wears the trousers magazine

susanna & the magical orchestra: 3 (2009)


Susanna & The Magical Orchestra
3 ••••
Rune Grammofon

It’s not without some irony that the new album from Norwegian duo Susanna & The Magical Orchestra shares its name with Nouvelle Vague’s most recent release. With their fastidiously conceived 2006 covers album Melody Mountain, Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild positioned themselves as the bedsit hipster equivalent to Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux’s amorphous creation, swapping out the Gallic-by-way-of-the-Caribbean sultriness for a precise yet languorous gloom that confirmed Wallumrød as an interpretive vocalist of considerable skill. Three years and two Wallumrød solo albums on, the similarities to Nouvelle Vague begin and end with the title of this latest effort, a mostly original collection that pulses with ambient sorrow and techno-dystopian tension.

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susanna reunites with her magical orchestra for new album

110809_susannaandthemagicalorchestraGuests include Mariam Wallentin of Wildbirds & Peacedrums

It’s amazing how some album releases can sneak up on you. We hadn’t heard a single peep about the new album from Norwegian duo Susanna & The Magical Orchestra until last week. Okay, so the title, 3, isn’t particularly distinctive (ahem, Nouvelle Vague), but still, such events should not be allowed to sneak under our radar! The two previous albums from Susanna Wallumrød and Morten Qvenild, most recently 2006’s covers collection Melody Mountain, were delicate, rare treasures, and Susanna’s subsequent solo releases Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos (2007) and Flower Of Evil (2008) have only strengthened her position as one of Scandinavia’s most transcendental vocalists.

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trouser press: kristin hersh, alela diane and more

in today’s trouser press:

– Kristin Hersh brings The Shady Circle to London
– Alela Diane is the voice of Headless Heroes
– remixers ruffle the feathers of Au Revoir Simone
– Melanie Garside returns as Maple Bee
– lost Gershwin tunes brought to life by Victoria Hart
– Loreena McKennitt gets festive, again
– Martha Wainwright and others cover Leonard Cohen, again
– Madonna lashes out at Sarah Palin
– Canadian artists raise environmental awareness pre-election 

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Having toured her autobiography-as-performance art show ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ (which, it appears, will eventually come out as a book), Kristin Hersh brings her latest project, The Shady Circle, to London in November. A follow-up of sorts to her Appalachian folk song collection Murder, Misery & Then Goodnight, The Shady Circle is basically just Kristin, an electric guitar, an amp and songs and stories galore.

Curious? Well, we’ve had a root around the internets and found a lovely live recording of a house concert in which several Shady Circle songs were performed – ‘Willie Moore’, ‘Waiting For The One Train’, ‘Children Oh Children’, ‘Dusty Road’ – as well as a few Kristin/Throwing Muses originals. And the best bit? It’s free and legal to download. Get part one here and part two here.

London’s The Borderline plays host to The Shady Circle on November 23rd.

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If you haven’t yet become acquainted with the supremely talented Alela Diane, whose 2007 album The Pirate’s Gospel was deservedly hailed as a masterpiece, then another opportunity is waiting in the wings. Alela is the voice of Headless Heroes, a new covers project dreamt up by A&R man Eddie Bezalel (Alice Smith, Mark Ronson) and brought to life by a crack team of musicians.

Billed as a “simply beautiful collection of lost classics and unearthed gems sung with arresting clarity”, The Silence Of Love (out November 10th) is the ensemble’s debut album that tackles bittersweet songs of love and loss spanning 40 years. Classics from Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs and The Gentle Soul mingle seamlessly with more modern selections from Daniel Johnston, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The Jesus & Mary Chain.

Alela describes the project as “pure fun”, adding: “It was quite liberating to just sing! And not worry about it being my record, or it being different from the type of music that I’m used to making…I was able to use all different parts of my voice, from what I do in my own songs, to what I learned while singing in the school choir.”

The Silence Of Love
01 True Love Will Find You In The End
02 Just One Time
03 Here Before
04 Just Like Honey
05 To You
06 Blues Run The Game
07 Hey Now Who Really Cares
08 Nobody’s Baby Now
09 North Wind Blew South
10 See My Love

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