Song, by Toad

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Halfrican Have Been Busy

halfrican Halfrican have played a couple of gigs for us through in Edinburgh, tonight they headline the first Paradise Palms Song by Toad Dingus Rock Slop Fest, and they’ve been busy boys so I thought I might share some of their new stuff with you.

For those who don’t know the band, they play fuzzy, surfy garage rock , but their new single is a little heavier than their earlier stuff and I like that.

As well as the Life is Hard/He’s Around AA-side 7″ they’re working with the awful bastards our pals at long-time Toad nemesis Gerry Loves Records on a four-way split 7″ release, which looks really good. Sharptooth (who you might also remember from a Toad gig) are on that split 7″, as well the Pinact, who rather inexplicably have never ended up on one of our bills at all.

Anyhow, get down to the Paradise Palms tonight (that really is a most un-Edinburgh start to a sentence) to see this lot, the excellent Dune Witch Trails and Aberdonian newcomers Wendell Borton. It’ll be loud and quite possibly not the most polished gig you’ve ever been to, but it’s free and why bother voting tomorrow without a massive hangover.

You’ll need another one soon anyway if that awful cunt Hamface gets back in. Someone please reassure me that we’re not that collectively fucking stupid. Please.

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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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Rust2Rome T-Shirts – The Crapper the Car the Greater the Glory

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First off, sorry to the music people, but this post has absolutely nothing to do with music. Secondly, sorry to the Rust2Rome people for making you come to a site which is all about music you probably hate just to buy a t-shirt, but I wasn’t sure where else was best to put this.

But in short: I have made some Rust2Rome t-shirts (navy with white print) and hoodies (blue with *kinda* silver print) with a scribble of the Black Pearl and the motto “The Crapper the Car the Greater the Glory”, which you can buy below if you fancy.

I’ll be back on Rust2Rome again this year, in Bette once more, doing the Swiss Alps route and then again on the veterans Rust2Romania trip as well, and Mrs. Toad in all her glorious indifference will be with me on the second one. I’ll be coming to the leaving parties too, so I’ve broken these down into two categories: I can post you the shirts out, or if you’d rather save the postage I can just bring them to the leaving parties and hand them over – just let me know in the Paypal comments when you complete the transaction – there is an option to send a message to the seller.

I am sorry the buttons look such a fucking mess, but Paypal embed codes and this site seem to absolutely hate one another.

Anyhow, if you want me to just hand-deliver them, use the Paypal buttons below:

Hoodie:


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T-shirt:


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And if you’d rather I just posted it out to you, then use these ones:

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And here are a few pics:

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Coin Locker Kid

coinlockerkid ‘Unapologetic art rap’ is not really the kind of music you would expect me to get into, really, is it. And having been raised in Austria I can certainly tell you that music from there is generally not the sort of thing I would expect to warm to either.

Oddly enough, though, I’ve found a surprising amount of stuff from Austria I’ve liked in the last few years. Not a lot, mostly little isolated gems here and there, but certainly way more than I was ever aware of when I lived there.

And as for the art rap? Well, seriously, just listen to this. If you want to make the very loftiest comparisons I suppose you could inflect early Jib Kidder with a bit of The Books and be sort of close-ish.

There are lovely moments, some discordant wailing, layers of samples going in every direction and plenty and plenty of ‘what the fuck is even going on here’ moments. It’s really all over the place, and in all honesty I am still digesting what I really think about it. There are times when it all gets a bit annoying, but he still has a pretty good nose for when to reign it back in and do something less confrontational.

There’s quite a lot of stuff on their Bandcamp page too, and I am only just starting to go through it now so I can’t tell you too much, apart from the fact that Sweet Caroline, yes that Sweet Caroline, is incorporated quite fantastically into the first track of Traumnovelle, which all in all seems so far like a slightly less weird cousin to Hailstorm & Maelstrom. It’s still pretty awesome though, and all this stuff is downloadable on a pay what you like basis too.

What an excellent surprise to open my emails to this morning.

And for just a little bit of added ‘what the actual fuck':

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MAYDAY! Emergency Toad Gig Guide For the Month

bear I have no idea how I ended up doing this, but it’s mainly, I suppose, because there’s no such thing as a silly idea I am not prepared to run with and make even sillier. The result being that during the month of May, the last week of which I won’t won’t even be in the country for, I am putting on no less than seven gigs in Edinburgh – pretty much two a week all month.

So, to help you out, here is a basic outline of everything, with clickable links to more information:

Paradise Palms Song by Toad Dingus Rock Slop Fest – every Wednesday in May, a free lineup of the very best undiscovered gems in Scottish guitar music at the Paradise Palms on Bristo Square.

Song, by Toad Hidden Door Showcase – an eight band bill of bands on the label, and bands I just happen to really like on Saturday 23rd May at the Hidden Door Festival. It will also be the album launch for Numbers Are Futile’s debut album Sunlight on Black Horizon.

Two BAD FUN nights at Henry’s, with Joey Fourr and Virgin of the Birds on the 16th and Rob St. John on the 29th.

And, if that’s too general, here is a list for you:

Wednesday 6th May at Paradise Palms (free entry):
Halfrican, Dune Witch Trails and Wendell Borton

Wednesday 13th May at Paradise Palms (free entry):
Passion Pusher, DTHPDL and Breakfast Muff

Saturday 16th May at Henry’s (tickets):
Virgin of the Birds, Joey Fourr, Sharptooth and Onions

Wednesday 20th May at Paradise Palms (free entry):
Spinning Coin, Filth Spector and Andrew R. Burns & the Tropicanas

Saturday 23rd May at the Hidden Door Festival (tickets):
Long Room: Le Thug, Supermoon and Numbers Are Futile
Cage Room: Garden of Elks (acoustic) and Adam Stafford
Bongo Club: Youngstrr Joey, Lush Purr and Bat Bike

Wednesday 27th May at Paradise Palms (free entry):
Strop (formerly Froth), Psychic Soviets and alansmithee

Friday 29th May at Henry’s (tickets):
BAD FUN with Rob St. John, Eerie Idles and Elara Caluna

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I Think I’m Starting to Suffer From Fucking Stockholm Syndrome

pimms It’s funny how these things go in circles. I am not actually all that English. I have dual nationality (my father is Canadian) and was raised in Austria and Singapore. My mum’s family are all English, but I have lived there for no more than about seven years of my adult life, and a lot of that was in London, which doesn’t especially feel part of England really.

I’ve always embraced a lot of the English sides to my heritage – football, music, stuff like that – but I grew up in a time when the Falklands war, bacon-faced football hooligans and Maggie Thatcher also represented England and given that Canada is about as politically innocuous as anywhere in the world (although don’t look too closely at the current government when you say that) and that Vienna was my home at the time, I never thought of myself as particularly English when I was growing up. In fact I was actively fucking embarrassed by the English people at my school who kept going on about baked beans and god knows what and even singing Rule Britannia at times to express just how wonderful things were back in Blighty. We lived in fucking Vienna, for fuck’s sake, how can you possibly pine for fucking Nottingham or wherever the fuck it was when you live in Vienna?

The only thing which really ‘turned me English’, funnily enough, was moving to Scotland. I don’t know where I got my accent from, but I suspect it was the BBC World Service. In our last couple of years at school a lot of the kids rather inexplicably affected American accents and that irritated me so much I very determinedly turned away from it, and I think the only real alternative influence I had back then was probably listening to the football on the World Service. That’s a guess, but it sounds plausible.

Anyhow, when I moved to Glasgow to study at age eighteen I was introduced to the ‘English Cunt’ school of Scottish hospitality. Partly, I suppose, because I was well into my football but also just because that’s how it seemed to work in Glasgow, I was just English. For the first little while I would answer that hyper-aggressive ‘hoi you – are you fucking English?’ question with a factual response. ‘No not really. I’ve never really lived there and I’m half Canadian, but I was actually raised in Austria’.

That wasn’t the point of the question, of course. It was just good old-fashioned Scottish racism. And don’t give me that shit about ‘prejudice + power’ and being a Western white man I can’t possibly be the victim of racism, because when you sound like I do and you’re in a pub in a ropey part of Glasgow watching an English football match on the telly surrounded by people pricking their ears up at your accent you’d be straining credulity to suggest that I was the one with the power in that particular situation. It wasn’t especially bad most of the time, but there were definitely times when it was very oppressive and some where it was actually pretty fucking scary.

And as I assume a lot of people who have been mocked, attacked or just generally singled out for something they can’t really change will tell you, it makes you jumpy about everyone, even in a small way, but it also has a habit of cementing your relationship with whatever it is you’re being singled out for. English? Fucking English? Yes, fuck you I’m English, what are you, fucking Sherlock fucking Holmes. Getting constant hassle for being English made me defiantly embrace my English side, even though it was never something I really identified with before.

Anyone who listens to the podcasts regularly will know I still hold onto a couple of the sillier stereotypes I ended up embracing during that time, but that’s kind of what it does, I guess. You either start apologising for something you can’t do a fucking thing about – and being abused for being English when you aren’t really English is downright confusing – or you tell people to fuck off and refuse to apologise. You embrace their stereotype as a way of telling them that you will not be fucking ashamed of it.

Now I am not claiming to be a serious victim of persecution here, or that I suffered especially. One or two rather hairy moments aside, the whole thing was at its worst just really annoying. The only reason I even bring it up is that having been sort of forced into Englishness by the Scottish, I rather oddly feel like I am now being rather forced into Scottishness by the English.

I mean, I’ve lived here far longer now than I have anywhere else, I’ve made my home here, married a Scottish woman and contributed far more to Scottish cultural life, and have in turn been more enriched by it, than I have anywhere else. But I am still pretty clearly not Scottish.

But listening to the increasingly venomous anti-Scottish rhetoric coming from the UK establishment, which flickered into life during the referendum but has become something of a blaze since it became clear that No prevailing during the referendum didn’t exactly constitute a pledge of obedience, I find myself with that same old feeling of ‘fuck you, we’ll vote for who we fucking well please, thank you’. ‘We’. It’s a different issue this time, and of course #notallglaswegians and #notallenglishmen etc etc but I think my reaction is the same thing deep down.

I voted Yes in the independence referendum, as you probably know, but I find it depressingly revealing, if hardly a massive shock, that the Westminster establishment were desperate for Scotland to remain part of the Union, but equally horrified at the idea that we have any say in how that union is actually run. How is the SNP being a partner to a minority Labour government any more devoid of legitimacy than the countless fucking Tory governments who decimated the North of England and fucked up the lives of people who never voted for them, or the Tories propped up by the Ulster Unionists way back when, or anyone else having a party involved in government that they didn’t vote for – like the Lib Dems in the last government. Or like, say, the Tories, who run the UK despite having about as much credibility across Scotland as the Monster Raving fucking Loony Party?

And the question I am asking is not about whether the SNP are good, bad or indifferent, it is simply about watching the two major British political parties telling all of Scotland that their entirely free and fair democratic choices are somehow worthless, illegitimate or seen in some way as dangerous or devious. I know this is just political posturing by the Tories to reclaim the UKIP vote, or Labour to woo the centrist and business vote by asserting their neoliberal credentials, but the net result is the two main parties telling a whole country to basically fuck off.

And suddenly with all this hostility towards the democratic will of the same people whose democratic will gave them what they said they fucking wanted back in September – in which case aren’t we supposed to all be one big happy family these days – I find myself developing this really weird sense of defiant Scottish identity. As anyone who read my post about why I was voting Yes will know, patriotism is not something I respect very much. You can love the place you live or were raised or whatever, and I do both, but go much further than that and you are in the territory of reverse racism – thinking that where you just happened to be born makes you in some way special.  Or of what Doug Stanhope characterised as taking credit for a bunch of things which had nothing to do with you. Or as a friend of mine said, claiming some sort of weird ownership of a portion of land which existed for millennia before you and will exist for millennia more after you are gone, and which in any case is inhabited by millions of other people with just as little right to claim it as you, and who may think of it entirely differently.

But the worse the screeching from the press and the mainstream politicians (and, god forbid, the fucking comments sections of the national newspapers) gets, the more I find myself referring to Scotland as ‘we’. It is our democratic choice, not yours, and if you didn’t want us to have a fucking vote in your fucking country you should have encouraged us to fuck the fuck off when you had the chance.

Mind you I bet if I go to watch the footie in Glasgow again anytime soon I’ll probably still get called an English cunt.

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Shards – Just Something to Get Started

I don’t really know anything at all about this band, apart from the fact that Stephen from Edinburgh band Collar Up (and an arch-nemesis of mine from the Edinburgh amateur football leagues) is involved in one way or another. I am not really sure how he is involved, but he sent me the song, so that’s about it.

It’s theatrical in a way, but slow and dreamy, almost as if it’s stiffly staring off into the middle distance. The vocal and the really, really restrained instrumentation work fantastically together. It reminds me really strongly of something I can’t quite call to mind, but as one-song introductions to new bands go this sounds extremely promising. I eagerly await more.

Keep an eye on their Soundcloud page here, for when more stuff materialises.

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Crystal Shipsss – I Will See No Moon No Sky

shipss Jacob Faurholt has sent me quite a bit of stuff over the years, and I’ve always quite liked it, but somehow never really written about it. This, on the other hand, has gone from my inbox to the pages of the blog in about a day, which is pretty rare around here.

It’s gorgeous, drifting between something akin to heavy psyche and dreamy post-rock, with some experimental droney soundscapes mixed in for good measure, and I am not sure which end of the spectrum I prefer.

Faurholt’s is an interesting voice, quite high and thin, and on the more ambient tracks it works well, adding a dreamy element to an already textured and hypnotic collage, but when the music itself is at its heaviest is when I think I like the vocal the best. I don’t think I’ve heard many bands combine that kind of light, fragile vocal delivery with such dark, dense psyche, and the juxtaposition is fantastic.

Drum is incredible for that. Nasty, doomy guitars and this vocal peeking out like occasional rays of sunshine poking through the darkest of thunderclouds. Their own description of the music as being “like a bird trapped in a chimney” seems rather apt.

It’s out on really limited run clear red vinyl which looks gorgeous and which you can buy here. I’d move fast – unless people are complete idiots these shouldn’t hang around for long.

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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

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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