in today’s trouser press:
- Long Blondes split; Kate Jackson to go solo
- early Madonna recordings surface online
- Annie’s Don’t Stop put back to January
- Scarlett Johansson to co-host this year’s Nobel Peace Concert
- Feist to retreat from the limelight
- Isobel Campbell preps new EP, expanded Sunday At Devil Dirt
- Dee Dee Warwick dies aged 63
- kd lang to release new live DVD
- Pink upset by lack of reply from the Queen
- teenage singer Gabriella Cilmi cleans up at the ARIAs.
- opera star Katherine Jenkins changes label
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We should probably wait for the results of the November 4th election before exalting the virtues of democracy, but the fact that you lovely people have voted overwhelmingly in favour of replacing the current news digest with individual news items cannot be ignored. This will be the last trouser press roundup in its current form. Thanks to those who expressed a preference.
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The top story this week – apart from the ongoing Madonna/Guy divorce saga, which is just too dull to bother with – is that Long Blondes singer Kate Jackson is to release a solo album following the band’s decision to split. Yesterday’s announcement, which coincided with the release of the band’s new-album-of-old-songs “Singles”, revealed that primary songwriter and guitarist Dorian Cox had suffered a stroke back in June and is trying to recover the full use of his guitar-playing arm.
Kate told BBC 6Music yesterday, “When it first happened he couldn’t move his leg or his arm at all and we weren’t sure how his speech, memory, or intelligence were going to be affected… Thankfully those things are completely unaffected. He’s still the same Dorian, just lovely and hilariously funny. We haven’t lost him at all, it’s just the arm now that they’re working on.”
Speaking of her solo plans, she seemed cautious, saying “I’ve only just started and a lot of the influences will overlap so hopefully fans of The Long Blondes will like what I do…I think it will reflect my personal music taste a bit more.”
While Jackson is off making her solo record, bassist Reenie Hollis has her new all-girl trio The Bon Bon Club (who, I’m sure, originally started out with the Long Blondes’ drummer Screech Louder but seem to have replaced him). No word on what Emma Chaplin will do, but I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of her. Not that a Long Blondes reunion has been completely ruled out if Dorian makes a complete recovery. So, once but not necessarily never again.
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If you insist on some Madonna news, then head over to TheDailyBeast.com to listen to a previously unheard compilation of Madge singing some of the first songs she ever wrote, including ‘Born To Be A Dancer’, in the late 1970s. Recorded in the basement of a synagogue in Queens, New York, the tape somehow found its way into the hands of unofficial Madonna biographer Andrew Morton, and is spliced with a recording of her acceptance speech at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame earlier this year. Morton describes the tape as “sweet and raw”; what do you think?
Handily, just below the tape is a summary of the whole messy divorce situation so crib from that if you like. In other marriage news, Nelly Furtado has revealed that she secretly married her sound engineer boyfriend Demacio Castellon back in July, saying that she “just feel[s] kind of free and relaxed and more in tune with trying not to be so stressed out.” Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Avril Lavigne has hit back at divorce rumours – or at least husband Deryck Whibley has – in a Myspace post quite rightly posing the question, “Since when did the National Enquirer become a trustworthy news source?” As for Jessica Simpson’s rumoured plans to marry NFL star Tony Romo, don’t make us go there, please.
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You wait four years for a new Annie album to come along and then, like transport from the Sadistic Bus Co., you have to wait out in the cold some more. What was to be a nice upbeat coda to a mostly wet and miserable summer will now be the soundtrack to what scientists have pinpointed as the most depressing day of the year, the last Monday of January, and the weeks thereafter. Annie herself confirmed the delay of Don’t Stop (dancing? crying? breathing?) on her Myspace blog, blaming her “typical Scandinavian perfectionist” tendencies for the hold up.
“I had these other songs that I thought were just too good to not be on the album so I put my foot down and made my label put the record back to next year,” she explains, perhaps having realised that ‘The Breakfast Song’ was more like a dog’s dinner of a track. As well as new songs she’s working on with producer Paul Epworth, Annie’s Richard X-produced cover of Stacey Q’s ‘Two Of Hearts’ (download from Stereogum) is to get a formal single release (12″, CD) on October 27th through Island.
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Scarlett Johansson has been drafted in to co-host the 2008 Nobel Peace Concert on December 11th. The annual event, held in Oslo, Norway, will feature performances from Feist, Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas, Norway’s Marit Larsen and a headlining set from Diana Ross. In a statement praising this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, saying “His tireless efforts to promote peace on a global scale are an inspiration to us all,” Johannson said she was “truly honoured” to be invited to host the concert. Her co-host will be announced in the coming weeks.
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Speaking of Feist, the lovable Canadian has confessed to feeling more than a little frazzled by the success of The Reminder, telling Canadian Press that she plans to take a break from the music industry once her current touring commitments are over. “[My career] has become kind of large and it really began for me very, very small,” she said, “like me alone in my bedroom with my four-track and a pair of headphones. I just need to go back there for a while to get my bearings again and then know what to do next. I just need to let it rest for a minute.”
The singer, who recently completed an environmental awareness trip to the Arctic circle on a boat while bunked up with pal Martha Wainwright, is set to release a 2CD deluxe edition of The Reminder on November 24th featuring a host of remixes and the bloggers’ gold of her duet with The Constantines on Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ ‘Islands In The Stream’.
01 I Feel It All [escort remix]
02 Sea Lion [chromeo remix]
03 My Moon My Man [boys noize classic mix]
04 1234 [van she remix]
05 Fightin’ Away The Tears
06 My Moon My Man [grizzly bear remix]
07 I Feel It All [gonzales remix]
08 Islands In The Stream [with The Constantines]
+ videos for My Moon My Man, 1234, I Feel It All and Honey Honey
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Other artists getting the special edition treatment for their latest album in time for Christmas include Duffy, Adele, Leona Lewis, The Ting Tings and, less predictably, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. On November 10th, Sunday At Devil Dirt will be reissued with a bonus disc of live songs, featuring four tracks from Ballad Of The Broken Seas, covers of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Sand’ and Gun Club’s ‘Carry Home’, and a version of ‘Willow’s Song’ from Isobel’s Milkwhite Sheets album.
01 Revolver [live]
02 Carry Home [live]
03 Willow’s Song [live]
04 Sand [live]
05 (Do You Wanna) Come Walk With Me [live]
06 The Circus Is Leaving Town [live]
07 Ramblin’ Man [live]
That’s all very well you might say, but what about some new songs? Fear not. Two weeks later the duo release Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart, a six-track EP featuring the title cut (from Devil Dirt) and five previously unreleased songs from the same recording sessions.
Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart EP
01 Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart
02 Fight Fire With Fire
03 Asleep On A Sixpence
04 Violin Tango
05 Rambling Rose, Clinging Vine
06 Hang On
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Dee Dee Warwick, younger sister of Dionne and a renowned singer in her own right, died at the weekend following months of poor health. The 63 year old two-time Grammy nominee began her career singing with Dionne in The Gospelaires and the Drinkard Singers, before having several solo hits in the 1960s and ‘70s, most notably with ‘I’m Gonna Make You Love Me’, which was later a hit for Diana Ross & The Supremes. Earlier this year, Dee Dee was in Europe providing backing vocals for Dionne’s autobiographical ‘My Music & Me’ tour. Dionne was at her bedside when she died. Full obituary here.
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Next month sees the much-rumoured DVD release of kd lang’s February 2008 performance with the BBC Concert Orchestra at St. Luke’s Church in London…in Australia. Filmed for a TV special that airs down under on November 23rd, the inconsistently capitalised DVD will be in the shops from the 8th. We haven’t yet been able to unearth a UK release date, but it appears that US fans will be able to get the concert on regular DVD and Blu-Ray from February 3rd next year, exactly one year since the event. How poetic.
Live In London: k.d. lang in Concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra
04 Western Stars
05 I Dream Of Spring
06 Coming Home
07 Once In A While
08 Wash Me Clean
10 Smoke Rings
11 The Valley
13 Flame Of The Uninspired
14 Constant Craving
15 Close Your Eyes
16 Don’t Smoke In Bed
17 Pay Dirt
18 Jealous Dog
19 Je Fais Le Planche
20 The Shadow & The Frame
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The Queen and Prince William have come under fire from Pink for failing to reply to her pro animal rights letters questioning William’s hunting habits and the use of real bearskin hats by the Royal Guards. Speaking to Live magazine, she branded the royal family “a bit rude” for not responding to her concerns, saying “I don’t get why we can’t question people just because of their position in society. I don’t care if they have a crown.”
Although the Royal Guards have defended their use of bearskins instead of fake fur by claiming they “haven’t been supplied with anything that stands up to the wear, durability and practicality of real fur”, Pink remains adamant. “One or two Canadian bears are killed to make each hat,” she says, “and that is totally unnecessary.”
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Teenage singer Gabriella Cilmi was the big winner at the Australian Record Industry Association awards on Sunday, pipping the likes of Kylie Minogue, Holly Throsby and Angus & Julia Stone to take home six awards including Best Female Artist and Single Of The Year for ‘Sweet About Me’. The singer, who just turned 17, rose to fame in the UK earlier this year following support tours with Sugababes and Nouvelle Vague. She wasn’t the only female winner; Kasey Chambers took home her fourth Best Country Album award, which she shared with husband Shane Nicholson for their critically acclaimed Rattlin’ Bones, while Delta Goodrem was recognised for having the highest selling disc of the year with her eponymous third album.
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Finally, opera star Katherine Jenkins has signed a worldwide deal with Warner Music Entertainment rumoured (and denied) to be worth $10 million, calling time on her previous commitment to Universal Classics & Jazz. As well as her recorded output, Warner will oversee her online presence, sponsorship deals and merchandising. Fans will be able to visit a one-stop shop-style webstore for tickets, merchandise and exclusive material. Although Warner have denied that deal was inked for five albums, it is known that Katherine will work on her next project with producer David Foster.
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Tagged adele, annie, avril lavigne, dee dee warwick, delta goodrem, diana ross, dionne warwick, duffy, feist, gabriella cilmi, isobel campbell, jessica simpson, julieta venegas, kasey chambers, kate jackson, katherine jenkins, kd lang, leona lewis, madonna, marit larsen, mark lanegan, martha wainwright, nelly furtado, pink, scarlett johansson, stacey q, the long blondes, the ting tings