisagermanoActually, that’s all we know about it

There’s nothing like good news to cheer up a dreary rainy day, so when we received the latest Young God Records newsletter bearing the immortal words, and I quote, “Lisa Germano has completed new album, coming soon”, the excitement reached fever pitch. I had to lie down afterwards, I swear. We may be frustratingly short on details but at least there’s something amazing to look forward to in the post-Christmas comedown. Yay.

This tantalising news came only shortly before the announcement that Lisa will reprise her guest role as musician on Neil Finn’s upcoming new album, due for release next year with all profits going to Oxfam International. Also guesting on the album will be perennial Finn friend and fellow mega-selling New Zealander Bic Runga, along with Lisa’s good pal Johnny Marr and various members of Radiohead, Wilco, Soul Coughing and Neil’s son Liam Finn. Title and release date TBA.

Continue reading