wears the trousers magazine

tune-yards: live at cargo 15/02
February 17, 2010, 12:10 am
Filed under: live, review | Tags: , , ,

tUnE yArDs + Trash Kit + Think About Life
Upset The Rhythm @ Cargo, London •••••
February 15, 2010

We’re only two months into the new year but it’s safe to say that Monday’s tUnE-yArDs show at Cargo will go down as one of the best live dates of 2010. Merrill Garbus’s debut album BiRd-BrAiNs was a unanimous breakout hit last year, winning hearts with fans and music press alike, and staking prizes for its DIY magic (think Dictaphones and free software) and the patchwork stitching of sounds that soar throughout its uniquely spirited songs. The sell-out show was teeming with that full-capacity excitement that promises an unforgettable experience, and the New England native delivered in spades, bringing the same energy that wowed fans at SXSW and ATP last year to a smaller, yet equally appreciative London audience.

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in photos: tune-yards live at cargo 15/02
February 16, 2010, 12:34 pm
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tUnE-yArDs + Trash Kit + Think About Life
Cargo, London
February 15, 2010

All photos by Wunmi Onibudo. Review soon.

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february gig guide

You may ask what, like war, the month of February is good for. To its detriment it’s cold, bombarded with Valentine’s Day marketing to the point of overkill, barren of public holidays, and did we mention how it’s still bloody freezing? In its favour…it’s short. Too harsh? Okay, well, there are some pretty fantastic gigs coming up over the next four weeks. So many, in fact, that it was hard to pick just one event per night to recommend. Don’t forget that many of these artists have several other dates lined up for the month, so use the handy Myspace links we’ve provided to find out if they’re coming to your town. Make space in your diary.

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wears the trousers albums of the decade #75-51

part one part threepart four

Here’s the second part of our albums of the decade countdown, running from #75–51.

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Róisín Murphy

[EMI, 2007]

Of all the critical droolfests that failed to ignite on the commercial front this decade, Róisín Murphy’s second solo album is among the most inexplicable damp squibs. The ex-Moloko frontwoman may have shed the avant-garde experimentalism of her solo debut Ruby Blue in favour of full-on disco diva mode, set against a backdrop of thumping, shimmering state-of-the-art production, but it seems the world wasn’t ready to accept even Murphy’s toned down personality quirks. That’s a real shame for although Overpowered is not without its flaws, there is a sense of playful grandeur here that can easily toe the line with Goldfrapp at their most teasing.

Chris Catchpole

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best of 2009: readers poll results #40–31

Here we go, counting down the 50 albums you voted for in the highest number as your favourites for 2009. Numbers 40–31 right here.

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Tori Amos
Midwinter Graces

[Island; November 2009]

What we said then: “[Tori] Amos has spent a lifetime exploring the perceived divisions between the sacred and the profane, the Christian and the Pagan, or to put it in her terms, “marrying the Marys”. On Midwinter Graces, she takes this preoccupation to its logical (and perhaps most literal) conclusion, stripping back carols commonly regarded as Christian to their pre-evangelised forms, and working in some naturalistically rooted observations of her own… She thinks nothing of editing a lyric or verse here and there to suit her thematic needs, and it’s this return to some of the fearlessness of old that impresses most. And, unlike some of her recent material, there’s never the sense that the message is taking precedent over the music.” •••• Alan Pedder

What we say now: The woeful artwork may have landed her on more than one ‘worst album covers of 2009’ list, but Midwinter Graces has done a lot to reinvigorate Amos’s fanbase. Hell, it even got some glowing reviews from the mainstream music press. The revelation that standout track ‘Winter’s Carol’ is to be the finale of Amos’s next project, a stage musical production of writer George MacDonald’s children’s story, The Light Princess, has perked up interest in the long-promised project. 2010 could be another interesting year to be a Tori Amos fan.

Download: ‘Jeanette, Isabella’, ‘Star Of Wonder’, ‘Winter’s Carol’

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interrupting yr broadcast: tUnE-yArDs
November 16, 2009, 3:08 pm
Filed under: feature, interrupting yr broadcast | Tags: , , ,


“Whoops!” – tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus is falling off her seat. She’s vivacious, engaged and sailing on nervous energy, barely recognisable from the person who introduced herself with the words, ‘Listen, I’m nervous’, just hours before. She was postponing the interview and skipping dinner, she explained, to make sure her voice was in the right shape. From a distance, there seemed little reason to be jittery. Two nights earlier she took Paris by surprise, upstaging tour mates Dirty Projectors and clearing €600 worth of albums and merchandise after the show. Even now, hiding in a darkened room in the bowels of London’s Scala, away from the supervision of her label reps, she’s continually interrupted with the words “That was amazing!” from surprised passers-by.

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tUnE-yArDs: BiRd-BrAiNs (2009)
March 31, 2009, 5:56 pm
Filed under: album, mp3, review, video | Tags: , , , ,


BiRd-BrAiNs [reissue] ••••

Merrill Garbus is a criminal genius. In tUnE-yArDs, she has created the most frustrating band name to type in the history of the universe, a theme that is carried on into the title of her debut album, BiRd-BrAiNs. Luckily, Garbus is here to show us that even the most sadistic of minds can make the loveliest music.

Upon my first listen I had reason to pause. Her voice is low and husky enough to make me wonder, just for a moment, whether I was listening to an album not fit for Wears The Trousers’ purposes. But fear not! Garbus is confirmed all woman, and a rather talented woman she is too. Initially self-released in 2008 and now reissued on vinyl, BiRd-BrAiNs is an album of wonderful variety – morose and cheerful, classical and bizarre, harsh and gentle. Reportedly captured entirely on a handheld digital voice recorder, the album has a fuzzy, warm and intimate feeling that is so pleasing it might cause you to wonder if all those huge studios full of fancy recording equipment are really necessary when good music can be made this simply.

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