wears the trousers magazine

free music friday: flunk
May 29, 2009, 11:51 am
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‘Karma Police’ [Radiohead cover]

Norwegian electronic band Flunk were formed almost a decade ago by core members Ulf Nygaard and Jo Bakke, but it wasn’t until singer Anja Oyen Vister came on board, laying down improvised vocals over the tracks that would become the band’s 2002 debut For Sleepyheads Only, that they really began to make strides. Success came knocking across Europe, with a BBC radio sessions and numerous festival slots in the UK. The band later signed with US label Guidance Recordings, a move which helped to foster another four albums. Cover songs have a particularly lucky association for the band – their first ever single was an adaptation of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ and went on to feature in various US TV series and even a film or two. Taken from their latest outing This Is What You Get, released earlier this month on Beatservice Records, Flunk bravely tackle the Radiohead classic ‘Karma Police’. Abrasive, ever so slightly sinister and yet luminously sensual, it’s an inventive attempt with a unique edge that even Radiohead purists might come to admire. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: bat for lashes
April 3, 2009, 9:21 am
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fmf_batforlashesBat For Lashes
‘Glass’ [live]

Recorded long before Natasha Khan’s near-catastrophic involvement in a bodypaint factory explosion – just look at the poor girl’s bruising! – this early version of new album standout ‘Glass’ captures Natasha and her backing band The Blue Dreams warming up a French crowd on last summer’s support tour with Radiohead.

If anything the song is even more vibrant in its live incarnation, perhaps because she wastes no time in getting to the good stuff. The hushed introduction of the album version is nowhere to be seen; here, the song goes straight into the scattershot drumming, Natasha’s voice considerably more forceful and husky. The piercing vocal peaks of the chorus are carried off impressively too, gelling impeccably with the drama of the tribal percussion. All in all, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the early life of this killer song. The brilliant Two Suns is released on Monday [review]. MP3 after the jump.

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max de mara: classist (2008)


Max de Mara
Classist ••½
Six Inch Records 

Classist is an album that’s not to be taken too seriously. The collaboration between Mara Carlyle and Max de Wardener, under the name ‘Max de Mara’, is one of three short works to be released by purpose-built label Six Inch Records. The man responsible is Radiohead’s favourite artist Stanley Donwood, who was, so the story goes, a little drunk when he came up with the idea. Each album has a limited run of 333 copies, and each will be sold at £6.66 (economic realities obviously thwarting the rule of three). Classist isn’t a recording you really ask ‘why?’ of, simply because the answer is so obviously ‘why the hell not?’

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björk + thom yorke: náttúra
October 19, 2008, 12:32 pm
Filed under: review, song | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Björk + Thom Yorke
Náttúra ••••
One Little Indian 

Charity singles suck. No really, they do, morally ambushing us into parting with our cash in ‘exchange’ for a vacuous piece of disposable pop-by-numbers, all in aid of a good cause. Or, more specifically, for the said artist to show just what good they are ‘giving back’ to the world. Save yourself the earache and just give your bank details over to the next chugger who accosts you on the high street instead. A tad cynical, you say? Well, yes, but when did you ever hear anyone actually saying ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ was a “good song”, whichever incarnation they refer to. So it’s always a little surprising when those regarded as having genuine artistic integrity jump aboard the charity bandwagon. How can those who put so much passion and intricate blood, sweat and tears into their work happily make something so disposable which will (usually) be overshadowed by the cause it’s supporting? The answer is simple, at least, in Björk’s book it is: throw caution completely to the wind with total disregard for the consequences.

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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.

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