- our reaction to this year’s Mercury Music Prize nominations
- Courtney Love gets sued, again
- Deerhoof leak new single, sort of
- new Gregory & The Hawk album in October
- Little Boots working with The Bird & The Bee’s Greg Kurstin
- new wave of ABBAmania hits the UK
- Marnie Stern returns with mouthful of an album
- You Say Party! We Say Die! get remixed
- Amy Ray unveils new solo album
- new Amy Rigby album is a collaboration with Wreckless Eric
- The Duhks announce fourth album
- Eva Cassidy takes on Tupac
- YouTube video nets Avril Lavigne £1 million
- Jessica Simpson booed at debut live performance of country material
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If you’ve seen the list of nominees for this year’s Mercury Music Prize you’ll probably have noticed just how many women have been included this year. Well, about bloody time. The lucky four (and a half if you count Alison Krauss, who is American) still fall short of accounting for an even 50:50 with the guys, but it’s definitely progress.
After much deliberation, Wears The Trousers is putting its money behind the brilliant Laura Marling, whose debut album Alas I Cannot Swim got a five-star review from us earlier this year, with a second bet on Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – The Bairns is a great, great record. Quite what Adele is doing on the list when Portishead, PJ Harvey and M.I.A. have been overlooked is a real mystery. We couldn’t even muster 500 words to say about the yawnfest that is 19 to bother with a review. I must confess I haven’t listened to Estelle’s album yet, but ‘American Boy’ was a great first single.
Jude Rogers, one of the judges in this year’s competition, wrote on her Guardian blog that, contrary to some speculation, there was no female quota to be filled. Simon Frith, the Chairman of the Prize, reiterated this saying, “All this says is that there are a lot of women making interesting music. If you look at the charts there are a lot of women there and they are crossing genres.”
That’s nothing new Mr Frith.
Of course, Radiohead are the favourites, along with Arctic Monkeys singer Alex Turner’s side project The Last Shadow Puppets. Among the women, the partnership of Alison Krauss and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant is currently more favoured than the others. It’s been six years since a woman – Ms Dynamite – won the Prize. This year’s winner will be announced on September 9th during a celeb-ridden ceremony broadcast live on BBC2.
The nominations in full:
Adele – 19
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
Burial – Untrue
Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Estelle – Shine
The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement
Laura Marling – Alas I Cannot Swim
Neon Neon – Stainless Style
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
Portico Quartet – Knee Deep In The North Sea
Rachel Unthank &The Winterset - The Bairns
Radiohead – In Rainbows
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Having recently launched some memorable tirades against Billy Corgan and Ryan Adams on her MySpace blog, the ever-newsworthy Courtney Love probably won’t be shouting about a new lawsuit brought against her today by London & Co., a business management company based in Los Angeles, claiming that Love owes them $975,000. The Associated Press report that the company says Courtney had a verbal contract with them in which she promised to share 5% of her earnings after she sold some of her share of Nirvana’s publishing rights in 2006 for $20 million.
Still no news on her long-awaited second solo album though.
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Trust Deerhoof to come up with a novel, nonsensical way of avoiding premature internet leaks. With their ninth album Offend Maggie due for release on October 6th, the band has offered a free download of the first single ‘Fresh Born’ to all…as sheet music. But that’s where the fun comes in, because Deerhoof are inviting whomsoever fancies the challenge to take the sheet music and come up with their own versions of the song. These ‘covers’ can then be uploaded to the CASH Music website for everyone to hear.
The band have made this video to explain this latest whimsy:
01 The Tears & Music Of Love
02 Chandelier Searchlight
03 Buck & Judy
04 Snoopy Waves
05 Offend Maggie
06 Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back
07 Don’t Get Born
08 My Purple Past
09 Family Of Others
10 Fresh Born
11 Eaguru Guru
12 This Is God Speaking
14 Jagged Fruit
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Gregory & The Hawk, the musical guise of New Yorker Meredith Godreau, releases her second album Moenie & Kitchi through FatCat on October 13th. Godreau has been working independently for roughly five years now, selling over 15,000 copies of various singles and establishing an adoring fanbase who have published so many YouTube videos of them covering her songs that they span a whopping 17 pages, and this is her first release for a label.
Produced by Adam Pierce (Mice Parade) and featuring a number of Godreau’s musician friends, the 11-track album will be preceded by first single ‘Ghost’ on September 29th. For now, content yourself with listening to the adorable ‘Grey Weather’ on her Myspace.
Moenie & Kitchi
01 Oats We Sow
02 August Moon
04 Grey Weather
05 Voice Like A Bell
06 Wild West
07 Stonewall, Stone Fence
09 Super Legend
11 Two Faced Twin
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Ex-Dead Disco frontwoman Victoria Hesketh, who now goes by the name of Little Boots, is working on her debut album with producer Greg Kurstin (aka the Bee to Inara George’s Bird) at his home studio in Los Angeles. The as-yet-untitled album will feature the established club hit ‘Stuck On Repeat’ and plenty of others. Speaking to NME.com, Victoria says she has more than enough songs for the album and that narrowing them down would be the real challenge. She also revealed that Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard is collaborating on a song or two and that she hopes recording will be wrapped up by the end of the autumn. A UK release is expected early next year, but fans in the US will get an EP before then. The EP will include new song ‘Meddle’ and a remix of ‘Stuck On Repeat’ by Fake Blood.
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The soundtrack to the Meryl Streep-starring film production of the ‘Mamma Mia!’ stage musical has confirmed a whole new wave of ABBAmania in the UK by not only becoming the first soundtrack to top the album charts since the ‘Bridget Jones’ OST in 2001 but also shooting the already multi platinum-selling ABBA Gold compilation back into the top five. The soundtrack has sold almost a million copies worldwide in the last two weeks.
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Marnie Stern, arguably the queen of the electric 12-string guitar, returns with her second album on October 6th. Recorded in Sacramento, California with previous collaborator Zach Hill, the 12-track album is going by the unwieldy name of This Is It & I Am It & You Are It & So Is That & He Is It & She Is It & It Is It & That Is That – phew! That’s even harder to remember than Fiona Apple’s poem.
03 Shea Stadium
05 The Crippled Jazzer
07 The Package Is Wrapped
08 Simon Says
10 Clone Cycle
11 Roads? Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads
12 The Devil’s In The Details
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Shouty, exclamatory Canadians You Say Party! We Say Die! plan to release a digital-only remix album through Paper Bag Records on August 26th to tide fans over while waiting for the follow-up to last year’s Lose All Time. Remik’s Cube features remixes of YSP!WSD! songs by the likes of Montag and The Octopus Project.
01 5 Year Plan [vitaminsforyou 6th year remix]
02 DMG, AKR! [S-2 beatdown mayors mix]
03 Opportunity [montag's i love her remix]
04 Teenage Hit Wonder [re-styled by camp america]
05 Monster [RAC mix]
06 Like I Give A Care [the octopus project remix]
07 Poison [bocce remix]
08 Moon [wallpaper remix]
09 Giant Hands [kevvy mental's hand in hand in hands remix]
10 You’re Almost There [dj rexford mix]
11 Dancefloor Destroyer [great lenin's ghost remix]
12 Quiet World [stop die resuscitate in a k-hole remix]
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Continuing to plough a more roughshod furrow than her day job as one half of the Indigo Girls, the upcoming third solo album from Amy Ray sees the singer take on all subjects from sexuality (‘She’s Got To Be’) and teenage killing sprees (‘Who Sold The Gun’) to the Mormon faith (‘SLC Radio’) and global warming (‘Bus Bus’). Didn’t It Feel Kinder was produced by Greg Griffith (Le Tigre, The Butchies) with guest musicians Arizona and Kaia Wilson and Melissa York from The Butchies, and is released on August 5th through Ray’s own Daemon Records.
As well as a regular CD version, a limited edition 180-gram vinyl pressing with different cover art will also be available…and will include the CD too! Preorder here.
Didn’t It Feel Kinder
01 Birds of a Feather
02 She’s Got To Be
03 Bus Bus
04 Cold Shoulder
05 Who Sold The Gun
06 Out On The Farm
07 SLC Radio
08 Blame Is A Killer
09 Stand & Deliver
10 Rabbit Foot
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Amy Rigby, the self-styled mod housewife, has teamed up with legendary Stiff Records artist Wreckless Eric for a collaborative album that sees them bring their two-year musical partnership to the studio for the first time. Released on September 15th through Stiff Records, Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby is “a beautifully raw and touching album: vocal harmonies, crackling, buzzing atmospheres and upbeat/downbeat lyrics of a couple that have been one too many times around the dance floor” – that’s the press release. We haven’t heard it yet but if it’s anything like as good as Amy’s five solo albums (most recently 2005′s Little Fugitive) then we’re excited. The duo plan to tour the UK in November.
* * *
Canadian roots music quintet The Duhks (pronounced ‘ducks’) have announced details of their fourth album, Fast Paced World, due for release on August 19th in the US, through Sugar Hill Records. It’s their first album since original singer Jessee Havey and drummer Scott Senior left the band last year, replaced by siblings Sarah and Christian Dugas. According to a report by Chart Attack, Sarah Dugas wrote five of the 12 new songs. “We travelled from Winnipeg, locked ourselves in a Nashville basement, pooled our ideas together and invented a new sound,” she told the website.
The band are also leading the way with their green approach to their craft, as laid out by The Duhks Sustainability Project launched last October. The band have committed to using only biodiesel fuel, to recycle as much as they can, and to eat more certified organic foods, among other measures. Read all about it here.
Fast Paced World
01 Mighty Storm
02 Fast Paced World
03 This Fall
04 Adam’s 3-Step
05 Toujours Vouloir
06 You Don’t See It
07 Ship High In Transit
09 Sleepin’ Is All I Wanna Do (Stars On A Sunny Day)
10 95 South
11 New Rigged Ship
12 I See You
* * *
Giving Tupac a run for his money in the posthumous releases stakes is the unlikely figure of Eva Cassidy, who, 12 years after her premature death from cancer, is about to issue her seventh album from beyond the grave. Somewhere, a 12-track collection of previously unreleased material, has been culled from various forgotten sessions uncovered by Eva’s family and friends. These include two songs co-written by Eva and covers of classics like ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat Of Many Colours’. The album is released in the UK on August 18th.
01 Coat Of Many Colours
02 My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
03 Ain’t Doin’ Too Bad [live]
04 Chain Of Fools [live]
05 Won’t Be Long
06 Walkin’ After Midnight
07 Early One Morning
08 A Bold Young Farmer
09 If I Give My Heart
10 Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
* * *
Avril Lavigne has made a staggering £1 million through a pioneering fan-led scheme concocted by Nettwerk Management that saw her YouTube video for ‘Girlfriend’ notch up to almost 100 million views in the space of a year. And how does that translate into cold hard cash? Well, where there are video views there are also advertisement impressions and clearly that’s a lot more lucrative than we had thought! And Nettwerk aren’t stopping there – they plan to run a similar scheme in Mandarin to allow them to tap into the Asian market, which they say accounts for 40% of Avril’s intellectual property value. As Nettwerk Management head Terry McBride reportedly put it, “we will make a shitload of money”. Lovely.
* * *
Just when it all seemed to be boding so well for Jessica Simpson’s country crossover for her upcoming album, Do You Know?, the 28 year old was booed by the audience during her first live country performance at a festival in Wisconsin at the weekend. Once America’s favourite hooter-voiced dumbass, Simpson was reportedly heckled even when holding off on her own new songs in favour of covering Willie Nelson’s classic ‘On The Road Again’ and Shania Twain’s ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?’. Radio reaction to the first single, ‘Come On Over’ has been pretty positive, and even Dolly Parton has come out on Simpson’s side, both writing and singing on the album’s title track, but clearly the public have yet to be won over. Simpson defended herself against her critics by saying, “I don’t know what your perception is of Jessica Simpson or what tabloid you buy, but I just want you to know that I’m just a girl from Texas; I’m just like you. I’m doing what I love and dating a boy.”
Well that’s that sorted.
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Tagged abba, adele, alison krauss, amy ray, amy rigby, avril lavigne, courtney love, deerhoof, estelle, eva cassidy, gregory and the hawk, indigo girls, jessica simpson, laura marling, little boots, mamma mia, marnie stern, MIA, ms dynamite, pj harvey, portishead, rachel unthank, the bird and the bee, the butchies, the duhks, wreckless eric, you say party we say die