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
Winter is here, we’re thinking A LOT about our forthcoming gig calendar over the next few weeks, and our heads have been somewhat turned by the fact that it’s the season to be ok with listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas output. As with tradition in this festive period, we’ve indulged…
The Twilight Sad – Cold Days From The Birdhouse 
Kim: As your mixtape makers will be attending The Twilight Sad’s first of two sold out shows playing debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters in King Tut’s, it feels important to honour this song. Yet, as I write this I can’t help but feel my attachment to Cold Days From The Birdhouse is a very personal one. I would prefer to not contextualise what the textures and lyrics of this song might have invoked in me back in 2007 but without doing so it’s difficult to express the song’s impact. So, I have aimed to identify some of the constructs that brought about my affinity to to Fourteen’s first track. The gentle and raw opening combines soft tones with an unrelenting note being bashed out on the piano. This serves as the perfect example of the juxtaposition present in near every facet of this song. That gentle opening changes to a deafening bulk. Lyrically almost every sentiment is met with hurt. I feel I can empirically and impersonally impart that James Graham has such great power in his voice that a vague lyric can sting as much as one of confession. We may be sobbing into our pints near the sound desk that Friday night.
Super Adventure Club – Fuck the Pop 
Phil: This track is Super Adventure Club all over. If you were lucky enough to witness a live show in their sadly shortened tenure, you will be familiar. Technically, outrageously awesome. I rarely attended a SAC show where I wasn’t in awe of how disgustingly proficient they were on their weapon of choice. They released their posthumous album this week on Armellodie. It’s bloody good. I hope we hear more, sometime in the future (despite posthum-ity). Just imagine a horse in a lab coat dancing, turn the volume up to 11 and this is Super Adventure Club at their best.
Kim: Every so often a little treat appears online. Bands are getting good at disseminating early versions of tracks, live material and album overflow. Sparrow & The Workshop made their track One Brush free to download last week, stating that they didn’t have room for it on this year’s Murderopolis. This song is all drums, distorted guitar and Jill O’Sullivan’s chant. It’s a piercing vocal. At just over two minutes it’s a brief, visceral listen that ends very abruptly. Cracking.
Neko Case – Man
Kim: Neko Case’s most recent album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, managed to overwhelm me this year despite my ridiculous levels of expectation. I’ve picked Man for this mixtape in which Neko explores her masculine side. After the show this weekend we hope to befriend Neko, whereupon she will invite us to live on her farm. There we will spend our days playing ditties on the piano in her kitchen, brushing Norman her horse, eating cereal and watching Adventure Time. It’s going to be swell.
Withered Hand – Black Tambourine 
Phil: A very late contender to song of the year. If you know me, and my fascination with all things Teenage Fanclub, you can probably see why I was so smitten here. It passed the pre-bath dance test with my 2 year old and Withered Hand is in my 6 year old nephew’ top 3 musicians (Euros and Pictish Trail are the other two, if you’re interested. Dude.) so there’s some other reasons why I’m drawn. He’s got a new album out next year and this little ray of sunshine is the ideal appetiser. Can’t wait!
Randolph’s Leap – One More Sleep ’til Christmas
Phil: Is there a more adorable band around here than Randolph’s Leap? No, probably not. They continue to display just what a solid band they are every year with release after release. This year they released an EP on Olive Grove Records, next year an album on Lost Map beckons. If you go to gigs regularly in Glasgow then you’ll have struggled to miss them, prolific is the best word. If you have missed them, then head along to George Square in Glasgow this Monday evening , hopefully they’ll play this little ditty. We’ll be standing with a mulled wine having a smile.
Freelance Whales – Winter Seeds
Phil: I feel a bit hypocritical here, but whilst we’re canvassing opinions on favourite albums and songs for our Elba Annual, I’m not sure you can actually have one truly favourite song, above all else. I’m more of the opinion that certain songs or albums fit an occasion, time or in this case, a season. Some songs evoke feelings and this, Winter Seeds by Queens’ Freelance Whales is cold weather music all over. Still, it makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.
Sufjan Stevens – Do You Hear What I Hear?
Kim: I’ve done it. I’ve gone too far. I’ve gone as indulgent as I can go this month. I knew that there was a chance that we might feature some festive music and I had nine minutes and fourteen seconds of trippy electronic Sufjan goodness in mind for the occasion. I was considering how to broach it’s inclusion just as Asthmatic Kitty’s Winter Sampler appeared. Whilst this track does not appear, Christmas Woman off of Silver and Gold does and it is just one of many excellent tracks from the AK roster available for free download. Chris Schlarb, Lily & Madeline, Fol Chen and Helado Negro all feature.
Where we pick one or maybe several things to check out in Edinburgh during the month of August [disclaimer: in the event of tardiness or over-eagerness, don’t be fooled by the headline, it’s today cos we’re picking it today, rather than you should go today, but maybe you should go today…]
Today is a good day to be a music lover in Edinburgh, maybe less so if you are a promoter. We’ve found four gigs, each, one we’re desperate to be at, all taking place in our capital city tonight.
Kid Canaveral have released one of my favourite albums of the year so far and they play their biggest headline show to date in Edinburgh at The Liquid Rooms, ably supported by Edinburgh stalwarts, Ballboy and the excellent Campfires in Winter. Doors for this one are at 7pm, with Campfires in Winter on shortly afterwards.
Next up, at the Queens Hall this time is Withered Hand’s festival show featuring a pretty tasty line up of King Creosote, Eugene Kelly (The Vaselines) and the Second Hand Marching Band. A couple of tickets are still left online for this one here.
Not much needs to be said on these pages about how good we think the line-up for the Pale Imitation Festival at Henry’s is, and tonight is probably our pick of it’s run of shows with a line-up of Sparrow & The Workshop, Siobhan Wilson and The Rosy Crucifixion. This one starts at 7:00 and tickets can still be had for it.
Last but by no means least, and Elba’s destination for the evening, takes us to the Electric Circus for a show by Art Brut. Having released their first album in 2005 with a ‘best of’ released this year, they make a long-awaited return after a quiet few years. There is absolutely no doubt that this gig won’t be a blast.
Today’s Elba Annual post comes in the form of a band from Edinburgh who we featured on these very pages back in August after their release of their brilliant EP ‘Artificial Life From A Digital Sea’. Also, as we mentioned in Thursday’s annual post, Loch Awe will be heading west to record some tracks at Elba Studios early next year.
Matthew, the quickest replying musician in Scotland, gave us these answers on his 2010…
Album of The Year –This is a super hard question to answer as there’s been so much good music out this year. I actually came down to a shortlist of four, but one of them really stood out, and it was Meursault – All Creatures Will Make Merry. It’s just truly original – I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever heard anything else quite like it. It also helps that it perfectly suits the blizzard-like weather we’re currently experiencing. (In case you were wondering, the other three are Gil Scott-Heron, The Phantom Band and Kanye West)
Best Gig (Loch Awe) –Well we only played one gig this year, back in September. It was our very first show, and it was excellent fun. Hopefully we’ll be a bit more active next year!
Best Gig (by someone else…) –Can I pick a festival? If so then Retreat! Festival in Edinburgh really stood out (far better than Glastonbury, if only because the chance of me getting a blood infection in a church hall is almost nil, whereas it turns our Worthy Farm is bloody deadly). If not then Withered Hand & The Second Hand Marching Band at Stereo in June (I think) was absolutely brilliant. It was my first experience of SHMB’s music, and it totally blew me away. And, of course, Withered Hand were, as ever, great!
Favourite New Band(s) –There have been loads, so I’ll just do a wee list: So Many Animal Calls, Evenings, Yusuf Azak, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers, Ute, Tangled Hair, The Scottish Enlightenment and Reverie.
Musical Memories of 2010 –Screaming along to Karma Police at the Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood secret show at Glastonbury was exactly as epic as it should be, and is the sort of thing I’ll remember for years to come.
Hopes/Plans (music) for 2011 –Loch Awe are recording some new songs literally within the first five days of the new year. They’re a little bit louder, not quite as folky and feature almost 300% more trumpet. We’re very excited! Apart from that we want to play many more gigs (including our first Glasgow show, and a few possible English shows) and to get our second album recorded over the summer.
I should be recording a collaborative EP in January with Glasgow songwriter Andrew Lindsay. He’s brilliant, and I can’t wait to yell all over his lovely songs, and allow him to do the same thing to mine.
You can still get you mitts on the afore mentioned Loch Awe EP on their bandcamp page here. We’d really suggest that you do.
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:
18.03.2010Findo 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.
19.03.2010Oliver 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.
21.03.2010Chris 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.
The Elba Sessions podcast has been running since July this year and we have been blogging since September so we were pretty honoured to be asked by Peenko to throw our tuppence worth into what is now affectionately known as The Scottish BAMS or The Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award 2009, to give it it’s proper title. The Phantom Band’s Checkmate Savage took the honours and the Top 20 was packed with plenty of good choices, with a large amount of Scottish talent being represented.
Personally I struggled a bit, not to choose the ten so much, but more to order it from 10 to 1. Looking back at my choices, I’ll stick with my Number 1 and possibly the first few places but to be honest, if any of my top 10 were at number 1, I’d have no complaints at all. Here is how Stephen, Chris and myself voted…
(note: Stephen ducks out slightly by nominating an unreleased album, but we’ll let him off for that and you’ll notice I favoured counting down from 10 to 1, to build suspense and all, wheras my fellow amigos went straight in with a number 1!)
10. Cuddly Shark – Cuddly Shark
9.Le Reno Amps – Tear It Open
8.Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
7.The Cinematics – Love and Terror
6. Brakes – Touchdown
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
3. Sufjan Stevens – The BQE
2. Phantom Band – Checkmate Savage
1. Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
1. De Rosa – Prevention
2. My Latest Novel – Deaths and Entrances.
3. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career.
4. Idlewild – Post Electric Blues.
5. Conor Mason – When its Over
6. Le Reno Amps – Tear it Open
7. LAU – Arc Light
8. bat for lashes – two Suns
9. Daniel Wylie – Fake your own death (wont be released until 2010 but i have heard the tracks and they are ace!)
10. Cuddly Shark – Cuddly Shark
1. Wilco – Wilco (the album)
2. Richmond Fontaine – We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
3. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream
5. De Rosa – Prevention
6. Bob Dylan – Together Through Life
7. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
8. The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
9. Sufjan Stevens – The BQE
10. Le Reno Amps – Tear It Open
I was pretty pleased that 4 of mine were included in the Top 20 and having seen the spreadsheet where the maths was done, a couple just missed out. I think The Phantom Band were worthy winners though, being voted for by predominantly scottish blogs and writers it’s fitting that a Scottish band should win it, who would have doubted that one would!
And here’s how the masses voted!
1. The Phantom Band – Checkmate Savage (61)
2. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (54)
3. De Rosa – Prevention (53)
4. King Creosote – Flick the V’s (51)
5. Withered Hand – Good News (45)
6. The Twilight Sad – Forget The Night Ahead (43)
7. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls (40)
8. Beerjacket – Animosity (38)
9. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More (32)
9. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (32)
11. My Latest Novel – Deaths and Entrances (28)
11. Malcolm Middleton – Waxing Gibbous (28)
13. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t (25)
14. You Already Know – s/t (24)
14. Broken Records – Until the Earth Begins to Part (24)
16. The XX – s/t (23)
17. The Antlers – Hospice (21)
18. Sufjan Stevens – The BQE (19)
18. And So I Watch You From Afar (19)
20. Wilco – The Album (18)
You can praise/blame/thank the following for their input!
17 Seconds, AyeTunes, Dear Scotland, Earz Mag, Elba Sessions, Glasgow Podcart, Hooligans Lament, Jim Gellatly, JocknRoll, Jockrock, Kowalskiy, Last Years Girl, Love Shack Baby, Manic Pop Thrills, My Portiswasp Says, Off the Beaten Tracks, The Popcop, Products of a Gaseous Brain, Song By Toad, The Daily Growl, The Spill, The Steinberg Principle, The Vinyl Villain and Under the Radar.
And once again, well done to Peenko for organising all of this!