Tagged: yusuf azak

My Top 5 Albums of 2012 (and joint 6th's)

We usually do an Elba Annual in December where we ask people their ‘best of’s’ from throughout the year but seeing as we’ve had a particularly quiet year on here, we decided it probably was best to give it a miss and hopefully get it going again next year.

I did however, want to share my Top 5 albums of the year with you. I am asked each year by Peenko to submit my albums of the year for inclusion in the yearly BAMS (Blogs and Music Sites) list and this year when Lloyd from Peenko realised he’d run out of fingers to count up the albums, he called on me for my ninja spreadsheet skills. That list is still to be announced however, so I thought I’d get my list up before A) I forget and B) The BAMS list spoils my thunder.

Limiting albums to a Top ‘whatever’ is always quite hard I think. It depends on mood or the time of year, so in my Top 5, I could probably interchange about 3 of the 5 that are included below. In fact, in the three weeks since i sent over my albums of the year, I’ve changed the order in my head several times. However, I’ve gone with my original list but a few albums which on any other day would have made my Top 5 were;

6= Yusuf Azak – Go Native
6= The Pure Conjecture – Courgettes
6= Laurence & The Slab Boys – Lo-Fi Disgrace
6= Beach House – Bloom
6= RM Hubbert – Thirteen Lost & Found
6= Stars – The North
6= Randolph’s Leap – …and the Curse of the Haunted Headphones

But anyway, to the Top 5…

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5. Best Coast – The Other Place

“Summertime in 11 tracks”

 

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4. Francois & The Atlas Mountains – E Volo Love

“I find it hard not to love this album as it is but having seen them play live, it takes them to another level altogether. A highlight of 2012”

 

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3. Chris Devotion and The Expectations – Amalgamation and Capital

“heard it prior to 2012 (just) and it still gets frequently aired in my house. There’s no messing about here. Catchy, two minute rock n roll tunes.”

 

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2. Meursault – Something for the Weakened

“I loved Meursault’s first album. I love Meursault’s second album. ‘Settling’ = shivers”

 

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1. Django Django – Django Django

“Another that I can’t seem to put down. Just a really great listen that I never seem to tire of. Again, have seen them a couple of times over the last year and a bit and they are always excellent.”

I Made You A Mixtape…Seven

Father Sculptor – Ember

I was sent this a while back and as seems to be the way with me sometimes, i promised it a listen and then it got lost somewhere along the way. I’m glad i found it again though because there’s a lot to like here. Ember and it’s also excellent b-side ‘Blue’ was released on Monday and is available as a free digital download.

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bubble

Trust me, the theme this week is not forgetting to listen to stuff but I have to offer up a similar comment for this track as to the last. I got this album around the time it came out however, that portion of last year was pretty much made up of worry and daily hospital visits, so remembering to listen to new music was a bit further down on the priority list than usual. As a result my itunes bulges with tracks that haven’t had a single play and my shelves have an odd selection of cd’s pushed into any available nook and cranny just waiting for the cellophane to be ripped off.

This is yet another album I forgot about. I did listen to this once or twice at the time though but I’ll admit, i don’t always get on with KC’s music. However, I cracked it out the other week again and i must say, if i’d remembered it more last year, this album may have been in contention in some of the end of year lists. I like this track ‘Bubble’ a lot. When the banjo kicks in mid-way through, I really like this track.

Yann Tiersen – Summer 78 (Instrumental)

I think Yann Tiersen is one of my favourite film composers and this is i guess one of the ‘theme’s’ from the brilliant film ‘Good bye Lenin!

Yusuf Azak – Swim

Did i mention i was looking forward to Yusuf releasing his new album this year? Probably. This is from his free to download Prizefighter EP released last year. He’s playing at Edinburgh’s Ide’s of Toad Night this evening alongside RM Hubbert and Rory Sutherland.

Beach House – Myth

It’s becoming apparent from these mixtapes that ‘dream pop’ is my thing.

This is the opening track from Beach House’s forthcoming album ‘Bloom’ which is released next month.

NO – Stay With Me

I think there’s some pretty strong comparisons to be made with The National on this track by LA based NO. The vocals and track brood away and build up as the track goes on. This track is on a limited run released by the turntable kitchen blog in San Francisco.

Bam Bam – Hipnodromo

I’ve not featured much any Mexican music on the blog before but when i heard this on an Arts & Crafts sampler, there was no way that it was not going on a mixtape. I have no idea what they are singing about either!

Thirty Pounds of Bone – Uyeasound

This weeks final track is from Thirty Pounds of Bone and is from his first album, ‘The Homesick Children of Migrant Mothers’. I just really like this one and don’t really need to elaborate much further only that I listened to the album this week because of the maritime themes on some of the tracks on the King Creosote & Jon Hopkins album. I like when one persons music brings you onto someone else’s.

Elba's Tracks of 2011 – Yusuf Azak – Swim

Today’s track comes from Glasgow-based Yusuf Azak. We’ve long been fans of Yusuf, from his

self released free EP’s, to his debut long player ‘Turn On The Long Wire’ (Song, By Toad Records), we were delighted to hear that

he would be releasing a free EP this year called Prizefighter. Swim is track two on said EP and I believe at the time I said that the track was making me melt. It really is that lovely. You can download the whole EP on Yusuf’s bandcamp page and hear Swim for yourself, below.

Elba Annual 2010 – Phil (Elba)

Our final annual comes from Elba Sessions’ constant and reasoned voice; Phil. You will be well acquainted with him by now I’m sure.  For those of you who are not: he is a man of great taste, intelligence, wit and charm.  As a great driving force behind everything Elba I’ve found him to be exceptionally motivated and particularly good at knowing what buttons to push to get the most out of everyone he works with.  It is holding all these elements together and only ever snapping when things have reached well passed boiling point which leads us to his alter ego.  With a quiet and calm demeanor, a patience like no other, an ability to maintain organization even whilst working under potentially incendiary conditions and the occasional (and very understandable) melt down, who else could we select?

All that sucking up needed balancing out with something ridiculous. Ironically he will, of course, love this comparison. Here is Phil’s account of 2010:

Album of The Year – This is a tough one. There have been quite a lot of albums I’ve really liked over the course of the year and the title of ‘favourite’ constantly seems to change. I think ‘Method’ by Thirty Pounds of Bone gets the win though. It is an honest album and really nicely put together and produced. For the first couple of months, Los Campesinos! and Field Music would also be in with a shout as well as notable mentions for Chris T-T, Meursault, Super Adventure Club and The National.

Best Gig – There have been several people I have really enjoyed seeing this year, RM Hubbert, King James, Super Adventure Club (possibly the most fun that can be had watching a band, as well as the most jealous at how ridiculously good individually they are). Best gigs are usually defined for me by notable things or songs that were played. In that sense, there have been two or three great gigs for me in 2010. The National, which seems to be on everyone’s lips really stands out just for the whole occasion. Mr November, including a tour of the crowd by singer Matt Berninger, was a biiig standout as well as the completely unplugged sing-along to Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.

Also, on two occasions I’ve seen a band play a song this year that has just made the hairs on my neck stand up. When The Scottish Enlightenment bellowed into Little Sleep at the end of the set at their album launch in the 13th Note and when they played it at The Liquid Ship on one of our Elba gigs, i knew that there was something pretty special happening.

Favourite New Band(s) – Probably could make a lengthy list here but I’ll try to keep it short. Bella Ruse play the kind of sweet indie folk pop that I’m just a sucker for. I’ve also been digging Caitlin Rose, The Mariner’s Children and more locally Johnny Reb, She’s Hit, Yusuf Azak and The Douglas Firs.

Musical Memories of 2010 – Putting on some great bands at The Liquid Ship as part of our Elba Sessions gigs…Chris’ boundless enthusiasm for Springsteen…Kim’s boundless enthusiasm for music and her awesome writing…Kim and Chris’ support and patience when I get ‘the rage’… The National at the Academy…Willy Vlautin at the Captains Rest (if indeed that was this year)…The return of Le Reno Amps…Making some new musical acquaintances…oh, and being thanked in the sleeve notes for the Thirty Pounds of Bone album was pretty sweet.

Hopes/Plans (music) for 2011 – To kick on with Elba a lot more. I really want to get a good focus going on the blog, going for a bit of a wider viewpoint on the music we all love here at Elba rather than the same old. We’ll also get the Elba Sessions gigs going again in a few months, peepers on the lookout for bands to play already. I’m also looking forward to Dj’ing at the first BARmellodie night at Bloc on January 21st. Also, I want to start getting along to a lot more gigs and seeing some bands to get excited over.

So that’s us for 2010. Have a grand old time this evening!  We wish you a bonne année and we will return before you have fully recovered fully from the celebrations.

Elba Annual 2010 – Yusuf Azak

We’ve had a couple of good nights with Yusuf at Elba this year, including an appearance at our birthday gig in October, and felt it was only right to include him in our Elba Annual for 2010. He released his debut album ‘Turn on The Long Wire‘ on Song, By Toad Records a couple of weeks ago and it’s an absolute gem. He’s also appearing live in session with Vic Galloway on the old wireless tonight (15th December).

I mentioned the other day that Matthew from Loch Awe was the fastest respondent in music. We’ll stick Yusuf at the other end of that scale, but it’s worth the wait!

Album Of The Year – ‘Dark Night Of The Soul’ – Dangermouse and Sparklehorse. I had already listened to this loads before its official release. There’s some stunning songs on here, ‘star eyes’ stands out for me. Also, ‘Have One On Me’ – Joanna Newsom

Best Gig (Band) – I supported Lou Barlow at Stereo in Febuary and the crowd was excellent. Also Lou gave me permission to dive into his Budvars and camembert.

Best Gig (Other) – The Versus night at the Voodoo room, Edinburgh with Japanese War Effort, Dupec & Miaoux Miaoux. what happens here is the bands cover each others songs and collobarate at different points. along with some other guest slots, what you get is a night of continuous music with almost each song having a different line-up. with the acts being excellent, this was a really fresh approach to putting on a gig and made it very enjoyable.

Meursault’s Glasgow launch was superb. i seen then a couple of years ago at the flying duck with only a few people in the crowd, to see the Captains Rest packed out was very pleasing, and for me it was almost like a celebratory atmosphere. it was my first exposure to their full line-up including cello and the sound was huge.

Favourite New Bands – The Japanese War Effort. Great songs and prolific. I suggest you get the EP and mini album he has made available free to dowload from his Bandcamp Page here http://thejapanesewareffort.bandcamp.com/

I was also on the bill with Inspector Tapehead last week who played a great set.

Musical Memories of 2010 – The entrance music of the snooker players at the world masters. Mark King had ‘You Can Do It By (Put Your Back Into It)’ by Ice Cube. Marcu Fu had ‘I Gotta Feeling’ by Black Eyed Peas and Jimmy White had a Dire Straits song of some description. Biggest disappointment was Ronnie O’Sullivan walking on to a tune by The Hours. Ronnie we know you’re a genius but sort it out.

Hopes/Plans for 2011 – To get my new album ready pronto. Other than that; get back into the dating game and ease off on the dairy.

You can visit Yusuf here on his myspace page and get your hands on a copy of his album through Song, By Toad here.

Elba Annual 2010 – Loch Awe

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.

Competition Corner!

As you may have heard us mention our birthday gig is next Friday (8th October) at The Liquid Ship in Glasgow where Cuddly Shark will take to the Elba stage along with Julia and The Doogans, Yusuf Azak, Jonathan Sebastian Knight and Paul McLinden. It kicks off at 8:30pm sharp and it costs nothing to get through the door!!

The chaps at Armellodie have been kind enough to donate a copy of Cuddly Shark’s eponymous 2009 opus to be won by a lucky reader.

Question: Which seminal 70s punk group included members Johnny and C J; both born on the 8th of October?

To be in with a shout of winning, please send your answer, along with your name to competitions@elbasessions.co.uk

The competition closes on Monday 4th October at 5pm.  A winner will be drawn at random and informed by email. Best of luck!!

Elba Sessions Presents…(Oor Birthday!)

So, the title’s pretty self explanatory I suppose. Elba Sessions turns the ripe old age of 1 this month and to celebrate, well, we’re doing pretty much the same as most other months, putting on a good ol’ gig. We’re actually being a bit greedy and stretching our birthday out for a bit, but October seemed to be the point in 2009 where it all started to come together.

In fact, the first podcast was recorded in July 2009 with Dean Owens of The Felsons. Stephen, the owner of Elba Studios had decided in an effort to get people in to the studio and to give himself a bit more practice, he would invite people in to have a chat about their songwriting, play a couple of songs and then upload the resulting effort to the grand old dinosaur that is Myspace. At the time, Stephen was only in the studio part time so this was a good opportunity to get more bands recording in the studio. Stephen then called on Chris, to do the talking on the podcasts and they recorded a podcast in August ’09 with Pearl & The Puppets.

Myself and Chris had been speaking about putting on our own gigs for literally years, probably since our days at school in Aberdeen, and joining up with Stephen on the back of the studio podcasts seemed the perfect opportunity to do so. We used the Elba name and with the kind help of Dochan McMillan of The Free Candy Sessions, we started our monthly residency at The Liquid Ship in Glasgow’s West End in October 2009.

The blog was a totally different beast altogether. This was a personal thing that I’d been wanting to start for quite a while and this seemed like a good opportunity to get off my backside and do it, plus, i didn’t have to sit for hours thinking of a name I’d come to regret, I just used Elba Sessions! The first blog post went up at the tail end of August 2009 and was a video of a Bill Callahan Black Cab Session. It stayed as the first post whilst we figured out design and layout and ever since it’s contained the odd post here and there, sometimes it’s more regular than other times but life can get busy! We also have had friends who have helped out along the way, Steph sometimes takes pretty pictures and Kim will often write pretty words.

As we come to the end of year one, it’s been nice to reflect on everything that we have seen and done and our birthday gig is really a tribute to our debut year. The premise of the gig was to have the great and the good that we have featured on Elba Sessions, whether it be podcast, gig or blog, over the last year and get them together for a special gig at The Liquid Ship. Unfortunately we couldn’t ask everyone, there was quite simply too many people and we didn’t quite have it in us to organise a five day festival but we’re proud of the line up and hope that you will join us to celebrate a good year, where we have met so many good people who have helped us out, whether it be a mention on their blog, sending us some music to listen to or even the odd follow friday on twitter!!

Without further ado, here’s the poster for our Birthday Night, please come and say hello, we’re a shy bunch really, but a pint or two usually straightens me and Chris out!! It’s free entry as usual and due to the size of line up it’ll be a sharp 9pm start!

Facebook Event Page Here

We’re looking forward to doing this again next year and are especially looking forward to the challenges of keeping it all together for the next year as life gets hectic. Stephen is packed out in the studio and myself and Chris find ourselves in charge of staff in our dayjobs (daunting). I’m also following the blogger Peenko’s good example and will be a father around Christmas time. Maybe the baby can design the posters????

Elba Sessions Presents…(Eight)

I’m very excited about this month’s line up. In truth, I’m excited with every month’s line up but this month it’s gonna be a good un! Headlining for us this month is RM Hubbert. A stalwart of cult Glasgow band, El Hombre Trajeado, he has recently released his debut album ‘First & Last’ which is a gorgeous collection of, if you want a description in a very flowery kind of way, ‘instrumental acoustic sketches’. It also has the perfect amount of flamenco in there so what better music to listen to in the summer.

Joining ‘Hubby’ on the bill are Croy’s finest, Campfires in Winter. These lads are currently a drummer down so they are going to treat us to an acoustic set. I’ve not seen them live before but some respected, and some less respected bloggers (i.e Peenko (wink!!)) tell me very good things!!

Finally, a late but very welcome addition to the bill is Yusuf Azak. I downloaded the two EP’s from his myspace page and have listened to them regularly since. I find it hard to describe Yusuf’s music but the best way to put it in layman’s terms would be hushed vocals with some nice guitar playing. In fact, I quite liked Matthew at Song, By Toad’s description from a while back. “like a ghostly set of old bellows, wheezing in and out and managing to rather surprisingly generate some fantastic songs whilst doing so“. And mentioning Song, By Toad, Yusuf may have a release out on the label later this year.

Gig Info:

Where: The Liquid Ship, Great Western Road, Glasgow
When: Thursday July 1st 2010 at 9pm
Tax: Free