wears the trousers magazine

the breeders: mountain battles (2008)
July 16, 2008, 8:40 pm
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The Breeders
Mountain Battles ••½

Considering the six-year gap since The Breeders’ last record, Title TK, and the obligatory ‘comeback’ label that accompanies any period of hiatus – technically this band’s second – the way in which Mountain Battles chooses to quietly announce itself is fairly surprising. Opening with the glorious, shimmering wall of noise that is ‘Overglazed’, essentially a two-minute long repetition of the phrase “I can feel it” punctuated only with the occasional “oh!” amid bursts of distortion, one may be forgiven for expecting something slightly meatier given this band’s pedigree.

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the dresden dolls: no, virginia (2008)
July 15, 2008, 8:58 pm
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The Dresden Dolls
No, Virginia •••

Once the sole province of those-in-the-know and firmly plugged into the US indie underground, Brechtian punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls have seen their popularity edge further and further upwards with each new album and prestigious support slot (Nine Inch Nails / Panic! At The Disco). No longer the secret of a select group of adoring fans, it’s fair to say that a great deal of expectation surrounds the quirky twosome. Given the title of third release (2003’s live album A Is For Accident makes four if you’re picky), No, Virginia, one would be forgiven for anticipating a coherent follow-up, if not a response, to 2006’s Yes, Virginia. Instead, what is offered here comprises rarities, B-sides and assorted oddities culled from the band’s relatively youthful career. Such treasures may be like old friends to the Dolls’ ardent fanbase but still serve as a worthy addition to any casual listener’s record collection.

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cyndi lauper: bring ya to the brink (2008)
July 14, 2008, 11:41 am
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Cyndi Lauper
Bring Ya To The Brink •••

For someone whose name is synonymous with fierce individuality and bucking the trend, it seems pop icon Cyndi Lauper has been paying particular attention to the charts of late.

Despite well-documented comparisons and eventual rivalry early on in her career with fellow pop songstress Madonna, both artists eventually carved out their own niches, each securing loyal fanbases. It’s surprising, then, that Ms Lauper’s tenth studio album takes its cues from Madonna’s new-millennium makeover and is, put simply, a dance record. It’s a brave declaration of a new sound for the singer, not just the shift in musical style but notably in her singing, too; the vocals are considerably muted compared to her past work. With its gentle beats, breathy chorus and occasional guitar sample, ‘High & Mighty’ doesn’t make for the best introduction; instead, it comes across as a rather lacklustre effort that would remain unnoticed had it been released by any other dance artist in an already overcrowded genre.

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hector zazou & katiejane garside: corps electriques /// queen adreena: ride a cock horse (2008)
July 14, 2008, 11:41 am
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Hector Zazou & Katiejane Garside
Corps Electriques ••••
Phantom Sound & Vision

Queen Adreena
Ride A Cock Horse ••½
Self-released/Teichiku Japan

Katiejane Garside is a busy woman. Not content with heading up eccentric indie rockers Queen Adreena, whispers concerning various side projects have been circulating for some time, including the mysterious Ruby Throat, a group comprising of herself and Chris Whittingham which recently spawned an album, and this collaboration with prolific French composer/producer Hector Zazou. Zazou has long played to the strengths of enigmatic female voices, working with everyone from Laurie Anderson and Lisa Germano to Suzanne Vega and the gravel-gargling Sandy Dillon.

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