wears the trousers magazine


best of 2009: a conversation with cortney tidwell
December 31, 2009, 2:08 pm
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: , , ,

The image that graces the sleeve of Nashville-raised singer-songwriter Cortney Tidwell’s second album Boys – a pseudo X-ray of a young child’s head filled with a jumble of overlaid, faded photographs – has a ghostly, unsettling aura about it, and it’s a very similar sense of damaged nostalgia that carries on into the music, creating a fractured and disparate album full of secrets and personal turmoil. Not necessarily something you might imagine coming from the imagination of a happily married schoolteacher and mother of two, but then Cortney has never really fit into any neat preconceptions. Wears The Trousers caught up with Cortney over email a while ago to chat about the new album, about working with her husband, and how the children in her life inspire her music.

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2010, a girl-group odyssey #1: marcella & the forget me nots
November 2, 2009, 10:02 am
Filed under: feature, special | Tags: , , ,

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2010, a girl-group odyssey #1: marcella & the forget me nots

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, a whole new breed of girl group is emerging from the darker enclaves of the UK to ruthlessly pursue a clear agenda: to rescue performance art from the ubiquity of bad burlesque, to reject the patriarchal standards of beauty that continue to enslave the women of the Heat generation, and to give those posturing indie boy bands that clog the charts a powerfully feminine heave-ho. Over the coming weeks, Wears The Trousers will be speaking to some of these artists to discuss their gynocratic ambitions to reign over music in 2010. There’s the eye-popping Gaggle, a 22-piece female alt.choir who dress in vibrant hooded cloaks and sing ritualistic, multilayered chants about vices, lacklustre men and circling birds over a rough-hewn, rudimentary instrumental backdrop; there’s Sisters Of Transistors, an Anglo–Icelandic group of four women who are eight-handedly (well, ten-handedly if you include their drummer and head of research, Graham Massey of 808 State) resurrecting the briefly popular 1940s attraction of Ladies Organ Quartets, a practice pioneered by one Lillian Meyers; and then there’s Marcella & The Forget Me Nots, who are a whole other kettle of fabulous lunacy, both in conception and in execution.

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shannon mcardle: “i had no interest in ever writing music again”

interrupting yr broadcast: shannon mcardle

The Mendoza Line always had a knack for somewhat mocking and defeatist album titles, culminating in last year’s final recording, 30 Year Low, and the band’s black humour hasn’t been lost in singer Shannon McArdle’s transition to solo star in the making. For nine years, McArdle was an increasingly integral part of The Mendoza Line. A fling with frontman Timothy Bracy turned into a relationship, and that relationship turned into marriage. Shannon and Tim wed in 2005. In February 2007, he left The Mendoza Line, the marriage, everything. Shannon came home from work one night and there was just a note. It read, simply, “I’m gone”. Her new album Summer Of The Whore is a desperate, honest and brutal document of the months that followed. “It was the worst time imaginable,” she admits. “It was a huge shock. We were having problems but nothing that I thought we couldn’t get through.”

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