Song, by Toad

Archive for the Song by Toad Records category

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Song, by Toad at Independent Label Market on Saturday 11th July

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The ever-awesome Independent Label Market is returning to London this weekend and we shall be there once again (and this time I shall remember to bring all our recent releases along with me as well).

We are on the outside corner of the market, behind Heavenly and Full Time Hobby, and next to BBE and R2 and it would be excellent to see you there if you happen to be in London.

Since I was last there in March we have released several fantastic albums, so have a listen to the following and see if you don’t fancy coming along to pick up a copy on Saturday. Or just buy them on the internet if you prefer that, or don’t live anywhere near London.

 

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Inspector Tapehead Are Back

Things move fast in the music industry, and memories are short. We released the debut album by Inspector Tapehead back in something like 2010 I think, but they promptly disbanded to the furthest corners of Scotland and, whilst not calling time on the band per se, at the very least meant that we heard little at all from them for the next several years.

I almost forgot about their album myself, shamefully enough, until last year when we moved house and I had to put the office back together again in the new place. I noticed the album when I was unpacking and started listening to it regularly again. And it’s fucking brilliant – eccentric, cheerful, catchy, humorous and just plain fucking weird. It was a nice moment actually. It may not figure on many people’s radars anymore, but it is still a bloody great album – have a listen to Pherenzik Tear if you need convincing.

Anyhow, the band are back. I wasn’t really expecting to hear from them, I have to confess, and we had too many commitments already piled up to be able to release their new record, but they have found a home right around the corner from us at Glint Recordings where you can pre-order the new album. And if you want to see them live for the first time since God was a wee boy then I suggest you come along to Henry’s Cellar Bar on the 2nd of July, where they’ll be joined by friend and collaborator Panda Su.

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Song, by Toad Split 12″ v4

Viking Moses-8

(All photos by Nic Rue)

One of the reasons I have been a little quiet on the blog lately (aside from wheelspinning out of the parking lot of care homes in Canada and racing stupid cars through the mountains of Europe of course) is that I have been very much occupied with recording and mixing the fourth in the Song, by Toad Split 12″ series.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that we have just added all sorts of soundproofing measures to the warehouse specifically so that it can be used for recording, we actually recorded all of this in our new living room. It’s got an incredibly characteristic, very warm sound, and the mixes I’ve done so far very much reflect this. It’s clearly a record made with a very definite sense of place and time and I like that. All the effects on vocals and stuff like that tend to be simply room mics brought up to increase the ambient sound of the room itself.

We’ve got new recordings from Viking Moses (above), Virgin of the Birds and Supermoon (below). The fourth band is yet to be decided, but the three sets of songs we have already mean they will have to be quite specifically chosen – something which fits with what we have, but is still different enough to have its own character. Usually we invite all four bands at once, and that was the same this time, apart from one having to pull out late on so we are now in the position of having to invite someone else, but having a far better idea of what their music will be sitting alongside, which is unusual.

Still, what we have so far sounds absolutely fucking gorgeous, and it’s really nice to record something in the living room before the acquisition of proper furniture dampens that natural reverb down, and before the recording moves out to the warehouse for good.

Virgin of the Birds-16

Virgin of the Birds-20

Viking Moses-11

Viking Moses-23

Virgin of the Birds-21

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Rob St. John Full Band Shows Coming Up

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It’s been a while since I saw Rob St. John with a full band. It was his full-band, going electric, judas performance at the Retreat Festival back in 2000andsomethingsomething that I realised I didn’t just like his music, I thought it was fucking brilliant, and after a bit of determined stalking that’s kind of how we ended up releasing his records.

So, after a relatively long absence in this particular guise Rob returns to Scotland next week with two full band shows. One is our own show at Henry’s on Friday 29th May (see the poster image above) which you can get tickets for here. For this show Rob will be joined by Eerie Idles, the new project from Pablo Clark who you may remember from his previous guise My Kappa Roots, and Glasgow newcomers Elara Caluna.

Then on Saturday Rob (along with Supermoon) will be playing at the Gold Flake Paint fifth birthday celebrations at the Glad Café in Glasgow. The event is actually spread over two days and features all sorts of incredible bands, like C Duncan, Kathryn Joseph, Wolf, Apostille and plenty more. You can hear a playlist of all the bands here, and get your tickets from this link.

The song below is one of Rob’s tunes on the new split 10″ vinyl we just released with him on one side, long-time pal Woodpigeon on the other, and paintings by another friend Jake Bee on the front and back covers. It is fucking ace. You should buy one.

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Video: Numbers Are Futile – The Great Chimera

Numbers Are Futile have just unveiled the video for their new song The Great Chimera. The song is from their new album Sunlight on Black Horizon (get the vinyl here), the launch night for which is at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh this Saturday.

It’s a fantastic album – the vinyl just arrived this week – and has been described thus by the Sunday Herald: “Right across the album, that shoegaze voice stretches out further, even as the music remains hectic and a chronology of keyboards dive and resurface. Errors, Steve Reich, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis flash past the windscreen as adrenaline injections pummel the heart over and over again.”

The video itself is an entirely DIY affair, made for absolutely no budget at all, but looking excellent nevertheless. That’s why I don’t tend to make music videos; I have a reasonable camera and I know how to edit, but I just don’t have the ideas, really. Fortunately Panos and Felipe do and the results are ace.

They’ll be headlining the Long Room stage on Saturday, and it will be pretty intense, I reckon. Their music is pretty euphoric when it gets going and they’re a fantastic live band so hopefully you can make the time to pop along and see them. I shall be drunk.

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Garden of Elks at Brew at the Bog

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I really just had to post this on account of the picture being so fucking fantastic. Paul Campbell (Flickr) took this photo and has a whole album of photos from this year’s Brew at the Bog Festival on his Facebook page.

It may have been fucking freezing this year, but I really wish I could have gone along, but whatever. That one fantastic photo pretty much justifies the entire festival by itself. Here is an ace tune by the band too, just for shits and giggles, and you can get their debut album on cassette or vinyl here if you like the sound of it.

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New Adam Stafford single: Atheist Money

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New Adam Stafford single? Why of course, it would be my pleasure.

He has a new album out in October called Taser Revelations, and a wee tour coming up pretty much now.  I don’t want to give too much away about the album, apart from the fantastic artwork by Paul Ryding above.  Paul also did the artwork for Adam’s last album, Imaginary Walls Collapse, which you can buy here on vinyl.

Musically, I suppose that having listened to it several times over since Adam first sent through the (still not quite entirely finished) mixes a couple of weeks ago, I can sort of try and give you an idea. As you can hear, there’s a clear progression from his last record, one of the poppiest and in many ways most un-Toadlike songs I ever thought I would release, which I really rather surprisingly happen to love, but then in the second half things suddenly get rather darker.

I dunno, who knows what people will make of it, but I fucking love this record and I’m really looking forward to getting it out into the world (so hurry up and finish those final mixes please, Adam).

May 1st – Newport-on-Tay, New Port Sound, Rio Community Centre
May 2nd – Aberdeen, Cellar 35
May 5th – Stirling, Tollbooth
May 6th – Glasgow, Glad Cafe w/The Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo
May 7th – Leeds, The Fox & Newt
May 8th – London, Disorder @ The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
May 10th – Edinburgh, Summerhall Dissection Room

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Numbers Are Futile Album Launch at the Song, by Toad Hidden Door Showcase

SongbyToadHiddenDoor2015Digiflyer

The Hidden Door Festival this year brings us, amongst dozens of other things, the glorious Song, by Toad showcase that *ahem* the world has been waiting for all these years. And also the album launch for Numbers Are Futile’s debut album Sunlight on Black Horizon, which you can pre-order here if you like.

Tickets here.

We have the continuing rebirth of Supermoon, Adam Stafford is back too and preparing for a new album, and new signings Le Thug and Garden of Elks will be playing too. There will be a weird, somewhat creepy stage up in the Cage Room, and a raucous off-shoot of the Dingus Rock Slop Fest we’re doing at Paradise Palms in May, with brand new bands Lush Purr and Youngstrr Joey, along with Trashmouth Records signings Bat Bike.

In short, it’s going to be fucking awesome and you should come along.

Long Room:
Numbers Are Futile, Supermoon & Lush Purr

Cage Room:
Adam Stafford & Le Thug

Bongo Club:
Garden of Elks, Bat Bike & Youngstrr Joey

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Paradise Palms Song by Toad Dingus Rock Slop Fest

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If you read this blog on a regular basis (does anyone actually still do that?) you’ll know that there has been a huge explosion of awesome, DIY guitar music coming out of Glasgow recently, and this free entry mini-festival is designed to showcase as much of it as possible.

EVERY WEDNESDAY IN MAY, 7:30pm FREE ENTRY
PARADISE PALMS ON BRISTO SQUARE

We don’t really have a lot of obvious, eye-catching headliners exactly, although you should recognise a good few of those names from various gigs and blog posts over the last year or two, but generally I’m kind of just hoping you’ll be up for just taking my word for it and chancing your arm with these shows. There’s a playlist of all the bands at the bottom of the page to help you make up your mind.

Oddly enough, despite a dozen bands playing at four different shows over the course of a month, I could happily have booked half as many gigs again – there are really just that many fantastic bands playing this kind of shrugged-shoulder guitar music at the moment.  There are often bits of slacker, psyche, lo-fi, punk and surf in there, as well as art- and of course dingus rock. I have no idea what dingus rock actually is, but James from Passion Pusher called his music that and I fucking love the term, so there you go. I know it when I hear it.

Here’s the full lineup:

Wednesday 6th May: Halfrican – Dune Witch Trails – Wendell Borton

Wednesday 13th May: Passion Pusher – DTHPDL – Breakfast Muff

Wednesday 20th May: Spinning Coin – Filth Spector – Andrew R Burns & the Tropicanas

Wednesday 27th May: Strop – Psychic Soviets – alansmithee

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Record Store Day 2015 at Voxbox

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This Saturday (18th April) me and some pals will be going round to VoxBox in Stockbridge for beers and records and live music. People who run record labels will be there, as will lots of musicians, promoters, Darren who runs the shop, and a lot of people who just plain love music. (And, erm, free beer. People who love that too.)

In short, everyone who is involved in the art of music will be getting together and celebrating this thing we all do. As the record industry struggles for an identity it is this interaction that will keep it all together, I think, and recent initiatives like Record Store Day, the Independent Label Markets and Independent Venue Week are a really important way of cementing that.

Spotify can do what it likes, no-one cares what Jay-fucking-Z thinks, and people who love music will continue to write it, record it, make it, sell it and buy it. That’s what Record Store Day is good for, and that’s what I like about it. And the live music – either in the shop itself or over the road in The Last Word – will be as follows:

12:00 Supermoon
12:45 The Holy Ghosts
13:30 Tuff Love
14:15 Miracle Strip
15:00 Gerry Cinnamon
15:45 Delta Mainline
16:30 Randolph’s Leap
17:15 Garden Of Elks

Funnily enough though, VoxBox won’t actually be stocking any Record Store Day exclusive releases. In fact I haven’t even bothered looking up the RSD list, and in all honesty I don’t really care. I don’t think VoxBox is the only good record shop in the city of course, and there will be others which do have the limited stuff, but Darren isn’t doing it this year.

I’ve explained why I like Record Store Day and for all it’s easy to be attracted to the shiny baubles, it’s not really the releases which do it for me. In fact, if you look at the list of labels represented in that poster above I think only one of them is actually doing a proper RSD release. This may sound weird, but the day itself is suffering something of an identity crisis at the moment.

There has been a lot written about the state of Record Store Day recently, and a couple of labels are doing a sort of semi-boycott which led to a rather spirited response from the organisers themselves, and everyone getting a bit hot under the collar and blah blah blah, all the usual pish.

I have some sympathy for both sides of this actually, and in fact the whole spat reminds me rather a lot of my own inner debate about Record Store Day, which I wrote about extensively about four years ago. It’s not quite this simple, but you can break the argument down into a few things: namely that in its favour Record Store Day is a huge boost in cash and promotional awareness for record shops, as well as encouraging interest in unusual releases.

On the negative side, releases from major labels, quite a lot of which are dubious reissues, apparently often pressed without permission, now completely overwhelm all the independent stuff. Apart from starving the indies out of any opportunity to benefit from RSD this also clogs up all the vinyl pressing plants to the extent that even if we aren’t doing anything for RSD our manufacturing lead times are fucked for months either side of it.

Then there are the eBay scalpers who buy things at (an already inflated) retail price and due to scarcity are able to sell them on for instant and considerable profit. These are not music fans, they are just exploitative little shits. Shops rarely get everything they order because of the scarcity, but still have to pay up front because there is no sale or return, meaning they have no idea what their bill is likely to be in advance.

So it’s contentious. I can see the drawbacks. I can’t be arsed doing a release myself, really, as much as I enjoyed our Beer vs. Records project. And actually I can see why Darren can’t be bothered pissing about with all the uncertainties of stocking the releases. Some of my label-running pals say they can sell out a whole pressing of something in a single day, in which case I get it, but we can’t really do that. And every shop you speak to will tell you that the influx of cash is massively important for them.

So I get it. I can see the benefits. But I don’t think you have to succumb to all the frantic mentalism to get a lot out of the day. After all, it’s just supposed to remind you of the importance of independent record shops and their role in the music community, and to encourage you to support them. A deranged frenzy of exclusive releases isn’t really necessary to achieve that.

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