Song, by Toad

Archive for the Song by Toad Records category

avatar

Apologies For the David Thomas Broughton Delay

spiral-clock This week was technically the release for Sliding the Same Way, the awesome new album by David Thomas Broughton and the Juice Vocal Ensemble, but unfortunately the manufacturing has seen a bit of a delay, so we’re actually a wee while away from getting the physical products in our pudgy little hands I’m afraid.

Basically, this is because of me trying to do something a bit special and clever, and I completely underestimated how long it would take to iron out the wrinkles with the manufacturer unfortunately, so everything has taken forever to get finalised in a way they were happy they could actually print properly.

On the plus side, the reason it took so long is because they’re pretty picky about things and the quality is always top notch, so I would rather we were a bit late and the quality stayed high, than that they cowboyed something through because I was pushing them with deadlines and the end result ended up being a bit shit.

They have a few remaining tour dates, so you should go and see them if you can. They’re all listed here, if you’re interested.

So apologies to yourselves, and most of all to David and Juice of course, but we are on it and it will be here soon.  In the meantime, here’s Yorkshire Fog, which is bloody ace.

avatar

Jonnie Common – Shark

This is the first single from the new Jonnie Common album, and it’s fucking ace. The album, Trapped in Amber, is out on Halloween of this year, on vinyl or CD, and you can pre-order a copy here.

Shark is a tune which also appears on our last Split 12″, but this version is a totally different beast. It’s been described as chilled-out Kraftwerk or Glasgae Beck, and erm, well I am not going to critique those two descriptions, but they did make me laugh.

avatar

“Lifers” – Mini Documentary

This is a really nice wee documentary about professionalism within the music industry which I was interviewed for a while back. There’s lots of good stuff in there, and it’s pretty brief too, so you’ve no excuse not to watch the whole lot. Made by the excellent Alex Watson – thanks Alex!

I’ve not really expressed this thought before, but one of the points I make in the video doesn’t get discussed that often.  I was asked about the continuing importance of labels and I had this to say, more or less:

Labels are still hugely important. They have experience releasing records, an audience of their own, and they have contacts and a reputation within the industry which is crucial. Where labels’ role is changing is that they no longer control the relationships and processes which make the most money.

As labels have less cash, bands are increasingly recording their own albums or funding the recording themselves and that means they control all their own copyrights. As publishing becomes an increasingly important revenue stream, that means that the money flows between the band and their publisher and the label often has little to do with it. Most labels have no way of involving themselves in live revenues either, and if a band can afford to do it, they generally (and should) control their own merch too, and the profit margins there can be decent as well. 

Consequently if you’re just licensing someone else’s intellectual property, manufacturing it and announcing its release, it’s actually a relatively limited financial model you have to operate within as a modern independent label.

And there you go, that’s today’s wee thought to chew on, if you’re of a mind to ponder the inner rumblings of the music industry in the 21st Century.

Tags:
avatar

Song, by Toad Says YES!

[Advance warning: this is too long, and if you can't be fucked, don't read it. I am not adding anything new to the debate, I'm just another idiot parping out their own opinion for no better reason than, I suppose, a bit of vanity. Don't feel compelled to indulge me.]

I know no-one really cares what I think, but fuck it, I think is how democracy is supposed to work these days. People voice their opinions on the internet, read what a wide variety of people have to say and then decide which bits they do and do not agree with. Besides, I quite like the idea of nailing one’s colours to the mast when it comes to this kind of thing. It’s a pretty important question, after all, given that between the record label and Mrs. Toad’s job, we are probably now committed to spending the rest of our lives in Scotland.

Of course, I am not talking about the views of anyone on the label, which are fairly mixed I think, if perhaps vaguely Yes-leaning, but they are the business of the artists themselves and if you’re interested then you’ll have to ask them. I speak just for myself.

This could get long, like all the articles on this subject, but I’ll try and break it down into chunks so you can skim or skip entirely, depending on which arguments you can and cannot be bothered seeing re-hashed on the internet for the millionth fucking time. I think one of the reasons I am writing this is that I see it as a genuinely difficult decision and, for all once you’ve decided, you really have decided and there’s no going back, anyone who thinks it’s really simple one way or the other is just not thinking straight, whether because of ideology or simple rose-tinted excitement.

But it’s not simple. I don’t think any of the Yes arguments are as straight-forwardly compelling as a lot of the people making them seem to think they are, and I certainly don’t think any of the dire No warnings are all that realistic either. It’s muddy. It’s politics, and it’s people, and people are weird, unpredictable, vain, selfish and stupid as much as we can be generous, noble or compassionate. All of us are, in one sense or another, and that’s the country we will inevitably get. Read the rest of this entry »

avatar

New Jonnie Common Album Coming Soon

Yes, that’s right, after years of relentless badgering Jonnie Common has agreed to release an album with Song, by Toad Records. Actually, to be fair, he had every intention of sticking with the excellent Red Deer Club, who did a fine job with his last album, but for logistical reasons it wasn’t possible so, y’know, he had to make do with us in the end.

It may not always be all that obvious, but it’s actually a tremendously meaningful thing when an artist you really admire actually entrusts you with the job of doing the best thing with their work, so I was pretty touched when Jonnie asked us to do this. I’ve been a fan of his since his Down the Tiny Steps years, so I am absolutely delighted to be able to do a formal release with him at last.

I’ll not say too much now, as we have a new single to release next week, but for now know that you can pre-order the album on CD or vinyl from here, and that the CD version comes with two versions of the album so you can pick which one you prefer. Or just alternate between the two, your call.

The album is called Trapped in Amber and will be released on Halloween 2014, and we are currently working on some excellent launch nights for you, so keep an eye out for further announcements.

For now, until we release the new single next week (although the excellent Steve Lamacq played it on 6Music just under 45 minutes into his show the other day), just enjoy this gorgeous video of a rather brilliant song which might or might not be on the album. I say ‘might’ because, y’know, IT’S A SECRET!

avatar

David Thomas Broughton and Juice Tour

tour2

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.

 

avatar

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:

avatar

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.

avatar

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.

avatar

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

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on Mixcloud

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)