Song, by Toad

Archive for the Song by Toad Records category

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Garden of Elks Album Launches Tomorrow and Sunday

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Yep, that’s right, A Distorted Sigh by Garden of Elks is coming out soon – early April, actually – but the vinyl has arrived and I am collecting the tapes from Glasgow today so if you can catch them at their next couple of shows then you can get a copy slightly ahead of time (alternatively, you can order one from us online). They look and sound ace, too.

The lads are playing two dates with Broken Records this week, one at Summerhall in Edinburgh tomorrow and the other in Glasgow at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s on Sunday, so pop down if you want to see them.

Tomorrow is the first night of a series of gigs at Summerhall under the Nothing Ever Happens Here banner, something which is hopefully going to bring mid-level touring bands back to Edinburgh for the first time in what feels like years. It’s perfectly placed inbetween the smaller venues like Henry’s, Sneaky Pete’s and the Electric Circus which we’re actually relatively well-served with here, and the bigger places like the Queen’s Hall, who have to be a bit careful who they book because it’s a big venue and they have to be confident that they can draw enough people.

One of the key things I am hoping the press surrounding these nights will do is start to dispel the impression that Edinburgh isn’t well-served for music. As the name implies, it’s a popular perception, but in fact there is quite a lot going on in Edinburgh if only we could persuade people to come along to it and take a more regular interest. And hopefully some of this more well-publicised, high-profile stuff can encourage people to poke around and see what else is available, particularly if, as is the plan, a lot of the smaller bands playing these more underground nights get the chance to play more high-profile support slots at the Summerhall shows.

Anyhow, see you there tomorrow? Don’t let yourself down by making bad life choices.

Garden of Elks – SWAP from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

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Song, by Toad at the Easter Independent Label Market in London

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That’s right folks, this weekend we shall be down in London for the Independent Label Market at Spitalfields once again.

We don’t really have any ‘exclusives’. I mean, we don’t really do exclusives, honestly, we try and make everything as special as we can, and then make it available for everyone. But we do have some interesting advance copies of stuff you may like – the Garden of Elks album, for example, and the Supermoon tape, and also the Rob St. John and Woodpigeon Split 10″. And of course our fantastic Gin & Swearing t-shirts and Real as Fuck sweaters.

So there will be lots of very, very good things for you to come along and buy, and of course you get the wonderful benefit of my gloriously sunny company. And who could possibly ask for anything more.

I’ve got the stall plan now too, and we are in the very far corner of the market. This may sound less that ideal, but actually we’re right next to Domino, and in terms of musical suitability that makes a lot of sense to me, and maybe we can exploit some of their overspill to make up for the fact that I will probably spend far too much money on their records while I’m there.

Garden of Elks – SWAP from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

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Jonnie Common – Binary 101

Jonnie Common – ‘Binary 101′ (Official) from Jonnie Common on Vimeo.

It’s been a good wee spell for Jonnie Common. In the wake of his excellent 6Music session with Tom Robinson (starts just over half an hour into this show, if you want to listen back), he’s been playing a series of dates around the country in places like Manchester, Cardiff (Sunday) and, this Saturday, The Shacklewell Arms in London with Song, by Toad label-mates Le Thug.

To accompany the tour this week we released Binary 101, the third single from his latest album Trapped in Amber, released to a pretty splendid reception on Halloween last year. It’s from the slightly odder end of the spectrum, as far as the album is concerned. We tried to stick to ‘the pop songs’ for the first couple of singles, and this is a little odder, although I say a bit too much, no matter how strange the noises are which Jonnie uses, the end result is pretty much always really approachable.

There’s also a b-side, Binary 202, which I think started out as a reworking of Binary 101, and was initially even just called ‘extended mix’, but ended up moving so far away from the original source material that it turned into a separate song in its own right. Enjoy! And pop along to some of these shows if you get the chance.

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digitalanalogue – Be Embraced, You Millions!

digitalanalogue – ID 83846 (Don’t Look Down) from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

This week – today in fact – sees the release of the wonderful Be Embraced, You Millions! by digitalanalogue, the largely solo recording project of Ian Turnbull from Broken Records. It’s on limited-run, 12″ vinyl in hand-printed sleeves with artwork by Fee Buckle, and photography and writing by Ian himself.

We’re a bit behind, in that the sleeve printing starts tonight, but nearly there and the whole thing is going to be fucking lovely. In the meantime you can buy it on iTunes here or stream on Spotify here, if you can’t wait for the vinyl. We’re working on a really nice launch night in Sofi’s, hopefully over the Easter weekend, so keep your eyes on the internet and we’ll be sure and let you know.

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Jonnie Common and Le Thug in London on the 21st March

jonnie and le thug london

Yep, along with our pals at Postcards, we are having a bit of a Song, by Toad Records night down in London on Saturday 21st March. Jonnie Common and Le Thug are making the trip down South to play at the Shacklewell Arms in Dalston.

You all know both bands pretty well by now I would imagine (and there are two awesome videos at the bottom of the page in case you don’t) but the short, short version is ‘idiosyncratic electronic pop music’ and ‘dreamy, electronic shoegaze’ respectively.

I’ve said this a lot recently, but getting Scottish bands out of Scotland is surprisingly hard. The supportiveness of the local audience is fantastic, but for a band from Scotland to really make headway I tend to think that getting down to London as often as possible is pretty key. Depending on where you draw the line around it, London has three times the population of Scotland, for starters, but just the petrol to drive down there in the van is upwards of £200.

So for those of you in London, or with friends down there, please do try and encourage people to come along to this. It would be great to see you, and you will get to see two awesome bands who might not make it down South all that often.

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New Garden of Elks Single

Garden of Elks – SWAP from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

The Garden of Elks debut album A Distorted Sigh is coming out on Song, by Toad Records in April, and this is the first single.

The video, like the song, cavorts joyously along for a couple of minutes and then packs it in – no fussing, no unnecessary embellishment, no fucking about. That’s pretty much what the album is like too, and that is why I love it.

We’re currently booking gigs around the UK for them to celebrate the release, and they’re playing Edinburgh and Glasgow with Broken Records for the Scottish launches. Pre-order the album on cassette or vinyl from here.

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Le Thug – launch night and vinyl delivery

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The vinyl for Le Thug’s gorgeous new EP Place Is has just turned up, and it looks AMAZING! The light in our kitchen isn’t ideal for taking pictures but I hope you get the idea. You can order a copy here, if you are suitably convinced.

The launch night is on Valentine’s Day at Summerhall (i.e. next Saturday), and tickets can be had here. We’re going to be in one of the steep-sided lecture theatres, and Ian will be doing some custom one-off visuals for the show. You know Ian – formerly of Song, by Toad Records and now more properly know as dashing young internet entrepreneur/jaded Nathan Barley figure of the Scottish media scene. He and his pal Jordan run Something Something, and made the rather fantastic video for Basketball Land, which has been doing the internet rounds recently and which I have embedded below.

I am away down to Manchester for a couple of days for family stuff, but I will post all of these off when I get back. Don’t they look ace? YIPPEE!

Le Thug – Basketball Land from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

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Jonnie Common Updates

Jonnie Common’s Trapped in Amber was a bit of a quiet triumph, I think. Partly the response was incredible at the time, but it’s also been nice to watch it continue to creep up on people over the last few months despite the relative limits of our PR resources.

Both Jonnie and Bastard Mountain did really well in the BAMS awards – the Scottish ‘Bloggers And Music websiteS’ vote for the album of the year. The Twilight Sad won it, but Jonnie finished in the top ten and Bastard Mountain just outside, which is really nice. Jonnie has some live shows coming up as well, and we are just in the process of sorting out a London show too – hopefully in late March sometime.

28th Feb – STIRLING – Tolbooth headline show
7th March – EDINBURGH – Limbo headline show
8th March – GLASGOW – Broadcast, supporting R.Seiliog
17th March – MANCHESTER – Gulliver’s, supporting Kiran Leonard

Music Like Dirt also named Crumbs and Shark its joint favourite songs of 2014, which is absolutely great news. Neil even recounts the time I had a misty-eyed conversation with him in a pub in London about missing out on releasing Jonnie’s first album – a conversation I had entirely forgotten until that wee reminder – so I suppose he must have had a wee chuckle to himself when the press release for the new one came out.

We’ll be doing a new single with Jonnie soon, Binary 101, so keep an eye out for some new artwork, some extended and alternative mixes and various other bits and pieces. On the subject of artwork, actually, David Galletly, who did all the art for Trapped in Amber including a fantastic wee looped animation which was projected at the album launch shows, has put together a really nice post on this own site about the work he did. It’s great when a release has such coherent, distinctive artwork like this, and I’m really grateful to David for the work he did for us.

In other news, Nialler9 recently made Crumbs one of its best tracks of the week, and Niall himself played the song on his Irish radio show. Muruch also featured Le Thug recently, and you may wonder why I mention these two particular things, but Niall and Vic from Muruch are two of the very first music bloggers, both well established when I started Song, by Toad, and I was early enough as it is.

We know each other from the now-deceased elbo.ws blogger-only message board, but for all I always got on really well with them there, it’s been a long time since we’ve released anything which has prompted either of them (or indeed anyone else I know from that era) to post about our music. That’s fine of course – contrary to the constant accusations of cliqueyness, just being pals with someone doesn’t mean they will like or feature your music. We’d be on the Vic Galloway show every week if that was the case.

But it is nice to see that people you know still keep half an eye on what you’re doing, and that some fellow internet music loons are still beavering away after all this time. At a time when the hipsters writing for free for the bigger online mags seem to have lost interest in us altogether, it just makes me feel like there are still some nice, reliable things about the universe.

 

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Supermoon

supe Well first of all, thank you so much to everyone who came down to Henry’s on Thursday. It was a packed show – not our first sell-out, but definitely the first time we’ve had to actually turn people away at the door, which is a bit of a shame, but still feels like something of a triumph nevertheless.

So for those of you who enjoyed the show, and I suppose also for those who missed it, there is now a Supermoon EP available digitally through Bandcamp.

It’s mostly fairly minimal recording, but it showcases the move from orchestral rock, as I suppose you could call the last Meursault album, through a slightly lost phase of being a three-piece Black Sabbath tribute band with which Meursault toured the States but has yet to be captured on record, to something weirder and with a bit more needle.

It’s a welcome direction, from my point of view. You know me, I always like music with a bit more tension and discomfort captured in there somewhere, and this stuff definitely has that. There will be a formal physical release at some point in the relatively near future, although I have no idea how much similarity it will bear to this stuff.

I think a good few of the songs will remain, if not necessarily all the recordings, and Neil’s recent comic drawings will feature heavily (find these on Instagram), but that’s about all I can tell you at this stage, largely because I don’t really know myself until I see the finished article, and Neil tends to play these cards fairly close to his chest.

Nevertheless, in the meantime there is this EP. It’s quiet, a bit odd, and embraces noise and crackle, and until we come up with something physical for you to actually purchase, is a pretty good intro into where the Supermoon project is heading.

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Heavy Drag

Remember Lil Daggers? We did an album, an EP and a split 7″ with them, and they are one of the very few non-Scottish bands we’ve ever released. They were based in Miami, made nasty, nasty swampy psychedelic rock songs (actually, if they were releasing nowadays the Modern British Hipster would fucking love them) and amazingly enough, Mrs. Toad loved them. She doesn’t love much that we release, although she definitely leans more towards nasty sounding guitar music, but it’s rare and rather nice when she pipes up and says ‘this is good’.

Anyhow, given then never managed to get over here and tour – understandable, Florida is a long fucking way away – our release never did much more for them than garner a couple of really nice reviews and give me awesome stuff to play if I was ever asked to DJ. Seriously, try playing Ghost Herd in the middle of a party of any sort, the looks on people’s faces are hilarious (it’s awesome, have a listen).

Anyhow, from the ashes of Lil Daggers springs a new band, one called Heavy Drag. There’s not too much out there at the moment, beyond one song on their Bandcamp page and and digital single to buy on iTunes (the video above is from that), but it all sounds really good so far.

It’s not as rambunctious as Lil Daggers – a bit slower and more shifty – more like the stalker you think you see at the end of your street than the dick picking a fight with you in a bar. It still has the garagey and psychey elements, but it definitely all feels different this time. The combination of the jangly guitar and descending bassline in Tissue is a great example – rhythm and foundation, but still skittery and loose.

This is excellent news. I am glad they haven’t gone away.