Song, by Toad

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Trips and Falls – Your Consequences Are Bullshit

Trips and Falls are fucking ace. We released their third album last year, The Inevitable Consequences of Your Stupid Behavior, and they have just completed this remix project with their friend Justin Hamilton, and it’s bloody brilliant.

It’s basically a single, seventeen-minute song consisting of chopped up and remixed songs from the album, and it’s ace. The woozy weirdness mixed with pop sensibilities which drew me to the band in the first place is pushed right over to the weird side of the spectrum here, and it works fantastically well.

For a band who had a (brilliant) song on their first album – You Should Really Get Yours – which pretty much sounds like it’s being played backwards, their latest album was actually relatively sensible by comparison, but without changing the feel of the songs themselves too much they’ve managed to really tease out the idiosyncratic core, and produce a really compelling work of psychedelic* weirdness. Great stuff.

The band have these thank-yous, so I thought I should pass them on too:

First we would like to thank Justin Hamilton for his work on these remixes, without which this project would have never happened. Also, Mr. Jeremy Schruder who masterfully took all of the pics associated with this project. Thanks Jer! Mr. Orson Presence for his recording, his extra help, his patience, and his skill.

Lastly, Jacob would like to specially thank Natasha Desmarais and Alec Dippie who put up with his ridiculous ideas, and without whom, none of the rest of these productions would be even possible in the first place. Thanks!

*Yes, I know, everything’s fucking psychedelic these days. Even I’m at it now. I hang my head in shame.

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Upcoming Toad Gigs

direstraits

After a wee break and a couple of house shows, we actually have quite a lot of gigs coming up in the next little while, and that’s without even having thought about our New Year’s House Gig yet.

Obviously you are morally obliged to come to absolutely all of these shows and if you don’t attend each and every one I will secretly suspect that our friendship is based upon nothing more than a tissue of lies and pity. And if you can’t manage all of them then, erm, well one would be nice if you’re up for it. Please. They will be great shows, I promise.

couchking

Passion Pusher EP launch shows:

This Saturday 8th Nov – Voxbox, Edinburgh
With Sean Armstrong (The Yawns)
Sunday 9th Nov – Flying Duck, Glasgow
With FROTH, Herbert Powell Youngstrr Joey

These shows may have been a little hastily arranged, but they mark two important events: our first formal release with Passion Pusher, and our first ever cassette release.  James calls his genre ‘dingus rock’ which I have to confess I rather like, and I suppose you could throw slacker and lo-fi in there too, but those terms get applied to fucking everything these days. Slop rock maybe, because it has that sort of feel to it where you’re not sure if he would perhaps rather be playing computer games rather than singing the songs, but the end results happen to turn out brilliantly anyway.

Jonnie Common Album Launch Digiflyer

Jonnie Common album launch shows:

Thursday 13th Nov – Downstairs, Aberdeen
Friday 14th Nov – Pilrig St. Paul’s, Edinburgh
Saturday 15th Nov – Glad Café, Glasgow

Jonnie’s album may be mired in manufacturing delays (sorry everyone) but we will have copies on CD in time for the album launches. Jonnie just recorded a session with Vic Galloway (including an absolutely awesome John Cooper Clarke cover) which you can listen to here. In Aberdeen he will be joined by Christ and Colin Austin, and the Edinburgh and Glasgow shows will be with Wolf and poet Ross Sutherland.

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My fucking birthday!

Wednesday 19th Nov – Henry’s, Edinburgh
The Pictish Trail, Two White Cranes & Owen McAulay

Quite why I have volunteered to work on my own fucking birthday I don’t know, but when Roxy from Two White Cranes got in touch asking about gigs in Edinburgh on the 18th or 19th of November I thought why the fuck not, let’s have a laugh and see some great bands. And I haven’t seen Johnny Pictish play solo for bloody ages either, and he is, despite being head of Song, by Toad Records’ most deadly rival, fucking ace at music.

eww

Song, by Toad Christmas Parties:

Wednesday 3rd Dec – Total Refreshment Centre, London
Jonnie Common, Plastic Animals & Numbers Are Futile

Saturday 20th Dec – Henry’s, Edinburgh
Plastic Animals, Garden of Elks & erm, some other things.

We have two Christmas parties planned for this year, one down in London and one our traditional Edinburgh drunken train-wreck. London will be a bit of a label showcase, with a van-full of muppets heading down from the North to bring actual music and culture to our impoverished cousins in the South. Young Fathers won the Mercury, right? So England will be looking to Scotland for cultural leadership from now on, right?

In Edinburgh we shall have various friends doing weird and silly songs for a bit, and then some Proper Guitar Bands, and finally Irregular Owl Movements and Mrs. Toad DJ sets. God fucking help us.

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Toadcast #308 – Broken Records Toad Session v2

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Photos – Flickr
Session tracks Soundcloud – zip download (right click – save as)
Interview podcast – mp3 – iTunes – Mixcloud (playlist at bottom of page)

So this is the second Broken Records Toad Session. We actually packed a band with four guitarists and a full drum kit into our living room and decided that, fuck it, of course it would sound fine. And you know what, somewhat magically it does. Alright the drums could have done with more than one mic, and perhaps we didn’t have all that much control when we had to use one mic for two guitar amps, but they recordings sound really good if you ask me.

The reason we did a second session with Broken Records is because our first was recorded in the dark days of the internet when YouTube footage was published in 640 x 480 format and those videos now look like they were recorded back before steam trains. Ironically, and to my infinite frustration, having decided to do another session in order to upgrade the quality of what we did all those years ago, we actually managed to lose all the video for this one. Yes, all of it. We actually managed to lose an entire camera when we moved house, including the memory card with all my video on it, and Gavin’s hard drive, containing all his shots, had a meltdown too, so all that went as well.

I cannot express how much hair-pulling has taken place ransacking old drives for backup versions, nor how incredibly sorry I am for the band going to all that effort only for this to happen, but there’s nothing for it I’m afraid. It just isn’t there. So what you get instead is a series of photos by Nic Rue, the interview podcast and our session recordings. It’s all really, really good stuff, but not having the video still makes me smash my head against the fucking desk.

Full interview podcast:

Toadcast #308 – Broken Records Toad Session v2 by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Session tracks:

Podcast playlist:

01. Broken Records – Winterless Son (Toad Session) (00.21)
02. Sun Kil Moon – Pancho Villa (10.32)
03. Electrelane – The Partisan (15.41)
04. Broken Records – Weights & Pulleys (Toad Session) (23.52)
05. Stereolab – Super Electric (29.08)
06. The B-52s – Love Shack (34.26)
07. Broken Records – All Else Can Just Wait (Toad Session) (49.23)
08. Car Seat Headrest – Bodys (56.44)
09. Mark Eitzel – Proclaim Your Joy (1.03.55)
10. Broken Records – Wolves (Toad Session) (1.16.10)

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Passion Pusher – Couch King EP

couchking

When I first came across Passion Pusher it was through another one of those infamous emails where little information is exchanged beyond ‘hey, listen to my music’. In terms of PR advice that would be considered a disaster of course, but for some reason I quite like those emails and I’ve found some of my favourite bands by following this kind of rather unpromising suggestion.

Back then there was some great stuff on James’ Bandcamp page, and I was really intrigued, but I have to confess that the subsequent and ongoing avalanche of new material was so completely overwhelming that I rather lost track of what the fuck was going on.

Earlier this year, however, I was sent four songs with infinitely better sound and focus than anything I’d really heard before, and thus this EP was born: Passion Pusher’s first formal release and our first cassette release. There are launch nights on Sunday at the Flying Duck in Glasgow, and this Saturday at VoxBox in Edinburgh (this is a daytime show), so please come along and pick up a copy. I’d like to do more tape releases actually, so hopefully this one will go relatively well.

Passion Pusher has also agreed to be on our next Split 12″ along with Now Wakes the Sea, Sean Armstrong and Andrew R Burns, set to be recorded just as soon as we get our warehouse properly sound-proofed.

And in the meantime, why not have a listen to Couch King below and buy a copy here.

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Threes and Will & Huerequeque – Blue Thirteen

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I played a tune from this on the podcast last week, and I have been listening to it all week. It’s sort of nice that I have found an awesome Estonian band, give Tiit Kusnets on Klassikaraadio in Estonia plays our label stuff over there on such a regular basis.

It’s fair to say, I suppose, that this ain’t really pop music. It is full of harsh distorted amp tones and harsh growls with just the barest hints of the melody buried below, but there is just enough to make it actually eminently – can I really use this word for this kind of music? – ‘enjoyable’ to listen to.

This is being released on Blue Tapes. They are a label I don’t really know much about, but their site is beautiful, they seem really interesting and they have a LOT to say on the subject of releasing tapes as opposed to any other format. They seem to release a lot of experimental and abstract stuff, mixed with spoken word and, well, just interesting, weird shit.

The penultimate song, Hullumeelsuse Mägedes, is perhaps a little boomingly harsh, with it’s cycling, metallic guitar tone. I can see Mrs. Toad casting me slightly nervous looks as this one ground its way into it fourth or fifth minute. And because the guitars operate so low in the EQ spectrum the drums can sound a bit tinny as their low end is almost entirely absent, but for the most part, abrasive as it is, this is a bloody great listen.

The ongoing, persistent rumble of those guitars pretty much makes this worth listening to all by itself.

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Young Fathers on Edinburgh’s Creative Environment

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I wasn’t going to mention Young Fathers’ Mercury Prize win here, because given I haven’t talked about them all that much in the past it would have felt a little bit like hypocritical attention-seeking on the back of their success to suddenly start mentioning them now that they’re in the news.

But but but but… that was before I read this interview in the Guardian in which G gets stuck into Edinburgh council for not supporting the arts in the city at all:

“Edinburgh council are really fucking bad. They shut down anything if you try to make noise. I’ve been in studios where these guys come with meters and tell you to get out. It’s a city for tourists and rich, middle-class people, it’s not made for people to be creative.”

This needs to be said, and needs to be said again and again. The Edinburgh Festival does NOT make Edinburgh an artistic city. The self-image of this town utterly ignores the artistic communities working here, spaces and venues are absolutely never supported and there appears to be absolutely no effort whatsoever to encourage what is happening here between the months of September and July . There are good things happening here, but I have never seen any sign that anyone outwith the tiny communities of dogged supporters actually gives the tiniest fragment of a fuck about any of it.

Consequently, the people actually working in the arts here are amongst some of the people I admire the most: that kind of perseverance in the face of general indifference, if not outright hostility, takes seriously thick skin and serious determination. And as for the handfuls of loyal fans who are the only ones who give us the encouragement we desperately need, well bless you all, you brilliant bastards.

Young Fathers won this despite Edinburgh, not because of it. Well done lads.

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Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley – Music and Words

wordsandmusic Well I know nothing about this whatsoever, beyond the very basics implied by the title of the record. The pre-order link doesn’t work at all, and I’ve not seen anything in the press about it, nor has anyone been in touch asking me to cover it.

[Edit: all working properly now!]

The obvious question, then, is what I can possibly achieve by simply posting up a single song with no context and no ability to really provide any.

Well, listen to it and you’ll see.

Basically it starts out sort of nice, becomes sort of weird, and by the end is, erm, well why would I ruin the surprise. Listen to it, you really do have to, there is no other way. There’s certainly no point me describing it to you, that’s for sure.

And once you’ve listened you’ll know why I have no compunction writing about this now, before they’ve really got their act together with pre-orders and before I really know anything about the album: this is going to come up again, it’s pretty certain.

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Krista Michaela

krimi Krista Michaela is the stage name of a lass called Krista Anderson, who I found out about because she sings on the BRAAINZZ EP I wrote about the other day.

She has a fair bit of stuff over at her own Bandcamp page, and it’s really good. Spectral, fuzzy and wafting all over the place, with minimal instrumentation, but a gloriously strong sense of minimalism, these songs are put together with so little that each element takes on more importance. You notice everything. It’s gorgeous.

Her first stuff was published late last year from the looks of it, so it would appear these are relatively tentative home recordings, but they sound really good, and seem to be something of a piece with where lo-fi went after the raucous guitar bands started to cross over into the (very borderline) mainstream. Chillwave may have been a joke genre, but elements of that vaseline-lensed dreaminess seem to have spilled over into lo-fi and slacker areas and created a sort of sloppy, ultra-shambling style which is quite popular at the moment, and which I rather like.

This isn’t quite like that, in that the vocals are delivered with conviction, but there is definitely a sense of distance and other-worldliness which you hear in a lot of the stuff I’ve just described. I sometimes think music in this realm leans a bit too heavily on tone and atmosphere rather than melody, and I suppose that can apply here at times, but in general I really like the sound of this stuff, and she seems like a really promising musician.

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BRAAINZZ – Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper

braainzz I’ve written about BRAAINZZ before. They’re weird as fuck, but they happen to be a really rather good band once you get used to all the vocoders and time-warping and general love for making you wonder if you’re listening to music that was made on purpose or entirely by accident when someone had Logic open and spilled a can of fizzy juice all over their computer.

It’s hard to argue with an album where Mrs. God plays cello though, if we’re being honest.

One of the things I like most about them is that in amongst all this perverse, messy nonsense, moments of clarity occasionally appear, just to remind you that this lot do genuinely know what they are doing, and all the weird elements of the music are as considered as any more conventional sounding tunes you’ll hear.

There’s a cracking Walkmen cover on here, for example, and while it doesn’t sound all that much like The Walkmen themselves, it’s actually pretty straight-edged by the standards of this lot. Needless to say, though, they descend into incomprehensible mess pretty much immediately afterwards, just in case you were in danger of getting the wrong idea.

Amazingly, with all these noises which border on the just plain silly, they seem to have a real flair for melancholy music. And actually it works pretty well. Even with the vocoder and the squeaks and the beeps.

Shroom folk. Wyrd pop. That’s what they call themselves. And, as they say, it sounds like nonsense but makes total sense once you listen to the music. I have no idea how or why this lot are good, but they really are.

Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper is their third EP and can be downloaded for free here.

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Allison Crutchfield – Lean In To It

lean You’ve heard me talk an awful lot about Kingfisher Bluez in the past- they released Adam Stafford’s album in North America, and released a Rick Redbeard single quite recently as well.

In fact I reckon if I were living in Vancouver (which a large part of me would love to) then Tim and I might well find ourselves squabbling over the same bands a lot of the time. They have a mind-bogglingly prolific release rate as well, and every time I go to their Bandcamp page it seems there are a small handful of new releases I’ve never heard of before.

One of the latest to go up there is this – a pre-order for an absolutely fantastic-sounding 12″ by Allison Crutchfield which will be available sometime just before Christmas. In other words, soon.

It’s lo-fi pop music, basically, with keyboards and drum machines fleshing out the sound, but most songs relying on relatively simple melodies not unlike the style of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone.

There’s plenty of gravel and distortion in the backing, but for all Allison’s voice is relatively low in the mix, it’s still clear and strong, which means this doesn’t just sound like yet another deliberately self-sabotaging lo-fi pop artist hiding behind their own effects – there is plenty of fuzz, but it is used with care and to really, really good effect.

I love a duet, and standout tunes for me would be the duet with Sam Cook-Parrott on Lupe, a tune he co-wrote, as well as You and Supermoon – all lovely singing, with a really nice sense of strength, brought by the insistent pace of the artificial percussion. It just rattles along, even through the songs which themselves seem to waver a little more.

It may have a slight air of vulnerability to it, but that’s really just her voice, and even so it’s pretty minimal, but these are (generally short) sharp, self-contained pop songs and this is an excellent record.