Song, by Toad

Archive for the Edinburgh Live Listings category


Split 12″ Vol.4 Album Launch

SbTR-A-046 Outer Sleeve EX

Our Split 12″ series is, erm, sporadic, to say the very least. It’s been a couple of years since the last one, but there will be three released within the next twelve months, to take the tally up to six by early 2017.

This one is, a little like the Insider one we did last, going to be unique in the sense that it was actually recorded in the living room of our new house in Leith where, Mrs. Toad has decreed, no recording shall ever take place ever again. That’s what The Happiness Hotel is for.

And speaking of The Happiness Hotel (it’s our warehouse, and if you don’t get the reference you are dead to me), that is where we shall be holding the launch night for Song, by Toad Split 12″ Vol.4, on Thursday 5th May. The record features Viking Moses, Supermoon, digitalanalogue and Virgin of the Birds, but seeing as two of those bands are based in the States and hoping for them to be in Scotland at the same time seemed a little optimistic, we thought we would have to make do with three bands from the Split, get each of them to learn a song by the regrettably absent Virgin of the Birds, and include Viking Moses’ tour pal Sam Goodwill just for shits and giggles and because he’s good.

It’s BYOB, and you can get your tickets below:


Warehouse Gig: Tim the Mute, Juffage and Hostel Freaks


Mrs. Toad and I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks clearing out the warehouse and making it fit for human habitation. We’ve even installed a wood-burning stove and got some lights in there which aren’t the face-melting halogens which were installed when we bought the place.

Anyhow, our pal Tim is visiting from Vancouver, so we thought we’d put on a wee gig in there to celebrate its being pretty much ready and finished… a mere two years after we first moved into the house: Friday 26th February, £5 entry, 7pm start, BYOB. The warehouse is down in Leith, and I’ll email address details once you buy a ticket, rather than sticking up our address on the internet*.

Tim is performing under the banner of Tim the Mute. He runs Kingfisher Bluez Records in Vancouver and released the Adam Stafford record over there last time around, as well as a ton of other really good stuff (top tip, if you listen to nothing else on the label: Allison Crutchfield) including excellent Scottish acts Rick Redbeard and Ballboy. Here’s Tim the Mute’s latest release for those who fancy a bit of a preview.

Joining Tim will be Leeds-based, American-raised Jeff T. Smith, better known as Juffage. He played a show for us last year at Henry’s and it was awesome, as you can be confident this will also be. Also on the bill, a new Edinburgh band – well, solo act really, I think – called Hostel Freaks. It’s sort of depressed electronica washed out with that sort of early-morning jet-lag feeling.

So come along, it will be fun. Just don’t wreck the place, now we’ve finally got it all tidied up!


Song, by Toad New Year’s House Gig


If scenes like the one above fill you with a special kind of horror, then you may wish to join Mrs. Toad and I in Leith for another wonderfully special Song, by Toad New Year’s House Gig.

Started by Jon Rooney from the fabulous Virgin of the Birds, who once rather optimistically asked if I could get him a gig in Edinburgh on one of the craziest nights of the year, we’ve been doing these every New Year’s Eve since 2009, and this year we will be joined by the fantastic Tissø Lake and Aberdeen legend the Kitchen Cynics.

Alan from the Kitchen Cynics is one of the most prolific and interesting musicians in Scotland. He’s a legend if you ever head up North, but if you can’t be arsed going as far as Aberdeen, maybe a couple of miles to Leith will show you why.

Tissø Lake is the work of Ian Humberstone, someone who you hopefully remember from his Split 7″ with Rob St. John back in 2011, but if not should surely remember all the phenomenal Folklore Tapes stuff he has both released for himself and been involved in releasing for others.

So basically, you can head up into the puke and broken glass of town and have what I personally consider to be a pretty shit evening. Or for a fiver and BYOB you can come down to Leith and have a pleasant, sociable and utterly inebriated evening in the company of myself, Mrs. Toad and two of the finest underground students of local folklore Scotland has to offer.

Tickets here:


Taman Shud, Filth Spector and Jungfrau – Henry’s, 23rd October

A good friend of mine once got into the habit of describing music as ‘dead dense, dead droney, a bit psychey’ so often that every time he recommended a band we would instinctively ask him ‘What’s it like then? Dead dense? Dead droney? A bit psychey?’

He’d be sniggering at me more than a little when I introduce Taman Shud for what is I think their first Edinburgh show on Friday at Henry’s as ‘a sort of heavy, droney, dense psyche rock’. It is, though.

It may even have a bit of metal in there too, but I am not really enough of a metal listener to know if that’s quite right. It is intense though. And heavy. And fucking brilliant.

It’s a bit of trivia but Taman Shud played on that first EP that catapulted the Fat White Family into the public consciousness last year, but I personally knew the name from my friend Anthony who books for Corsica and Baba Yaga’s Hut down in London.  For whatever reason, however, I only decided to seek it out and have a listen when Tash from the band showed up in our house tour managing another band earlier in the year.

This stuff is generally too screamy for me, but for whatever reason I absolutely loved this on the very first listen, and I’ve not changed my mind since. It’s just massive, euphoric and raging. The album Viper Smoke is ace, and I strongly urge you to buy one – you will not regret it.

Anyhow, as I said, they are playing Henry’s Cellar Bar on Friday 23rd October for our next BAD FUN night, and will be joined by local lot Filth Spector who are perhaps slightly bluesier and a bit less doomy, but still hatched from a rather similar heavy psyche egg, as well as touring pals Jungfrau from Brighton.

It’s going to be loud and intense, but fuck me I am looking forward to this one.


Juffage at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Friday 11th September

juffage Juffage is a band – well a solo artist, really – that I discovered through that most ancient form of social media: actually talking to people in a pub. I went down to Beacons Festival a few years ago when a pal turned out to have a spare ticket at the last minute, and when we were down there they recommended I come along and see Juffage play. I knew nothing of the music but fuck it, why not, as one tends to say at music festivals.

And he was fucking ace. Ace enough that I bought the vinyl there and then and didn’t hesitate when Jeff got in touch about organising a show in Edinburgh.

His music is fantastic, so you really should come along. I’ve described it as noise pop, and that’s sort of there or thereabouts. It’s quite anthemic, actually, for stuff which is rather down-tempo, and the odder noises do build up into a pretty impressive wall of noise – music to lose yourself in, I suppose you could say.

Plastic Animals will also be playing on the bill, and their debut album is pretty much ready for release as well. One last crinkle to iron out and then we’re there, and it sounds fucking awesome.


Pale Imitation Festival Half Time Oranges

Pale Imitation 2015 digiflyer

Hello folks. Well we are back from Romania, not entirely in jail although it was close, and not entirely burned to a crisp either, although Mrs. Toad was rather in danger of entirely melting on one or two occasions. Go here for the full story – you just have to scroll down a bit.

Anyhow, we return to the second half of the Pale Imitation Festival and there are some absolutely brilliant gigs still to come in our very own celebration of local Scottish music in the heart of the (over-priced, imported rubbish of the) Fringe.

Tomorrow we have eagleowl, on Saturday we have Adam Stafford (whose new album is fucking amazing, by the way) and then next week it’s the Supermoon show at Summerhall and the Night School Records show with Happy Meals and then the closing party. So many good bands. So much beer to drink.

And my mum’s here, so erm, so many disappointed stares to withstand.

All tickets here.

Remaining shows:

Thursday 20th – eagleowl, Now Wakes the Sea, Faith Eliott

Saturday 22nd – Adam Stafford, Wolf, Tryptamines

Thursday 27th (at Summerhall) – Supermoon & Rob St. John

Saturday 29th – Happy Meals, Apostille, Clip Art


This Week’s Pale Imitation Festival Goings On

Whilst I am currently off getting locked up in Romania for speeding offences (in a 1992 Volvo estate – is it even possible to speed in one of these? – apparently so) The Pale Imitation Festival thunders wonderfully onwards.

If you want to see the Rust2Romania updates check out my Tumblr, but this page is about music, and that means two absolutely fucking brilliant gigs at Henry’s Cellar Bar this week, to which you should all very much go.

Firstly, on Thursday 13th we have an indie rock night (do the kids still call it that, they probably don’t, do they) with two of Aberdeen’s finest – Min Diesel and Wendell Borton – joining awesome Glaswegian newcomers Spinning Coin.

And then on Saturday 15th we have the fantastic Save As Collective, with Jonnie Common, River of Slime, Glamour Muscle and MC Almond Milk bringing a collection of music which treads on pretty much all toes from pop to hip hop to electronica to experimental to just plain mental.

They will be fucking great shows, only a fiver in, and all at Henry’s Cellar Bar, starting at 7:30pm. Be there or be sq.. no, sorry, I won’t go there, that’s awful. Please come. Will that do the trick? Advance tickets can be found here.


Pale Imitation Festival 2015

Pale Imitation 2015 digiflyer

Hello folks, it’s well past time to announce the third annual Pale Imitation Festival. Remember T on the Fringe? The Edge Festival? Retreat? Well this isn’t nearly as good as any of those. But this is Edinburgh, where fun and culture are strongly frowned upon, so we are just going to have to make do.

All tickets, including the super-bargainacious season ticket, which gets you into all gigs, can be bought here, unless you just want individual tickets to see Supermoon and Rob St. John at Summerhall in which case this is the page you want. All the other gigs will be at Henry’s Cellar Bar as per usual – one of the key engine rooms of the Edinburgh live music scene for years, and now with extra added nice beer! I know! Amazing!

Once again, this is a fantastic celebration of the best underground music Scotland has to offer. There are established Toad favourites, plenty of Song, by Toad Records bands, a flash night out at Summerhall, plenty of new bands never to play the festival before, and we close on the 29th with a showcase of one of my favourite Scottish labels, Night School, and then a late night party with music and dancing.

In a massive show of endurance and sugar, the glorious Kitchen Disco will be DJing every single night of the festival as well, bringing you awesome tunes and delicious cakes (the latter of which will generally be tenuously related to the bands on the bill through some dreadful pun or other, but will taste amazing whatever they’re called).

It’s going to be fucking awesome, people, get your damn tickets!

Saturday 1st August – Numbers Are Futile, Beam, DTHPDL

Thursday 6th – Garden of Elks, Bat Bike, Passion Pusher

Saturday 8th – Sharptooth, Lush Purr, Breakfast Muff

Thursday 13th – Spinning Coin, Min Diesel, Dune Witch Trails

Saturday 15th – Save As Collective (featuring Jonnie Common, Glamour Muscle, River of Slime & MC Almond Milk)

Thursday 20th – eagleowl, Now Wakes the Sea, Faith Eliott

Saturday 22nd – Adam Stafford, Wolf, Tryptamines

Thursday 27th (at Summerhall) – Supermoon & Rob St. John

Saturday 29th – Happy Meals, Apostille, Clip Art


This Saturday at Henry’s: Songdog, Best Girl Athlete and Grayson King

Well, back here for a day and already firing back into the gigs because, erm, well honestly just because bands I really, really want to see keep on getting in touch, and honestly I can’t help myself. This Saturday 20th June at Henry’s Cellar Bar we have Songdog, Aberdonian prodigy Best Girl Athlete and Edinburgh’s Grayson King – tickets can be bought here for a fiver.

Songdog is the kind of music where, just as the melodies and warmth of the delivery are starting to sink in, and just as you are about to sit back and relax into the music, a jarringly stark lyric just hits you in the head. And suddenly instead of sipping wine and enjoying the ambience, you are hanging on absolutely every fucking word.

“I’m nobody special, but I give pretty good head” Classic romantic singer-songwriter stu… no wait, what the fuck did he say?

I remember that happening when I first heard Songdog’s music, back in two-thousand-and-not-very-much when I Love My Angel’s Plastic Wings appeared on an Uncut cover-mount CD. If I remember, the lyric in question went “I love my angel’s plastic wings/ she likes my nice tight ass and things” – again, it was one of those ‘hang on, he said what?‘ moments; a turn of phrase at once so jarring, so daft, so natural and so discomfiting that it absolutely demanded you listen closely to absolutely everything else.

Due to cash and attention span constraints I didn’t really follow up on that one weird, fascinating song until almost ten years later when the truly superlative A Life Eroding was released. Suddenly I was completely on board once more. It was a dark-as-coal album stuffed with sadness and the very blackest of humour, along with oddly hummable tunes and a near-overwhelming sense of melancholy.

The latest album, Last Orders At Harry’s Bar (see how appropriate having this gig at Henry’s is!), is perhaps a smidge lighter, but still utterly compelling. I am really, really looking forward to this.


Two Moments of Brilliance Left – The May 2015 Avalanche of Gigs is Nearly Over

rope-unraveling-300x113 I have to confess that by the time I looked at the finalised version of my May gig calendar I kind of knew it was going to be like this. Chaos. One gig after another and little time for the blog or the label. I’ve tried to keep both on track of course, but it’s been the absolute bare minimum in both cases, because this month was all about the twenty-seven bands I was going to be putting on over the course of the thirty-one days of May. You may scoff, but I am not a professional promoter, and it has been a shitload of fun, but heavy going nevertheless.

And it isn’t fucking over either, because this week we have the last two shows of our hectic May schedule, and then I am never putting another gig on ever again as long as I live. Or at least until late June when we have Songdog coming to Edinburgh.

TOMORROW, FREE at the Paradise Palms on Bristo Square: Strop (formerly Froth), Psychic Soviest and alansmithee.

The last night of our fantastic run of free shows at the Paradise Palms showcasing the very best new Scottish guitar bands. The first three shows have been incredible and this will be no different. All the bands are raucous, kind of messy and incredibly fun to watch. All three are also on a new 12″ vinyl compilation we’ll be releasing in the Autumn, which I have just about finalised and which is sounding fucking brilliant.

Also, try the Ninja Buns at the Paradise Palms because they’re bloody ace.

FRIDAY: £5 at Henry’s Cellar Bar: Rob St. John, Eerie Idles and Elara Caluna.

Rob is back with a full band for the first time in ages, and this is brilliant news. There’s something so recklessly brooding about them when they really get going, which is a real counterpoint to how lovely Rob’s music can be when he wants to dial it back a bit.

The rest of the lineup can probably at best be described as a little elusive. Eerie Idles only exist at all because we asked Pablo from My Kappa Roots to play and this is what he came up with. I think it’s just one of those occasions when you just have to shrug your shoulders, accept that fuck it, he’s a talented wee bastard and let’s see what the fuck he comes out with.

And finally, Elara Caluna are simply a new Glasgow band about whom I know very little indeed, but who still sound really promising. There are only wee bits here and there on the internet, but those bits are good, and they’ve been on bills with some good bands in Glasgow too, so I am most excited to see them.

Sucker Punch this weekend in Glasgow.

This weekend sees the fabulous Gold Flake Paint celebrating its fifth birthday by hosting Sucker Punch at the Glad Café on the Southside. It’s a fantastic lineup across every single day, and on Saturday Rob St. John and Supermoon (Neil from Meursault’s new thing) will both be on the bill, so if your chief interest is Toad stuff (ha!) then that’s the day to be there.

Honestly though, the whole fucking lineup is absolutely fantastic, so don’t fuck about, just go along to the whole thing.