Once again we bring your attention and urge you to have your SAY in this year’s Scottish Album of the Year voting. This is your very last chance to shout loud and make it known which of the longlist you think is deserving of going on to the prestigious shortlist as winner of the public vote. We’re not about swaying your vote one way or the other, after all we’re still not sure which box we’ll be ticking. We’ve listed the 20 albums below but you can get much more info over on the SAY Award page, as well as voting links for each album. The clock is ticking. You have until midnight tonight!
The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads
Belle and Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
Blue Rose Code – The Ballads of Peckham Rye
Errors – Lease of Life
Fatherson – I Am An Island
Happy Meals – Apèro
Honeyblood – Honeyblood
Idlewild – Everything Ever Written
Kathryn Joseph – Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled
King Creosote – From Scotland With Love
Mike Vass – In The Wake Of Neil Gunn
Mogwai – Rave Tapes
Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love
PAWS – Youth Culture Forever
The Phantom Band – Strange Friend
Slam – Reverse Proceed
Treacherous Orchestra – Grind
The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
Withered Hand – New Gods
Young Fathers – DEAD
Each year we cobble together some words on the winner of the ‘BAMS’ album of the year award and as all music fans do, lament the fact that our top ten didn’t exactly match the eventual top 10. That said, we’ve loved nearly all the winners of the BAMS so far, from The Phantom Band through to Meursault, the associated writers of the BAMS can be justly proud of their choices. In awarding the 2014 award to the sublime ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’ by The Twilight Sad, Elba feel a little bit of kinship with our fellow writers, this album also was our personal favourite of the last year. That connection continues with no less then five more of the Elba top 10, making the BAMS list.
However, don’t allow that to make you think that a small pool of albums were chosen this year. Music, well certainly releases were in rude health last year, personally, we could have picked twenty albums to give nods to but within the BAMS voting, 192 different albums received votes. That’s 8 more than in 2013. The 37 writers who voted, chose 27 different albums as their favourite of 2014 with 10 albums receiving multiple ‘number 1 votes’. Of course, lists are subjective but for another year, Elba were very pleased to be a small part in awarding an accolade to a very deserving album.
The BAMS Top 10 2014
1. The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
Elba have been quiet as the proverbial mouse this year but we’ve been making plenty of noise elsewhere. Travelling to all corners of this wonderful country we call home having been invited on a musical journey as well as going coast to coast on the other side of the Atlantic, we’ve pretty much exhausted ourselves to the point of when we did actually have a minute to ourselves, we had no energy to share our thoughts. Gladly though, 2014 has again been an excellent year for music, both locally and within our wider universe.
As well as a raft of albums that we’ll hold dear to our heart for many a year to come, we’ve experienced some gigs and musical moments which will live long in the memory. Too many to mention all of, and some maybe a bit too personal to share.
We started the year off in wonder at Mogwai’s ‘Rave Tapes’ album and were lucky enough to squeeze into the CCA for an intimate performance by the band, that was broadcast live for Vic Galloway’s Celtic Connections special. We ended the year in equally mindblowing style listening again and again to the ‘tour de force’ which is The Twilight Sad’s ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave’ which was followed up by a breathtaking and emotional show at the ABC.
Along the way, we had a ball at some of Glasgow’s best ‘day-fests’. Stag & Dagger saw great performances by Honeyblood, Courtney Barnett, Jungle and Los Campesinos!, whilst in the fading summer there was nowhere we’d have rather been than at the East End Social’s Last Big Weekend. Mogwai (again), Honeyblood (again), The Wedding Present, Swervedriver and The Twilight Sad (again) closing out an excellent programme of events.
Some of our favourite local labels once again released a catalogue of gems. In the East, Song, By Toad released great albums by Bastard Mountain and Jonnie Common, whilst in the West, albums by Dan Lyth, Chris Devotion & The Expectations and The Hazey Janes made it another top quality year in the Armellodie stable.
2014 started with lots of ambition and positivity and whilst it ended in near burn-out, we had a great rollercoaster ride in between with things that we wont forget.
2015 is just around the corner and once again we have plans, we want to shout a little bit more about music, so how about we talk a little bit more next year?
Elba’s Albums of 2014
10. Sound of Yell – Brocken Spectre
9. Bastard Mountain – Farewell, Bastard Mountain
8. Remember Remember – Forgetting the Present
7. Withered Hand – New Gods
6. Dan Lyth & The Euphrates – Benthic Lines
5. The Phantom Band – Strange Friend
4. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
3. Mogwai – Rave Tapes
2. Honeyblood – Honeyblood
1. The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here & Nobody Wants To Leave
We continue our collaborative mixtape making this week with number eleven in the series. It has been a fortnight of fewer gig trips, though not of lesser bands. We have a stack of tickets for approaching shows so some down time was definitely required. To achieve this, we have been putting our feet up and indulging in some lazy Sunday listening sessions, aided by some fantastic record re-issues. One of us jumped aboard the great unstoppable music bandwagon thanks to some great artistry and direction for a live music video. We both have unashamedly been overexposing ourselves to this fortnight’s tracks and we’re already stacking songs for the next mix.
The two of Elba that bring you Eleven have been bullying the other into listening to whatever each is excited about for more years than we’d care to count now. Well, I bully. Phil is patient and understanding when three weeks after he told me about a band I appear sporting a band tee or tote, demanding we go to see them on whatever dreary, rain-sodden Glasgow weeknight they might be playing. These mixtapes are turning into an endless and beautiful discussion for Elba and have us appreciating music both near and far. Hopefully they will fall on open ears.
Just Handshakes – London Bound
Phil: I have a really bad habit of storing up music, be it things that were sent to me, or stuff that I buy. Months will go past before I remember I have it. That happened with this track, well, the whole single. I acquired it on I forget who’s recommendation but it’s bloody good and to be quite honest would have been ideal in the warm summer months. It’s sweet indie pop at it’s very best. And being that it’s November, the band are giving away their track of the same name free, for the rest of the month.
La Sera – Please Be My Third Eye
Kim: Elba’s love of Kickball Katy Goodman should be no mystery. La Sera have stolen and broken our hearts on a previous mixtape. We’ve been charmed by her tour photos and updates over the course of their current US tour. I’d advise following Katy on whatever online stalking means that you prefer to accompany a listen of her sophomore pop-punk singalong. I’ve returned to Sees The Light and have been bopping about my flat (in the fashion of dance trendsetter Greta Gerwig) with a gigantic grin on my face.
Poor Things – Morgan
Kim: Phil would probably be better to put across his thoughts on Morgan as his reaction to it has just been lovely. Poor Things are a Glasgow indie jangly pop-rock trio that invoke the spirit of Steven Malkmus and Teenage Fanclub. The upbeat guitars and melodic vocals have won us completely. Those chorus ‘ooohs’ and that guitar break just tip this track into the ‘on constantly’ (aka mixtape) pile. Poor Things play 13th Note on 20th November.
Monoganon – Best Pals
Phil: It struck me the other week that we’re all going to start trying to pick our albums of the year again soon. This year has flown by, it feels like it wasn’t that long since I did last year’s and now that merry-go-round is imminent again. It’s often quite easy, on early listens to a really good album, to proclaim it as probably one of the albums of the year, but I really think with Family, Monoganon have nailed it. It’s certainly going to be right up there on many peoples lists. And with tracks like this, why the hell not?
Blood Relatives – A Murder Of Crows
Phil: I have been waiting impatiently for this album to be released for a very long time and I’m pleased to report that when it arrived it had all the indie-folk-pop hooks that I could have wanted. Pretty much every song is memorable and this one reminds me a bit of Sons and Daughters. I think it’s the ‘oh oh ohhhhhhhhhhs…’. Blood Relatives play RBS Museum Lates in Edinburgh tonight.
Siobhan Wilson – Laugh Or Die
Phil: There are some tracks I find hard to write about. There’s not much I can say about this one other than I was completely and utterly smitten the first time I heard it and I still love it more each time I hear it. In fact, I think me and this track will just get a room.
Mogwai – Remurdered
Kim: I’ve already dedicated a post to this track. It was my musical highlight of last week. Mogwai continue their ingenious trail through music with first offering off of next year’s The Rave Tapes. That three minute mark is joyous. I will leave it at that before I turn into a squealing fan-girl.
David Bowie – Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA)
Kim: The David Bowie Love Is Lost remix is finally available for ownership. I have abused the Soundcloud of this track since it was revealed in October. This is not a track that should require any further exposure but I would be amiss not to include it on this mixtape. DFA hero and centre of the shining LCD Soundsystem (we miss you!) disco ball James Murphy honours the great Steve Reich via handclap in his remix of David Bowie song Love Is Lost. It sounds like something that could never top its description. Guess what? Yup. So, if I manage to play a part in bringing this mix to just one more person in the world, I’ll be happy. Despacio, the custom built soundsystem made and helmed by Mr Murphy and 2manydjs, is setting up in London late December. Oh! How I wish I were going.
It’s been a busy old week for us. A couple of gigs, a couple of good new releases and quite a few drinks mixed in. As I write this, I feel that I’m treading a fine line between acceptable writing and potentially pissing off Sufjan (and he’s the last guy we want to upset), with our poor use of multiple tenses.
You see, I’ve already referred to Elba Sessions as we and also written I, so is this a one man blog masquerading as a we? No. There are three of us, and we contribute with varied regularity, so we feel okay about the use of we, I, us, them etc… We are often one, regularly two, but vary rarely three, however, over the past week we all managed to get in the same room together, and on that morning commute the day after, we remembered one of the reasons this happens with decreasing regularity! And the reason I bring all this up, is because this is a mixtape, a personal thing, made by one to give to another and the joy of us being a collective and also one being, is that we’ve made you a mixtape but you get the eclecticism of our musical tastes, which like a good venn diagram, overlaps.
And for the record this mixtape that I write of is put together by two, and we hope you love it…
Kim: When Honeyblood were snapped up by Fat Cat records, the song that enamoured us with them so, ‘Super Rat’, was swiftly taken down from their Soundcloud. However, we have been gifted with a beautiful little 7″ single that has lessened this blow almost entirely. Bittersweet ‘Bud’ was released this week and comes on a fitting pink vinyl. This song would be breaking my heart if I weren’t so fascinated with how Stina pronounces bud. Booooouuuud. Honeyblood play Broadcast on the 29th October.
Veronica Falls – My Heart Beats
Kim: Last Sunday ‘The Elba We’ found ourselves stood atop the benches in the basement furnace of Broadcast, swaying to Veronica Falls. This was definitely a different vibe to our last encounter with the band in the CCA. That was a decidedly rapt crowd; still and silent for the show. My pick of audience members this time around was the fellow giving the thumbs up to the bassist for the full show and yelling, thankfully between songs, “enjoy yourself!”
‘My Heart Beats’ from second album Waiting For Something To Happen brought a lot of energy and felt fitting for this mixtape. Single ‘Broken Toy’ was released on Monday and a limited edition 7″ of new song ‘Nobody There’ is down to the last copies. So, buy now or never.
Saint Max & The Fanatics – Conduit
Phil: I must admit, I’ve been excited about this album for quite sometime now. I’m guessing it’s about a year and a half since I first set ears on Max and I was hooked nearly straight away. I find quite often when picking an album track that I end up describing it as ‘the stand out track’, but not here. No, this album is packed full of absolute gems, every one an aural treat. There are horns, there are choppy guitars, there are clever lyrics, the arrangements are great and most of all, it was definitely worth the wait.
Los Campesinos! – What Death Leaves Behind
Phil: There is sometimes a bit of trepidation, I think, when a band releases a couple of albums, each one following a similar formula. You begin to worry a bit. I mean, when is that reggae phase going to kick in? You’ve enjoyed the first three albums because they were what first attracted you to the band, they retained familiarity, but with the news that a new album is due to be released, the fear sets in, surely this is when they decide they need to diversify to develop as a band? I’m thankful that with the new Los Campesinos! album, released next week, that there are no such worries. It’s an album that you feel comfortable with, it sounds exactly like a new LC! album should and long may they keep releasing them. They are an utter joy to listen to.
What Death Leaves Behind comes from the new album, No Blues, out next week
Naked – Lie Follows Lie
Phil: For the past couple of weeks The Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh has been staging ‘The Pleasance Sessions’, a collection of gigs curated by labels, promoters and other such organisations. This Saturday sees Edinburgh label Song, By Toad stage a label showcase with, well, quite a large amount of their roster playing, including this band, Naked. A three-piece, their music is eerie, hypnotic and totally uplifting. Naked are a bit different to what the label had been releasing so when ‘Lie Follows Lie was released, it somewhat grabbed my attention.
Lily & Madeline – In The Middle
Phil: Female vocalists eh? We seem drawn to them here at Elba. Case, Rose, Marshall, Marling. The list could, quite literally, go on. Lily & Madeline are signed to the continually superb Asthmatic Kitty Records and this track is from The Weight Of The Globe EP released earlier this year. The great news is that a long player comes out later this month. This is dreamy, shimmering and completely gorgeous.
Juana Molina – Sin Guia, No
Kim: This cyclical and hypnotic number from Juana Molina is taken from her sixth studio album Wed 21; due for release on the other side of this weekend. NPR have the album available to stream in advance right now and I highly recommend a listen. I find the distance of not knowing the lyrical content quite liberating, leaving me to enjoy the texture of sounds that she builds. This is all Juana. Voice, words, playing and production. If you like this, wait until you hear Eras!
Roman Nose – Bra-In-I-Ak
Kim: Let me set the scene: On a rainy Glasgow evening, Elba came together in a pungent dungeon, masked, high on the newly printed fabric over our faces and syrupy cider settling in our bellies. Roman Nose, appearing as part of the List Live series, were the pied pipers with their mass of serial dancers. The anonymity of the masked crowd (the cloth being bestowed on entrance) would be quite terrifying to an outsider but once you were one of them, all there was to do was bounce around to the hyper noise of the act. This track, taken from new EP Long Live the Revolver! is a wondrous piece of Space-Pop that shows the range of the noise bearers.
Factory Floor – Real Love (Optimo Remix)
Kim: In 2011 Factory Floor released a relentless synth and noise disco track called Real Love. It is something. Then Optimo took the song, slowed it down and started adding sounds that seem to pay respect to the literal name of the owners. It’s all pneumatic sounds, buzzing, sawing and thwacks. I picked up this 12″ at the Indie Label Market on its stop in the Barras Art & Design Centre, which was full of friendly faces and cake(!). I then played this mix innumerable times until 7am the following morning. That day spiralled somewhat out of control for me. I blame the excitement of cake, beer and records.