EMBRACE Barrowland, Glasgow, Thu 30 Sep

Coaxing the best performance out of a band in the studio is a delicate operation, requiring plenty of ego massaging and carefully worded constructive criticism. Not, however, if you’re Youth. Working with Embrace on their fourth album, Out of Nothing, he demanded take after take, at one point interrupting lead singer Danny McNamara mid-vocal and yelling ‘More fucking soul, man! Pretend your girlfriend's died and you’ve only just found out she‘s having an affair with half the congregation at the funeral! Again, again!’

Miraculously, Youth survived and the process seems to have worked, and Embrace are confident this is their best record yet. Danny’s brother Richard says: ‘We’re just really buzzing. It has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster really, culminating in going with Youth and him totally turning the songs on their heads and us having to swallow it. But gradually we learned to love it more than we’ve ever loved any songs we‘ve ever done.’

Along with the return of Youth, who had worked his own individual form of magic on singles ‘All You Good Good People’ and ‘Come Back to What You Know’, the album is their first release on Independiente and, significantly, comes at the tenth anniversary of the first Embrace gig. Does it feel like a new start? ‘I think we do feel like a new band,’ he says. ‘We’ve just taken everything on board that we’ve ever done and cut a new path for ourselves.’

And a new single, ‘Gravity’, penned by Chris Martin, can’t be a bad thing. ‘It’s like Bono giving you a song and you’ve got to give it the

respect that affords.’ Lastly, the band are itching to get on the road properly after a series of guerrilla gigs at,

among others, a scout hut, a beach and a cave.

“We’re really excited, we can’t wait to get out


Still good, good people

there. The Barrowland especially has got to be the best gig in the country, man. It's one of those party atmospheres. We‘re going to rock that one‘. Looks like Youth may have found his spiritual home. (Emma Newlands)

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MARTIN SIMPSON Edinburgh Folk Club, Wed 6 Oct

lvlartrn Simpson's odyssey wrth his holovod guitar ~ he's been a pro since he was 17 Ahas taken hrm all oyor the world and hack again. Now re ostahlrshod at home rn England. alter a Stalosrde sojourn of 1:") years. he's surprised and delighted by hrs growurg celohrrty as one of the greatest acoustic guitarists to emerge from Britain. and one of the host rn the world. 'lt was an incredible honour to get Alhum of the Yéar from the BBC Folk A‘.'.’£ll(l8 [for Bramble and Brrar. a reworking of English folk themes] and then Musician of the Year.‘ he says. ‘I came hack hero and everything started to happen.'

Not that exenthrng wasn't happening before that. A hugely respected and precocious talent. Simpson spent his early days in the company of Martin Carthy. June Tabor. Richard Thompson and the cream of England's remal folk scene, but hrs leSlC has never been

parochial. He feels that ‘Hlurm. Appalachian. Celtic or ‘."/hale\.’er. are jllf3l drllorent errlé; of the same strrtk'. His; latest allrum, Arm," / otters. just finished hut due for release early next year, keo >5; (‘<rrr‘;:girr, ‘Nllll some of the young; contemporary lolk stars. including members of Ireland's Danu and the British Australian duo Nancy Kerr and .Jarrtes; Fagan. But hrs last. Rrg/rteousnoss and Hum/art: . recOrded Ill New Orleans. explored a seamy. steam; aern ol bottleneck and slide. lie was; given Its \.'.'0ndor'tul title, lit- sa\s. by a (jug, rn the Station Inn In Nashville who i(:£lll(3<l over, having oxerheard 33mm: <>t our political comersatron and said. In a draxz'lod sottc that righteousness arid 'rurrwrrt. was a dangerous n‘rx' Simpson rmhuos oxer‘, 'ro’m and nerd ‘.-.'rth lllll53l(‘£il!l‘. arui meaning. so It's nc surrtr-se tria'. he rates as niasrt‘al her. es shit- gurlar'lst Blind \'. rllre Jfr'r"stxr‘ and Joni Mitchel r‘e snort rntenrexaed Mitchel: for America's Gala/r n‘aga.’ Am: he's as enthusrastrc a‘t‘otrf T'R' instrument as ever. ‘lt's amaZIng. I was Sitting backstage rn the States gr. no slide guitar lessons to in s professonal black“ Yl‘rLlS c an and thinking. "\\"O‘.‘.f But I'n‘ frOn‘ SCLlnthorpe!"' rNOrman Chalrrwers

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G Plan? | always thought their sofas were really comfy, their profits must’ve been hit hard when IKEA came to town.

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You’ve just described Mogwai, haven’t you?

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Far from flat-pack rock

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‘Cleaner lines’? You’re back onto furniture again. Anyhoo, there are plenty of post-rocking soundscapers around these days. Why are this bunch special?

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Anything else? \., . .. \ .r . . . .

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Like who?

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OK, you’ve talked me round. Where are they squeezing their eight, tight little asses into for a gig? N"'. f "t: x} ’11 (NY. ", ":"1, '31:. flzm’: .l, ":HN’I‘L’W, '.' ‘: '1Tl‘l’l’fi‘; '31,“, v.31”)! 93’181/

I’m there already. l) ,r; y r ~ 0

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