wears the trousers magazine

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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pj harvey & john parish: a woman a man walked by (2009)
March 28, 2009, 12:02 pm
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: , , , ,


PJ Harvey & John Parish
A Woman A Man Walked By ••••½ 

If the Bank Of England had a pound for every time PJ Harvey has repeated that she doesn’t like to repeat herself, there would be no fiscal crisis. It’s become a bit of a running joke among her fans, but you’ve really got to hand it to the Dorset chameleon – somehow she always manages to confound expectations. And while it seems that few people have spent the last 12 years longing for a follow-up to 1996’s Harvey/Parish album Dance Hall At Louse Point, there’s been a massive surge of interest surrounding this new collaborative effort. Described by Harvey as “quite a peculiar little record” way back in March 2008, it’s only now that we can really start to grasp just how much of an understatement that was. In no uncertain terms, A Woman A Man Walked By is fucking weird.

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trouser shorts: pj harvey, no doubt, school of seven bells


‘Black Hearted Love’, the lead single from the new PJ Harvey & John Parish album A Woman A Man Walked By, will be available as a digital download tomorrow. The song gets its worldwide premiere on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show from 7pm and will be available to buy direct from either pjharvey.net or johnparish.com immediately after and will be serviced to all the usual digital outlets on Tuesday. A full physical release for the single follows on April 6th, a week after the album, complete with two exclusive non-album tracks, ‘Within A Month’ and ‘False Fire’.

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No Doubt will appear in a new episode of hit TV series ‘Gossip Girl’ with a performance of Adam & The Ants’ ‘Stand & Deliver’ to coincide with their first tour in more than five years. The tour kicks off in New Jersey on May 2nd and runs until the beginning of August. The episode will air on May 11th. The band have been working on the follow-up to 2001’s Rock Steady on and off over the last year but has yet to name a title or release date. No European tour dates have been announced so far.

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School Of Seven Bells have contributed a previously unreleased track to Brand Neu! a tribute album to 1970s krautrock duo Neu!, aka Michael Rother and the late Klaus Dinger. SVIIB’s ‘Device Für M’ appears alongside the Sonic Youth/Ciccone Youth classic ‘Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening To Neu!’, a new solo song from Rother, a previously unreleased track from Dinger’s other band La Düsseldorf and various songs from the likes of Oasis, Primal Scream, LCD Soundsystem, Kasabian etc. The album is out on May 11th through Feraltone. SVIIB recently announced a headlining tour of the UK that runs from May 3–15. Full dates here.

Brand Neu!
01 Ciccone Youth, ‘Two Cool Rock Chicks Listening to Neu!’
02 Primal Scream, ‘Shoot Speed / Kill Light’
03 Pets With Pets, ‘We Only Found This Place’
04 Oasis, ‘I Can See It Now’
05 Foals, ‘Titan Arum’ 
06 Cornelius, ‘Wataridori’
07 Holy Fuck, ‘Super Inuit’
08 LCD Soundsystem, ‘Watch The Tapes’
09 Kasabian, ‘Stuntman’
10 School Of Seven Bells, ‘Device Für M’ 
11 Fujiya & Miyagi, ‘Electro Karaoke’
12 Hook & The Twin, ‘They’ll Get Your Head’
13 La Düsseldorf, ‘Sketch 1_08’
14 Michael Rother, ‘Neutronics 98’

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Prolific rock duo Magik Markers will release a new album on April 26th. Balf Quarry, the formal follow-up to 2007’s Boss, was produced by Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo and recorded with Grammy-winning engineer Scott Colburn (Animal Collective). Vocalist Elisa Ambrogio has another album coming out soon, a collaboration with various members of Comets On Fire under the name of San Francisco’s Dirty Stealer. Recorded in Oakland, California, the album was at the mixing stage at the end of January so expect more news on that shortly. A couple of preview tracks are available here.

Balf Quarry
01 Risperdal
02 Don’t Talk In Your Sleep
03 Jerks
04 Psychosomatic
05 7/23
06 State Numbers
07 The Ricercar Of Dr. Clara Haber 
08 The Lighter Side Of…Hippies
09 Ohio R. / Live / Hoosier
10 Shells 

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Dolly Parton is to release a special Collector’s Edition of her most recent album Backwoods Barbie at the end of March. With brand new photos and artwork and three previously unreleased new songs (‘Rose Of My Heart’, ‘Hallelujah Holiday’ and ‘Berry Pie’), UK fans might be disappointed to discover that the album will only be available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores throughout the US. “I wanted the songs I chose specifically for this release to reflect how I feel about Cracker Barrel and all the good things you can find there,” said Dolly in a press release. “I think it’s important for there to be an authentic connection to the heritage that Cracker Barrel and I share.” Other artists to release exclusive CDs through Cracker Barrel include Alison Krauss & Union Station, Amy Grant and Sara Evans.

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Alan Pedder

pj harvey writes “seething” score for new adaptation of ‘hedda gabler’
January 26, 2009, 1:23 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , , , , ,

300708_pjharveyBroadway production runs until the end of March

PJ Harvey has written an original score for a new production of Henrik Ibsen’s 120-year old play ‘Hedda Gabler’, which opened at Broadway’s American Airlines Theater last night, starring ‘Weeds’ actress Mary-Louise Parker in the title role and Swedish actor Peter Stormare (who played Björk’s love interest in ‘Dancer In The Dark’ – don’t worry, he’s not singing this time round). The terrifying cruelty of Parker’s disturbed character is reflected in PJ’s excoriating music, which, according to the New York Daily News, “takes up the first two minutes of the play, then creepy-crawls around the starts and finishes of all four acts”. “I’ve wanted to do theatre or film music since I first began writing music,” PJ told the paper, “I’ve just never been approached before.” 

“The character of Hedda is fascinating and horrifying at the same time,” she said, explaining what made her take up director Ian Rickson’s offer to contribute to Christopher Shinn’s adaptation of the oft-staged play. “As an artist, I’ve always been drawn to what human beings are capable of, in how far you can push things. And Hedda pushes things to the limit.” The piano of 2007’s White Chalk makes a return, but it’s swaddled in a hiss – “the sound of seething” – which PJ achieved by mashing up guitar feedback and playing it at the wrong speed. “It sounds like radio static, or like things breaking down.”

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pj harvey goes barking mad on new album
January 19, 2009, 6:51 am
Filed under: news, trouser press, where's the gigs | Tags: , , , , ,

190109_pjharveyNew European tour announced

PJ Harvey has given some juicy details to the NME about her new collaborative album with John Parish, the belated follow-up to 1996’s incredible Dance Hall At Louse Point. Describing it as “a record of extremes”, Polly once more reiterates how she wanted to avoid repeating herself, which she seems to have done a rather good job of. According to Polly herself, A Woman A Man Walked By (due March 30th) will see her variously “bark like a dog” (‘Pig Will Not’), sound “like a five-year old” (‘Cracks In The Canvas’) and sing “like a 100-year old woman” (‘April’).

The small interview piece also revealed that the first single would be ‘Black Hearted Love’, the album’s first song that’s apparently based on “anthemic grunge-pop guitars”, and that the title track is “raunchy aggro-folk”. It also mentions a song called ‘Leaving California’, describing it as a “frail, funereal ballad”. Some of the songs are essentially the demo versions the pair worked on over email before heading into Bristol’s Toy Box Studios in early 2008. “We’ve worked together for so many years that it sort of falls into place,” said Polly.

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singles of the year: readers poll results (part V of V)

Singles of the year: #5–1


She & Him
‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?’
Double Six

There’s just something so refreshing about this single’s playful come-on. Wistful, old-fashioned lyrics like “I think you’re just so pleasant / I would like you for my own” make listening to most of today’s pop acts seem almost like a gynaecologist visit, and for that reason Zooey Deschanel and M Ward should be patted on the back and given a celebratory mug of malted milk. Creamy, dreamy and hold-me-squeeze-me good. From the album Volume One (Double Six, 2008).



‘L.E.S. Artistes’

A bit like Tegan Quin fronting classic New Wave era Blondie, this yelping exposé of New York scenesters was the first single from ex-A&R lady and former punk singer Santi White’s eponymous debut, and more than justified the hype. Its subtly chugging guitars and flourishes of modern electro, coupled with White’s irresistibly attitudinal force, were her ticket to the big time. From the album Santogold (Atlantic, 2008).

FREE MP3: Santogold, ‘L.E.S. Artistes‘ [XXXChange remix] [via RCRDLBL]



PJ Harvey
‘The Devil’

How did this get here? Readers, we salute you. With her new collaboration with John Parish (A Woman A Man Walked By) delayed 6 months from its originally projected release date of September, it’s been a tough year for expectant PJ Harvey fans. Striding in with repetitive, heavy piano chords and falsetto calls to nothing, ‘The Devil’ was a blast of raw anxiety. More direct than ‘The Piano’ and creepier than ‘When Under Ether’, it was Polly’s perfect adieu for this particular incarnation of her muse. From the album White Chalk (Island, 2007).




Arriving like a breath of fresh country air after months in the city, Goldfrapp’s fourth album wisely packed in the electro-glam stomp that was growing so tired and reinvented the duo as pastoral weirdos on benzodiazepenes. Possibly the prettiest song about attempted suicide ever, ‘A&E’ aches with a lovelorn pain that works beautifully with the light but still lush acoustic backdrop. Only the foolhardy or mentally unstable would attempt this song at karaoke, and thank fuck for that. From the album Seventh Tree (Mute, 2008).



Martha Wainwright
‘You Cheated Me’
Drowned In Sound

Oh yes. Excellent choice. Proving that you can do poppy without sacrificing anything that made you so damn good in the first, Martha Wainwright breezed in like a woman scorned and on a mission to rip her ex a new one with this career highlight. Amazing chorus, amazing bridge, amazing voice. Amazing. What else is there to say? More like this please Martha. From the album I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too (Drowned In Sound, 2008).