Song, by Toad

Archive for the Edinburgh Live Listings category


Record Store Day 2014 at Vox Box


Saturday 19th April – St. Stephen’s St., Stockbridge, Edinburgh.

Of all the Record Store Day stuff I think the Vox Box events are consistently my favourite. Instead of endless grasping after exclusive releases, these days seems to be a bit more about music fans and music makers hanging out together and having a good time. Records get sold as a by-product, rather than a direct goal (although I am sure Darren wouldn’t put it in quite such idealistic terms!), and there’s none of the queueing or frenetic charging around associated with most other places.

Let’s be honest, if you’re a real record collector then you will be quite prepared to wait it out anyway. RSD teases a certain level of hysteria into people if it can, but it’s still nice to go to a good shop and have a look at the few things they have chosen to stock, rather than fighting it out with a million other people for the list of things you definitely NEED.

That is the point of shops, after all. If you’re adamant you need a certain thing, you’re better off with the internet. If you want someone who gives a fuck about music to have a look at the huge list of limited edition stuff being put out and to pick out their own favourites, then you might just get some pleasant surprises.

I’ve never gone into Vox Box and got what I came for. Mind you, I’ve never come away less than delighted with the stuff I ended up buying either.

Anyhow, here is the press release about what’s happening tomorrow. It will be fun, I promise:

Featuring loads of exclusive releases and lots of live music with a few surprises too: Simon Goddard & Ian Rankin Q&A, Tuff Love, Law, Stanley Odd, Book Group, The Pictish Trail and more!

The shop will open at 9.30am and we’ll be stocked up with as many of the exclusive RSD releases as we can get our hands on, as well as our usual selection of other new and used records.

Then at 12 noon at a venue very close by we have Simon Goddard in a Q&A with Ian Rankin about Simon’s new book, Simply Thrilled: The Preposterous Story of Postcard Records which is released that day - 

From 12.30 till 6pm we’re bringing you some of the very best bands from Edinburgh and beyond: 

This is all free entry and also open to children (accompanied by an adult).

Last year was a fantastic celebration and we are going bigger and better this year as we approach our 3rd anniversary in the music business.  We’ll have as many of the exclusive RSD releases as we can, but it’s not just about the exclusive records!

We are celebrating what we love. A wide selection of music, the vinyl format, the grass roots record industry, the local bands and record labels as well as our fantastic regular customers that give our shop such a positive feel and of course our wonderful street.

Simon’s new book is released by Random House on Record Store Day. Come down and hear them discuss all things Postcard, arguably Scotland’s favourite and the original Independent record label. (featuring Josef K and Orange Juice. Pick up a book and have it signed by the author. These copies come with Ltd Edition free poster.


Hidden Door Festival


From this weekend the Hidden Door Festival will be running in Edinburgh. Having grown from the Bowery several years ago, they’ll now be taking over the sweep of arches at the East end of Market Street.

If you know Edinburgh you may still have no idea these arches are even there, but they look amazing. And the plans for the various nights look equally excellent.

In Toadly terms, we have Adam Stafford and Plastic Animals joining Rory Sutherland and Broken Records tomorrow night, and then next week on Friday 4th April Meursault are playing with Miaoux Miaoux, Conquering Animal Sound and Law. There’s also a Lost Map showcase on Monday 31st March, as well as a Songs in the Key of Fife evening this Sunday 30th, hosted by our charming but odd friend Vic Galloway, and based around his recent book.

The plan is to combine multiple art forms across the various spaces, with music, installations, theatre, dance and visual arts all overlapping and creating something a bit broader and more interesting than the usual, rather segregated Edinburgh habits.

So get ye along. I’ll be back soon, and then the usual stream of bollocks on this blog will resume. Sorry, but it had to happen sometime.

And apologies again to the Hidden Door folks, and Jamie Sutherland. I was supposed to be helping them out with this, and then Meursault’s US tour became more and more all-consuming and I had to drop out at rather late notice. So I’m sorry lads, and I hope it goes really well.


Song, by Toad New Year’s House Gig 2013

Yep, continuing in our proud if raucous tradition of avoiding the drunken chaos of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations by creating drunken chaos all of our own, this year will see another Song, by Toad New Year’s House Gig.

These events are TICKETS ONLY for the gig part, because we need to pay the band and we need to control the numbers of people clattering about our house scaring the cats, so if you can’t get a ticket, that’s just unfortunate, sorry.

On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to snag one, this year’s show features NAKED and the awesome Dan Mutch from The Leg, and will have lasers and smoke machines – amazing!

Tickets sold out now, sorry.


It’s Birthday Time! And Christmas! And Birthdays!

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Yes folks, as we come crashing headlong into Christmas Song, by Toad has decided to confuse things by muddling it up with a birthday as well. Well honestly, fuck off, it’s not just old hippies in sandals with legions of deranged followers who get to celebrate birthdays at this time of year, sweary, deluded amphibians can do so as well if they so choose.

Because it just so happens, as you probably know by now, that our first ever release was in December five years ago, when we celebrated Meursault’s Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues with a Christmas party at the Bowery, may Tom Waits rest its soul.

So, in the next few days we’ll be having a couple of shows to celebrate our birthday, and we may as well celebrate Christmas at the same time. Or Hanukkah, if you fancy, it really doesn’t bother me either way, it’s all just gin and swearing as far as I’m concerned. They shows themselves are as follows, and it would be ace to see you there, if you thought you could make it.

London, The Sebright Arms, Thursday 19th December – tickets here.
This lineup will feature a solo set by Meursault, mostly on the piano I think, so depressing lyrics aside it should hopefully be most Christmassy! As well as Neil there will be a probably not-very-Christmassy-at-all set from The Leg, who are celebrating the recent release of their new album Oozing a Crepuscular Light (get one here), and the splendid Animal Magic Tricks.

Edinburgh, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Saturday 21st December – tickets here.
On Saturday we’ll be at Henry’s with an awesome lineup of bands, including Zed Penguin, PAWsault (yes, that’s exactly what you think it will be), and a sort of cabaret of brief informal sets by a selection of different people on the label. There will also be a one-off exclusive appearance by the world-famous William Henry Shatner, performing the hits of Song, by Toad Records for us in his own inimitable style. A rare treat for you then, and something no-other Christmas party would dare offer!

So there you go, there’s these, and then I intend to descend into the territory of Christmas lists for the rest of the year, and embarrass my parents by how much gin I can shift over Christmas. Poor fuckers.


Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday

5thBirthday Digiflyer London

5th Birthday Party Shows:

Thursday 19th December – London, at the Sebright Arms with Neil Pennycook (Meursault) solo, The Leg, Rob St. John and Animal Magic Tricks. (tickets)

Saturday 21st December – Edinburgh, at Henry’s Cellar Bar, with PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests. (tickets)

Song, by Toad itself turns ten next year, and in the first few years a friend of mine in London suggested I consider starting a record label. I laughed at him and told him that honestly I had no desire whatsoever to get involved in that sort of madness. And then, of course, eighteen months or so later, that’s exactly what I did.

It’s been a total fucking rollercoaster, to be honest. So many amazingly brilliant moments, and in all honesty, some really frustrating ones as well.

It’s quite fun disagreeing with people about music when you’re just talking about it, even as a blogger, but as a label if you disagree with the world it results in releases which no-one writes about and no-one buys, which can be pretty depressing in all honesty.

Having said that, when things do well and the world suddenly realises how awesome a band is who you’ve loved for ages, then it’s absolutely brilliant. Packed venues, surprise radio play, great write-ups, talking to someone successful in the music industry who surprises you by being well aware of what you do… there are a million tiny triumphs in this business as much as there as a million tiny disappointments.

Even when I did overcome my common sense and actually start releasing records I certainly never imagined it would usurp my day job, let alone do so so fast, but I’ve been full time for over three years now and for all I still haven’t really figured out how to make any fucking money, I don’t regret the decision for a second.

And yes, here we are, five years later. We’re actually going to be releasing a birthday box set of five 12″ vinyl to celebrate, but more of that later. For now, just come to the gigs, please! I promise they will be fun.


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 18th November 2013

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Well once again, as you can see, the emphasis this week is going to be on shilling my own events at the expense of most other things. Don’t worry though, I’ll be giving it a bit of a rest with the gigs in the new year, so this kind of relentless harassment should subside a little bit.

However, before then, we still have two Song, by Toad Records Christmas Parties – one in London and one in Edinburgh – two house gigs and of course this week’s shows with Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside (listen to her latest album here). We’re at the Glad Café in Glasgow on Tuesday 19th, which just happens to be my birthday, and then in Edinburgh at the Wee Red Bar on Wednesday night. Both nights will feature support from Zed Penguin, and the Glasgow show will also include Royal Edinburgh Music.

So other than Toad stuff what else do we have for the avid music fan knocking around Edinburgh this week? Well the Electric Circus are hosting the NME Radar Tour on Tuesday night, and although I would normally snort contemptuously at pretty much anything on the NME’s comically mis-calibrated radar, it just so happens that the tunes I’ve heard (admittedly quite a while ago) from Cerebral Ballzy were actually pretty good, so that might well be worth investigating.

Also on Tuesday (well it is my birthday after all – even though I’ll be in Glasgow) we have the awesome Low at the Queen’s Hall, which is amazing news. For those of you not in Glasgow. Like me. Huzzah.

Later in the week, Shellac are at the Liquid Room on Friday 22nd and the Electric Circus also have Bell X1 on Sunday night, who I have to confess I haven’t thought twice about since buying one of their albums back in about 2004. It was a pretty good album though, if I remember correctly, so if you’re at a loose end on Sunday it might well be worth a bash.

And that, I think, seems to be about it. Except it never is, because I always manage to miss something, but for now it looks like that’s it . Promise.




halfI can never decide if Scotland’s slight musical dislocation from the rest of the UK is a good thing or not. It means we can be shielded from shitty trends which take hold down South and irritate the crap out of everyone, which is a good thing. On the other hand, sometimes we have trends all of our own which just won’t fucking go away no matter how much you wish they would.

And then there are other occasions, such as when rough, loose guitar music with more than a hint of nostalgia started to crop up all over the place in England there just weren’t that many bands doing it up here. Or at least not doing it well, to my ears anyway.

Then I happened across Paws and Dolfinz – a good few years ago now – and then a couple of others like Min Diesel and the short-lived but excellent North American War, and gradually it became apparent that things were changing.

It seems we actually do this stuff pretty well up here now, and one of the newer bands to appear will be playing Henry’s on Saturday with Post War Glamour Girls: Halfrican. They have a touch of surf and psyche about them, but it’s not pastiche throwback stuff, just nice rough guitar tunes. I’m really looking forward to seeing them live as well, as I think the tunes on their split tape with White Pages are really strong – full of energy, and that elusive quality, hummability.


Post War Glamour Girls, Halfrican & Mark Wynn at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Saturday 16th November

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The first I heard of Post War Glamour Girls was about three years ago, when Ode to Harry Dean appeared on a Sways Records compilation tape (free download here).

Their releases have been a little thin on the ground since, I must confess, but a couple of singles have snuck out into the open here and there, and the band’s live show seems to have helped maintain a sense of excitement even in the absence of formal releases.

Suburban Barbarian (above) came out just over a year ago, I think, and the band have a new single which is only recent, and there are various other bits and pieces to be found on Soundcloud.

The band have evolved a fair bit since I first came across them, inevitably. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly how, it’s just somehow… more. Of pretty much everything. Denser, heavier, more swagger, more intensity, I dunno, but they feel like they’re going for it a bit more these days – it all seems looser and more expressive, and yet tighter and more together at the same time.

They’re playing this Saturday at Henry’s, too, along with Halfrican and Mark Wynn. It’s only a fiver in, so I’ll see you there, with a bit of luck.


Tuesday 26th November 2013: Charles Latham House Gig

Mr. Charles Latham made his name amongst the Edinburgh underground music community when first Withered Hand and, for a while, Meursault began to regularly cover his tune Hard On, to the extent that the song actually ended up on Withered Hand’s debut album, Good News.

It wasn’t until about a year ago, however, that he actually had his first chance to come over here and tour and so of course we did our best to snag a Toad Session with him, which you can find here. He didn’t actually play Hard On, but we got four fantastic songs recorded, and he seems to have enjoyed our house so much he’s volunteered to come back in a couple of weeks and play a house gig with us.

So, on Tuesday November 26th, swing by and see Charles Latham and a mystery guest play at Toad Hall for the princely sum of £5, all of which goes straight to the artist. You can thank me later! And remember that our house only takes about thirty to thirty-five people, so be quick if you want to be guaranteed entry.

Sold out now, sorry.


Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside

I was first introduced to Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside by Ritchie from Loch Lomond when they recorded their Toad Session back in the Summer of 2010, and in the interim she and the band have released two albums and become really rather hipster-friendly, and now they are coming to Scotland.

The music is self-described in one of their songs ‘you can call it swing, you can call it rock and roll’, and it’s certainly very old-timey. You could compare the band to Angel Olsen in a sense, I suppose, it that they make make a stylised version of very deliberately old-fashioned music. In the cases of both bands the vocal delivery is one of the most striking embodiments of this aspect, although the actual music isn’t really similar at all.

We’ve got shows with them on the 19th of November, which just happens to be my birthday, at the Glad Café in Glasgow and the 20th November in Edinburgh at the Wee Red Bar. Tickets are available in advance here, and I will let you know about the support acts closer to the time.

On listening to the new record (you can hear both on the band’s Bandcamp page) you can hear a much more visceral approach to the stylish swing of the first. It’s more lascivious, in a way – just watch the video for the lead single below – and tunes like Bad Boys only emphasise this sense of additional throttle. Lyrically these themes were always there, of course, but they seem to be more and more directly embodied in the music as the band progresses. I am looking forward to these two shows!

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