wears the trousers magazine

australia week: a loud call from down under


australia week: a loud call from down under

It’s 1981. Olivia Newton-John, already a household name thanks to her performance opposite John Travolta in ‘Grease’, spends 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with the suggestive pop anthem ‘Physical’. The album of the same name peaks at #6 on the Billboard 200 and is later certified double platinum. Six years later, in Olivia’s native Australia, a popular young soap star named Kylie Minogue is coaxed into a rendition of the Little Eve classic ‘The Loco-motion’ at a charity benefit with her fellow ‘Neighbours’ cast members. Her recording of the song becomes the highest-selling single of the ’80s in Australia and spawns a recording career which has seen her thus far sell over 60 million records, a large chunk of those sold throughout the UK and Europe.

Newton-John and Minogue are no doubt two of Australia’s biggest musical exports, but they do not even begin to scratch the surface in terms of the breadth and depth of female talent currently on offer from those distant shores. Sarah Blasko, Holly Throsby, Lenka Kripac, Sia Furler, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins and Lisa Mitchell are just a few of the names who have made or are beginning to make an impact both in Australia and overseas; some of them criminally overlooked by the Australian media (Furler), others earning their place among the most sought-after live acts (Blasko). Perhaps now more than ever independent Aussie females are making their mark on the international circuit, and making the Australian music industry sit up and take notice.

Continue reading


trouser press: björk, shirley manson and more

in today’s trouser press:
– Björk records new duet with Thom Yorke
– Shirley Manson wants women to rock more
– fans buy Kristin Hersh a new guitar
– Grace Jones wins Q award, gropes journalist
– more Peaches album news
– free Sia download 
– Katy Perry dishes the dirt on her preacher parents
– Janet Jackson back on the road after mystery illness 
– country women duet with Elvis, for Christmas!
– new advice-themed compilation features Jenny Owen Youngs and more

* * *

Unless you’ve been hiding under a big ol’ rock all year, you’ll probably have heard about the huge push to raise awareness of the threatened Icelandic environment propelled by writer Andri Snær Magnason’s influential book ‘Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual For A Frightened Nation’ that reached its peak in July with the Náttúra concert, the largest musical event ever seen in Iceland. Or so we thought. A new peak may about to be scaled with the imminent release of a surprise new duet between Björk and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, also called ‘Náttúra’, on October 20th. Described as “more of a protest and rallying cry than a lecture”, the song “highlights a grass roots movement in Iceland to reclaim the country’s natural resources and wilderness from the hands of big business and pollution.”

That’s all the information we have at the moment, other than that the song will be released through Björk’s long-time label One Little Indian, and, obviously, that it’s the second time these two musical greats have traded lines, the first being on the Oscar-nominated ‘I’ve Seen It All’ from the Selmasongs soundtrack to Lars Von Trier’s Palme d’Or-winning ‘Dancer In The Dark’. Oh, and that we’re officially excited.

For more background on Iceland’s environmental woes, which presumably loom even larger in the light of the country’s near-bankruptcy, read what Björk had to say on the matter earlier this year.

* * *

She may be busy terminating miserable lives as a shapeshifting baddie in the new series of ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ but Shirley Manson still has time to share her opinions on the current crop of female musicians. Speaking to MTV, she lamented the present lack of powerful women in rock.

“We’re in a conservative era,” she said. “My era was insane, and there hasn’t been an influx of that since. It really upsets me. All the women are expected to be cute and pretty and fun and as super-unthreatening as possible. There’s a place for gorgeous girls making cute music. People want that, they need that, and I’m all for it. But I’m scared by the imbalance in music. There aren’t any females portrayed in a particularly empowered position, and that really disappoints me.”

Reserving particular distaste for the Pussycat Dolls and a cautious word about Katy Perry, she added: “It’s time for young girls to come up and challenge who is sitting on the throne. We want to see the young blood. The youth. The vigor. It’s time for change.”

With regards to Shirley’s solo career, it’s still on the cards and she’s even talking about doing some low-key surprise live appearances with her new band, made up of various friends. “I’m excited,” she said. “I think it’ll be new and fresh for me. I just want to make a noise.”

Read the full article here.

Continue reading