wears the trousers magazine

free music friday: the new pornographers
February 26, 2010, 10:01 am
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The New Pornographers
‘Your Hands (Together)’

On listening to the first few seconds of ‘Your Hands (Together)’, you would be forgiven for thinking you had just tuned into the latest incarnation of ‘CSI’. The Who-esque opening guitar riff promises to take you on a journey to an anthemic climax, but sadly the trip is cut short by a slightly repetitive beat which never quite steps up to the desired level. The two lead vocals are the highlight of the track; perfectly harmonised and complementing each other in both tone and attack, together Carl Newman and Neko Case create a veritable feast for your eardrums. While the thundering bass keeps the momentum for a time, the classic rock guitar riffs would benefit from some melodic counterpart. This is not true air-guitar fodder but does a fine job of raising the heart rate, if not the sign of the horns. ‘Your Hands (Together)’ is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Together, out May 4 through Matador. MP3 after the jump.

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neko case guests on new jakob dylan album
February 1, 2010, 8:42 am
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Neko Case and frequent touring partner Kelly Hogan have been heavily involved in the making of Jakob Dylan’s latest album Women & Country, the follow-up to his acclaimed 2008 solo debut Seeing Things. The former Wallflowers frontman asked the pair to lay down vocals on eight of the album’s eleven tracks during an “intense” two-day recording session. Out April 5, the T Bone Burnett-produced album features rich, layered harmonies from all three singers. “Neko’s a huge character,” Dylan told Billboard. “She and Kelly add a huge personality to the record.”

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trouser shorts: neko case, mavis staples, wanda jackson

We’ve been slacking a little on the news front lately, sorry. It’ll all be worth it when the new website is finally finished. To start things off, here’s a wee roundup of some recently announced collaborations that we can look forward to later in the year…

Neko Case and Shelby Lynne contribute guest vocals to Peter Wolf’s upcoming seventh solo album, Midnight Souvenirs, out in April. It will be the J Geils Band frontman’s first release in eight years and also features country music legend Merle Haggard.

Not to be outdone, Neko’s sometime backing singers Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor will provide support for soul and gospel icon Mavis Staples on her upcoming, as yet untitled album, produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. The album is currently being worked on at Tweedy’s studio in Chicago and should be out on Anti- Records later this year. Staples has been on a roll lately with 2007’s incredibly powerful We’ll Never Turn Back (one of our albums of the decade) and last year’s live album Hope At The Hideout, so this should be something pretty stellar.

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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!)…

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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

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best of 2009: readers poll results #10-1

At last, here are the ten albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Happy New Year from all at Wears The Trousers!

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Alela Diane
To Be Still

[Names; February 2009]

What we said then: To Be Still is the kind of album that communicates directly with the hindbrain, directing you to the nearest couch, bed or convenient corner; once there, your instructions are to daydream, to ruminate through long-forgotten memories, or just to stare off into the middle distance… Alela Diane is truly the real thing: a singer-songwriter of immense talent, overflowing with creative ideas and real vision.” ••••½ Scott Sinclair

What we say now: She’s come a long way from the low-budget days of her early self-released albums Forest Parade and the later-reissued masterpiece The Pirate’s Gospel, and we’re thrilled to see Alela Diane finally breaking even and earning her dues. To Be Still saw Alela move away from the sparse folk of earlier efforts to a fuller band sound, a successful evolution that helped her transition from underground acclaim to more mainstream pastures, as evidenced in her well-received slot on ‘Later…with Jools Holland’. A bold and beautiful effort.

Download: ‘The Alder Trees’, ‘The Ocean’, ‘White As Diamonds’

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2010 grammy nominees include neko case and imogen heap
December 3, 2009, 6:38 pm
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Another year, another exhausting trawl through all 109 categories of the Grammy Awards looking for something worth shouting about. Here’s one: Neko Case received her first Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album for this year’s excellent Middle Cyclone, by far her highest charting album to date. The album also received a nod in the Best Recording Package category. Imogen Heap was nominated in two categories, one recognising her skills as an engineer for the album Ellipse and the other being Best Pop Instrumental Performance for that album’s ‘The Fire’.

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visqueen: message to garcia (2009)
September 28, 2009, 9:32 am
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Message To Garcia •••½
Local 638

Message To Garcia – the third album from Seattle trio Visqueen – is billed as “a rock and roll epitaph to frontwoman Rachel Flotard’s father”. Continuing through the accompanying press release, we discover that ‘A Message To Garcia’ is an 1899 essay by American philosopher Elbert Hubbard celebrating the bravery of a soldier who accomplished a mission with an ascetic degree discipline. Flotard’s dad compelled his daughter to read Hubbard’s essay as he lay on his deathbed, hoping its message would inspire her to continue performing and songwriting in the face of immense stress and, later, a deep period of grief. But the essay also represents the no-nonsense approach exhibited by Visqueen. Much like the protagonist of ‘A Message To Garcia’, their music doesn’t ask any questions of the listener; it simply gets on with the task in hand.

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