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Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"KEXP Show Preview 1/13/2011"

ELBA with Gabriel Mintz, The Quit @ The Crocodile

This show will serve as the release party for local band Elba’s new EP Diplodocus. Elba play indie rock with a unique Western vibe to it, almost like an early-Modest Mouse if they were from the desert, mixed with a more forceful, driving Edward Sharpe. Throw some Pixies in there too, perhaps. Questionable comparisons aside, they rock and I feel like the Diplodocus album cover is a pretty good representation of the EP’s sound. Take that for what you will. (8 pm, $8, 21+) - KEXP Blog

"Showcase of the Week 1/13/2011"

As The Dismemberment Plan, the Pixies and Modest Mouse rank among our list of favorites, we’ve been paying close attention to Seattle’s Elba, who cites those three bands as some of their major influences. If you too are a fan of The D. Plan’s polyrhythms or Frank Black’s choppy, boyish vocal style, we bet you’ll enjoy tonight’s album release show at the Crocodile.

If that weren’t enough, the always entertaining, enormously talented Gabriel Mintz will take the stage after local power-pop favorites The Quit. Get to the Croc early, as we recommend all three bands in this, the liveliest Seattle showcase of the week.

Update: You can listen to the EP for free at http://elba.bandcamp.com/ (Thanks for the tip, Nick.) - SEA Live Music Blog

"Show Preview 1/13/2011"

High-volume indie-rock quintet Elba has seen plenty of shifts since beginning as a trio in 2005, but its guitar-driven melodies accented with bass crescendos, cymbal crashes, and understated vocals have only grown. And though five-track Diplodocus was recorded near the end of 2009, more roster shakeups delayed the release--and any shows since then--until tonight.

Coming back after taking a year off means Elba is starting from scratch in many respects. But they're already in the process of recording their new record, and the outfit has big plans--including translating its notably high-volume and high-energy performances onto wax. They may not have seen commercial success, but if nothing else, their years of playing small venues for small crowds have created a good sense of humor, evidenced by their propensity to discuss 1995 Ben Stiller flick Heavy Weights and British anarcho-rock band Chumbawumba. - Nick Feldman - Seattle Weekly

"Debut EP Review"

Although created by only two people, this recalls Hit to Death-era Flaming Lips or a pissed off Pinback, epic in its own little way with five of the six tracks coming in at over four minutes each. The glue holding it all together is the persistant smashing drums and cymbals, walls of buzzing guitar and ethereal reverb-coated vocals (which is probably just someone with a really bad headcold, but who cares.) The entire EP has a genuinely home recorded feel, but it's just sloppy enough to make it endearing. - 75orless.com

"Interview: With reverence for the past, Elba’s musical proficiency secures place in indie rock present and future"

When it comes to listening to a band for the first time, we often grasp for the familiar through simple sonic comparisons. The problem with this shortcut is that many times, once we determine what we deem to be similar artists, rarely does the band that we are hearing for the first time live up to our sentiments of the prototypes. More often than not, identifying a band’s influences can be a bit like exposing the man behind the curtain.

When it comes to gazing upon the inner machinery of local indie rockers Elba, however, rather than a disappointing Oz-like discovery, one faces an experience more similar to encountering Management from the critically acclaimed, yet tragically short-lived HBO series Carnivale.

In cases like these, by knowing a bit more about what lies beyond, one is not presented with a simplified view but is instead prompted to explore the many levels that might have foolishly escaped initial perception.

Inspired by a vast range of artists including the Pixies, Elliott Smith, the Dismemberment Plan and Neutral Milk Hotel, the local quartet ventures into instantly accessible, yet sonically complex and invigorating territory.

In advance of a string of West coast appearances, beginning at the Sunset Tavern tomorrow night, we were fortunate enough to catch up with Nick and Brian to peer deeper into Elba’s past, present and future.

Back Beat: Looks like you guys have a quite a busy schedule coming up. Any gigs you all are looking forward to in particular?

Elba: We have quite a few shows coming up that we’re excited about. It’s always a good time playing with our friends Skeletons With Flesh on Them, Another Perfect Crime, and The Quit, so the shows at Holy Mountain on May 23rd and The Mars Bar on June 27th will be a lot of fun. Also on a couple of those shows are great Bay Area bands Build Us Airplanes and Raised by Robots.

BB: What should we expect from the new record?

E: It’s hard to answer that question when things are so fresh, but to us it seems like we’ve done a lot more with this one. It’s louder and denser at times, but also more sparse. The songs are better. Hopefully.

BB: Your sound has been compared to some legendary NW acts, including Elliott Smith and Modest Mouse. When you are throwing favorite bands around, who do you consider to be among the most influential to your band?

E: It varies between us, but if pressed for an answer we’d probably say Pixies, The Replacements, Nirvana, Neutral Milk Hotel, the two bands you mentioned…a lot of other things we don’t think we sound like, but would like to.

BB: Seattle has long been famous for having one of the greatest music scenes in the world, how would you describe your experience as part of the community?

E: Most of us have been playing in various bands around Seattle for the better part of the last ten years so we obviously have conflicting opinions on that. Sometimes it feels like a community and other times it feels like absolutely no one gives a shit. I’m sure that happens anywhere though. For the most part it’s awesome to have so many places to play and great bands to play with.

BB: If forced to leave Jet City, what other geographical options would top your list?

E: Portland maybe. New York. Japan?

BB: What are you listening to these days?

E: Guided by Voices, Black Heart Procession, Dismemberment Plan, the last two Pixies albums, and a live Tom Waits cd our bass player found in our van.

BB: Outside of your upcoming gigs, what else do you all have planned for Summer 09?

E: Our new record is almost done and will be out late July/early August. We’re doing a short west coast tour in July that should be a lot of fun. Then we’ll probably start thinking about the next record. Hopefully a ton of good shows. - Matt at BackBeatSeattle.com

"5/9/09 - Comet Tavern - Seattle, WA"

Seattle quartet Elba play artful, melodic rock with surprising dynamics that may trigger some knee-jerk prog disdain. We like a lot of prog, so Elba are cool with us. But don't get it twisted: This ain't no Mars Volta-ic display of grandiose virtuosity. Elba write tight, tuneful songs that don't require music-school degrees or knowledge of esoteric myths to enjoy. - Dave Segal of The Stranger

"An Avalanche Review"

Seattle indie-rock trio Elba’s An Avalanche is a promising CD of eleven songs full of quick, bright-sounding guitars that carry on in a poppy way, along with the occasional more laidback number. The vocals are nice and complimentary to the music, and the songs are played in a major key. It may be the fact that they all share a hate for The Eagles or simply that they know what they’re doing, but either way, the band has made some rockin’ tunes for your ears.

The band consists of Shea Teeley, Nick Cappelletti, Brian Graham, and Matt Hartgraves. They are fond of short titles and the kind of unusual backing vocals that switch off between high female and deep male harmonies, although never at the same time. This really stands out when you listen to the album with headphones. Shea has a sweet, light voice, while the male backup singer’s voice is slightly raspy and low, and the lead’s is on the higher side, but never nasally or shrill, reminiscent of Jim Adkins from Jimmy Eat World.

Their lyrics are often about finding your way in times of change and proving yourself to others; you could say they are highly critical of themselves and feel the need to make it known through their music. Every so often, an outside instrument will come in, like a synthesizer or cello, and that adds a nice touch. The songs are on the shorter side, but it’s okay, because they have a fast pace, which makes the ending come at an appropriate time. They claim Pavement, Built to Spill, and The Replacements as influences, but Elba veers a bit more towards a mellow sound than they do the indie scene of the 1990s.

Opening track “You Murder Me” sounds somewhat muddled, with several instruments running over each other and singing verging on talking, but the chaos carries on in a good way, especially because of an outsider sneaking in a trombone. Track two, “Wide Awake,” has a Death Cab for Cutie feel, with a major key piano and guitar part complimenting each other under the words, “You fall apart when you fake it / It doesn’t matter what you’re about / You’re only worth what’s in your mouth.”

Track six, “Waltz,” is a neat number, with that turning feeling in the music typical of all waltzes due to the three-quarter time, and even the words “too little too late” imitate that repetitive nature. Think Elliott Smith’s waltzes — which this may even be an homage to, since they also list him as an influence. Track nine, “Capable Hands,” reminds me of Modest Mouse a bit, due to the odd rhythm of the vocals and ironic words: “Lord it’s well known / We’ll die well before we get old / before we have the chance to save our souls.”

They went on their last West Coast tour in January, but expect more in the future, as they’ve now released another album, Don’t Be Discouraged, Little Sparrow. - SpaceCityRock.com

"7/18/09 - Slabtown - Portland, OR"

Elba won't celebrate the release of their second album Don't Be Discouraged, Little Sparrow until their homecoming Seattle show at the beginning of August, but you'll be able to hear tunes from the new record as they swing through Portland on their current West Coast jaunt. Elba makes a stubbornly unclassifiable brand of indie rock that encompasses a huge array of styles, from angular post-punk to pillow-soft folk to jittery laptop pop. "Red" is equal parts Elvis Costello and the Beach Boys without really sounding like either, while "What You Need Is a Light" pairs the taut riffing of Pinback with the innocent melodicism of early Kinks. In many ways, Elba is an encapsulation of the current indie scene at large, a symptom of sprawling record collections condensed onto a single hard drive, where no influence—baroque, DIY, what have you—is avoidable during shuffle play.
- Ned Lannamann - Portland Mercury

"8/1/09 - High Dive - Seattle, WA"

Elba's got a kind of nervous energy that makes you want to dance, or at least pogo in place, when you first hear them. Even their chill-out songs, like "At Your Feet," with its relatively calm trumpet laid over the dithering guitar lines, feels frantic, like the band members have had way too many super-large gas-station coffees in way too short a time. Ordinarily this isn't the kind of feeling I'd enjoy in a band, but their jangly-nerve assault works because Elba don't seem to be working the audience up to a destructive lather; the journey to excitability is its own reward. Hyperactivity has never felt so cool.
- Paul Constant of The Stranger

"An Avalanche LP Review"

Elba, as remembered from Modern European History class, is the Italian island in the Corsica Channel ‘twixt Tuscany and Corsica, where the Brits exiled Napoleon for 300 days—before escape, restoration, and Waterloo. But the musical trio Elba is hardly so banished, hailing from perennial musical hotbed Seattle. Furthermore, they sound like a nearby Portland staple on their warm, debut, brisk-pop LP. It’s in a zip code with the early Shins, Decemberists, Dimes, Modest Mouse, and departed patron saint Elliott Smith, only lighter—like New Zealand pop. They’re at their best, as on the onrushing “Wide Awake” and “An Avalanche,” or the superb 6/8 time “Ghosts” and accurately-titled “Waltz,” when they mix resonant piano or dour organ with unreserved jangling guitars and leader Nick Cappelletti’s James Mercer-esque enthusiastic, high-voiced, yelping (and often, funereal trumpet). But all 11 songs are worthwhile. Dig in! - Jack Rabid - Big Takeover Magazine

"Live Review at The Smell (Los Angeles) 01/09"

Aww, I like Elba! Elba is the band that has been making their journey south from Seattle to Los Angeles touring with Navigator vs Navigator. They were the third or fourth band to play last night at The Smell and I was beginning to think I missed them, fortunately I was wrong! So glad they made a stop in our backyard last night. The music scene is sometimes overwhelming in Los Angeles and if you don’t stop to check our not-so-known visitors once in a while, you could be missing something brilliant. I’m glad to say that last night I was able to be witness to Elba’s subtle wonder!

Elba is a three piece band that will sometimes incorporate a keyboard and make it four, but last night it was three. Sometimes I forget that a three piece band can sound so full! Elba’s members are: Nick Cappelletti, Shea Teeley, and Brian Graham. I identify their sound as post-punk, luckily that label is pretty broad and is able to house their huge sound. They perform like a machine! Shea, Elba’s drummer stupefied me with his powerful drumming abilities, I mean, I was amazed at how powerful he was, yet their sound was so soft at times, such as in their song, “Capable Hands.”

I predict that Elba will be BIIIIIG! I can only hope anyway…So, I asked Nick, the man behind the vocals, what the band name meant and he informed me that Elba is the name of the first island that Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to…so cooool! My only two complaints last night were: 1) the set was too short (”we want more” chants in my head) and 2) it was a shame that there were not many people who came out to check them out.

Elba is heading north to San Francisco, but hopefully they don’t span their visits to L.A. too far apart. I was hoping to pick up their cd last night, but unfortunately it wasn’t available, but, as a consolation, they will send their fans a free cd if you gave them your address last night. Good move guys! Can’t wait to receive “An Avalanche” and play it for friends!

C. Sanchez
- Loudvine.com


Diplodocus EP - 2010

Tender Loving Empire's "Friends and Friends of Friends" Vol 3 - 2010

Don't Be Discouraged Little Sparrow LP - 2009

An Avalanche LP - 2008

Tour EP - 2007

Elba EP - 2005



After spending 2010 playing shows and promoting their "Don't Be Discouraged, Little Sparrow" LP, Seattle's Elba return with the 5 song "Diplodocus" EP.

Recorded with engineer Graig Markel (Head Like A Kite, Transmissionary Six, Tiny Vipers), "Diplodocus" finds Elba further establishing their ability to fuse catchy, three minute pop songs with surprising dynamics and unconventional song structures. A bit more stripped down than previous recordings, this EP tries to capture Elba as they sound in a live setting. Adding depth to the songs are backup vocals from Daniel G Harmann (Daniel G Harmann and the Trouble Starts) as well as vocals and cello from Graig Markel (The Animals at Night).

Since releasing debut LP "An Avalanche" in 2008, Elba has established themselves as a Seattle band to watch. The debut received rotation airplay on KEXP 90.3, Demo of the Week on 107.7 The End's Local's Only, and gained the attention of Seattle's The Stranger. The follow up, "Don't Be Discouraged, Little Sparrow" also received rotation airplay on KEXP as well as multiple college radio stations down the west coast.

So far, the lead off title track from "Diplodocus" has been played on 107.7 The End's Locals Only and is featured on a compilation from Portland, OR label Tender Loving Empire titled "Friends and Friends of Friends Vol.3".

Recording for the next Elba full length begins in November of 2010 with engineer Graig Markel at Seattle's Recovery Room

Elba has been featured on KEXP's Music That Matters podcasts Vol. 26 and Vol. 177, most recently in December 2009.

Elba has also received airplay on :

WMBR 88.1 (Cambridge, MA)
KALX Berkeley 90.7 (Berkeley, CA)
KUCI 88.9fm (Irvine, CA)
KEXP New York 91.5
KDVS 90.3 (Davis, CA)
KZSU 90.1 (Stanford, CA)
KUCR 88.3 (Riverside, CA)

and has been written about by:

Seattle's The Stranger
The Seattle Weekly
Portland's The Mercury
Jack Rabid's Big Takeover
Loudvine.com (Los Angeles)