Song, by Toad

Archive for the Video category

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“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.

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New Monoganon and Yusuf Azak Videos

Videos are pretty much the new singles these days, which makes for something of an odd circle. Singles were just singles, then they were videos because of MTV, and then MTV stopped doing music so they became mp3s, then they became streams as the technology caught up, and then people realised that a stream pays nothing whereas YouTube pay at least token royalties so they became videos again. All of which makes it rather frustrating how bad we are at actually making them for our own releases. I am just not a maker of music videos I guess, so it’s harder to embrace that ‘just get the fuck on with it’ ethic we try and live by when it involves asking for favours from other people.

One technique I’ve seen embraced rather a lot is using stock and archive footage and editing it together to fit the song. We’ve done it before ourselves, and Yusuf Azak has done the same thing for the new song Silver Rose (below), which is the first single from his new album Peace in the Underworld, out now on vinyl on Gerry Loves Records. The album will be instantly familiar to all fans of Yusuf’s previous work – his voice pretty much guarantees that – but there is a lot more use of drums, electronics and drum machines on this record.

Monoganon (above) released one of my favourite Scottish albums of 2013 (and along with Sparrow and the Workshop and The Pictish Trail were criminally overlooked by the SAY Awards nomination panel) and have also just released a new video. Not a new song, this is from that album, which is called Family and is available on vinyl from Lost Map Records. It’s basically a fuzzy indie album in the early-nineties sort of vein, if you want a hyper-superficial one-line description, but the melodies are ace throughout and the album as a whole is a fantastic listen. Grumbly but warm.

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New Deathcats Video: Danny Dyer

Is it fair to call this my favourite tune on the new Deathcats album? I think so – it’s certainly there or thereabouts anyway.

With tunes like this, I Wish it Was Summer and TROLL TROLL you wouldn’t call Deathcats the most cerebral band out there at the moment, but they can probably out-fun most stuff coming out of Scotland at the moment. But they aren’t just a superficial good-time band of course, and their last EP, The Raddest (buy here), gave a pretty good idea of the band’s breadth, inhabiting a territory which spanned catchy-as-fuck surf rock through to nasty psychedelic instrumentals.

I’ve not listened to it extensively yet, but the new album sounds like it’s taken a turn for the nasty, after that early stuff. There’s a lot more of the aforementioned psychedelic instrumental meandering, for example, all with a nice, nasty rumble throughout, and the rock songs are sounding really fucking horrible – in a good way of course. But I’ll have more to say about that once I’ve had the chance to have a really good listen.

In the meantime, however, here’s a listen to their fantastic new single Danny Dyer and if you like it, which you should, then you can pre-order the album here, which you should.

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Meursault – Dearly Distracted

Meursault – Dearly Distracted from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

This is the video of Dearly Distracted from The Organ Grinder’s Monkey by Meursault, which you can buy here.  It is, you have to admit, rather different from the Something For the Weakened version. We have christened the genre gloom-pah, which is a progression from epic lo-fi (All Creatures Will Make Merry) and orchestral garage (Weakened) and a very long way from folktronica indeed. Or at least I’d like to fucking think so.

We’ve had three launch nights so far, all at small Edinburgh venues, but the last one will be a full band affair and your last chance to see the album performed in full, tomorrow night at Penicuik Town Hall. It’s BYOB, the 37 and 47 buses go all day and night from central Edinburgh, and you can get tickets here. After this is done I will be getting utterly shitfaced, and spending Sunday sleeping everything off, before dedicating the entire next week to doing all of March’s PR work in the space of five days, before I fly out on Friday.

We’ll be making a video diary of the tour while we’re out there so you can see what we’re spending your generously donated money on, and I promise you it won’t be coke, hookers and massive hipster tattoos. Promise. Well, mostly not, anyway.

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The Ghost Outfit Album is Here

GHOST_OUTFIT_Album_Art_by_Will_Sharp Ghost Outfit are one of those bands who I ended up taking my eye off, as they seemed to quiet for a while. Maybe they didn’t and I just wasn’t paying attention, but it seemed that way.

Anyhow, whilst I was daydreaming and listening to other things they have sneakily completed and released their debut album – the first ever full length on Manchester hipster darlings and all-round nice blokes, Sways Records.

To promote the release the band have recorded three songs in the Manchester museum, filmed by the awesome Manchester Scenewipe.

The videos look smart as hell, particularly with that bloody great t-rex looming over the band, but what surprised me was some of the music.

Having only seen Ghost Outfit on a couple of occasions, I remember them being a lot heavier than, say, Words, the first track from this session. I think of their music as being denser and meaner somehow, but this seems a lot more jangly and melodic.

Switch is perhaps more like what I would have anticipated, sliding into a dissonant exhaustion by two thirds of the way through the song. That’s good news for the album, of course, as a record needs more than just one mood to sustain it, so I found myself wandering off to the Sways web-shop to order the 12″ and I very much look forward to having a listen.

I like the videos, too. In this age of YouTubery and amateur footage doing a good, visually interesting live video is within most people’s grasp, and rather than come up with a tired or half-executed video concept, this works really well.

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Law – Hustle

There really ain’t much on the internet about Law Holt, but this really is very, very good.  She shares a manager, I believe, with Anticon’s Young Fathers, who are based here in Edinburgh too. Well, either that, or the fact that he is both their manager and also my friend meant he simply passed something my way he thought I would like – I forgot to ask – but Young Fathers are definitely involved somehow.

Whilst we get on well, and agree about most things when it comes to aimless music industry chatter, Tim and I don’t actually share that much musical taste in common. Bagel Project was one we agreed upon recently, however, with that odd combination of muffled RnB vocals, stumbling samples and fuzzy lo-fi, and I think there is a link between the two – it’s probably how he guessed I might like this stuff anyway.

The assembly of the actual music is woozy and grumbly, with shades of dreampop and lo-fi. The vocals have a slightly glutinous quality, with the enticing impression of someone who could cut loose and warble the shit out of a song if she so chose, but who instead keeps it subtle and restrained. As this is music slightly out of my general area of familiarity I have no idea what I will make of future stuff, beyond the one song there seems to be available on the internet at the moment, but I will most certainly be going along on the 2nd May to the Love Music Hate Racism event at the Voodoo Rooms to find out more.

 

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Song, by Toad at SXSW 2013 – Day 3

A quick video diary of our time at the the SXSW festival 2013, featuring Cheetahs, Paws, Thee Oh Sees, Sky Ferreira, Youth Lagoon & Mac Demarco.

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Song, by Toad at SXSW 2013 – Day 2

A quick video diary of our time at the the SXSW festival 2013, featuring Sinkane, Delorean, Wampire and Suuns.

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Song, by Toad at SXSW 2013 – Day 1

A quick video diary of our time at the the SXSW festival 2013, featuring Holy Esque, Paws, Foxygen, Jim James, and Vic Galloway and Ally McCrae from the BBC.

The rest of the videos will be added to this playlist as they are completed.

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Song, by Toad at SXSW Interactive 2013

A quick video diary of our time at the Interactive part of the SXSW festival 2013, before all the mental music shit kicked off.