Dress to impress

She was the caretaker of an Ayrshire castle for eighteen months, played piano in the Groucho Club and now Astrid Williamson is set tojoin a select group of legends with her band Goya Dress. Alastair Mabbott explains why.

Just think of the classic debut albunts produced by John Cale. The Stooges. Patti Smith's Horses.

Jonathan Richman's The Modern Lovers. the first albums by Happy Mondays and Squeeze . . . and. scheduled for February “)6, the premiere long-player by a presently little-known trio called Goya Dress. Put aside the tea leaves and chicken entrails; the involvement ot‘the founder Velvet Underground member is ponent enough that special things are in store for this band. Already. they‘ve persuaded. with considerable ease. The Brodsky Quartet to play strings on one of the tracks. I

‘I touch wood madly all the time!‘ says frontwoman

and songwriter Astrid Williamson. a softly-spoken I Shetlander who's level-headed enough not to be _ overawed by what's happening to her and her band. l According to Astrid. the experience of working with the legendarin difficult Welsh Wizard was not the least bit nerve-wracking. Or not much. anyway.

‘He was very accommodating. And he's no-bullshit ' Goya mess; gowning around in a lot of ways. You have to come up to his quickness. his desire to get things done. You don‘t Scotland as a member of the ultimately unsuccessful piano. the mood bounces from tlte intense and mattic have time to be worried. it all goes so last. I enjoyed 1 hands Anton And The Moon attd Tarte. (toya Dress 3 to hauntingly beautiful. But always there are dark it. I got on well with him, I think he likes to draw on seduced the ear of Saul (ialpcrn. head ol~ Nude clouds looming overhead. The songs are growers. one person. and obviously he was getting the focus Records wherein reside Suede and newcomers l but. it you let them. they‘ll slice deep. from ttte. Sharkhoy. and so far they have released two singles. ! They‘re Astrid‘s songs. and obviously the spotlight ‘lt's funny. we were in The Townhouse. where Pulp X the Bet/rum” ('lllt’llltl lil’ attd the recently issued will be on her, But she knows the value ot‘ having a were recording with Chris Thnmns~ _ my cousin‘s in Ruby [fl’. 1 band. so Terry attd Simon needn't worry for the time

Pulp and we were sat chatting and Chris Thomas The singles along witlt support slttls on Suede tours being about an abrupt Polly ll;tt'\'c‘_\'«r;tylc sundering came in and asked how we got on with John Calc, | ' aitd an early evening (,‘aledonian Stage appearance at 1 ol‘ ties.

said. great. he‘s a real character. He‘s really stubborn. ; ‘l tltittk sonte ot' the majors always leaned heavily but. then again. so atit I. And I said. was he always : With AStI‘Id swflching between guutar and on what they could do with me. I l'elt that. There was . r I 9 i - , . . , , ,‘ . .

like that. And Chris Thomas. w ho worked on [Cale s ; piano, the mood bounces from the

1973 album] Parts [9/9 said. actually. he‘s always - . . been like that. He gave up drink and it didn‘t make a Intense and mamc to hauntmgly

a sense ot’ "You've got to come l'orwat'd. you've got

to do this. you‘ve got to do that. ltave you ever thought abottt having a girl tlrttittttter‘.’" Honestly?

dam" bit 0fdiffcrcncu' beautlful' Bl" always there are dark I And I didn‘t really mind. l_ittst thought. well. l know Quite a commanding chap. then? clouds looming overhead. , Whttl l tt-ttnt and I‘ll just hang on to tltat. But we a ‘Very commanding. But good fun . . . It was okay hell ot‘ a lot ot‘ advice from sotne tittaiters.‘

Alter we speak. Astrid heads to London's Splash mapped out. it was fine. I really enjoyed it. don't get it clashed with Supergrass) have brought thettt Club, where she and the battd are playing an aeottstie me wrong. I think sometimes Terry and Simon found comparisons with 'I'hrowing Muses (‘Kristin Hersh set with Suede‘s Richard ()akes guesting. Truly.

i u after a few days. I think once the territory was i it a wee bit difficult. He works so hard all the time.‘ on heat' 3). PJ. l-larvey. Joni Mitchell's lie/[rd and i there's no stopping this band. attd Astrid is getting

T lit The Park (the reason you missed it was because

Bassist Terry Di Castro. from Minneapolis via even Siouxsie. Intrigued? Funnin enough. the title ot inereasittgly atttbitious. ‘l'm learning the drums.‘ she BtiSIOl. and fornterjazz drummer Simon Pearson are an old Throwing Muses sottg. ‘l)elicate (‘ttttct‘s'. eonlides. ‘l air-drum to Britpop recot‘ds.‘ Way to go. the rhythm section Astrid hooked up with when she comes to mind when listening to (}oy a Dress do their (Joya Dress play The l'euue. lz‘t/t'n/ung/t (III Sat 9 and moved down to London after playing around thing With Astrid switching between guitar and King 'l'ur's, C/usttmt- (m Sun /() tt-n/t [)e/jt-n/msm,

The List 8-21 Sept l‘)‘)5 35