Song, by Toad

Archive for the Song by Toad Records category

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David Thomas Broughton and Juice Tour

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In support of their brilliant new album Sliding the Same Way (out at the end of September on Song, by Toad Records) David Thomas Broughton and Juice Vocal Ensemble will be hitting the road over the course of September, both to promote the release, and also to give you one of the only chances you’ll get to see the collaboration performed live. They’re also performing at the End of the Road Festival too, for those going along.

The album itself hasn’t been out for review all that long yet, but we’re starting to get some very happy responses indeed – This record is brilliant, but bloody heck it’s a bracing listen” – “simultaneously jarring and elegant” – “the only bone-fide genius currently making music in the world – and of course my favourite ever press quote for one of our releases: “will make you smile, cry, go”what?” and release bodily fluids in equal measure”.

Have a listen to the first single below, as well as a song from our 2014 Sampler, and pre-order your copy of the album here.

 

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Please Help Fund a New David Thomas Broughton Documentary

The Ambiguity of David Thomas Broughton (video pitch & teaser1) from Greg Butler on Vimeo.

If you are quick – i.e. take action today – there is a new documentary about David Thomas Broughton which is using Indiegogo to raise funds, and of course we would appreciate any contribution you can make. This isn’t one of those conditional plans, basically all money goes towards the making of the film, even if the stated goal isn’t reached so everything is valuable.

I am really looking forward to seeing this, however it turns out. Having watched David divide and delight audiences I am always interested in how people articulate what exactly it is they get from his performances. Personally, I love genuinely not knowing where he’s going next.

Even now that I know a lot of the songs in his set pretty well, as we’re getting ready to release a couple of his album in the fairly immediate future, I still never really know whether he’s going to sweep those lovely tunes up into some sort of tornado of layered loops and improvised noise, or whether he’ll just cut everything out and let the melody and his voice speak for themselves.

It always seems pretty improvised too, so I am not really sure even he knows where he is going, which for me just adds to the appeal.

David himself, however, is such a lovely, normal guy when you meet him. He’s even said to me that he’s not sure why people keep calling it strange, he just makes noises that he likes, but there’s a definite change to how he comes across the second he steps on stage.

He’s an interesting chap, and I am really looking forward to seeing this film.

And while we’re at it, I know you probably know about this already, but on the 22nd September we are releasing a collaborative album with David and the Juice Vocal Ensemble. You can pre-order it here, and the first single is below:

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Plastic Animals

Plastic Animals – Floating from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

I know tonight at the Queen’s Hall is mostly being discussed in terms of being the last ever Meursault show, but of course opening for them are another Song, by Toad band: Plastic Animals.

I always thought of Plastic Animals as a band with real potential, but it was recording with them for the second Song, by Toad Split 12″ when I decided I really wanted to release their music more formally. I am not sure what it was about those tunes. They are shoegazey, but not that nasty. There’s a dreamy thrum to them too, which I love. I love the drum sound, and even the minimal layering that we did worked really well. It just sounded like proper music despite being recorded live in our living room.

Since then, they’ve been working on their debut full-length album, and there are only one or two bits and pieces left to get down before the mixing can start. I’ve not really heard much of it because I try not to over-saturate myself with our new albums before they are finished, mostly to avoid becoming too attached to rough mixes, but also to make sure I don’t use up all my sense of excitement before the finished product is actually in my hands.

It’s always a bit of a risk, inviting a band to record an album for you without having much idea what the material is like, but their show at the Pleasance Sessions last year was fucking great. Shoegazey, yes, but getting krauty as fucking in moments too, and a handful of new songs which gave me that ‘Oh fucking YESSS!’ feeling you get when you hear something new and fantastic.

And tonight, for what I think is the first time, they’ll be playing the Queen’s Hall. I am really, really excited to see it.

Plastic Animals – Pizarnik from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

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New release: David Thomas Broughton & Juice – Sliding the Same Way

dtbj Well well, it’s time to formally announce a new album here at Song, by Toad Records. Sliding the Same Way is a collaboration between David Thomas Broughton – who you hopefully know from our latest Split 12″ release – and the Juice Vocal Ensemble, and it is absolutely fucking lovely – pre-order one here.

It’s another semi-improvised album on the label, and makes me kind of wonder how many of my favourite albums are also semi-improvised, if only anyone would tell me. This one was recorded in Otley when David was back over from North Korea for a while, so perhaps a slightly more intriguing set of logistical hurdles than our usual ones, but if the album was at all rushed or uncertain you’d never know it.

I don’t know much about Juice until I heard this album, but holy shit what they’ve done here is beautiful. Whilst they embrace David’s experimentalism a lot of the time, their presence and the need to work together seems to have curtailed some of his more meandersome instincts, and when all four voices decide that it is time for the gorgeous stuff to break through the effect is absolutely stunning.

This album has everything on it which made me want to work with David in the first place, most obviously that incredible ability to make ostensibly small shifts in mood which can take you from weird to confrontational to playful to heart-breaking and right back again in the blink of a an eye. Just as you steel yourself for something abrasively strange to happen, you get something layered, melodic and beautiful. And just before it all gets too heavy, brief, almost throwaway little ditties like Woodwork crop up.

I know his use of an acoustic gets David rather oddly labelled as a folk musician, but some of the group singing on this album is really quite folky at times, particularly on tunes like the aforementioned Woodwork and the lovely Yorkshire Fog which follows. But in general this album is a lush collection of ballads which embrace the strange and the lovely in equal measure.

It’s amazing how much depth Juice add to this as well. It’s so lush, and their contributions are so varied from song to song, that you can forget you’re listening to an album which is almost entirely a capella. It feels like a band album, almost, with the fullness and versatility of sound they and David create between them.

Sliding the Same Way will be released on CD and download on the 22nd September, but in the meanwhile enjoy the free song above. It’s bloody gorgeous. You’re welcome.

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Toadcast #302 – The Palecast

tagWell as you can probably tell from the graphics and indeed also the title, this is going to just be one long plug for our August antics at the Pale Imitation Festival this year.

But, as you will hear me rattling on about, I suppose the label and the gigs are essentially the same as the blog really aren’t they, in that it’s basically just me having a massive tantrum that the entire world doesn’t completely agree with me about music. So in that sense plugging label releases and our live shows on here isn’t me compromising the integrity of the site, is it, it’s just an extension of the original purpose of the site in the first place isn’t it? ISN’T IT?

I hope so, anyway.

In any case, for those of you outside Edinburgh you can’t actually attend this festival but that won’t really matter because basically this is just a podcast full of absolutely fantastic Scottish bands, so for a change I am being Mr. Scotland tonight, although as you will hear, I’m not all that gracious about it!

Toadcast #302 – The Palecast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #302 – The Palecast

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01. Adam Stafford – Vanishing Tanks (00.22)
02. Le Thug – Paints (08.40)
03. Andrew R. Burns – Stinking Ship (16.19)
04. Sharptooth – Bonnie Blaze (19.22)
05. alansmithee – Snooze (26.07)
06. Deathcats – Danny Dyer (29.47)
07. Ian Humberstone – Ocean Paths to Palace (37.57)
08. LAW – Lilo (44.45)
09. Rick Redbeard – Dreams of the Trees (47.30)
10. Kitchen Cynics – When Father Hanged the Children (57.22)
11. Halfrican – I’m in L.U.V. (1.05.55)
12. PAWS – War Cry (1.07.04)

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Death to Meursault

Meursault Cloud For the eagle-eyed amongst you – or, basically, just those of you with Facebook – you may have noticed the recent announcement that August’s Pale Imitation show at the Queen’s Hall will be the last ever Meursault show.

It’s weird, this. There’s a large sense in which it’s none of my business, of course, but Meursault were the first band we seriously released, way back in late 2008, so it’s quite an important event from the the point of view of both myself and the label. It’s very fair to say that, initially at least, our reputation hinged on being Meursault’s record label. We’ve diversified since then, of course, but having them on the books from the off meant that people took us way more seriously than they would have otherwise.

Neil will continue to make music, of course, and a lot of his current collaborators will continue to work with him, so from a fan’s point of view I really don’t think too much will change.

You might ask, if that’s the case, why bother killing off Meursault, and I have to confess that I can’t quite answer that. People all know that Meursault is based around the songwriting, delivery and generally also the arrangements and production of Neil Pennycook, so Meursault can be whatever he wants it to be, surely. Song, by Toad is my voice on the internet, whatever I chose that to be, so when the Friday Fives and Monday listings became a serious chore to write every week I just killed them off, because labouring through those posts every week was threatening to sap my enjoyment of writing.

Having said that, creative identities can end up developing their own sense of confinement. In some ways the commercial damage done by having to relaunch a new band into the world will probably be quite liberating. Maybe we can finally, finally hear the end of terms like folk-fucking-tronica, and perhaps the general music industry perception that each project by a band needs to be bigger and more ambitious than the last will also be sidestepped.  So as much as I don’t think I would have made this particular decision myself, I can certainly understand it.

Then again, no one Meursault album has ever sounded all that much like any other anyway, so will the next project be wildly different from what has come before? I don’t know, but as I said, I doubt there will be much difference from a fan’s perspective. The new project, whatever it ends up being, will probably sound as unlike Meursault as any of the Meursault albums sounded like their predecessors, but the industry and the wider, less actively interested public will probably see things a little differently, and I think that will probably be enough.

Myself, well, there’s that ‘end of an era’ nostalgia, but I don’t really mind all that much, to be honest.  I just want to hear whatever music happens next, irrespective of what it’s called. I guess we’ll see. So with a bit of luck I’ll see you at the Queen’s Hall, and we can bid goodbye to the band who have given us a shitload of truly phenomenal music over the years. The King is dead, long li… no, hang on, that’s too clichéd even for me.

I guess I’ll just end with a song I heard on my first ever visit to the band’s MySpace page. A visit where I thought ‘holy fuck, what the hell is going on here’, and the rest, as they say, is hist… no, sorry, fuck that, no more clichés, I promise.

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Our Third Split 12″ Vinyl Is Here!

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Yep, that fine, yellow beauty up there is the third in our series of Split 12″s on Song, by Toad Records. You can buy one here, and I recommend you do, because it’s fucking awesome.

Of course, I would say that, wouldn’t I. But it’s not just me, we’ve had radio play for this from Tom Ravenscroft, Gideon Coe, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson, as well as a ton of support on Amazing Radio as well. It’s been brilliant, particularly given our traditionally patchy results with self-promoting to national radio. Anyhow, the launch nights are fast approaching, so I thought I should give you another wee nudge. Firstly we have Glasgow at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s on the 24th July (tickets here), followed by our first Song, by Toad House Gig in the new place down in Leith on the 25th (tickets here). We’ll be getting the barbie on for this one before the gig (if it’s not raining) so bring something to throw on there if it’s nice.

And also, out of sheer, naive generosity, here is some more streaming fun for you – a cover of James Yorkston’s Chalkhill Blue by Sparrow and the Workshop. Side 2, track 1!

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Split 12″ v3 Launch Gigs

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Our third Split 12″ is nearly here, and this one was recorded up at the Insider Festival last year. The festival takes place up in the Highlands, and Nic Rue took some fantastic photos of the recording process, which you can see here.

We’ve got a couple of launch nights booked – one for Glasgow and one for Edinburgh – to welcome the record into the world in the nicest possible way. The Glasgow night is at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s on Thursday 24th July, and the Edinburgh show is on the 25th, the day after, and will be the first house gig in our new place in Leith.

We’re planning to light the barbecue as well, so you can come down with some burgers if you want, and have something to eat with us before the show. It would be lovely to see you at either of these shows, so please do come down if you can – and you can pick up some lovely, clear yellow vinyl as well.

All the bands will be playing except for Sparrow and the Workshop, for baby-related reasons. So for all that’s a bit of a disappointment as far as these shows are concerned, it’s great news for Jill and Nick, and also saves me the hassle of trying to get four bands on stage in a relatively short space of time.

Tickets for the Glasgow show can be found here and to buy tickets for the Edinburgh house gig use the Paypal link below.

SOLD OUT NOW, SORRY

And partly to whet your appetite, and partly because it is just an absolutely sublime song, here is Dear God by Siobhan Wilson (who will henceforth be performing under the name Ella the Bird), our first single from the Split:

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The Ambiguity of David Thomas Broughton

The Ambiguity of David Thomas Broughton (teaser trailer1) from Greg Butler on Vimeo.

I suppose this would be a good idea to quietly mention the David Thomas Broughton and Juice Vocal Ensemble album we’re going to be releasing in September (there’s a track from it on our current sampler). And perhaps subtly hint at the trans-continental triple vinyl which is being brewed for 2015.

But for the meantime those are yet to be formally announced and are officially a secret, so in the meantime, let’s start with this:

This is a trailer to music documentary currently being made about the eccentrically surreal performer and heartbreaking musician and songwriter David Thomas Broughton.

The film is in the early stages of production and this trailer was created after conducting the first five interviews. Since the trailer was first put together 12 interviews have been shot and included contributions from Shearwaters Jonathan Meiburg, Sam Amidon and David Shrigley. Many other interviews have been lined up over forthcoming months including Beth Orton, Liz Green and James Yorkston among others.

A crowd funding campaign is about to get underway so please pledge some money if you are fan of David’s work at all (from 23rd June on Indiegogo) So far I’ve put purely my own money into this project and I need some help if I am to make something really special and make the film that that David’s talent deserves.

The film should be completely shot by September and edited by the end of the year. Let me know if you can help me in any way shape or form, any help would be much appreciated and maybe even rewarded in a small way.

info@theambiguityofdtb.com

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3rd Song, by Toad Split 12″, with David Thomas Broughton, Jonnie Common, Siobhan Wilson & Sparrow and the Workshop

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This is the first song from our third Split 12” – Dear God by Siobhan Wilson. Pre-order the album on clear yellow vinyl here.

The third in our Split 12” series seemed set to be rather different to the first couple.

I was talking to Gordon from the Insider Festival in the Bailie in Edinburgh and he talked about collaborating on a vinyl release. Recording a Split 12” up at Inshriach House, on whose grounds the festival is held, seemed like the obvious option, but it also raised some questions.

Our house is such a strong part of the identity of these Split 12”s that I wasn’t sure what moving elsewhere would do the visual identity of the record, but more importantly, we are used to recording there. We know how to make the room sound good, and it’s our house, so the bands tend to be relaxed and therefore they usually play well too.

Still, we found four bands on the bill we really wanted to record with, and arranged to record David and Siobhan on the Friday and then Jonnie and Sparrow on the Saturday, so we figured we’d just head up there, adjust to whatever we found and try and make it work.

What we didn’t expect to find, however, was somewhere so similar to our living room in Edinburgh that it was basically like a home from home: a Georgian living room, full of old carpets and furniture, a large fireplace, with three full-height windows on one side and a door in the middle of the opposite wall. It was basically identical to the room we record in back home.

Nevertheless the process wasn’t without its problems. The festival was buzzing around us as we worked, and the bands’ live schedules put a bit more pressure on getting things done within a certain timeframe, and we had more nerves and more false starts than we’ve had before, as well as more songs retroactively rescinded by the artists as they weren’t happy with the takes, so this has meant a rather tougher post-production process than any of the other Split 12”s.

The album we’ve ended up making, however, is one of which I am really proud, as well as a lovely record of the Insider Festival itself. I love small festivals, as opposed to the trampled wastelands of the bigger ones, and this is one I’d been trying to get to for a few years now, so never mind recording, I was happy just to be able to go.

The setting was spectacular, and Nic, Rory, Neil and I slept on the floor of the room in which we were recording, meaning we woke to beautiful Highland scenery and really good coffee every day. Everyone who was based in Inshriach House was so incredibly friendly and so positive about the idea of making a record that we felt at home pretty much immediately, and being up in the Highlands away from normal working chores made it a surprisingly peaceful way to work.

And the unique working environment is probably why this album has worked out so nicely. I think it’s an unusual, but fantastic addition to our Split 12″ collection.