Song, by Toad

Archive for December, 2010


Live Stream of Song, by Toad’s New Year House Gig 2010

The player for the live stream slows down the whole page massively, so I’ve put it below the fold so those of you who wish to can watch our house gig.  My guess is that Brits will be out on the piss, so mostly Americans wasting the last of their afternoon in the office or massively hungover Australians will be tuning in. Read the rest of this entry »


Song, by Toad Festive Fifty 2010: 1-10

And now, drum roll please for the final installment of Song, by Toad’s Festive Fifty for 2010.  Woo hoo!  I am sure Liars, The National and Micah P. Hinson will be breaking out the champagne at the excellent news.  Ah well, at least The Japanese War Effort and Li’l Daggers might give a shit.

01. Liars – Scissor When this song breaks it is absolutely fucking fearsome, and it is absolutely all I can do to stop myself leaping around the room and breaking stuff, no matter when or where I am or what time of day it is.  And this is about all I need to say about the matter.

02. Micah P. Hinson – My God, My God Just utterly, utterly beautiful, with a carefree little string coda rendered completely heartbreaking by the content of the song.  Three albums of sheer genius and one that was pretty damn good – why is this man not infinitely more famous?

03. The National – England It’s not as obvious, but the piano opening of this track is every bit as emotionally gripping as Fake Empire, once it properly sinks in.  And the build is so, so slow that by the time the brass kicks in you feel like you’ve been waiting for an age.  It reminds me of Elbow’s glorious Station Approach in that sense: some of the most euphoric depressing music ever made!

04. The Japanese War Effort – Summer Sun Skateboard First the guitar is really good, then the harmony vocals are fucking lovely, then the massively scratchy lead vocal is fucking great, then the glockenspiel is fucking superb, and then half way through it peaks, and takes the rest of the song to slowly drift into a blissed out coma.

05. Micah P. Hinson – Seven Horses Seen It’s easy to explain this one: just listen to the lyrics.  Hinson can be unflinchingly fucking brutal in his writing, and this is just another example of it.  That it goes, again, hand in hand with some truly beautiful music makes it all the more poignant.

06. Jason Lytle – D.U.I. BBQ Checkpoint Officer number two is talking to the driver of the car who just pulled into the D.U.I. barbecue checkpoint. “Good evening sir, have you been drinking tonight?” “Hell yeah officer!  I cracked my first beer this morning at nine and I’m wasted right now.  Any of you fucking pigs wanna fight?’

07. Songdog – 3.30am (Small Talk) I could fill an entire review with Songdog lyrics which make me do a double-take, but let that not detract from the wry, laid back music, performed as if with one eyebrow raised and here rendered even more lovely by the conversational duet.

08. Liars – Scarecrows on a Killer Slant Erm, this is Liars again, and unlike Scissor, which makes you beg for it, this is just loud and feral.  I don’t really need to justify this choice any more than that, do I?

09. The Walkmen – Blue as Your Blood The rhythm which underpins this has you ready for the song to break, ages before they finally let it happen about two thirds of the way through.  Hamilton Leithauser has one of the most yearning voices I’ve heard, and this is my highlight from yet another great album by one of the more under-appreciated bands around.

10. Li’l Daggers – King Korpze I’ve been loving my scuzzy, garagey guitar pop this year and this four song EP is as good as I’ve heard. Picking this ahead of Ya Tu Sabe or Hungry may be a bit arbitrary, but something from here was always going on.

Click here to download all these songs in one zip file.

1-10 | 11-30 | 31-50


Song, by Toad Festive Fifty 2010: 11-30

Welcome to the second installment of the Song, by Toad Festive Fifty for 2010.  Yesterday I explained why I am going to have to exclude Song, by Toad Records music from my end of year lists from now on, and today I am going to explain (i.e. make feeble excuses for) some of the inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies you might perceive in this particular list.

There are certain albums, for example, which just don’t yield edited highlights all that easily.  There are no songs by Mount Erie or The Books, for example, because I found it next to impossible to disentangle individual songs from their records – this does not, of course, mean that I don’t love the albums.

In other cases, bands have been somewhat penalised by having too many good songs.  Micah P. Hinson, for example could have had loads of songs on here, because I bloody loved his album, but I tried to restrict the number of times any one band appeared on the list.  Basically, once a band had a song on here, the second one was treated a little more harshly, and third even more so.  It wasn’t systematically done by any means, but I just wanted to represent as broad a selection of bands as possible.

And finally, I suppose it kind of goes without saying, but don’t pay too much attention to the specific order of these songs.  Ask me on a different day and I would probably sort them differently.

11. Sam Amidon – Pretty Fair Damsel It’s rare that I hear pretty much anything played as a Toad Session and still end up preferring the full studio version, there’s just something so special about seeing your favourite songs played live in your own living room.  This, however, is just amazing.  As much as I love Sam’s voice, in this case I think the way the rich, beautiful backing just twinkles its way through the song is what really sets it apart.

12. Jason Lytle – Liquid Hyper Tweeker Energy Drinks If ever a song embodied its subject matter, then it’s this one, with a hyperactive electronic signature harrassing the song from start to finish.

13. David Tattersall – The Typewriter Ribbon David Tattersall is probably starting to get a bit sick of people going on about his lyrics, because it kind of implies that his actual songwriting isn’t good enough to merit mention on its own.  Once again though, one of the chief reasons I love this song is the fantastic lyrical content, but to labour that aspect would be to do all the others a massive disservice.  There is a lot of sax in this song, for example.  Yes, sax!  And you know what, it’s fucking cool too!

14. Hezekiah Jones – I Love My Family Here’s a free tip for anyone starting up a brand new label from scratch: have something as utterly beautiful as this on your first release and you will be well on your way.  Fucking gorgeous.

15. Kid Canaveral – Her Hair Hangs Down Ever since that video I suspect Kid Canaveral might be growing a little tired of people telling them how great this song is, especially for a band who play some of the most upbeat, infectious pop tunes you could hope to hear.  But if Broken Records have to put up with me constantly picking their sad songs, then this lot can bloody well take it too.

16. Male Bonding – Year’s Not Long This is nothing like as rough and ready as their earlier stuff, or so I am told, but there is a furious pace and a reckless rhythm to it which brings what is essentially no more than a first rate pop song to life with incredible vim and relish.  They just batter through this with such joyous disregard that you get the impression they might have their next album recorded by the end of the week if only we wouldn’t keep demanding they play the song they’d just finished over and over again.

17. Sweet Baboo – I’m a Dancer The contrast between the loveliness of the music and the darkness of the lyrics on this song is really quite disconcerting.  There’s also an odd mixture of self-loathing and leering arrogance about this as well, which just adds to that conflict, despite being a pretty sort of song your mum might well hum along with.

18. Perfume Genius – Mr. Petersen The possible undertones of sexual abuse – or at the very least, of the unspecifically sexually inappropriate – in this song give an almost unbearable emotional weight.  The whole album has that, actually, and this song might be one of the poppier ones, but still devastating if you actually think too much about it.

19. Sam Amidon – Way Go Lily The rolling, repeating lyrical refrain in this song give it an hypnotic quality, particularly the way the vocals cut through the swirling orchestration.  There’s barely any actual lyrical content to speak of, but the vocals are layered and interwoven like part of the orchestra.

20. Onions – I Want to be a Dancer Some of you might point out that this song was actually released in 2009, not 2010, and is therefore ineligible for this list.  I would point out to you that this is my fucking website and I will do what the fuck I like with it.  So by virtue of the ‘I will make exceptions as and when I fucking well please’ clause, this counts.  For a website most commonly described as supporting Scottish music, I think I’ve found out more about Manchester this year than anywhere else, including my first contact with this massive pop diamond by Onions.

21. David Tattersall – The Old Family Aside from writing truly incredible lyrics, David Tattersall plays a mean guitar.  If The Typewriter Ribbon was all about the lyrics and the sax, this is all about that guitar rhythm.  I am really itching for The Wave Pictures next album to go nuts with the guitar, because it’s really fucking awesome when they do that.

22. The National – Little Faith My reasons for picking this would be the same as almost any other song on this album: defiant warmth, and resolute gravitas.  Why do I like this one marginally better than the others?  Dunno, just do.

23. Warm Ghost – Claws Overhead I know this is pretty much this season’s must-have production technique, but here is a big, pounding anthem which has been buried under a blanket in the next room.  Or, to put it differently, it sounds like it was written for people on acid but recorded for people on heroin.

24. Glass Animals – Leaflings This song has been put together really carefully and, in my opinion, utterly brilliantly.  The bursts of muffled dancefloor beat which emerge at intervals from the muddy background is the only instance in recorded history of me even being able to tolerate that particular sound, never mind absolutely loving it.

25. Admiral Radley – I’m All Fucked on Beer This song needs no more explanation than the title.  It’s loud and rude and fucking brilliant. Punch the air, bang yer heids and open another can of Special.  And the wee two-second carnival interlude is pure genius.

26. Sweet Baboo – Y’r Lungs In a similar vein to I’m a Dancer, this song isn’t as sweet on the inside as it is on the outside.  But in this case the lyrics are at least sufficiently cryptic that the beautifully wistful sense of sadness which pervades the music is the impression which dominates the song.

27. Broken Records – Modern Worksong I said in my review that there was a palpable sense of well-disciplined purpose to this album, and nowhere is this more evident than in this song.  Forced forwards by that skittering beat, this track has such drive it’s fantastic.

28. Silver Columns – A Warm Welcome Like Kid Canaveral and Broken Records before them, Silver Columns are learning the immensely irritating lesson that no matter how upbeat and exciting your album, I will absolutely, definitely, always pick the one downbeat number as my favourite song on it.  Sorry lads, it’s not you, it’s me.

29. The Scottish Enlightenment – All Homemade Things The Scottish Enlightenment have been relentlessly productive this year, perhaps making up for all the lost time since their last single.  The only danger with their album being so well-received is that it seems to make people forget how good their two 2010 EPs were.  This is such a simple, simple song too, but that one riff and the customarily unhurried pace are judged just about perfectly.

30. Perfume Genius – Learning A bit like with The National, choosing songs from Learning to include on this list was a little bit arbitrary, as there’s barely a weak song on the album.

Click here to download all these songs in one zip file.

1-10 | 11-30 | 31-50


Win Toad Stuff!

Toad stuff?  Yeah, Toad stuff!  ALL the Toad stuff.  Our entire back catalogue is available to win from The Vinyl Villain, as part of JC’s person of the year award competition festive thingy.

JC is a friend of mine and so please take the Person of the Year thing with a hefty pinch of salt. No disrespect of course, but you know what I mean.  Basically, JC’s way of saying that he really likes all the work that goes into Toad things was to offer to buy one of everything in the label’s back catalogue and to offer it as a prize to one of his lucky readers.  To win this extra-awesome prize you simply have to visit this post on The Vinyl Villain and email JC the answer to an incredibly simple question and Bob’s yer uncle.  Which in my case he actually is.

So a big thanks to JC for his extremely generous compliments, and also to the readers of Ayetunes.  The readers of Ayetunes you say?  Yes indeed, for they have concluded their readers’ vote and Song, by Toad has been named favourite blog and third favourite radio show/podcast, behind Vic Galloway (who I always thought was overrated) and Glasgow Podcart. The fact that I finished ahead of the likes of Mark Riley causes me to raise something of an eyebrow at these results, but a compliment is a compliment no matter how much you suspect you may have been overestimated!

We even got a couple of votes for our bloody living room in the Best Venue category which, whilst nice, is not something I wish to encourage lest Mrs. Toad decide to stop letting me use it for Official Fun. There were plenty more categories to be perused, and you can read the full set of results here.

And, erm, what better song could there possibly be for an self-aggrandising pile of old pablum such as this post:

The Dollyrots – Because I’m Awesome

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Song, by Toad Festive Fifty 2010: 31-50

Welcome to the start of this year’s Song, by Toad Festive Fifty, where I list, in order, my favourite fifty songs of the year.  As with the albums of the year, I have had to exclude Song, by Toad Records bands from this list.  Partly this is to stop me inevitably wounding the pride of whichever bands fared less well than their label mates, and partly to stop the label collectively dominating this list too much.

I don’t think the concept of objectivity is possible, or even all that relevant, when it comes to discussing what music you like, but I am so closely involved with the music on our label that there would inevitably end up being so many of our songs on here that I think it might well run the risk of just boring people, honestly.  You all know about the label by now, you all know where to find the music we release, and it pretty much goes without saying that I would only release it if I thought it was bloody brilliant to begin with, so no need to labour the point in my end of year lists.

31. Cotton Jones – Sail of the Silver Morning The weird collision of the modern and the old-fashioned on this record has its less successful moments, but is amazing when it really clicks.  You end up with what should be fairly plain and lovely pop songs, yet with an elusively strange undercurrent to them.  His voice is strange, and hers is fucking lovely, which also helps.

32. Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union This whole album, frankly, is fucking ridiculous.  But it’s ridiculous with such joyful exuberance that I just couldn’t help but love it – after I’d overcome the ‘what in the precious bundle of cherry-flavoured fuck is this then?’ reaction of course.  This track pretty much embodies the crazy brilliance of the whole record as well as anything, I think.  Turn it up loud, and don’t be ashamed of punching the air like a fool.

33. Thirty Pounds of Bone – A Lesson in Talking There’s an extremely harsh edge to Method which my choosing this particular song for my Festive Fifty somewhat neglects.  There is still plenty of bleakness in the lyrics of course, but the loveliness of the music rather overcomes it.  Maybe that’s why I like the song so much – but there are plenty, plenty more where this came from on the album.

34. Liars – The Overachievers I am not sure why none of the more sinister songs on Sisterworld made this list, because it’s not all about battering the shit out of the guitars.  But having had my fillings severely rattled by these lads at SXSW has rather come to dominate how I think of them.  Loud please!

35. Broken Records – Home I can almost see the band rolling their eyes at me as once again I pick one of their quiet songs for my end of year lists.  Broken Records are very much not a quiet band, but that’s probably why songs like this end up standing out so much, particularly when they draw the curtain on such a brilliant album.  There’s a lot of tension in Let Me Come Home too, and this song really does feel like a release at the end of it.

36. Ringo Deathstarr – Imagine Hearts I haven’t heard anything from Ringo Deathstarr for years, but this is a wonky bit of excellence.  There’s plenty of shoegaze here, and the backing sounds like it’s being played on a tape so old it has distorted to the point where it will barely play properly anymore.  And this, of course, is a good thing.

37. The National – Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks I could no more explain why this song is now one of my favourite on High Violet than I could explain why I really didn’t like the album itself all that much for about three months after it came out.

38. Barton Carroll – Shadowman Apart from the fact that this is a gorgeous song in itself, I absolutely defy anyone to listen to the lyrics and not choke up.  It is a bitter tale of mean-spirited weakness without a shred of redemption at the end of it.  Truly brutal.

39. Broken Records – A Leaving Song A Leaving Song perhaps sums up the new Broken Records album as well as any other individual song on the album.  It’s exuberant, tight and driven and manages to balance a definite air of confrontation with a real sense of focus.  This may be because I know more about the personal emotions behind the album than I really should, as a straightforward music fan, but nevertheless the purpose of a band with a point to prove seems to have made this song, and the whole album, really quite excellent.

40. The Scottish Enlightenment – The First Will Be Last This song just builds and builds and is one of relatively few Scottish Enlightenment songs to end with something vaguely approaching a crescendo of guitars and noise.  It takes bloody ages to do so as well,

41. The Driftwood Singers – Coco Ellis The production and arrangements are copied and pasted so directly from some old, romanticised version of the past that this borders just a little on parody, but that really doesn’t matter to me, I must confess, because the results are fucking great.

42. Warm Ghost – Open the Wormhole in Your Heart There may be plenty of muffled electronica out there, working to reproduce the wobbly distortion of old analogue equipment, but this is easily some of the best I have heard.  The construction of crackle and stumble, and the hints of the epic about the vocals, give this song an amazing dynamic between its anthemic and introverted lo-fi aspects.

43. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Slow Walk This is the flipside of a similar fascination with lovely old-time music as seems to motivate The Driftwood Singers, but in this case it’s clean and clear, with a lovely twang to the lead vocal, and a simple hook running all the way through the song.  Anyone who loved Samantha Crain’s early stuff is almost certain to love this song.

44. Cotton Jones – Song in Numbers The way the rhythm of this song drifts into passivity before rattling itself into life is probably one of the key things which makes it special for me.

45. Keaton Henson – Oliver Dalston Browning There’s nothing at all to this song except the gentle rise and fall of the guitar, recorded in as raw and unaffected way as you could ask for, and then Henson’s gorgeous, trembling voice. To do so much with so little is really impressive, and this song is just beautiful.

46. Hot Panda – Mindlessnesslessness This might be the closest to a haircut song in this whole list – the band even have ‘Panda’ and ‘Hot’ in their name and everything.  Hot Crystal Bear Fuck Owl Ghost Panda!  Never mind the name though, this is a brilliant song, tucked away near the end of a varied and interesting but slightly inconsistent album.  The thumping bounce of the start of it, compared to the odd epilogue (there is probably a technical term for this which I don’t know) which breaks in about two-thirds of the way through is just weird.  And excellent.

47. Roy Robertson – Icing This is a spooky but lovely acoustic pop song for about a minute and a half, before handclaps and spacey swooshing noises raise it up to a euphoric finale.  A bit like the Hot Panda song, but this gears the song up rather than down.

48. Tusk Tusk – Crazy Little Birthmarks Another song which starts as a simple, rolling acoustic pop track, but in this case the build is more gradual, as a choral backing swells and grows until it envelops the whole thing.  The song then steadily crumbles until there is nothing but the choir and a simple electric guitar refrain, and then finally silence.

49. Silver Columns – Brown Beaten Pure, awesome disco-pop.  I have never seen a single song generate so much interest in a band in my life (well, not amongst the kind of music I listen to anyway), and I have heard some people grumble about this being just a Bronski Beat knock off etc etc etc, but in all honesty, the only way you could dislike this song is if you hate fun in some fundamental and frankly unhealthy way.  Pure.  Pop.  Genius.

50. Jason Lytle – Indie Rock Freestyle Alright, so something of a lighthearted one to end with.  But this spirit of freedom and playfulness is precisely what gives Lytle’s album of cast-offs and mutants such liveliness compared to some of the more sticky stuff he’s released in the past few years.  It may not be a proper album, as such, but the liberated approach that results is brilliant, and little embodies that throwaway attitude better than this.

Click here to download all these songs in one zip file.

1-10 | 11-30 | 31-50


2010, and My Changing Listening Habits

When I sat down to do my end of year lists in early December, one thing became extremely clear: in 2010 my listening habits changed drastically, and it has had a massive effect on which music has made the greatest impact on me this year.  And by listening habits, I am talking purely about practical logistics, not vagaries in my personal mood or anything like that: pure physical circumstance has had more impact on my musical world in 2010 than it has in probably the last fifteen years.

I think I was living at home the last time the format of my music really made a difference.  Back then I had a twin tape deck in my room, and my parents had a full vinyl/cassette/CD system thingy in the living room.  I bought most new music on vinyl, because it was all that was available for a while, and then was cheaper than CDs when they first emerged.  Often I had to tape my own records to give them a good listen, as my folks weren’t always happy to have my music on in the living room; not that it was ever that offensive back then.

Then, when I left home, I made my first of two big breaks from a specific format: abandoning vinyl, because there was simply no practical way to take it all with me in a single suitcase, and I didn’t have a record player of my own anyway.  I purchased, as soon as I arrived in Manchester, a twin cassette deck plus CD thingy, a variation of which everyone I knew owned from then to the end of my student days.  One of these things, though very basic, was robust and entirely sufficient to play anything you might want to listen to.  Vinyl was, for practical reasons more than anything, consigned to the dustbin of history, and my listening habits didn’t really change for the next seven years or so. Read the rest of this entry »


Live in Edinbleeeurgh This Week – 27th December 2010

I feel like an unwashed pair of old socks.  Not so much for the boozing, which was surprisingly restrained actually.  I suppose, to be fair, there’s only so much bevvy you can pour down a gullet already creaking with frightening levels of food.  And so it proved – I have generally been so full this weekend that I haven’t ended up getting all that pissed.

Anyway, listings first, let’s be properly efficient about this.  I have my own shit to pimp, after all, and let’s not forget that cynical self-promotion is the prime focus of this site.  There are only a couple of things on this week… well, sorry, scratch that.  If you are looking for entertainment in Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve of all nights, and you need me to point you towards it, then your Fun-O-Meter is in serious need of calibration.  Or replacement.  Or both.

However, if you are looking for proper, actual fun, of a musical bent then your options are a lot thinner.  There might possibly be some decent bands playing the official Princes St. Gardens Hogmanay thingy (I haven’t checked), but between the crowds and the weather there is absolutely no fucking way in the universe you should be contemplating that.  Honestly.  This is not Approved Fun, people, it is Bad Fun, and should be avoided.  There are a couple of interesting things happening this week though:

Wednesday 29th December 2010: Scars, TV21, Ballboy & Kid Canaveral at the Picturehouse.

On the topic of Approved Fun, anything Kid Canaveral do is very much Approved Fun as far as I am concerned.  I don’t do a best live band thing on Song, by Toad – there are really only so many lists I can be arsed making – but they would have been there or thereabouts had I done so.  Scars are a different proposition altogether: they were part of a thriving Edinburgh scene which seemed to simmer along around the time of the Shop Assistants, Josef K and Fire Engines.  This is their first gig in many, many years.

Ballboy – All the Records on the Radio are Shite

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Friday 31st December 2010: Song, by Toad New Year’s House Gig, with Jonnie Common, Neil Pennycook and Jamie Scott.

The grumbling and whingeing about large parties in the centre of town is the primary reason Mrs. Toad and I decided bollocks, why not have a gig in the house. Last year was the first one, and we enjoyed ourselves so much we have decided to make it a tradition, this year being graced by three gentlemen who are as likely to leave you scratching your heads as bawling your eyes out.  But in a good way, promise!  We’ll be getting a keg of Copper Cascade from Stewart’s and, if the weather’s at least passable, might well wander into Inverleith Park to watch the fireworks.  If we can be arsed. There’s a ticket link below too, because it would really help out if you bought your tickets in advance, just so’s we know how full the place is likely to be.

Sold out now, sorry.

So, splendid – hope to see you there.  And to leave you this week I have this little gem, as the selected highlight from all our lazy weekend of watching appalling films and doing, well, basically bugger all else.  Quite how people in the eighties thought this was macho I have no idea.  But it is a whole new world of buttock-clenchingly, teeth-grindingly, face-contortingly cringeworthy awesome.


Toadcast #154 – The Couchcast

It’s Christmas Day, we have had our breakfast of smoked salmon and poached eggs, and I decided I might as well settle down with a bottle of fizz and talk shite on the internet.  Given we opened all our presents and had a big meal when my parents were visiting last week, I figured I was obliged to do no more than get pissed and slowly waste away the day today, stopping only to gorge myself on roast lamb at some indeterminate point in the evening – whenever Mrs. Toad gets over last night’s hangover I suppose.

I am lining up my stupid movies for tonight, as well, because that is all I intend doing this evening: watching intellectually vacant films whilst lolling about on the couch like a beached whale.  This, as far as I am concerned, is the True Meaning of Christmas (TM).

Direct download: Toadcast #154 – The Couchcast

01. Stephen Malkmus – Baby C’mon (00.16)
02. Sylvain Chomet – L’Illusioniste (05.02)
03. Bloody Cassette Boy – Nigella’s XXXmas (12.03)
04. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Cold White Christmas (13.50)
05. Kung Nai vs. Cambodian Space Project – Women (22.16)
06. King Koyote – La La La (27.33)
07. LY and SO – One Day This’ll All be Fields (33.55)
08. Tommy Perman – Drive My Car (36.19)
09. Stoney & Meat Loaf – Jessica White (42.30)
10. The Wind-up Birds – In a Yorkshire Call Centre I Knelt Down and Wept (49.19)
11. The Mountain Goats – Tyler Lambert’s Grave (54.35)



I do not think I need to add anything to this.  Thanks to Ian and The Harley.  Awesome work.


Toad Readers’ Five Favourite Albums of 2010 (and Happy Christmas)

Happy Christmas all.  For any confused Americans out there, yes I am an atheist, and yes I love Christmas.  It’s a Pagan holiday, appropriated by the Christians so they could convert subject peoples without having to force them to give up the traditions which bound their communities together, so the idea of an atheist celebrating Christmas is no more hypocritical than a Christian doing so.  I just like the feasting and the tree and the lying in bed watching stupid movies part too much to give it up over the trifling matter of a mish-mash of sellotaped-on religious nonsense.

For any non-Americans out there who have no idea what that paragraph was all in aid of, they get awfully excited about that sort of thing over there, as far as I can tell, and try and make Christmas all non-religious by saying stupid things like Happy Holidays, when it’s not even a Christian fucking celebration to begin with.  Celebration of the Winter Solstice pre-dates Christianity by many thousands of years anyway.

Anyhow, that rather splendid cover version up there comes from the excellent LY and SO on YouTube.  They only have a couple of covers up there, but that one really is nice.  It’s funny when that sort of thing starts happening.  I can only imagine that more popular bands who get covered all the time find the experience generates a weird combination of fascination, pride, embarrassment and all sorts.

And… just to completely change the subject again, I am not going to list all the end of year’s that our bands have turned up in, because there have been too many.  I try and get them up on Facebook and Twitter as and when they turn up, so follow/friend/stalk/whatever me on there if you are really that interested.  Thanks though, of course, to everyone who has included any of our lot, because I do genuinely find and appreciate them all.

One little bit of boasting I have to do though is this: The Recommender recently asked music bloggers to nominate their favourite music blogs in the world and, somewhat surprisingly I have to confess, I finished joint fourth with Gorilla vs Bear.  That’s joint fourth favourite blog in the universe as voted by fellow bloggers.  This, I think I can say without seeming too vain, is extremely nice.

And so finally we come to our penultimate Friday Five of the year, and the official announcement of the album of the year vote last week.  As you can probably tell from this week’s posts I disagree with all but about one of you about what the best album of the year is, but no matter.  You wouldn’t need me constantly lecturing you about Acceptable Music Fun if you had all the answers already, now would you.  Anyhow, drum roll please…

5. Broken RecordsLet Me Come Home I picked this one myself so I am not at all surprised and extremely pleased to see so many readers vote for it.  The excellence of this record doesn’t seem to have entirely stopped the hipster sneering from a few quarters, but I do get the impression that once folk have started doing a band down it can become rather contagious.  Fuck these people, I say.  And so do you from the looks of it.  Good on you.

Broken Records – Dia dos Namorados!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

4. Kid CanaveralShouting at Wildlife I don’t honestly know why this album isn’t in my top albums of the year, because I love it, but I think it might be down to how and when I listen to Kid Canaveral’s music, which is mostly live.  In fact, had I not spent a sizeable chunk of the festival season driving Meursault about the bloody country I would say that I have probably seen them live more than any other band this year. Also, this is generally music to encourage the having of Fun, which is not what I listen to in the house all that much. It’s not just that they write some killer pop tunes, but the album itself is really well assembled and perfectly paced.  They and the Scottish Enlightenment would probably be my Scottish bands of the year for 2010, I reckon.

Kid Canaveral – Cursing Your Apples

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

3. Arcade FireThe Suburbs Personally I find this album pretty dull, I have to confess.  But if you look at the results of both this vote, the Readers’ Song of the Year vote and pretty much every tight-trousered list out there then I suppose I have to grudgingly admit that the majority of the internets seem to disagree with me.  A very late spurt of voting carried this into third place ahead of Kid Canaveral, who seemed to have that spot completely sewn up.  I have to confess this is something I rather resent.

Arcade Fire – City With No Children

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

=1. The NationalHigh Violet As Big Fez said in the comment thread where the vote took place, it’s not so much the album of the year as the year of this album.  Even my mum loves it.  Enough said.

The National – Anyone’s Ghost

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

=1. MeursaultAll Creatures Will Make Merry When Meursault did so well in the song of the year voting I kept saying to myself that of course they were going to get a lot of votes on this site of all places – it’s like the ultimate home court advantage.  And that’s true.  But if the home court advantage counted for all that much, you’d expect to see the vote full of Toad Records bands, which it just wasn’t – not even close.  So I think it’s time to stop making excuses and accept that basically this is a fucking great record, bollocks to false modesty.

Also, of all the bands we have worked with Meursault have worked the hardest, for the longest, played the most gigs, recorded the most songs, and have never ever let me down on any count.  So instead of making excuses for why they might have got more votes here than in other places, especially when that didn’t seem to count in anyone else’s favour at all, I think I should really just be saying well done and thank you.  It’s been some year lads, well fucking done indeed.

Meursault – Crank Resolutions

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

So, after possibly the longest post in Friday Five history, I can’t be arsed making up five stupid questions, so just list five things you are either very much looking forward to or very much dreading over the next couple of days.  I am guessing that this will be a quiet one anyway, given it’s Christmas Eve and all.  So happy Christmas everyone, and remember to drink massively, massively irresponsibly.