Song, by Toad

Archive for February, 2014

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Toadcast #292 – The Epicast

tag Epicast because this is indeed epic. A double-length podcast – well, almost – and all for the reason that I simply have to clear the decks a little. Next week I go away to the States for SXSW and after that I shall be driving Meursault on their first US tour.

With next week’s podcast being the Adam Stafford Toad Session, the week after that being our traditional SXSW one in Peej’s back yard, and fuck knows what I’ll manage whilst on tour, this means that anything not played this week will be both woefully out of date and quite possibly (shamefully) forgotten by the time I get back. Besides, my inbox will build up so much after a month in the States that I’ll be overwhelmed with new things by that point and barely able to process anything else.

So yes, an epic podcast, almost two hours long, but if you have the patience for both the length and my drunken rambling, then one which will reward you with some truly excellent new music. This really takes me back to the early days of the podcasts, back when I would get utterly obliterated and play songs for hours until I could barely speak.  Awful for the listener, I imagine, but kind of nostalgic for me.

Toadcast #292 – The Epicast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #292 – The Epicast

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01. Panda Kid – A Long Long Summer (00.26)
02. Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams (06.47)
03. David Thomas Broughton – Problems (17.44)
04. Tissø Lake – Carnival (20.56)
05. The B-52s – Rock Lobster (27.44)
06. alansmithee – Half Measured Man (38.22)
07. Passion Pusher – Life in Transit (44.12)
08. iLLshORE – All Night (45.54)
09. Benjamin Shaw – Goodbye, Kagoul World (52.32)
10. Keel Her – Go (1.01.24)
11. Fear of Men – Luna (1.03.50)
12. Jargon Party – Lucy Melanie (1.10.32)
13. Miserable – Bell Jar (1.14.56)
14. Le Thug – Paints (1.22.17)
15. Magic Eye – Bollywood (1.26.55)
16. Sean Armstrong – Bright Review (1.33.03)
17. Glaciers – Cryptomeria (1.36.02)
18. Passenger Peru – Dirt Nap (1.45.31)

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Meursault – Dearly Distracted

Meursault – Dearly Distracted from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

This is the video of Dearly Distracted from The Organ Grinder’s Monkey by Meursault, which you can buy here.  It is, you have to admit, rather different from the Something For the Weakened version. We have christened the genre gloom-pah, which is a progression from epic lo-fi (All Creatures Will Make Merry) and orchestral garage (Weakened) and a very long way from folktronica indeed. Or at least I’d like to fucking think so.

We’ve had three launch nights so far, all at small Edinburgh venues, but the last one will be a full band affair and your last chance to see the album performed in full, tomorrow night at Penicuik Town Hall. It’s BYOB, the 37 and 47 buses go all day and night from central Edinburgh, and you can get tickets here. After this is done I will be getting utterly shitfaced, and spending Sunday sleeping everything off, before dedicating the entire next week to doing all of March’s PR work in the space of five days, before I fly out on Friday.

We’ll be making a video diary of the tour while we’re out there so you can see what we’re spending your generously donated money on, and I promise you it won’t be coke, hookers and massive hipster tattoos. Promise. Well, mostly not, anyway.

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Passion Pusher – Again!

pp Since I last mentioned Edinburgh shambles Passion Pusher I think a couple of months have gone by, so naturally if you’ve taken your eye off the ball you’ve missed something like a dozen releases since then. Seriously, the boy’s fucking mental. [Edit: he's actually released two new things, just since I started typing this.]

With this incredible volume of releases, listening to Passion Pusher becomes a bit weird. Most of these are half-thought-out demos, a bit of an idea here, some shit he did when he was bored there, and they all just tumble out onto Bandcamp in such a haphazard torrent that I confess I find it a challenge to keep up.

Because they’re almost all short songs, and the EPs released generally no more than five or six songs long, it can be weird hopping from one sarcastically-named release to the next. You never know if you’re going to get garage rock, mumbled acoustic fuzz, or just drifting, incoherent soundscapes.

If these guys wrote 69 Love Songs, which they probably could easily do by now, it might not exceed the length of a single record. But there’s something compelling about this. They seem like they barely have any idea what they’re doing and are just stumbling along, mostly drunk, spraffing out recordings here and there. Often bands who seem a bit like these know what they are doing more than they let on, but I wouldn’t bet on that being the case here.

The thing is, in amongst the chaos, a lot of this is really good. There are guitar sproings all over the place, songs which peter out into nothing, slurred, inaudible vocals and all sorts. But it’s good. The guitar tone they get can be absolutely gorgeous, the slower songs have a lovely, genuinely touching melancholy to them a lot of the time, and in amongst some of the messier tunes you get these brief moments of clarity where suddenly it’s a pop song for a moment and then fuck it, everything returns to haze once more.

I’d love to hear them do a more disciplined release at some point – or even just a more formal one – but I am also slightly nervous that might knock some of the magic out of it. The joy here is in the chaos, and god knows what would happen if you got these guys into a studio and asked them to rattle out the hits. I don’t know. But I do know that this is good stuff and I want to hear more. Fortunately, I probably won’t have to wait more than a day or two for the next release.

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Tisso Lake – Carnival/Canter 7″

tl If you head over to the Tissø Lake Bandcamp page you can pick up a copy of a new 7″ they’ve just released, and umm, by the fact that I here posting about it I suppose you’ve already realised that I recommend that you do.

That you probably don’t know too much about Tissø Lake is probably more down to Ian Humberstone himself – the man behind the project – than anything else. Not that he’s not a lovely guy, because he is, and not that he’s one of these artists who deliberately sabotages their own success either, because he doesn’t. In Ian’s case he just doesn’t play all that much, although I don’t know if that’s a deliberate decision or not, and he really doesn’t release that much either.

As a label who has released at least one thing by Ian, albeit under his own name, I’ve tried to encourage him to record and release more stuff as subtly as I can. Artists can be funny when you are trying to encourage them to do things though, and when you don’t know someone all that well genuine enthusiasm can come across as bungling harassment, so for someone not generally known for tact or sensitivity, I’ve tried to tread as carefully as I can.

Anyhow, apparently Ian is just someone who likes to work at his own pace and in his own way and won’t really be pushed into stuff until he’s good and ready, but the pace of new releases seems to have increased recently and there is talk of an album happening in the relatively near future, which is most exciting news.

Before that, however, there is this. It’s less glacial than some of his previous things, which can either have a late-evening sense of gentle comfort to them or a reassuring twinkle. In this case there’s more of a clip to the songs, with Carnival dancing around to the tune of a disciplined violin which sounds really quite traditional most of the time. This song and Canter work in much the same way, with that lovely violin playing over a rolling, plucked acoustic guitar.

I think it’s probably Canter which most obviously embodies why I like Humberstone’s work so much. I might just prefer Carnival (that’s not a value judgement, it’s primarily because it’s not an instrumental and he has a gorgeous voice) but towards the end of Canter the violin and guitar rise to increasingly bitey* little squawks, not too abrasive, but just enough to make this weird and interesting. And that, I think, is the essence of what makes Tissø Lake such a rewarding listen: in amongst a wash of warm, gorgeous, reassuring music there are these constant moments of surprise to stop you getting complacent and lazy as a listener.

*Yes, it’s a word. Because I said so.

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So What Have We Learned From Kickstarter, Then?

kickstarter-funded-badge It’s been an interesting few weeks, this. Apart from the visa panics and the whirlwind of trying to get an album learned, recorded and made in three weeks, this has been my first use of Kickstarter (or indeed any such crowd-funding model beyond, y’know, just selling stuff to people) for funding a record release, and it has been fascinating and educational. Although I will admit I am still trying to figure out what all of the lessons are.

For those who don’t follow the blog or the label, we put together a Kickstarter project for Meursault, to help fund their trip to the US to play the SXSW festival followed by an East Coast tour. The idea was that people would chip in to support the project, and vote for five songs – Meursault songs or covers – that we would then record for an album and then play at a series of shows around Edinburgh. There were the usual extra bonus bits and pieces, but that was the basic premise of it.

The reason for this post is that in three weeks we ended up with an album which was already four grand in the black (we raised about £5k and the whole record was manufactured for about £1k), when most of our records take a year to chug through the release process, cost way more, and are still a few hundred in the red even a year or two after release. I found myself looking at the project again and again thinking ‘what the fuck are we doing wrong the rest of the time?’

The hard part is figuring which elements of this project are comparable to a regular release and which are not. There’s a part of me that would quite like to build a whole label around Kickstarter actually. You could basically release a couple of free singles, and then put the album project up as a Kickstarter, and that way you’d only really be putting stuff out if your audience liked it. The problem would be that, for all I assume the blog and the sessions would keep the audience in the region of ‘people I mostly agree with about music’, it still sounds just a little like an indie X-Factor and leaves little room for me insisting that you all like a band because goddammit I said so!

There are obvious reasons, though, why this project isn’t really comparable to a regular album release. A first US tour is a unique and landmark event for bands who have to do something as expensive as cross an ocean to get there. Europe we have managed by ourselves, more or less, but the huge extra costs for flights and equipment make this significantly more challenging. I am assuming this makes committed fans of the band more likely to feel generous, be they Americans wanting their first chance to see them or long-time local fans who want to see them spread the word abroad.

Also, because we were asking for extra commitment and generosity from our fans we tried to get them more involved, which we achieved by inviting them to vote on the songs. Personally I think this was a fantastic touch for an album like this, but obviously wouldn’t work with a normal record. ‘Hey, which of these ten songs you’ve never heard before and two you might half-remember from when you were drunk at that gig the other night would like to chose for the record?’

Nevertheless, I think we need to take a bit of a look at how we work and try and learn some stuff from this, because it went really well and was a world away from how we normally work.

1. Speed of recording. Considering most of the band didn’t even know most of these songs before we started, the recording process was amazingly quick. We spent five days at it, recording pretty much everything live. I am a huge fan of live recording, and that is only partially because it’s the only kind of recording I have the technical knowledge, equipment or experience to do with any real confidence. Obviously different projects suit different approaches, but I can’t help but feel that by far the best way to get an awesome-sounding record is by coaxing the best performances out of the band. I’m not sure any amount of crisp capture or post-production will make up for stilted, lacklustre playing.

With live recording everything is more informal and friendly, which relaxes people.  Also, there may be plenty of mistakes on this record, but because it was done as a band the musicians didn’t question them, they questioned whether or not it was a good take by the whole band. Put someone in a booth with a pair of headphones, however, and a mistake is no longer a minor whoops in an otherwise awesome take, it becomes a MISTAKE which must be fixed.  And of course when people are too focussed on what they themselves are doing rather than playing as a band, which is how most pop musicians are most comfortable, then mistakes are far more frequent anyway. And seriously, sitting in a studio by yourself, adding violin bits to something recorded three months ago… well that just doesn’t sound like much fun to me. And I don’t want to listen to ‘not much fun’, thanks.

2. Packaging. CDs are cheap, and we released this in card sleeves which we hand-printed in our living room, pretty much how we recorded the album. The unit cost ended up being pretty much the same as getting them mass-manufactured, but with vinyl, printing your own sleeves ends up being slightly cheaper (see our box set). This is even more evident if you’re talking about smaller runs of, say, a hundred records. It also brings a really nice personal touch to the release, and gets the band involved and makes them feel more attached to their own record. On the downside, if you basically just keep screen-printing onto blank card sleeves it can leave everything looking a little samey – is that boring, or just a consistent brand image, I dunno!

3. Zero PR spend. This is one of the big ones. If your record is well in the black before it’s even released, why the fuck bother with advance PR? Or indeed any PR? PR is actually very costly, between the postage, the CDs and the sheer amount of time it takes.  It also causes huge delays to the release process – a three month lead time for the glossy magazines, for example. And yet and yet and yet… would we really have been as successful with this project without the money we’ve invested in PR in the past? I very much doubt it. And can you do a lot of PR at basically no cost, with streams, download links and a lot of emails? Yes you most certainly can.

The big problem is radio. I could happily write off physical promo if it were just print press. We get so little out of print media that we wouldn’t lose much, and a lot of the places which do take an interest in our releases are happy to operate on a digital-only basis anyway. However, we do get an awful lot of traction (comparatively) on radio, particularly the BBC, and they just don’t work with digital. One or two people I have a decent relationship with will respond to emails, but in general you can’t get through to people there with email promo. Well, I can’t anyway. So if we ditch physical promo, we lose radio, and mostly we can’t afford to do that. Still, given the cost physical PR adds to our releases, and looking at the sums for this album, I really, really think we need to re-evaluate how we promote our records.

4. Journalists can be total cunts. This went out to journalists on the day of the first release show and by the next day was on every fucking illegal download site on the fucking planet. We have a lot of pals who are journos and a lot of very good relationships with the press, but every single fucking time something leaks it is when it is sent to press. Now, if you write about music the pay is so shit that presumably you only do it because you care so much about music itself. In which case I can’t see how this would happen. Even if you’re just a hack trying to wring a living out of writing about what-the-fuck-ever-who-cares, then if you love something you hear, I can’t see how you would do this. But equally, if you hate something why would you even go to the trouble, and what are you trying to do – teach us a lesson by behaving like an absolute cunt?

Whoever the fuck it is who does this, I cannot express the amount of contempt I have for you. Honestly, it’s utterly pathetic, pointless, and makes you just seem a bit like Salacious Crumb: hanging around the more important people cackling away sadly to yourself but without any real hope of participating and without any real point to make. For those of us actually trying to make a contribution, it’s like treading in chewing gum: annoying and a little bit disgusting, but not even enough of a nuisance to really bother yourself with. You’re pathetic. Piss off.

5. Maintaining the energy. How easy will it be to re-enthuse the musicians from Bastard Mountain when it comes time to release their album in May, given it was recorded over a year and a half before that? I don’t know, but I do know this: absolutely everyone involved in this album has been hopping with excitement since day one. That means excited chatter on social media to everyone’s pals, rather than the more dutiful ‘check out the second single from my band’s last record’ stuff you tend to get. It means more energy at the gigs. The semi-improvised nature of the arrangements and playing has been a huge challenge, but the musicians involved are talented enough to find that fun rather than terrifying.  The excitement has also been constant, too – from the start of recording to release – and with a longer process that would have dissipated.

6. Audience excitement and commitment. Okay, the commitment has been helped by the voting, but the number of incredibly kind and excited messages I’ve received in the Kickstarter inbox has been really quite touching, I have to say, even for a cynical old fucker like me. I think the condensed process has had a huge impact here too, as well as the fact that we’ve consistently put out small bits and pieces from the process itself, even before we had finished audio – Matthew Swan’s amazing photos, that silly video of the recording process, and the Soundcloud stream of Tugboat, which didn’t make it onto the record in the end. I think we’ve managed to make people feel more involved in this record than almost any other, and I think that’s a really good thing.

So I don’t know. I many ways this was a one-off event which can’t really be replicated, and in all honesty maybe we shouldn’t even try. But it’s got me thinking about what we do an awful lot, and I think there must be some really important lessons to be learned from The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, if I could just tease out exactly what they are.

The Organ Grinder’s Trailer from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

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Toadcast #291 – The Botchcast

MP3TAG God we’re shit at this. Even the most romantic thing Mrs. Toad and I can usually bring ourselves to do on Valentine’s Day – i.e. get pished and do a ranty podcast together about how we hate Valentine’s Day – didn’t work out this year for, erm, somewhat predictable reasons: we got a bit too jolly before recording it and it was a bunch of rambling, tedious nonsense.

So a week too late you get me by myself instead, recording a podcast stone cold sober in the middle of the afternoon. Romantic, isn’t it. Ah well, never mind, I never did much like Valentine’s Day anyway.

Anyhow, Mrs. Toad is off in the States at the moment, being all important and financey, and in actual fact by the time she returns I won’t have seen her for about ten days, which is loads. It’ll be worse when I go to SXSW with Meursault though, because that will involve us being apart for three fucking weeks, which is the most we have ever managed since the time when I lived in London and she lived in Edinburgh. Sigh.

Toadcast #291 – The Botchcast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

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01. The Divine Comedy – Geronimo (00.07)
02. The Magnetic Fields – Love is Lighter Than Air (06.15)
03. Blur – To The End (La Comedie) (with Françoise Hardy) (11.46)
04. Pet Shop Boys – Left to My Own Devices (20.33)
05. Meursault – No Children (Mountain Goats cover) (25.36)
06. Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger Medley (35.31)
07. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good (51.10)
08. The Ronettes – Be My Baby (57.56)
09. The Cure – Pictures of You (1.00.45)
10. Tom Waits – All the World is Green (1.12.59)

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Ivor Cutler. On Virgin?

Almost nothing at all highlights how much the music industry has changed over the last thirty years than what happened when I was listening to Ivor Cutler the other day. I remember thinking (as I think a lot of people think when they first sit down and properly listen to Ivor Cutler for the first time) ‘fuck me this is weird’ and then ‘fuck me, but it’s good‘ and then ‘but fuck me it really, really is weird’.

As I run a label now, and have on occasion had people express their incredulity at the obvious commercial risks we take from time to time, I do find myself wondering when I listen to such obviously strange stuff as this: who the fuck released this? And why? Maybe they just have a deliberately contrarian streak, such as myself, or maybe (also a little like myself) they have a naive hope that at some point the rest of the world will hear the genius within the madness and suddenly we’ll all float off to some mental magical musical Eden together.

It’s one of the reasons small independent labels are so important, actually. We make no money, so in a sense we are free. We can take chances on things because we don’t have a dozen people’s jobs to protect, and if we lose out then we aren’t depending on the label for our income anyway, so it may not represent successful business, but it is indeed a kind of freedom. So what kind of inspired maverick took a leap of faith on Ivor Cutler – something strange and completely idiosyncratic, and which nevertheless has proven to be enduring and, in a small way, quite legendary.

Virgin Records.

What the ever-loving fuck? Virgin? A major label released this? How the blazing blue balls did that happen?

There are reasons, of course. Virgin with Richard Branson at the helm were pretty aggressively innovative back then. And to be fair, Cutler didn’t start out making quite such weird music. And to be fair, this wasn’t the era of the focus-grouped, X-Factor deluxe karaoke album. But whatever way you cut it, it just feels like a different fucking universe.

For someone as idiosyncratic as Cutler to end up on a major these days… well, it just wouldn’t happen, would it. They’d have to either be so very commercially successful on a small label that they felt there was serious potential there to be exploited, or some inspired/deranged A&R scout would have to think ‘fuck me – THAT’S the one!” I honestly can’t imagine it, can you?

I mean, was music more important back then, that you could take a risk like this and trust enough people would buy it? Did people use music as a means of expanding their cultural life more than they do now? Nowadays music on even the big indies is released for commercial reasons, and it really doesn’t feel like they are even in the business of thinking about music in this way.

I know the teen and tween-orientated Children’s-BBC-pop the majors are looking for these days, like Hannah Montana or Olly Murs, existed back in the seventies too, but it seems like music as culture – or as anything with even the slightest nod towards intellectual validity or artistic ambition – simply has ceased to exist as far as the ‘music industry’ is concerned.

I put that in scare quotes because I really do mean just the industry part. I see music pushing at these boundaries and attempting to be more than just entertainment fluff all the time, but absolutely none of it seems to be of the remotest interest to the industry. The link between Olly Murs and whatever Ivor Cutler’s modern equivalent might be seems to be to be utterly broken now. They seem to exist on two different planets, whereas back then they may have been at opposite ends, but they were at least on the same spectrum.

Is it just the reduction in people paying for music that ends up hurting anything apart from the seriously big sellers? Is it that the music industry is now simply more mature and knows what will sell and what is, in the long term, not really worth taking a risk on? Is it that people in general simply don’t look to music to challenge them as much as they used to? I don’t know – of course I don’t – but it’s been a bit like boiling a frog, for me, in that the industry today feels a lot like the industry yesterday, but add enough of those incremental changes together and holy shit, you get back to a time when Ivor Cutler was on a major fucking record label. Ivor fucking Cutler!

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Meursault – The Organ Grinder’s Monkey Album Launch Shows

The Organ Grinder’s Trailer from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

As you know, we are now into the third week of our new Meursault album project, and that means LAUNCH DATES! Yep, the album was learned, rehearsed and recorded in week one, mixed and mastered in week two, and this week is all about manufacture.

We’ve printed the white component of the album artwork and Neil is busy at this very moment colouring in the wee monkey’s fez with a felt tip, ready for the black layer to be printed tonight. CDs arrive on Wednesday, inserts on Thursday, and that means that on Friday – exactly 21 days after we started work – we will be launching The Organ Grinder’s Monkey into the world.

There are four album release shows, of varying characters, and now that all our Kickstarter supporters have chosen the shows they want to go to we can release the last allocation of tickets to everyone else, so even if you missed the Kickstarter deadline you can still come along and celebrate the launch, hear the songs and get a copy of the album.

Friday 21st FebruaryThe Haven Café, Newhaven.
Sunday 23rdMichael Neave’s Kitchen and Whisky Bar, 21 Old Fishmarket Close.
Monday 24th – Michael Neave’s Kitchen and Whisky Bar.
Saturday 1st MarchPenicuik Town Hall, Penicuik.

All tickets available from this link. And don’t worry about the one in Penicuik, the 37 and 47 run to and from the centre of Edinburgh all day and night, so you’ll have no trouble at all getting out and back. Hope to see you there. I will need a pint, because this has been a fucking intense couple of weeks!

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Album Stream: The Leg – What Happened to the Shrunken Tina Turner

Tina Turner 1

Tina Turner 2

Our fourth album stream from the Song, by Toad Records Five Years/Five Records box set is by The Leg, a band who probably garner the most extreme reactions out of anyone we release – both positively and negatively.  Whether they’re completely unlistenable or the best band on the label depends very much on who you ask. I’ve heard both opinions expressed with pretty much equal conviction. Personally, of course, I think they’re fucking brilliant, and this album is a masterpiece of menacing, aggressive noise pop.

Certain tunes on here just sound like they want to leap off the record and tear your face off. It’s not that they’re always just loud, but distorted, dissonant, and delivered with a pretty ferocious snarl. Once you adjust to the onslaught, it’s pretty fucking awesome stuff.

This album is actually a few years old, having initially been sort-of released just as the band’s previous label were running out of steam after something like ten years of fantastic work, and as a result Tina Turner kind of got lost in the shakedown which is why I am so happy to have it in this box set. Music this abrasively fantastic really shouldn’t be allowed to just drift off into the ether.

Get a copy of our five year anniversary box set here – only about ten or so left at the moment.

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Performer Mag So Nearly Get it Completely Right

not-my-job I don’t know anything about Performer Mag, I must confess, but they recently wrote a really good article on the basics of getting press. It’s combination of a peek behind the scenes, and some simple advice on how to approach contacting the press, and almost all of it was spot on.  So generally apart from reading it and nodding I wouldn’t be commenting on it at all, but in their penultimate bullet point they mentioned something which is a massive, massive bugbear of mine and which has been irritating the living shit out of me for years, so it’s ranting time.

The point in question was this:

30. You have no damn pitch. Please realize that “We have a new record coming out” is not a pitch. There’s no story there. You have a new record coming out? You don’t say! So do a hundred thousand other bands. Here’s the most crucial question every writer and editor asks themselves, and you need to ANSWER it when you pitch press on your band: “What’s in it for me?” Simple, huh? Can you answer it? If I get a package on my desk, that’s immediately what I’m trying to answer, even if I don’t literally speak those words aloud. “What’s in it for me?” Why should I give a shit about this band? Will my readers care? Are they offering up any story angle that’s gonna make people visit our site or pick up the mag? What’s in it for me to cover your band? Think long and hard about it. ANSWER it before the editor or writer has a chance to ask it themselves, and you’re a HUGE step ahead of most bands jostling for ink.

Now, I am a blogger not a journalist, and I know that gives me a slightly different (and entire self-imposed) mandate, but nevertheless if deep down you really think like this, I kind of despise you. You’re a music writer. You write about music, you find the fucking story. It can be anywhere, from a wider movement you think the band are part of, to the place in music history their stuff fits into, to the innovation or lack thereof of their sound, to the most basic shit like how it makes you feel.

Their argument seems based on laziness, and in my experience wearing my other hat as a PR guy for Song, by Toad Records, that is exactly what it generally is. When I send out a press release with an obvious ‘story’ in it, it makes me bash my head against the wall how often I see it just copied and pasted into whatever article ends up being published. What the fuck is the fucking writer for in this scenario – couldn’t I just send my press release straight to the fucking sub-editor myself?

Look at it from the other direction, if you want to see the latent selfishness of their point: for most bands there is no fucking story. They are just some pals who made some music. Maybe they live in Dayton, Ohio, and maybe they live in fucking Dundee, but basically they’re just a fucking band. As Scroobius Pip once pointed out, even Radiohead are just a fucking band. What they are literally saying is that a shit band with a good back story is going to get more press than a great band with a really pedestrian back story, and I kind of fucking despise you if you think that this is okay.

Do you really prefer some utterly contrived attempt to make a bunch of normal everyday people whose one special thing is actually being good at music sound like they have something else wild and interesting about them in order to merit your interest?  That sounds completely back to front to me. You’ve missed the important point already: they are fucking good at music. What you really seem to want is someone to write a fucking article for you, you lazy, unimaginative fuck.

Now, I completely understand the pressures of both time and the sheer quantity of incoming music, but if you let that overwhelm you then you cannot blame the band. It is YOUR JOB to deal with this. It’s okay to lament it, but assuming the music is appropriate for the publication in question, it is not okay to pretend that it’s the band’s fault you get sent so much music.

Equally, I know most music is more or less the same. So most reviews or articles are going to be more or less the same: ‘here is a band who are very good at music – so fucking what’? Well, as you can see from the pages of Song, by Toad, I struggle with that challenge myself. How do you write a compelling post when you’re effectively just scribbling ‘here is a band I rather like’ for the five thousandth time? I am not sure – it is difficult – but that makes the person who can do it a really good writer and the person who can’t a mediocre one. If I can’t find a way to make that five-thousand-and-first post interesting then the failing is my own and I have to accept it.

If I didn’t explore the bands who wrote me the most ludicrously crap introduction emails I would have missed out on some of the most interesting music I’ve featured on this site, and if I’d stuck to the ones who sent me the most interestingly prepared stories I’d have covered some right shit. Music writing doesn’t demand an interesting story, it demands interesting music. If a band sent you some, then they have done their part of the job. The writing part is yours, you lazy fuck.

The rest of their article was pretty much spot on though, so it’s still well worth reading. But, erm *cough* that last bit rather got on my nerves. As you can possibly tell.