Tagged: cancel the astronauts

I Made You A Mixtape…Six

So far in this mixtape series, I have kind of steered clear of having any sort of theme on the mixtapes. This week however, is somewhat of an exception. The Scottish Album of the Year award was

launched this week and it immediately got me thinking of which Scottish album from 2011 would I want to win the award. I know people sometimes are quite quick to judge awards ceremonies and awards, particularly in Scotland, but this seems to be organised rather well and the prizes on offer are absolutely terrific. We have a huge amount of enthusiasm for the national music scene in Scotland and it’s great to see an award promising inclusion and most importantly, a celebration of Scottish music.

This weeks mixtape contains some tracks from a few of the albums which I really enjoyed in 2011. I say ‘enjoyed’ because I’m fully aware that some may not technically be the best albums but at the end of the day when I want something to listen to, I want it to be an enjoyable experience, and these albums gave me just that.

Also, I’m not 100% on criteria but there’s certainly a Scottish related element to all of the tracks included here. I’ve also tacked 3 or 4 songs on the end which do not fall into the category of Scottish Albums of 2011, but this is a mixtape, and I wanted them here!

Rob St.John – Your Phantom Limb from the album ‘Weald’

Kicking off controversially with one that I’m not sure is eligible, however, this album was released on an Edinburgh label (Song, By Toad) and Rob is a big part of the Edinburgh music scene, despite his roots being firmy south of the border. This album really knocked me for six. A really beautiful album and this track in particular was the first track I heard when released as a split 7″. It’s an album I rate very highly and this week in particular, when the snow fell, really set the scene perfectly.

Mike Nisbet – Not Long from the album ‘Vagrant’

Honestly, I should stop now. I’m pretty sure the percentage of posts we’ve written mentioning Mike Nisbet in the last year is topping the 70% mark. The truth is, a year ago when we got a sneak peak of the album, we were immediately smitten. It was one of the best and most heartfelt albums I’d heard in a long time and I was so pleased that late on in the year, people really started picking up on it. It’s not easy to self-release an album and this album really deserves some recognition. Beautiful is the only word…

Jonny – Waiting Around For You from the album ‘Jonny’

Another possibly contentious one. An album written by a Scotsman and a Welshman but really, it’s no ordinary Scotsman, it’s none other than Norman Blake from my favourite Scottish band of all time, Teenage Fanclub. This is a really good fun and upbeat album, well worth a listen if you’re looking for a smile.

The Hazey Janes – Paper Hearts from the album ‘The Winter That Was’

I just mentioned Teenage Fanclub and I put The Hazey Janes in a similar bracket in that if it’s sunny, and I’m looking for something to put a smile on my face, I’ll reach for The Hazey Janes, and they won’t disappoint. I was delighted to hear last year that they were releasing a record on Armellodie records and when released, it was a welcome return to form for a band who were out of the game for something of an enforced sabattical.

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – The Copper Top from the album ‘Everything’s Getting Older’
This it seemed was a ubiquitous choice amongst Scottish media last year. A beautiful an emotive album of which this, was my stand-out track from the album. The video is also excellent and worth a watch

FOUND – Machine Age Dancing from the album ‘Factorycraft’

This album was released on Chemikal Underground early last year and is an excellently experimental album. They also released a single on Chocolate vinyl, which is always a win.

Le Reno Amps- Cottonmouth Rock from the album ‘Appetite’

Another band that we absolutely adore. Live, they are fairly unbeatable when they are on top of their game and whilst on a ‘break’ at the moment, we have everything crossed that come August, they might make a re-appearance.

This album was described by many as being full of different styles, which it is, but that doesn’t make it less endearing. This track is LRA at their glam inspired, duelling guitar best. As it’s been noticed, they can be a bit like marmite, and yes, we love them.

Strike The Colours – Safety In Numbers

I’ve come to the end of my selection from 2011’s albums and this track is from a band who I believe are due to release new material this year, Strike The Colours. ‘Safety In Numbers’ is from the brilliant ‘The Face That Sunk A Thousand Ships’ EP.

Cancel The Astronauts – The Hardest Thing

CTA are an Edinburgh band who seem to specialise in a ‘really poppy hook’ although, you might not get that from this track. I raved about their ‘Funny For A Girl’ EP a few years ago and they sent me their new single a few years and despite this track being completely different to the first two tracks on the EP, I really love this one! The single is called Intervention and can be found over here.

RM Hubbert – Gus Am Bris An Latha (with John Ferguson)

RM Hubbert’s new album ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ may be in quite a few album of the year polls come the end of 2012 and this track is one of my favourites from said album.

Loch Awe – How It Began

This song was one of my favourites from 2010 and I commented at the time how impressed I was with the EP which was recored in a matter of days. Loch Awe have come a long way since this song and EP, but it’s something I always revisit every now and again.

Elba Annual 2010 – French Wives

One of the bands that we enjoyed watching most this year has most definitely got to be French Wives. They come up there in the bracket of bands that know just how to put a big smile on our face. Also, with a name like that, they once in a while will throw up some good google searches of people finding the Elba blog, French Wives are not to be googled at work!! Kim caught up with Stuart to chat about the past year and plans for another busy year in 2011…

Album of The Year – My album of the year would have to be ‘The Suburbs’ by Arcade Fire. It’s a stunning record and ‘Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)’ is comfortably my favourite song of the year.

Gig of The Year – It’s a bit of a dead heat for best gig of the year for me I’m afraid as two (very different) gigs stand out in my mind. The first was seeing The Strokes re-unite at Rockness this year which sent me crashing back to my adolescence in what for me was pretty much the perfect end to a festival. I also met Albert Hammond Jr which was probably the highlight of my life and the least comfortable of his.

The other gig was Admiral Fallow at The Lexington in London. It goes without saying that 2010 has been a fantastic year for them but to see the reaction that they got in London (an encore even though they were on first) nearly brought a tear to my eye. It’s very rare in the music industry that you meet nice, genuinely talented people doing well for themselves off the back of just being good and Admiral Fallow’s success has been birthed purely out of that. No-one is ramming it down people’s throats, people are just buying into it because it is genuinely great and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Musical Memories of 2010 – I suppose my main musical memory of 2010 would just be playing lots of gigs. We’ve started to get out and about a lot more with tours down south and up into the highlands which has been really fun. Highlights would have to be headlining the T Break Stage and the first London gig we did at The Lock Tavern.

Hopes/Plans for 2011 – We’re going to be releasing an ep in February and then doing quite an extensive (for us) UK tour. After that I’m not sure but I suppose my hope for 2011 would be the same as it is every day, which would be that Big Dick records sign French Wives for squillions and I don’t need to work in a call centre anymore. And I hope the new Coldplay album is good too.

French Wives play King Tuts in Glasgow on Jan 6th as part of King Tuts’ ‘New Year’s Revolution’. Also on the bill that night are Cancel The Astronauts, Galleries and Poor Things.

Keep up with the band here

Cancel The Astronauts – Funny For A Girl

I like when a song just makes your foot tap/head bob/neck jerk, right from the word go. Title track ‘Funny For A Girl’ on the EP by the same name from Cancel The Astronauts does just that. In fact, The Funny For A Girl EP seems to have a habit of doing this throughout all five tracks. It’s one of those albums that by the time you are halfway through, you are already looking forward to listening from the start again.

This is the second release by Edinburgh based Cancel The Astronauts and it follows on from the first, in pretty much the same vein of every songwriters favourite theme, unrequited love. Don’t worry though, I’m not recommending an EP filled with crooning love song’s a la James Blunt, what we have here is five slices of synthy indie pop who even when it looks like they are about to start crooning, (Standing Still – Track 4), they burst into a catchy chorus filled with all the musical hooks you could possibly need. The stand out tracks for me are probably the opening track ‘Funny For A Girl’ and ‘She Said She Loves Somebody Else’.

The EP is available now from their bandcamp page for a meagre £3 and if you can negotiate through bandcamp and find their other releases, you can download their previous EP for free! They also play King Tuts this Saturday with Elba recommended Astral Planes, Galleries and Casino Brag. Word on the street is that if you drop them an email, you can get a ticket for £4 and they might even throw in a download code for their EP for each ticket purchased. Boom!!

Places to listen to music

Whilst i’m off in Paris munching on amazing pastries and lazing about here, there are some pretty good gigs going on in Glasgow.

First up, on Tuesday night is the A-T Society Fundraiser at Stereo. On the bill is former Elba Sessions guest, My Cousin I Bid You Farewell along with Ross Clark and Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit. It’s all for a great cause and you can read a bit more about the A-T Society here.

On Thursday (15th July), Elba favourites Cuddly Shark play the Captain’s Rest. Word on the street is that those sharklings have been holed up on the Moray-shire coast writing some new material so expect a mix of old an possibly new songs. Also on the bill are The Lava Experiments and The Red Show.

Thursday night also sees the start of ‘Summer Nights at King Tuts’ featuring a stellar line up over the next couple of weeks of local unsigned indie darlings and cool kids! There is quite a few cracking looking line-ups over the fortnight and it all kicks of with a headline set from Silver Columns including support from MOPP, Midnight Lion and Nevada Base. You can check the full line up here and suffice to say a few of the gigs look pretty appealing to us at Elba. Astral Planes w/ Cancel The Astronauts and Galleries, French Wives, and Kitty The Lion with Julia and The Doogans on the same bill (oh lordy!).

On Saturday night our June guests, in both the pod and at The Liquid Ship, Blue Sky Archives, play Nice n Sleazy along with We See Lights. However, if it’s a blogging mecca that you are after, get yourself down to the 13th Note for the second Peenko vs Aye Tunes gig. The line up includes we’re only afraid of NYC, Randolph’s Leap (who incidentally have supplied one of my favourite lyrics for a long time and have an EP titled ‘Eeerie Indie Adam’) and Little Yellow Ukuleles. It costs a fiver to get in and if the last gig was anything to go by, you’d be advised to get your tickets in advance. You can buy from Peenko here or the much more generous Aye Tunes here! I say more generous cos you get a couple of downloads of the bands that are playing. Great idea!