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Astrid Williamson

Also records as Astrid


Country of origin:

Scotland

Type of music generally:

Alternative folk/pop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, Requiem & Gallipoli (classical, 2015); most recent pop release, We Go To Dream (2015)

See also:

Astrid Williamson's site

Wikipedia's entry on Astrid Williamson

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for her previous project, Goya Dress

Comparisons:

Goya Dress, Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh, a more upbeat Lisa Germano

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Former head of the terrific band Goya Dress, Astrid Williamson has a wonderful knack for hooks and song construction and her delivery is evocative and emotional. Haunting pop songs, ranging from the bittersweet to bitter pop. Her raspy voice and hook-ridden songwriting gets under my skin. I find her music both catchy and emotionally affecting with—to my ear—none of the pop cliches that so put me off similar artists. Note that her earlier albums are recorded under Astrid, while later ones she used her last name as well. (Neile)

While her voice isn't classically pretty, I like her somewhat gritty and emotional delivery of good folk-rock songs. (Greg.Jumper@Eng.Sun.COM)

Recommended first album:

Boy For You

Recordings:


Boy For You

Release info:

1998—Nude Records (U.K.)—NUDE 10CD

Availability:

Available in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for alternative pop fans

Group members:

Astrid Williamson—vocals, instrumentation

Guest artists:

Malcolm Burn—technology, additional instrumentation
Terry de Castro—bass, backing vocals
Simon Pearson—drums, percussion
Bill Dillon—12-string acoustic guitar
Gerard Presencer—trumpet

Produced by:

Malcolm Burn

Comments:

I highly recommend this, Astrid's first solo album. Since both Simon Pearson and Terry de Castro play on this album with Astrid Williamson, it's hard to see a significant difference between this album and the work they did as the group Goya Dress. This is slightly more pop oriented than Goya Dress's first releases, but is very similar to their only full-length release, Rooms—the focus is still on Astrid Williamson's pop songwriting and rich, scratchy vocals. There are some incredibly catchy songs on it with intriguing lyrics and Astrid's strong vocals. A good example of this is the title song, "I Am The Boy For You", which on the surface is the kind of pop song you might hear on am radio—except the lyrics and vocal performance are far more interesting and dark than would get that kind of airplay. There are one or two songs on here that I don't adore, but most of the album I love. I'm sorry Goya Dress are no more (even if only because I love the band name), but this album is pretty much the same thing—and that's a fine thing indeed. (Neile)

Astrid

Release info:

2003—Incarnation Records—INCACD001

Availability:

See website for information

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Astrid Williamson—vocals, acoustic guitar, electric piano, e-bow, synths, moog

Guest artists:

Robert White—mandolin, synths, bass, hammond organ, programming, backing vocals, rhodes, electric guitar, tambourine, e-box
Mik Tubb—12-string guitar on 1 track
Satin Singh—percussion on 1 track
Terry Bickers—alectric guitar, acoustic guitar, and harmonica on 1 track

Produced by:

Astrid Williamson, Robert White

Comments:

I've been living with these songs for a while because Astrid Williamson has made demos and early mixes available to fans for a while. Still it was lovely to hear them again, finished, especially after not listening to them for long enough that they struck me afresh. It's funny because Astrid often sounds as though she's singing right at the edge of her vocal ability but I find this style intriguing rather than offputting as with some other artists who attempt the same thing. Her songwriting also walks a fine line between the usual pop themes and a certain indie edginess. Somehow for me it all adds up to appealing music. Something to do with her raspy voice and the catchy hooks in her tunes. (Neile)

day of the lone wolf

Release info:

2006—One Little Indian Records—TPLP727CD

Availability:

Wide in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Astrid WIlliamson—vocals, backing vocals, piano, organ, Wurlitzer, synths, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, string arrangement, programming

Guest artists:

Simon Pearson-drums on 6 tracks
Christian Parsons—drums on 2 tracks, percussion
Richard Yale—bass
Dan Burke—piano on 1 track, organ, electric guitar, backing vocals
Ruth Gottlieb—violin
Sarah Willson—cello

Produced by:

Astrid Williamson

Comments:

This is a strong, emotive album with an emphasis on sorrow and vulnerability but also on a certain kind of strength—which makes the title particularly a propos. It album starts with "Siamese", a heartbreaker of a song, based on piano, slow beats, and Astrid Williamson's raspy, aching vocals. It puts me in such a haunted mood—which the album immediately breaks by bouncing into "Superman 2". "Intro" leading into "Reach" eases you back into the world of broken romance. "Amarylis" is a stand-out track, so gorgeous and haunting with whispery vocals over a driving beat that is powerfully effective—the kind of song that makes me hit repeat repeatedly. "True Romance" follows the aching theme and feels like a central song thematically. "Carlotta" is a lovely brief piano instrumental. "Shhh..." rocks out again. "Tonight" is all about yearning and breaking free. Then the strings, beats, piano of "Another Twisted Thing" reminds of the power of "Amarylis", while "Forgive Me" asks for forgiveness for human frailty on a larger scale. "Only Heaven Knows" bring it back full circle to individual, painful vulnerability. Love, loss, and the world. Lone wolf indeed. (Neile)

here come the Vikings

Release info:

2009—Incarnation Records/One Little Indian Ltd.—TPLP966CD

Availability:

Wide in the U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Astrid WIlliamson—vocals, electric guitar, keyboards, programming, piano, tambourine

Guest artists:

Richard Yale—bass
Christian Parson—drums, percussion
Steven Parker—lead guitar, tambourine, electric guitar, e-bow, king of vow
Nick Powell—additional synths (1, 3)
Guy Barker—trumpet (2, 5, 9)
Mark Treffel—organ (3, 9), dulcitone (4), Wurlitzer (6), Wurly (10)
Ben Evans—percussion (3)
Ruth Gottlieb—violin, viola (4, 5, 7, 9)
Sarah Willson—cello (4, 5, 7, 8, 9)
Sian I Buss—euphonium, cornet (10)
Martin K. Buss—cornet (100)
David Pickerin Pick—tubula bells (10)
Mrs Apples—triangle (10)

Produced by:

Astrid WIlliamson

Comments:

I wasn't so keen on her solo live but this catchy full-band record has lots of great tracks. I particularly like the soaring atmospheric 'Slake'. (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

I also love this record. "Slake" was also a stand-out for me. (collectedsounds@gmail.com)

This album starts off very pop/rock-y, but quickly shifts into the more melancholy moods where Astrid Williamson really excels. Her raspy voice is made to be melancholy. This isn't my favourite of her albums, but "Slake" is definitely a stand-out. (Neile)


Pulse

Release info:

2011—One Little Indian

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Really a gorgeous album with lots of textures and a mood that's overall chilly but lets in some sun. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordodo@optonline.net)

"Dance" has to be one of her best songs ever—haunting and gorgeous. (Neile)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-06-23 13:53:36.
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