wears the trousers magazine

rachael dadd: moth in the motor (2010)
February 10, 2010, 11:10 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Rachael Dadd
Moth In The Motor •••½
Broken Sound Music

Okay, so maybe you shouldn’t judge a record by its cover, but Rachael Dadd definitely knows how to make her music pleasing on the eye. Previous releases have been packaged in hand-sewn textile pouches, and for this new mini-album she’s letting fans create their own covers, which will be printed and sold with the 10” alongside her own hand-painted version. In this era of, some might say, disposable digital music, it’s refreshing to see someone put so much love and care into how the fruits of their labour are presented to the masses. Having said all that, it’s the music that really counts, and we are in safe hands. Dadd is already a seasoned performer in her hometown of Bristol and has toured as far afield as Japan, both as a solo artist and as one half of bands The Hand and Whalebone Polly. Equally adept with a piano, guitar, banjo, clarinet or harmonium, for Moth In The Motor she’s decided to concentrate on the piano, turning in a stripped-back set that lets the songs speak for themselves.

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sounding off: january 2010 (iii)

In this month’s roundup, we’ll be looking at a bunch of stragglers from last year that we ran out of time to publish before Christmas, plus a few early 2010 releases in brief.

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Vanessa Paradis
Best Of •••

In many ways, Vanessa Paradis’ 1987 hit ‘Joe Le Taxi’ still sums up how the English regard French female popstars: the heavy accent, delivered with a babydoll pitch, cute as a kitten with a little bit of vixen thrown in. Such was its provocative, innocent-girl charm that, out of nowhere, the song launched Paradis, then just 14 years old, on the path to a lengthy career. Next came a slightly more sophisticated album, Variations sur le même t’aime. Produced by Serge Gainsbourg, it ushered in a second wave of huge success in France, with the wonderful ‘Tandem’ barely off the airwaves, helping to really nail a credible career for the still young ingénue.

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free music friday: the watson twins
December 4, 2009, 12:08 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: , ,

The Watson Twins

The Watson Twins are back with the first single from their forthcoming second album, Talking To You, Talking To Me, out through Vanguard Records in February. Having made their name poking out of the pockets of Jenny Lewis’s Rabbit Fur Coat, Leigh and Chandra Watson took centre stage in 2008 with Fire Songs, their debut full-length album. Talking To You, Talking To Me promises to expand the country-folk scope of that record with R&B, bossa nova, indie-pop and classic soul. ‘U-N-Me’ (whoever let them run with that title needs a good talking to) has a touch of the latter but is more US drivetime rock than anything else. It’s a straightforward but pleasing enough tune that cruises its way through two minutes without taking its foot off the accelerator or changing direction. The twins are as strong vocally as ever but lack much of the character and verve they showed with Lewis. Leigh Watson has said of the new record, “We wanted your body to move with every song”. They’re unlikely to achieve their goal with ‘U-N-Me’, though you might feel the urge to tap your fingers on the steering wheel. MP3 after the jump.

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first listen: kathryn williams
December 3, 2009, 11:31 am
Filed under: first listen, review | Tags: , ,

Kathryn Williams
The Quickening

[not final artwork]

Due for release in February 2010, The Quickening will be the seventh solo studio album from Kathryn Williams, and her first since 2007’s Leave To Remain. For an artist with such a consistently strong catalogue and a Mercury Prize nomination under her belt, she remains something of a well kept secret, while other lesser artists have ridden into the mainstream on the back of the recent ‘new folk’ resurgence. That could all be set change next year, with the help of a new deal with One Little Indian and perhaps the most accomplished album of her career. The Quickening was recorded live at Bryn Derwen Studio in North Wales in just four days, with a self imposed limit of three takes per song. Incredibly, Kathryn did not allow the other musicians to hear the compositions before entering the studio, giving a palpable sense of immediacy to what must surely be recognised as some of her best material to date. A full review of the album will follow in February. For now, here’s our track-by-track preview:

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slow club: christmas, thanks for nothing EP (2009)
November 26, 2009, 1:29 pm
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Slow Club
Christmas, Thanks For Nothing EP •••
Moshi Moshi

A Slow Club Christmas is starting to become something of a tradition. Last year, Charles and Rebecca treated us to a rather lovely festive single in the shape of ‘Christmas TV’ and a knees-up at London’s Union Chapel. This year they’re repeating the event at the same venue, but with a Santa’s sack of five additional Christmas delights in their repertoire. Or should that be lumps of coal? As implied by the title, Christmas, Thanks For Nothing sees the band continuing to temper their characteristic humour with heavy doses of heartbreak that some might find a little hard to swallow.

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sounding off: november 2009 (iii)

Part three of our November roundup looks at debuts from Norwich indie-pop upstarts The Kabeedies, US sensation Kid Sister and the homemade charms of Lady Lazarus.

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The Kabeedies
Rumpus ••••

Norwich’s keenest The Kabeedies bounced onto our radar with a triumphant performance at Glastonbury 2008, and they’ve been picking up momentum ever since. Following on from an enjoyable pair of EPs comes the irrepressible band’s debut full-length, appropriately named Rumpus. A jauntily pop, heels-in-the-air, loop-the-flipping-loop of an album, it successfully marryies compulsively danceable rhythms with vocal melodies so infectious the government will no doubt soon be putting up posters in bathrooms telling you how to wash your ears.

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woodpecker wooliams: diving down (2009)
November 13, 2009, 2:23 pm
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Woodpecker Wooliams
Diving Down •••
Autumn Ferment

Woodpecker Wooliams is the homemade alter ego of a rather talented young lady more conventionally named Gemma Williams. Having given up training to be a midwife following some pretty nasty seizures, the Brighton native relocated to the Devon countryside and set her sights on crafting delicate tunes rather than catching babies on exit. Luckily, she turned out to be pretty good at it, employing a formidable array of instruments to create an immersive listening experience, if not quite achieving uniqueness (she’s been compared to Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom more times than is healthy for an up and coming singer-songwriter).

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