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KATHRYN WILLIAMS Cottier Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 17 Oct; La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Sat 19 Oct
Winning the Mercury Music Prize isn’t the be-alI-and-end-all. So it’s a cheque for £20,000 and a considerable amount of free publicity but as 28 year-old folk singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams discovered in last year’s contest, simply being nominated can make all the difference in the world.
‘After Mercury I got everything that I needed‘, explains Williams in her soft spoken scouse accent. ‘I got advertising, the licensing deals [with East West Records] and I got to go to a party as Cinderella and come back home as me.’ That plus the fact that Williams was pissed by the time they announced the winner [Badly Drawn Boy] and therefore relieved at not having to go up on stage: ‘I sat down thinking “Thank fuck! I don’t know if I can stand up in these shoes’"
As well as signing a lucrative licensing deal (enabling Williams to pay off debts accrued from financing her first two albums) life after Mercury hashad hers falling in love and getting married, engaging the services of two new managers, one of whom is ex-Creation boss Alan McGee and producing her third album, Old Low Light.
In its bittersweet tying together of
love and hate on 12 beguiling acoustic melodies, the new album reflects a developing confidence in the self- deprecating Williams, in part due to Alan McGee’s gentle encouragements. ‘l’m always panicking that I’m doing it all wrong,’ she says, ‘that I don’t fit in, that everyone’s cooler than me, that my music’s rubbish and that one day people are gonna stand up and say: “You know, we were taken in by you, but you’re a fraud!". And Alan’s going
“Fuck it, Kath”.’
Which is what the girl who didn’t win a prize but got a
t is zvith a mixture of bemusement
and morbid curiosity that I'm drax-in
towards watching TV shows like Popstars and Pop io'o/ and the seen‘tingly endless parade of woeful teens and desperadoes in their early 20s Witling to humiliate themselves on national TV in a bid to become the next S Club. As car-crash 1V iyou sh >ulo‘n't watch but feel oodlv compelled.- it works a treat but v-rhen it becomes truly disturbing is when talk on these shows turns to terms like ‘talent' . . realise that they are serious.
Manufactured pop is nothing ll(}‘.'.’ of
course: peeple have been s: tging songs Wt’!li(~‘:ll by other people since day mm and this is not necessarily bad; after all some of the best singles
. and you
Self-deprecation never sounded so sweet
Car-crash TV, cultural genocide, the band formerly known as the quietest band on the planet and Falkirk’s answer to Dylan . . .
of all tame came via this way of doing tinngs. The problem in this coontry is that in lllélillSil'Cr’lltl culture there is almost no alternative. Since Take That's heyday. record (IOIT‘ilthlIé-ES have had the charts under siege ‘.‘/|Ili manufactured boy bands. girl bands and the subsequent solo outings powered by aggressive marketing to children and the most banal commercial radio stations knoxvvn to man. The result of this total omnipresent: 2 of bland pap is a generation that doesn't know anything else and doesn't even duestion the artistic redundancy involved. l'hat is until they graduate onto lbi/a trance compilations. Pete ‘l‘v’aternran should get done for cultural genocide.
On an iii‘:uite|y n‘-cre positive note.
great career in music instead really needs to hear. Armed with a personality that’s as infectious as her music, Williams is putting her best foot instead of her self-doubt forward on a nationwide tour to promote not herself but her dazzling new album. ‘Of course you worry about what people think of you — that’s why i put clothes on to go to the shops - but I’m not doing this for me to be scrutinised, I’m doing it for my music to be scrutinised.’ (Catherine Bromley)
I Us: l ox; l ';;."t is out now on [.a:;.".'./est.
this week has seen the release of two of the linest albums likely to be released this year, by Duluth's Low and Falkirk's Malcolm Middleton. Fans of sombre ltlLlSlC Will be veiy familiar with Low's Trust. their sixth album. On this outing they have abandoned some of the sparsity that has been their trademark and gone for a more warm. sound. This departure has been met With some disgruntlement in some quarters i‘Like Monet deciding to sculpt.‘ said li/loiofi but it seems pretty fine to me. Malcolm Middleton's l4 l/uoxy:iine seagull alcohol iohn nicotine is without a doubt one of the finest records ever to come Out of Scotland and one that will still be heard in decades to come. As heartbreak albums go. it stands alongside Blood on the Tracks and Berlin. I know that those comparisons seem a tad over the top but it's jllSt hard to stress how good this album is Without teetering into melodrama.
Ania-trays. the now inanag‘ir-érless Mogwai head of to the land of 0/ next week, so expect sweaty. sordid tales from sunnier climes . . .
All the books, mooks and turntable kooks in the wonderful world of music
MUSIC WORKS. CLASGOW'S own international music busmess COnference kicks off on 31 October and aside from hosting debates. lectures and discussions on the future of mu5ic there are plans for a series of showcases by local bands. Torgamada. La Chunky. ballboy. Eva. Laeto. the Silver Pill and Carson are among those confirmed. See next issue for more details.
THOSE IN NEED OF SOME some quality reading could do well to track down the new paperback editions of Canongate’s excellent Heroes series. Otis Redding, Arthur Lee, Neil Young and Marvin Gaye’s monolithic soul classic What’s Going On? are the subject for the books priced between £6.99 and £7.99.
MANICS FANS SHOULD KEEP an ear to Radios Clyde or Forth for details of a secret acoustic gig by James Dean Bradfield on 9 October at an undisclosed Scottish venue. Free tickets are only available from tuning in. CHANGES ARE BEING MADE to the Big Big World programme after questions were raised over the feasibility of using the Old Fruitmarket, which is currently in need of repairs. Details were sketchy at time of going to press but it is assumed that alternative arrangements will be made. BARFLY ARE LAUNCHING A series of nights where they get members of the Scottish indie cognoscenti pop in to play the platters that truly matter to them. Things kick off ‘.'.’|lll Dominic from Mega-rat and Craig from Aereogramme who l(?‘.l\.'(? their unsung hero of Sunday afternoon metal clubs. Deathlehein, on
i l'l(l£t‘, .1 October ‘or a one off ear and eye bleeding extiaxaganxa. Subsequent guests include the Delagdos il 1 Oct]. 1 a >s.is l inguae '18 Octl. iiifh, Clyi‘o 055 ()ct'. Should be either xen, scary or \.(}l'\ good fun. i itlier \.'.ra\_, yer onto a v.2nnei.
‘i'tkt .‘Fu‘.’ THE LIST 51