Tagged: washington irving

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!

Brew at the Bog

Kim mentioned a few weeks ago that in her advancing years (still a spring chicken really!) she is a bit of a fan of the city fest. However, with all this lovely weather we’ve been having (save for yesterday’s snow here in Glasgow), it would seem a shame not to consider getting some good, fresh, highland air in your lungs. Whilst we aren’t always blessed with great weather here in Scotland there certainly is no shortage of good festivals and every year, another attractive option seems to open up for the festival go-er.

In my opinion, I want a festival to have good music, good food and nice beer and not be too overcrowded. Brew at The Bog (Sat May 5th) is fortunate enough

to cover all bases.

Brew at the Bog is the joint brainchild of

Bogbain Farm and Brewdog which basically means stunning location + great beer = a topper of a festival. Oh yeah, the line up ain’t too shabby either. There’s quite a few Elba favourites in there including Washington Irving, The Little Kicks, Kitty the Lion and the excellent Mike Nisbet (do we mention him too much on these pages?) along with a whole host of bands from our fair country as well as quite a few from further afield.

The full line-up is below;

Tommy Reilly
Washington Irving
Endor
Stanley Odd
Kitty the Lion
Over the Wall
Three Blind Wolves
Findlay Napier & The Bar Room Mountaineers
Fatherson
The Little Kicks
Open Swimmer
Jonathan Powell (WALES)
Laki Mera
Matt Norris & The Moon
Beerjacket
Megan Blyth
Bensh (WALES)
Sion Russell Jones (WALES)
KOBI
Little Fire
HelloVideo
Woody Pines (USA)
Mike Nisbet
Midnight Glory
Quickbeam
Open Day Rotation
Cafe Disco
Lost City Soul
Graham Brown
Cherri Fosphate
He Slept on 57

The guys at the farm are working in overdrive just now to get the festival site ready and you can see some snaps and an update on their progress over on the Brew at the Bog blog. I see that they have also confirmed that they will be stocking 77Lager, Punk IPA and my own current personal favourite 5am Saint. (although i may be biased as a Brewdog shareholder!).

Tickets are still on sale but are literally flying out the door so if you want in, you need to be quick. Ticket’s can be purchased here for a very reasonable £45. Camping is also available.

June Podcast – Mike Nisbet

Another month and another new presenter for the

podcast. This month it was Kim’s turn to pose the questions and our guest down the Hidden Lane at Elba was Mike Nisbet.

It’s fair to say that we got a bit giddy when we heard the new tracks by Mike Nisbet a few months back, we’ve now wrapped our ears around the new album, titled ‘Vagrant’, and it doesn’t disappoint. Mike popped by Elba a few weeks back to chat about why it was so great to tour with Washington Irving, writing songs whilst not really having a fixed home, whether the East coast are a bit more melancholic than the West and his forthcoming album and the launch for it, which takes place at The Ivy on Argyle Street, Glasgow next week (Thurs 9th June).

More info on the launch can be found here at the Facebook event page and to stream/buy the album, just manoeuvre your mice or trackpads here.

Mike Nisbet (June 2011) by elbasessions

For The Widows In Paradise – An Ode, of sorts…

Don’t you hate when someone asks what kind of music you’re into? If you are anything like me, it’s a bloody hard question to answer and one which would take some considerable time to get to the bottom of. With that in mind, I can only imagine the horror on my Elba colleagues’ faces when I emailed them and said, ‘look I’m putting together a blog post, mail me back with a couple of words explanation to the above question’. The question in question…

“what’s your favourite Sufjan Stevens album?”

…for this is a question with no discernible answer.

We have tried though, battling with different parts of our musical persona, giving full listens to albums, making cases with ourselves about the merits of different tracks, and I think, we’ve come to a conclusion of sorts. The conclusion being that there is no ‘favourite album’. However, in the interests of not leaving this post hanging on that very note we’ve noted down some ideas, gun to our head, here’s our favourite Sufjan albums. (remember, not really favourite, I mean don’t hold us to that or anything!).

Kim

My love and allegiance to Sufjan Stevens is known far and wide. This is not an over-reaching statement. I receive email, facebook and textual (heh) updates on nigh his every move from a number of sources. Therefore, when asked to pick my favourite album of his, I found myself incredibly torn. This is because I have a sonic love, a lyrical love, a love for songs independent of which album they originate. That being said, each of his releases offers something individual as a body, whilst still undeniably being so very Sufjan. After much consideration and inner turmoil, I present to you my favourite Sufjan Stevens album:

Illinois is the obvious choice, yes I’ll admit. Critically, it is his most well received work. It is, however, very easy to see why. The album honours the state so vastly and features locales, incidents, individuals, whether real or fictitious and of the best and worst moral incline, religious reference and personal prose. It may not be an true representation of The Land of Lincoln but I have not a qualm with that. It is a beautiful portrait. There is a careful balance of the Sufjan seen before and development into something more. The piousness of Seven Swans and solomness of Michigan are still felt but something quirkier and more playful became a undeniable part to making this his most treasured release. This is felt with the wider instrumental range involved, playing nicely to Stevens’ scoring. Holistically, it is more accessible than any other full length release from the artist.
To put it simply, Illinois fills me with a sort of wonder. Tales weave through this work. Even the saddest songs make me want to sit down cross legged, wide eyed with my hands propped under my chin and listen intently. The most joyous make me break into full smile. The most personal, one in particular that is shared with a dear friend in our mutual love for it, can reduce me to tears. Come on, feel the Illinoise!

And another vote for this particular opus from Chris

Ok, so firstly this wasn’t easy. My real answer is his fictional ‘Greatest Hits’ playlist that I have on my iPod which contains 3 to 4 tracks from all albums. However, Illinois was the first of his albums that I bought, combine that with the Oran Mor gig months later (hands down one of my favourite gigs ever) and your onto a winner. My favourite thing about music is lyrics and Illinois is quite simply an album of stories…flawless! Notable mention to Seven Swans which was a close 2nd.

We’ll add a little variance to this post I think, my pick is…

The BQE. It was my instant reaction to the question which then clouded my judgement seconds later when I thought, no wait, what about ‘The Dress Looks Nice On You’ or ‘Decatur’. The thing is though, I love the whole idea and concept behind The BQE and the fact that he chose to release an album which in his own words ‘refused to incorporate his strongest weapons, the song’. The notion of scoring a film depicting the Brooklyn Queens Expressway is something which very much appeals to me and as an album it is one which I was instantly taken in and captivated by even before it was released. Sure it doesn’t have the stories that Illinois or Seven Swans has but I still think he manages to capture the storytelling essence so prominent in his previous work without uttering a word.

It is with our obvious fondness for Sufjan that we have recently been getting pretty excited by the forthcoming release ‘The Age of Adz’ and have been muchly enjoying the All Delighted People EP, ‘Heirloom’ is a biiiiig favourite. He’s also touring the US at the moment and almost on a weekly basis my heart flutters slightly when I notice a headline announcing yet more Sufjan live dates. Sadly, these have all been North American thus far but we live in hope that he will visit our little corner of rain in Scotland. All is not lost though, we have found a Sufjan fix to tide us over until that time.

‘Widows in Paradise’ is a celebration of all things Sufjan and they’ve pulled together a fine roster of local musicians to pay homage to our favourite winged singer. The line up includes The Last Battle, Randolph’s Leap, Open Swimmer, Washington Irving, Esperi and Julia and The Doogans (who you can also catch, helping us celebrate our birthday next month). This all takes place on Wednesday 22nd Sept at 7:30pm in Stereo, Glasgow, and you can get your tickets here. There is also the promise of homebaking! Yum!

*Kim would also like to offer a personal apology to The Dress Looks Nice On You, A Winner Needs a Wand, For The Widows in Paradise, Vito’s Ordination Song and many, many others for betraying them and going for Illinois.