You may have noticed that we’ve had a couple of blogs from Chris about books recently. We’re not going for a change of tack, it’s just that we’ve got through that difficult adolescent phase (for the most part) and are finding that we don’t particularly have to please anyone or conform to a certain type of
I’m quite enjoying putting the mixtapes together and hopefully a couple of people will give them a listen at some point, we’ve even installed a wee link at the top of the page where all the mixtapes are stored.
The mixtapes were originally going to be weekly but I sometimes find it quite a task to put together each week depending on what I’ve got on and at the end of the day there’s no point in putting undue stress on yourself, something I’m trying to manage both personally, and on the blog.
In which long winded way takes us back to the point of this post. I’ve been really enjoying some albums recently and find myself on NPR quite a lot streaming forthcoming releases so I guess this post is another one of those semi-regular posts that we have which will appear when we deem there to be enough information to post!
First up is the album which along with Lightships has the potential to my album of the summer, who knows, maybe even year. ‘The Only Place’ by Best Coast follows the same patterns and themes of the first album but there’s just something a bit more shiny and polished about it. That’s not to say that because the lo-fi scuzzy-ness has gone that this album is any less charming.
Best Coast – The Only Place – stream on NPR
Next up, also on NPR, is the band I used to frequently mix up with Best Coast, Beach House. Coast-Beach-Best…you get the idea. We featured the track ‘Myth’ on our most recent mixtape. You can stream the full album, ‘Bloom’ from the link below.
Beach House – Bloom – stream on NPR
The aforementioned Lightships’ album ‘Electric Cables’ can still be streamed over at the Guardian, and like I said, this is up there with one of my favourite albums this year.
Lightships – Electric Cables – stream on the Guardian
And finally, a little closer to home, you can hear Glasgow-based French Wives debut album ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ streaming on The 405. This is a really enjoyable album and got my feet tapping under a pile of spreadsheets in the office the other day.
French Wives – Dream of the Inbetween – stream on The 405
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…
If you’re more about the live experience and can’t be done with all these digital files, you’re in luck. French Wives play Stereo this Saturday night. They will be joined by The Male Pattern Band and Foxgang, doors are at 7pm and it’s four squid to get in.
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!
So it seems that we’ve been getting way too much into the Easter spirit here at Elba. Loads of easter egg munching, drinking, holidaying and then the inevitable back to work ‘blurgs’ have left the Elba blog looking like a bit desolate. That being said, things are busy busy busy over at Elba Studios. We should maybe follow their good work ethic? Never fear though, I’ve taken a bit of a time out from, well, housework, ‘work work’ and watching trashy TV (yes, Cougar Town, it’s you I’m talking about) to let you know of a few gigs coming up over the next couple of days.
Tomorrow night (Friday 9th) there is a couple of things on our radar. First up an artist who we unfortunately didn’t manage to get along to at Hinterland (sad faces and regret all round), The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, is supporting Australian bluesman (with a penchant for Hip Hop beats) the John Butler Trio at the O2 Academy. Heading back over the River Clyde, recent visitors to Elba Studios, Inner Sight, launch their forthcoming single with a support slot for Edinburgh favourites Isa & The Filthy Tongues who also launch their album on the night. The ‘cosmic dance rockers’ take to the Stereo stage tomorrow night and it’s £7 to get in. We’ve been told to expect some surprises????????
On Saturday, it’s a veritable feast. I’ve had serious trouble deciding where I’ll drag the better half, behold the options…
A) Another good gig at Stereo featuring a rather stellar line up headed up by Three Blind Wolves who are launching their new album ‘Sound of The Storm’ (looking forward to hearing that one), one of last weeks ‘Elba Hinterland highlight‘ bands, French Wives and the chaotic but excellently named John Knox Sex Club. Tickets are fiver.
B) The Ruck In The Duck. (The poster leaves me no choice but to use boxing lingo…apologies.) A heavyweight bout of champions. A battle between Glasgow’s two best, unknown, record labels. Taking place at (the name gives it away) The Flying Duck, the line up includes She’s Hit and Calacas representing the awesome Lucky Number Nine Records and in the ‘other’ corner showing off the Armellodie stable are Sheffield’s ‘tough as steel’ upstarts Kill The Captains and Cuddly Shark. The first bell rings at 8pm so get in early for your ringside seat.
So there you have it, two options for Friday and Saturday. Take your pick!
*This is in no way meant to be a definitive gig guide, just gigs we like the sound of. If you do have a gig coming up that you think we should know about, just holler at us, we’re always looking for somewhere to go!
Now, it has taken us a little longer than anticipated to gather our thoughts about Hinterland here at Elba. It is possible that there is a causal link between the amount of enjoyment (beer) and our slight delay (burnout). Do not fret though! We have returned to the land of the lively in order to bring you tales of Hinter and of land.
We set off on our quest with the aid of some excellent scran and a lot of caffeine on the part of one of the Elba team following excess the previous evening; we shall let you decide who was so irresponsible the night before the big event. We opened our evening at Ivory Blacks with Make Sparks; a band who command your attention. Now I’m struggling to come up with an analogy that is not so hugely inappropriate that you’ll close your browser window in disgust… I think it is the lingering effects of the holiday weekend. So, I will just say: this band are tight. They even made an Eminem cover work. They closed with their single Rewind, which is the most sensitive, beautiful guitar driven pop song. This band surely have big things ahead.
We scooted off promptly to enjoy something that would please all in our little collective at The Admiral. Kitty The Lion brought (and clearly stole – read on) a lot of the sunshine of the day. Their little stage was just right for them and they charmed the pants off of everyone in the room. A hiccup in song announcement was endearing and handled gracefully and hilariously. Bird Flu was the song that had me singing their praises for the day with some beautiful harmonies to the ‘grovel song.’ Of the whole festival, these guys were definitely my favourite band.
We bounced out of the Admiral into the rain, which was rather ironic as we had spent the afternoon commenting on how nice a day it was proving to be, and dashed to Macsorley’s. Our hope was to catch Spectrals before heading to The Arches. Unfortunately this was not to be as we were informed along with a crowd of other soggy gig goers that the venue was full. We dashed back to catch ten minutes of The Darien Venture at Ivory Blacks who blasted us back out the door with their pounding tracks in the direction of The Arches.
Here we remained for the rest of the evening and this was where things got a little weird. The combination of the sound sucking venue and our high hopes took a little of the enjoyment out of the next couple of hours. Ambulances suffered worst in terms of sound. Their particular brand of melancholy music would have to be sonically spot on to work live. Mixed in with the nerves of their first big Glasgow show they came off shaky but they held tough and delivered some great moments. What I Thought of worked really well despite the interferences.
French Wives got the majority vote Elba posse when it came to picking their band of the day. Live this band are just going from strength to strength. They have picked up the reigns of the masters of twee in Glasgow. Its all violins, guitars, little quirks and dancing. French Wives even managed to make you look past the terrible sound. Though there is a chance we were just distracted by Stuart, the tallest man alive, showing his dancing skills.
Jeffrey Lewis drew a huge crowd and told stories then sang stories then put his foot in it big time with a geographical mistake that confounds international acts more than our nation would hope but won most over in the end. As a particularly small person I missed out on being able to see a thing for the duration and was subject to some ranting by a merry fellow to my left. Plus the beginning of set was plagued by a strange high pitched tone. These factors left me confused and distracted. I believe the hard core of NY anti-folk fans were in heaven for the duration, alas I could not quite reach that elysium.
The last stop for us was Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Now, as the only one out of our few who enjoys, nay, cannot resist a little boogie, I was itching to get a dance in as soon as he took to the stage. Decked in lizardish-head-wear the set that was delivered even managed to put a smile on the face of Phil ‘I don’t do dancing’ Smith.
So our day was most delightful musically, not to mention catching up with some rather sound blogging peers. The new setting for the festival definitely worked as we managed to catch a lot of music even though we were running from venue to venue. The atmosphere was great in every gig. The two day recovery period tends to point towards the success of the one day extravaganza. Here’s hoping this has set the bar for years to come.
Our next segment of Hinterland giddiness comes in the form of a catch up with the always lovely (and never wanky) Stuart Dougan of French Wives. Do enjoy…
Firstly, update us with some news. What have the band been up to of late?
Well on Wednesday we played possibly the worst set of our lives as Scott’s guitar broke and we had to go off stage for fifteen uncomfortable minutes while we tried to fix it. Other than that we played an excellent fundraiser for Mary’s Meals with Findo Gask and Paper Planes and have been putting the finishing touches to our next single which will be out in May.
And how are things now that your guitarist Scott is back from the US?
Considerably better since his return. It was good that we were still playing gigs but it wasn’t the same without him here. As it happens he’s that busy finishing his degree he’s still rarely seen but at least our phone bills are cheaper now that we’re not having to call America.
How would you describe French Wives’ sound?
Without trying to sound like a complete wank, we try and write intelligent pop music (wank!). It’s very melodic and we aim to make things as interesting as possible.
Are there any key influences to the band as a whole or as individuals?
We all listen to different stuff so it’s a bit of a mixed bag really. There’s certain bands that we all like and having different musical backgrounds is helpful when it comes to putting songs together.
You’ll be playing Hinterland at the weekend, are there any other bands you are hoping to catch?
Definitely Mystery Jets. I’ve only seen them once but they’re one of my favourite bands so I’m keen to see them again. I think they start ten minutes after we finish so all our gear will be getting cleared up in record time.
If you could choose to play a support slot for any artist who would be top of your list?
I think we’d love to support someone like Belle and Sebastian. I think it would be a pretty good fit. If you happen to know any of them could you please let them know we’re interested? I know they’re recording again so that would be great. Thanks.
And who would you pick to support you?
Belle and Sebastian again. That way the venue would definitely sell out.
Halloween/Dogfight came out at the start of the year and had really good response, how are you feeling about the Me vs Me single?
We’re very excited about it. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out and it’s probably more suitable as a single than Halloween was. Everyone will just have finished their exams when it’s released (on May 17th!) so it’ll be good to know that it’s finally summer and will hopefully give us a bit of momentum going into some festivals. We’re also doing the launch at The Art School which I’m looking forward to as we’ve never played there before.
What can we expect in the coming year from you?
We’re going to be playing a few festivals hopefully and we’re hoping to get a lot of new songs finished as we haven’t had a lot of time together because of everyone’s university commitments. It’s hard enough fitting in practising and gigging just now so it’ll be good once everyone is done and we can work like a proper band.
Finally, are there plans for a longer release anytime soon?
Probably in the second half of the year but it’ll most likely be an E.P. There’s not plans for an album or anything just yet. I think we want to tour a bit more, maybe build our profile a little and then look to that for 2011… maybe.
I always begin putting together our recommended gigs and try to keep the list to a minimum. However, the live music on offer in Glasgow currently makes this a difficult venture. Below I present my extended short list for the remains of the week:
18.03.2010 Findo Gask, Paper Planes and French Wives @ Captains Rest
Super-duper-fantastic line up at Captains Rest. All indie and poppy. A happy maker.
Times New Viking, The Elvis Suicide @ Sleazies
Ohio based, Indie Matador signed Times New Viking play Sleazies with support from local punk rock cowboys The Elvis Suicide.
Kitty The Lion @ The Goat
Beautiful female fronted folkers play a show at The Goat. Highly recommended.
Marlena Shaw @ The Ferry
For anyone who feels the need for a little bit of classic jazz the excellent, and extensively sampled, Marlena Shaw will be appearing on The Ferry
Withered Hand @ Mono
Don’t let the name put you off. Withered Hand aka Dan Wilson plays Mono following his sold out London and Homegame dates. The set up might be simple or he may arrive with a troupe. His song-stories are wonderful whatever the method of presentation.
19.03.2010 Oliver Stays, Otherpeople, Young Aviators @ Stereo
Oliver Stays according to their myspace soundlike ‘Bears with saws.’ This more than intrigues me. Support comes from Otherpeople, who will hook you with their shifty, catchy, extremely listen-able track Wooplash.
21.03.2010 Chris T T, Le Reno Amps, Dave Hughes @ 13th Note
You know that Elba are excited about this one. You even saw a photo of a ticket to this show last week on this here blog. A singer-songwriter in a class of his own supported by some fine acts, including indie/country maniac-stompers/serenaders (depending on what sort of mood they’re in) Le Reno Amps.