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Check out this joint: tribute to Elbow

English band Elbow were celebrating recently after being announced winners of this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize. Their fourth album, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, beat 11 others to win the title at a ceremony in London in September 9. The prize champions UK music and is open to all genres of music, attracting a record 240 entries this year. The band’s fourth disc has been described as sparse electronica, flamenco-influenced beats meets Led Zeppelin-inspired rock.
The five-piece consists of Guy Garvey on lead vocal and guitar, Mark Potter on guitar and backing vocals, Craig Potter, his brother, on keyboards, organ and backing vocals, Pete Turner on bass guitar and Richard Jupp on drums. Elbow frontman Guy Garvey said, as the band collected their award: “I know we’re supposed to be cool but this is quite literally the best thing that has ever happened to us.”
The band dedicated the award to their friend Brian Clancy, who died a few years ago and who inspired a number of the tracks on the album.
Lead singer Guy Garvey met guitarist Mark Potter at a Bury College in 1990 at the age of 16 when Potter was in a band with drummer Richard Jupp and bassist Pete Turner. Together, the four men formed the band Mr Soft. (The name was later changed to Soft.) Mark Potter’s brother Craig Potter joined the band soon after on keyboards. By 1997, they had changed their name a third time to Elbow, signed a deal with Island Records, and recorded their début album with producer Steve Osborne. However, when Island was bought out by major label Universal, the band was dropped in a mass cull and the album never released.They continued to record on the iconic independent label Uglyman, and released The Noisebox EP, The Newborn EP, and The Any Day Now EP, which were given extensive airplay by BBC Radio 1.
Their debut album, ‘Asleep in the Back’, released on V2 in 2001, was hailed as a seminal album of the new millennium, gaining them a Mercury Music Prize nomination and a Brit Award nomination. Their second album, ‘Cast of Thousands’ – a reference to their performance at Glastonbury in 2002, when they recorded thousands of people singing ‘We still believe in love, so fuck you’ – sealed their reputation as innovators in UK music when released in 2003.
In 2004, Elbow went on an unofficial tour of Cuba, becoming the first British band ever to play a concert outside Havana. The tour was made into a short film by British documentary maker Irshad Ashraf and in the same year, their song ;Fallen Angel’ appeared in the film 9 Songs, notable as being regarded as the most sexually explicit film ever to be awarded an 18 Certificate by the British Board of Film Classification.
Elbow’s innovation in the studio has invited work with other bands, notably the Editors and I Am Kloot, the latter whose début album was produced by Guy Garvey. Their third album, ‘Leaders of the Free World’, was entirely self-produced at Blueprint Studios in Salford, a space the band hired for the duration of their recording sessions. They teamed up with video artists The Soup Collective to produce an integrated music and video DVD. However, despite further critical acclaim, the album faltered commercially, and soon the band were dropped from V2 in 2006. They have since signed to Fiction Records.
The band contributed the song ‘Snowball’ to the 2005 War Child benefit album ‘Help: a Day in the Life’. In addition, an unreleased track titled ‘Beats For Two’ was used in the closing titles of the 2004 film Inside I’m Dancing. Garvey also returned to I Am Kloot as co-producer for their single ‘Maybe I Should’. He continues to work closely with Manchester indie label Skinny Dog.
The band completed their fourth studio album, ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, in late 2007 which was self-produced, mixed and recorded by the band themselves without outside help. Their acoustic cover of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent Women’, recorded exclusively for a BBC Radio 1 session, was turned into a popular web animation by Rathergood.com’s Joel Veitch. Elbow played a phenomenal performance at the recent Electric Picnic festival with gig-goers saying their music was one of the most inspiring, mesmerising and altogether entertaining act of the festival. By winning the Mercury prize and beating competition from legends Radiohead, newcomer Adele and popular eccentric Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals, Elbow have come into their own and to quote frontman Guy Garvey: “This is something that does not occur very often but tastes all the sweeter.”

Elbow are playing in The Ambassdor in Dublin on Tuesday, October 27 and 28, 2008.

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