Bye Bye 2016, it’s Been ‘Interesting’

I am not going to harp on much about the disaster that was 2016, partly because celebrities dying doesn’t strike me as something much to get worked up about, sad as it is, and partly because for all the political disasters we have suffered, if they are anything like as bad as we think they are going to be then things are going to get much, much worse.

It’s been difficult to enjoy at times, for reasons related to the above, but actually 2016 has been a pretty incredible year, both for me and Mrs. Toad and for Song, by Toad Records.

Personally, well, I drove my shitey old Volvo to the Sahara in pretty epic style with Rust2Rome in April, which was incredible. Then Mrs. Toad and I went on an Arctic loop up the West coast of Norway, up to Tromsø, then down through Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania before celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in Kaliningrad in Russia, spending the night on a decommissioned oceanographic research vessel. I then dropped her off in Vienna and continued down through the Balkans, going through Bosnia, getting horribly lost in Montenegro in a car with two sheared engine mounts, and then down through Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania before intercepting the Rust2Romania trip in Greece and completing the rest of their trip with them. Bette hit the 300,000 mile mark at the top of the Transalpina in Romania later on the trip.

In amongst all this Mrs. Toad and I were approved for adoption a little while ago, which means 2017 might be rather different to this year. If you want to know how things are going to work differently for us in the new year, well I explained it all to The Skinny a little while ago. Basically we are bringing on people to run the label so I can back off a little and look after the young ‘uns, although there’s no chance I’m walking away altogether.

The Happiness Hotel has loomed ever larger in our identity this year too, with tons of amazing gigs taking place there, as well as some fantastic recording projects. We’ve got the Toad Sessions back up and running, with Rocky Votolato, Storm the Palace, Lomond Campbell, Kim Gray, Tim the Mute, Breakfast Muff and Lush Purr all recording here towards the end of the year, and the brilliant Rocky Lorelei due in the next week or so.

We’ve also recorded our first Split 12″ in there, with some of my real heroes coming in, like Micah P. Hinson and the Willard Grant Conspiracy, to be joined by slightly newer heroes Tissø Lake and Kitchen Cynics. That one’ll be out in March or so, and we’re already working on Vol.7 with Woodpigeon, WOLF, Foon Yap and LT Lief.

We also have, as you might know, new albums on the horizon by Meursault, Passion Pusher and Lush Purr, but before I get too giddy about 2017 I think it’s time to take a wee look back at 2016 and take some time to appreciate the sheer volume of incredible music we’ve released this year. It was probably too much, to be honest, and I am not sure I managed to keep the wheels on as effectively as I might have, but I think we just about made it, as that rather fantastic playlist at the top of the page testifies.

We’ve had two very different debut albums from Modern Studies and Plastic Animals, more stuff from Virgin of the Birds and Adam Stafford, two new Split 12″s, an epic triple-vinyl masterpiece from David Thomas Broughton, as well as debut EPs for DTHPDL and Faith Eliott and the comeback release from Meursault. And then of course who could forget the Jonnie Common fridge magnets and those ridiculous snow globes. All in one year. I must be crazy, but we did it, somehow!

12 Releases for 2016

(All available for further investigation and, of course, purchase here.)

  1. Pictures From the Blackout by Plastic Animals – LP
  2. Taser Revelations by Adam Stafford – LP/CD
  3. Crippling Lack by David Thomas Broughton – 3x LP
  4. The Future by DTHPDL – cassette
  5. Kitchen Sync by Jonnie Common – er, fridge magnets
  6. Split 12″ Vol.4 by Viking Moses, digitalanalogue, Virgin of the Birds and Supermoon – LP
  7. Swell to Great by Modern Studies – LP/CD
  8. Insects by Faith Eliott – cassette
  9. Secret Kids by Virgin of the Birds – LP
  10. Split 12″ Vol.5 by Furnsss, Eskimeaux, Small Wonder and Beach Moon/Peach Moon – LP
  11. Simple is Good by Meursault
  12. Yippee-Kay-Yule by Jonnie Common and eagleowl – glorious Die Hard snow globes
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