Chicago-based chamber pop collective The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir aren't your typical debauched rock stars reveling in a pastiche of self-destructive cliches. Leading a band that's shared the stage with both the Arcade Fire and Ira Glass, Spoon and Dave Eggers, it's clear that lead singer, guitarist, and keyboard player Elia and his scrappy group are comfortable straddling the divide between the debased rock 'n' roll world and the high-minded literati.
As it turns out, both shoes fit. Not content with merely performing with some of the most notable names in independent music, the band has explored their connections with the literary and theatrical worlds, performing with Eggers, DeRogatis, This American Life's Glass, author Joe Meno, and Portlandia's Fred Armisen.
With Welsh-born Elia as the ringleader, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is a free-spirited collective of musical visionaries who turn out exuberant and rough-hewn chamber pop. Among the talent that performs and/or records with the Choir includes core players like bassist and recording engineer Mark Yoshizumi, guitarist and vocalist Mary Ralph, drummer Jay Santana, violin player Ethan Adelsman, keyboardist Alison Hinderliter (Le Concorde), and a brass section made up of Sam Johnson (Mucca Pazza, Hawk & a Hacksaw) and Matt Priest (Canasta).
The extended Scotland Yard family is comprised of a who's-who of the Chicago underground music community, boasting the likes of cellist / vocalist Ellen O'Hayer (Bright Eyes); Sally Timms, Nora O'Connor and Kelly Hogan, who sing backup on the self-titled album; and Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley).
- Tim Kasher (Cursive) covers SYGC's "Aspidistra" on While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records
- "Aspidistra" and "Tear Down The Opera House" live on No One Gets Hurt: Bloodshot's 15th Anniversary @ The Hideout Block Party