Song, by Toad

Archive for the Video category

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Emily Edrosa – Animal

I have to confess that when I first saw the subject line of this email I thought ‘oh fuck, another tediously earnest singer-songwriter’ and very nearly just deleted it unread. Still, no matter how judgemental I am, I do have a policy of trying to listen to absolutely everything which gets sent through, so I clicked on the video link despite my misgivings and figured I’d give it a go.

At first I thought it must be playing too fast, I have to confess. The rhythm is just weird, and stays weird throughout the song actually, never really seeming to fit with the rest of the tune. It’s great though, pacy and reckless and that mismatch between the rhythm section and the relatively laconic delivery of the vocals is absolutely brilliant when you get your head round it.

This is part of an EP, apparently, so we can look forward to more in the very near future I would hope. And this is why I try and listen to everything, no matter what I think of the email: my tendency to make snap judgements may be vigorous, but it clearly isn’t very accurate.

Bandcamp page is here.

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Brown Brogues – You Don’t Know

Brown Brogues – You Don’t Know from HAUS OF PINS on Vimeo.

I know I don’t usually carpet bomb you with posts about the same damn thing on absolutely every form of media I use, but well, this is just too splendid not to. This video is for a song from Brown Brogues‘ split Cassette Store Day release with Eternal Summers, and it is sheer, joyous genius.

The video absolutely sums up why I think Brown Brogues epitomise what DIY music should be. It’s simple and I would imagine easy enough to actually do (assuming you can find a primary school cavalier enough to let those two idiots anywhere near their pupils, that is), and it’s done in a pretty fast-and-loose, straightforward way too. There is nothing here that anyone else couldn’t do, it’s just that more often than not we don’t.

Any arse can make a video, these days.  Just as any arse can draw their own t-shirts, make their own artwork, dream up daft and weird ideas for playing gigs in weird spaces and in interesting ways. It all can be done, relatively cheaply too, but that’s not enough. You need ideas. You need a genuine personality. And you need to be prepared to persevere and make it work.

I love their music, of course, I suppose that goes without saying given the number of times I’ve mentioned them on the blog, but I really admire the way these lads go about their work too. Brown Brogues, we salute you, you great big mental geniuses you. For more of their stuff, have a look at our recent Toad Session with the band.

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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.