Tagged: The Pastels

Scottish Album of The Year Award 2014 Longlist

say logo In case you missed it, the longlist for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year was announced a couple of weeks ago and as usual there is no shortage of talent on display. Whether it be Frightened Rabbit’s anthemic ‘Pedestrian Verse‘, Tommy Smith’s National Jazz Orchestra’s homage to Duke Ellington, ‘In the Spirit of Duke‘ or Mogwai’s brooding score to Les Revenants, there is a bit of everything on the longlist of 20.

I probably sound like a broken record (saves this sentence again for 2015), but i genuinely look forward to the longlist being announced every year. Not just because there are albums that I hope will be on there but also because there’s often a few albums which I’ve either never heard of or just not paid enough attention to which I’ll then go and give a proper listen to. This year is no exception. Of course, readers of this blog will have guessed that we’re very happy to see Kid Canaveral’s ‘Now That You Are A Dancer‘, The Pastels’ ‘Slow Summits‘, Rick Redbeard’s ‘No Selfish Heart‘ and ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest‘ by Boards of Canada on the list. However, we’re also delighted to see another stack of albums there, ripe to fall in love with or just give a bit more listening to.

At the end of the day, the SAY Award will go to one winner, but the fact that these 20 albums have shone through the hundreds of albums released in this country, is quite the achievement in itself.

This year’s longlist is as follows;

Adam Holmes and the Embers – Heirs and Graces
Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse
Biffy Clyro – Opposites
Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe
Dunedin Consort (Dir. John Butt) – J. S. Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos
Edwyn Collins – Understated
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Hector Bizerk – Nobody Seen Nothing
Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are a Dancer
Mogwai – Les Revenants
Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart
RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire – Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (R. Ticciati) – Berlioz: Les Nuit D’été
Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – In The Spirit Of Duke
Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time
The Pastels – Slow Summits
Young Fathers – Tape Two

Currently the SAY website is streaming a longlisted album a day on their website. A public vote will follow for 72 hours starting on May 28th.

Process

The Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award 2013 (The Scottish BAMS)

A little later than in previous years, the 2013 winner of the Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award (or BAMS as it is known affectionately in some circles) was announced, with Chvrches taking the number one spot for their critically acclaimed album, ‘The Bones of What You Believe’.

The votes were cast by 40 writers from 29 different blogs and music sites with 164 different LP’s getting nods. As ever, it was nice to see a few of our picks making the top 10. Boards of Canada, The Pastels and my top pick Kid Canaveral to name a few. Here’s how the masses voted;

1. CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe (Virgin)
2. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)
3. Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse (Song, By Toad)
4. Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart (Chemikal Underground)
5. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)
6. The Pastels – Slow Summits (Domino)
7. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)
8. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time (Domino)
9. Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are A Dancer (Fence)
10. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus (ATP Recordings)

Here’s how your Elba writers voted;

Kim

1.Savages – Silence Yourself
2.Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
3.Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
4.My Bloody Valentine – mbv
5.RM Hubbert – Breaks and Bone
6.Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
7.Sparrow and The Workshop – Murderopolis
8.Bill Callahan – Dream River
9.Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
10.The Pastels – Slow Summits

Phil

1.Kid Canaveral – Now That You’re A Dancer
2.Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
3.Thirty Pounds of Bone – I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where
4.Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
5.Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
6.Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis
7.The Pastels – Slow Summits
8.RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone
9.Monoganon – Family
10. Fidlar – Fidlar

The massed writers are as follows;

Almost Predictable, Almost
Avalanche Records
Detour
Elba Sessions
Everything Flows
For Malcontents
Vic Galloway
Jim Gellatly
Glasgow Podcart
The Herald (Alan Morrison)
Houdi
Is This Music?
Jock’n’roll
Jockrock
La Terrasse
Last Year’s Girl
Manic Pop Thrills
Net Sounds Unsigned
The Pop Cop
Radar
Rave Child
Marion Scott
Scottish Fiction
The Skinny
Song, By Toad
The Spill
Tenement TV
The Tidal Wave of Indifference
TYCI

Elba Annual 2013 – Gerry Loves Records

downloadThe third installment in this year’s Elba Annual comes courtesy of Andy from Gerry Loves Records. Gerry Loves seem to have the knack of taking money from muso’s by continually releasing good music and nice looking products, and have in the last year have put out EP’s and singles from Adam Stafford, Over the Wall, John Knox Sex Club and our personal favourite, Book Group.

This is also now the second annual post in a row whereby the interviewee has chosen an absolute doozler of a track of the year that I hadn’t heard before. We also got a fairly extensive ‘Albums of the year’ list.

Enjoy y’all.

Album of the year

There’s no way I could pick one. Here’s my top 10 in no particular order:

Indians – Somewhere Else
Hookworms – Pearl Mystic
Swearin’ – Surfing Strange
Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt
Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
Golden Grrrls – Golden Grrrls
Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
Low – The Invisible Way
The Pastels – Slow Summits

I also loved records by people I know, so I left them out of the above:

Adam Stafford – Invisible Walls Collapse
Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart
Conquering Animal Sound
eagleowl – this silent year
RM Hubbert – Breaks and Bone
The Yawns – The Yawns
Burnt Ones – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Song of the year

Courtney Barnett – “Avant Gardener”

I’m obsessed.

Best gig you put on

Best gig we put on was John Knox Sex Club + Over the Wall + Book Group at Stereo in October. By far the biggest show we’ve ever done and the reaction was incredible. All the bands were on top form too.

Phillip PAWS trying to remember the words to Taylor Swift at his solo show in Edinburgh was also a highlight for me.

Best gig you saw

My memory is terrible and unlike records I don’t have gigs lying around to remind me. So I’ll go with Indians in a church in Austin, TX in March at SXSW. I’d been in love with their (his) record since it came out. We ended up seeing them twice that day. The first time was in the car park of a shop in north Austin in the sweltering afternoon heat, and they were great then too. But that evening in the Presbyterian Church was amazing. The building and hushed atmosphere really worked with the music. Big and echoey and solemn but not downbeat. They only played for about half an hour too, which just made me want more.

Any musical thoughts to share on the year 2013?

It’s been a really good year, I think. Lots of good, odd electronic stuff came out this year. Lots of big bands came out with new albums that for some reason I wasn’t that interested in: Kanye, The National, Nick Cave, Arcade Fire and more.

I wish people would try and remember what they were like at 20, and what that would have been twisted to look like if they were in the public eye.

There seems to have been less good mainstream pop this year (Roar and some Dev Hynes stuff being the exceptions).

What does 2014 have in store for you?

We’ve got a few releases in the pipeline, including an album, but who knows. If our previous experience is anything to go by though, some of that won’t happen and some new things will come along. We’ve also got some shows planned further afield. Nothing we can confirm yet though!

Fill a loved ones stocking over at the Gerry Loves online store!

Elba Annual 2013 – Jo Mango

This December, this very day, we bring you the return of the Elba Annual! For this first annual post of 2013, we were very lucky to get some insight from Jo Mango. Jo’s career is something of wonder consisting of a great collection of material alongside regular collaboration work, including a recurring presence in the band of modern folk heroine Vashti Bunyan. Her beautiful EP When We Lived in the Crook of a Tree is released today on Olive Grove Records and we featured the title track on our most recent mixtape. I recommend this EP most highly. It has a storytelling quality that immerses you completely in the song; the vocals, lyrics, scoring and production all contribute to this. It’s a succinct little listen that is as close to perfection as you can get. Jo’s account of 2013, much like her songwriting, is very compelling. There’s also a little bit of news regarding what’s to come in 2014. Did I say little? I meant huge. A huge bit of news!

jo_edit2

Album of the Year

White Lighter – Typhoon.

I’m probably doing that classic thing here that big groups of people voting on best albums of the year always do, which is picking the most recent! But I think I’m mostly picking this album because of the experience that went along with it. Sometimes, as the years go by, you begin to feel like the magic and the energy of really being a crazy fight-to-the-death spend-your-last-pound suffer-the-post-gig-blues-for-a-month fan of music can wane a wee bit. Or it seems like it was a long time since you last heard an album that spun you round with how much you’d never heard anything like it before. So when you have a special moment with an album, it becomes a bit more precious. I really love the songwriting of Typhoon. I listened over and over again to their previous EPs etc. (the lyric writing in a song like “Sickness Unto Death is just amazing). So I was really waiting for their new album to come out. When it did, I made myself wait, like a little kid, until the CD from their Bandcamp arrived through the post from America. The day that it did, I took a really long bus journey with my headphones on and listened to it through twice on my headphones, in my own little world. It was like drinking a long cold drink just to sit and listen. I’ll admit I hadn’t done that in a long time. And the sun was a low winter sun that made wonderful patterns on the windows as a tiny moth walked back and forth across it while I listened. I nodded my head as they sang: “I will try to hold it, I will try to keep the moment, like a photograph of the sunset, like a little kid with a bug net, like a dying man, I swear.”

Song of the Year

Frightened Rabbit – Nitrous Gas

I really hate picking favourite songs. Eeek. I think it’s just impossible. There are too many of them! And they all serve a different purpose for a different time in your life, don’t they? However, if I have to choose, then I thought I should probably choose a song that compelled me to put it on repeat, that I could listen to tens of times in a row and still enjoy. Well… I use the word ‘enjoy’ loosely! Because this is such a sad sad song. But there’s something just so compelling about ‘Nitrous Gas’ by Frightened Rabbit. Those low voices, and the vocal harmonies are beautiful. The chord choices are perfect. It’s transfixing.

Best Gig You Played

Oh, the best gig has to be one of the shows we did in Japan. The engagement of the crowds with the music on that tour was extraordinary – it was such active listening that it felt like the music was being pulled from us. All the shows were brilliant, especially the night we played for Pastel Records in Osaka and one at the gorgeous Hi Fi Cafe in Kyoto (where Paul Buchanan was playing on the stereo when we first visited). But I think the stand-out show was out in the countryside in Ukiha – a really small town surrounded by fruit tree orchards and rice fields. Water/Wood Records and the band AutumnLeaf along with their family and friends put on the show, which was held in an old Japanese Medicine Museum. Apart from the giant bugs that fell from the wooden ceiling onto the stage while we performed (it was so quiet that you could REALLY hear a bug drop… ugh!), it was a perfect night. After the show we all sat down to a massive plate of sushi and fried lotus root, and communicated somehow in broken English/Japanese and laughed through the early hours. We slept on the floor in a hundred year old Japanese house with wood carved screen panels, Shinto shrines in the corner, and no bath (because we use the hot springs from the mountains). Altogether beautiful really!

Best Gig You Saw

I really did NOT go to enough gigs this year. But stand out shows have to be the set that Japanese band “Alps” (maarupus) did at our Kyoto show. Their music is so unbelievably delicate and quiet, and they have no idea how talented they are! I tried to record them on video on my iPhone, but you can’t hear them, because they were too quiet even for the microphone to pick up! The other one that sticks out in my mind was a two-piece version of Prehistoric Friends, with Casio keyboard and Viola. What a genius combination that is. And the show (at the Old Hairdressers) was for a homelessness charity too.

Any Musical Thoughts to share on the Year 2013

2013 was a year I tried to collaborate more, to let go and say yes to things, to give things a go. So I think the results of that when they come out in 2014 will be my vocals or contributions cropping up in lots of different places. I’m looking forward to that.

What does 2014 Have In Store for You

Ok… I’m going to say it out loud, put it out there, and therefore it has to be true. A NEW ALBUM!!! I really need to pull my socks up and get faster at writing albums. 6 years between albums is not acceptable! (Maybe playing in Vashti Bunyan’s band, something rubbed off on me, I don’t know). So we’ve got three songs at least ready to be recorded. And the ideas are coming. I’m thinking this album is going to be more of a pick-me-up. I need to write songs to cheer me (after listening to Nitrous Gas on repeat, obviously!!), so that’s what I’m aiming for. I also hear that Vashti is in the studio at the moment, so I’m hoping that she might have me back to play some shows with her if she takes that back out on the road in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the EP (and potentially a remix album/EP too).

Jo Mango plays The Glad Cafe on 14th December with Call To Mind and Behold, the Old Bear. Tickets are available here.

And the winner is…

Of course, you probably know already but last night, RM Hubbert’s ‘Thirteen Lost and Found’ won this year’s Scottish Album of the Year award. We’re over the moon here at Elba as Hubby is someone we’ve got to know through our long forgotten recorded sessions and also the gigs (what a line up!) at the dearly departed Liquid Ship. There has been much written about how deserving a winner the album was and we can only echo those sentiments but we’d also agree with Hubby that there is so much great music being made in Scotland that many of the shortlisted, and longlisted albums, would be worthy of the crown. Of the final ten, there were several that different parts of us were rooting for, which shows the strength of the entrants.

Indeed, we’re already a touch giddy at the prospect of who might be in with a chance of winning next year’s prize with the first six months of 2013 already stuimulating our listening with offerings from Rick Redbeard, Sparrow and the Workshop, The Pastels, Kid Canaveral, The Pictish Trail and Boards of Canada. Not to mention the six months of the year still remaining. And you never know, RM Hubbert might just be in with a shout next year too…

Field Music (the venue, not the band)

Please note that I love Field Music (the band) but today I choose to talk about the sport of enjoying music out on a vast grassy space. Here there would be a lovely photo of some grass but apparently uploading images is threatening to overheat my crank-powered macbook. Hi ho.

The summer months prompt sensory nostalgia for me. There is a late evening sun, which at the right point has a glow that will ever remind me of a day running about amidst a war with water. I was quite the trooper at seven years of age. Armed with my fifty pence squirt gun, I took out an array of enemies from Aunt, to Nana, to Sister in the rose-edged quadrangle of battlefield to be conquered. Alas, my hopes plunged from vast heights that day, like the full pot of cold water that my cousin dunked over my head with her foot of advantage. I felt such a sun-induced headiness of heroism, which was quickly replaced with the sobering chill of being soaked to the bone; a fitting parallel to the fading haze of a cooling summer night.

Over the last week the temperature has fluctuated and the threatening clouds linger to punctuate the ‘Scottish summer’ . This transports me elsewhere, into not a single memory but an amassed and inseparable collection of experience. There is a smell from drying disturbed grass that appears in, yet feels so displaced within, the city. It is that of fresh and still air that I associate with the first draw of breath in the waking hours of a festival. That cleansing inhalation provides resuscitation after the Antipodean experience of an overheated or frozen night in a tent (there is rarely ground between these opposing extremes), whilst your body retaliates against your mild poisoning of it with copious amounts of… whatever. This is the scent and taste of being ready to start anew.

Scotland’s festivals are providing grounds that could be the potential for either of the above summers. If, like the man at the helm of Elba, you have a child or, like myself, you are still mentally a child there are festivals such as The Kelburn Garden Party that promise fine music, food, drink and adventures that cater to a generous age range. Their musical agenda is to the left but they have opted for fun and friendly. The line up shouts summer party – you know that back garden barbecue kind – with Mr Scruff and Trojan Soundsystem headlining their Viewpoint stage. They have a roster of funk, reggae, electro and plonky guitars that would have me basking delightfully with a craft ale of local origin in hand. As for the family friendly element, Kelburn boasts adventure assault courses, a falconry and secret woodland trails. The premiering event is set within the reachable location of Kelburn Castle, near Largs on the 6th and 7th of July.

The Insider returns to Inshriach House in Aviemore this weekend, kicking off on the 21st of June with a line up that I want to cuddle. I do. I just want to grab ahold of it and snuggle right in. Excuse the list-mania that’s about to follow but it’s the most simple way to announce my joy and not spend hours proclaiming the talent and value of the artists involved. With a deep breath and great honour, I would like to rattle off the following: Washington Irving, Sparrow and the Workshop, Matthew Herbert, Miaoux Miaoux, Randolph’s Leap, Karine Polwart, Paws, Super Adventure Club, Stealing Sheep, Blood Relatives. That’s barely the bulk! It’s a line up that is evocative of an alternative and folk craft and will call to a sub-sect of listener. There’s a good balance of softness and punch across the weekend. Then there’s the food. Oh, the food. More listing(!): The Painting School, Harajuku Kitchen, Wild Rover Food, Artisan Roast, SMOAK, Woodburns Pizza, Inshriach Cake Shop and The Travelling Tearoom. Go and peruse the site for more details on the artists and food and no doubt you’ll be booking a last minute ticket.

Doune The Rabbit Hole has absolutely no filler. In my eyes, it is the leanest festival there is. It is the Venison of festivals. Clinic and The Pastels, whose new album Slow Summits is tickling the inner ears of we at Elba, sell this weekend at Cardross Estate alone. With a billing that boasts, for instance, Alasdair Roberts, Meursault and Rozi Plain on top of this, I find myself willing to follow any rabbit ‘Doune’ any hole for such listening privilege providing its timekeeping is adequate. If you can’t make it along to that on the 22nd to 25th August there is a nifty little tour a(rabbits)foot. Doune presents The Music Tapes featuring Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel on four stops with some varied support slots. It commences on the 22nd at Nice ‘N’ Sleazy with Eagleowl’s lo-fi providing warm up.

*

We are spoiled in Scotland. The above, I would hope, will go some ways to helping you to remember that we are surrounded by nature, by our preserved historical grounds, by our ceaseless and unrelenting talent and by excellent product that is all within arm’s reach. I find myself reflecting on it every time it stops raining.

 

*In your face laptop: I can still link to photos!