Song, by Toad

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Song, by Toad Records Sampler 2014

a1625803646_2 Yep, it’s that time of year again – the time when I try and parlay your loyalty and support into something altogether more cynical and tawdry: email addresses for our mailing list.

Well, that’s not entirely fair. Actually, you do get plenty in return for either your email address or modest donation: ten fantastic songs from our upcoming releases in 2014.

This includes an exclusive new track from Sparrow and the Workshop, a sneak peak at our next Split 12″ and a song from a fantastic collaborative album between David Thomas Broughton and the Juice vocal ensemble, due out in September.

So happy, erm, I don’t know, is it Easter soon? Or Chinese New Year? Well happy them, then, and don’t say we never give you anything.

Song, by Toad Records Sampler on Bandcamp.

2. Ilona, You Should Still be My Vampire Attendant by Virgin of the Birds (4.39) 
A slick pop classic from Abandoned Love, part of our Five Years/Five Records anniversary box set. We’re also releasing the next album by the band, who are from Seattle: Winter Seeds, out on 7th April.

3. Photosynth (Split 12” version) by Jonnie Common (4.58) 
This is an off-cut from our third Split 12” album, which we recorded up at the Insider Festival in June last year. The others on the split are David Thomas Broughton, Sparrow and the Workshop and Siobhan Wilson.,

4. Sex Acts by Animal Magic Tricks (3.10) 
Another from our Five Years/ Five Records box set, this is from Brighton-based Animal Magic Tricks debut album Sex Acts. Frances’ last appearance on one of our releases was with Meursault and King Creosote on the Cold Seeds album from 2009.

6. Yorkshire Fog by David Thomas Broughton & Juice (3.54) 
Vocal ensemble Juice and experimental pop maverick David Thomas Broughton will be releasing a collaborative album with us in September 2014.

7. Ghosts by Plastic Animals (4.47) 
After their brilliant contribution to our second Split 12”, released last year alongside the Beer vs. Records project, we are currently working on Plastic Animals’ debut album. This song will be on there, but this version is an old one.

8. Dear God by Siobhan Wilson (5.08) 
Another gorgeous song from the Glasgow-based singer-songwriter, this is also from the third Split 12” recorded up at the Insider Festival.

10. Dirt & the Roots (2014 version) by Meursault (3.24) 
Another tune from the Five Years/ Five Records box set, this is from Kissing on Bonfires by Meursault which is a complete, start-to-finish re-record of their classic 2008 debut album.

11. In Heaven by Naked (4.29) 
The b-side to the Edinburgh band’s debut single Lie Follows Lie, which we released last year, with their follow-up effort Tell Me What is Not Yet Said due for release in May.

12. Switches by The Leg (3.27) 
From The Leg’s gloriously abrasive 2008(ish) album What Happened to the Shrunken Tina Turner, this is as gentle a song as there probably is on the album. Another from our box set.

14. One Brush by Sparrow & the Workshop (2.22)
And finally, we finished with an exclusive new tune by Sparrow and the Workshop. This was an off-cut from their brilliant album Murderopolis, which we released last year. The band are also on the Insider Split 12”, out in June.

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Toadcast #288 – Song, by Toad Records 2014

Sampler 2014 SleeveWelcome to our sneak preview of Song, by Toad Records’ plans for 2014. For the most part this is the exact track listing in the exact order of the free sampler we’ll be putting up for download soon, although there are a couple of little tweaks.

I’ve even snuck in a special wee preview of Bastard Mountain – a tune which won’t be on the sampler – primarily because that spot will be taken by The Leg, but I’ve played quite enough from Shrunken Tina Turner in the last few months, so I thought I would give you an exclusive treat, seeing as you’re one of the 4-500 people who download this thing religiously every week.

Actually, I suppose far fewer actually download it every single week – maybe you’re one of the 8-900 people who download the podcasts ‘when they think about it’, which results in that regular listenership of about 500. Who knows how many ‘kinda’ fans you have to have to regularly get 500 listeners in the first week, but I bet it’s a fuck of a lot more than 500. Anyway, however many of you there are, it’s a wee treat for you. You’re welcome!

Toadcast #288 – Song, by Toad Records 2014 by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #287 – The Hibercast

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01. Virgin of the Birds – Ilona, You Should Still Be My Vampire Attendant (00.22)
02. Jonnie Common – Photosynth (Split 12″ version) (09.00)
03. Animal Magic Tricks – Sex Acts (16.30)
04. David Thomas Broughton & Juice – Yorkshire Fog (19.45)
05. Plastic Animals – Ghosts (26.42)
06. Siobhan Wilson – Dear God (33.00)
07. Meursault – Dirt & the Roots (2014 version) (39.47)
08. NAKED – In Heaven (43.27)
09. Bastard Mountain – Something on Your Mind (53.27)
10. Sparrow and the Workshop – One Brush (59.16)

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Five Year Box Set Now on Sale

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If anyone says the words ‘fucking finally’ then I’ll have to… er, sheepishly agree with them I suppose. Balls this has taken a long time to get sorted out, but the records are so very pretty. There are a few pics on this page below, and a slightly bigger gallery on Flickr if you’d like some good, old-fashioned vinyl porn.

Never fear though, because we’re ready for pre-orders now, with the finished product shipping out by the end of the month. I wouldn’t hang about though, as the special editions which come with Song, by Toad gin have already gone, and there are only fifty box sets being made in total, so I think (and hope) that they’ll go quite quickly. You can buy one here, if you so choose.

For the next few weeks we’ll be streaming the albums for free, one after the other, so you can have a good listen. There is a digital version of the whole set available to buy, actually, but that link will go away at the end of January, so make up your mind soon. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fifth Anniversary Box Set

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As you know it is the label’s fifth anniversary around about now, and in the new year we’ll also be launching our Five Years, Five Records box set, which is a super-limited run of fifty box sets of five 12″ albums which I suppose would qualify as ‘obscure gems from the vaults’. I wanted to put together something special, for me as much as anything else, honestly, to commemorate what a crazy project this has been over the last five years.

This set will come as five records, all in hand-printed sleeves, with a separate book with artwork and some scribbling about what the albums are and why they are here. It’s going to be pricey, but seriously worth it, I promise. There will also be a couple of special edition sets, some with hand-drawn Toad posters and some with hand-made Song, by Toad gin.

SbTR-A-012 Animal Magic Tricks – Sex Acts
It was recorded back in something like 2010, but a major technical fault threatened to destroy this album forever. A couple of breakdowns in communications and general bouts of despair later, however, and it has been meticulously pieced back together from the fragments and can finally be released into the world. Strange and beautiful.

SbTR-A-033 Various Artists – The Toad Sessions
Like the label and the New Year’s House Gigs, the Toad Sessions turned five this year as well, with our first one being recorded in the Spring of 2008 with local band Broken Records. We’ve done over thirty full sessions since then, including some with the biggest names in the music industry, and this is a collection of some of my favourite recordings.

SbTR-A-034 Virgin of the Birds – Abandoned Love
Jon Rooney played our first New Year’s House Gig, and seeing as we are about to host our fifth this year, it seemed fitting to put together an album of his laid back, literate pop from the five EPs he released over the course of 2009-2011. These are all minimal home recordings – some little more than demos – but they’re ace, and a nice prelude to his next full album which we’ll be releasing in the Spring.

SbTR-A-035 The Leg – What Happened to the Shrunken Tina Turner
Our third album by The Leg could really have been our first, as this came out just before they signed with us. It appeared just as their previous label was ceasing operations, so fell between the cracks a little, so we wanted to make sure it got a proper release. It is some of their harshest music too, so perhaps not entirely for the faint-hearted, but it can really stand to be turned up loud as fuck if you’re so inclined.

SbTR-A-036 Meursault – Kissing on Bonfires
A full re-recording of their 2008 debut album. We only had mp3s of this record before, because it was just that DIY, so in order to press it to vinyl at long last Neil has re-recorded the whole record from scratch. It sounds a bit different, but the songs are as strong as ever.

An in case you’re wondering why I’ve been a little quiet on the internet today, it’s because I have been doing THIS to my living room!

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It’s Birthday Time! And Christmas! And Birthdays!

5th Birthday Digiflyer

Yes folks, as we come crashing headlong into Christmas Song, by Toad has decided to confuse things by muddling it up with a birthday as well. Well honestly, fuck off, it’s not just old hippies in sandals with legions of deranged followers who get to celebrate birthdays at this time of year, sweary, deluded amphibians can do so as well if they so choose.

Because it just so happens, as you probably know by now, that our first ever release was in December five years ago, when we celebrated Meursault’s Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues with a Christmas party at the Bowery, may Tom Waits rest its soul.

So, in the next few days we’ll be having a couple of shows to celebrate our birthday, and we may as well celebrate Christmas at the same time. Or Hanukkah, if you fancy, it really doesn’t bother me either way, it’s all just gin and swearing as far as I’m concerned. They shows themselves are as follows, and it would be ace to see you there, if you thought you could make it.

London, The Sebright Arms, Thursday 19th December – tickets here.
This lineup will feature a solo set by Meursault, mostly on the piano I think, so depressing lyrics aside it should hopefully be most Christmassy! As well as Neil there will be a probably not-very-Christmassy-at-all set from The Leg, who are celebrating the recent release of their new album Oozing a Crepuscular Light (get one here), and the splendid Animal Magic Tricks.

Edinburgh, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Saturday 21st December – tickets here.
On Saturday we’ll be at Henry’s with an awesome lineup of bands, including Zed Penguin, PAWsault (yes, that’s exactly what you think it will be), and a sort of cabaret of brief informal sets by a selection of different people on the label. There will also be a one-off exclusive appearance by the world-famous William Henry Shatner, performing the hits of Song, by Toad Records for us in his own inimitable style. A rare treat for you then, and something no-other Christmas party would dare offer!

So there you go, there’s these, and then I intend to descend into the territory of Christmas lists for the rest of the year, and embarrass my parents by how much gin I can shift over Christmas. Poor fuckers.

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Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday

5thBirthday Digiflyer London

5th Birthday Party Shows:

Thursday 19th December – London, at the Sebright Arms with Neil Pennycook (Meursault) solo, The Leg, Rob St. John and Animal Magic Tricks. (tickets)

Saturday 21st December – Edinburgh, at Henry’s Cellar Bar, with PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests. (tickets)

Song, by Toad itself turns ten next year, and in the first few years a friend of mine in London suggested I consider starting a record label. I laughed at him and told him that honestly I had no desire whatsoever to get involved in that sort of madness. And then, of course, eighteen months or so later, that’s exactly what I did.

It’s been a total fucking rollercoaster, to be honest. So many amazingly brilliant moments, and in all honesty, some really frustrating ones as well.

It’s quite fun disagreeing with people about music when you’re just talking about it, even as a blogger, but as a label if you disagree with the world it results in releases which no-one writes about and no-one buys, which can be pretty depressing in all honesty.

Having said that, when things do well and the world suddenly realises how awesome a band is who you’ve loved for ages, then it’s absolutely brilliant. Packed venues, surprise radio play, great write-ups, talking to someone successful in the music industry who surprises you by being well aware of what you do… there are a million tiny triumphs in this business as much as there as a million tiny disappointments.

Even when I did overcome my common sense and actually start releasing records I certainly never imagined it would usurp my day job, let alone do so so fast, but I’ve been full time for over three years now and for all I still haven’t really figured out how to make any fucking money, I don’t regret the decision for a second.

And yes, here we are, five years later. We’re actually going to be releasing a birthday box set of five 12″ vinyl to celebrate, but more of that later. For now, just come to the gigs, please! I promise they will be fun.

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Song, by Toad Records Free 2012 Sampler

 Song, by Toad Records hereby release into the world what we reckon is going to become an annual free sampler, mostly as a free download, but with a few CDs given to local record shops and available at gigs as well.

The sampler is a combination of things we’ll be releasing this year, mixed in with a couple of things from 2011 and interspersed with a few brilliant moments from the late Kenneth Williams’ reading of the Wind in the Willows. Snippets from this reading litter my own weekly podcast, and inspired the name of the label in the first place, so it seemed kind of fitting to pop a couple on here.

You can download this little parcel of digital fun from Bandcamp for free, and we are sending out a few to our favourite record shops to give away as well, so if you want a CD either come to a Song, by Toad gig in Edinburgh or go to a record shop.

Tracklisting:

02. So the Wind Won’t… by Jesus H. Foxx
I’ve been waiting for their debut album through two years of ‘nearly theres’, but it is finally finished, it sounds brilliant and will be ready for release on 14th May 2012.

03. Twitching Stick by The Leg
Formerly Khaya, then Desc, The Leg are veterans of several Peel Sessions and several releases already, but have agreed to release their next album An Eagle to Saturn with us. Coming out on 30th April, this is abrasive as fuck, but definitely still surprisingly poppy, considering.

04. The Acid Test by Rob St. John
We released Rob’s debut album Weald on vinyl last year, and the response was so overwhelmingly positive we’ve decided to give it a wider release on CD too. Rob being Rob, of course, he’s already planning to record his second album, probably in our living room again.

05. Sorry by Waiters
06. Teenage Bloom by Dolfinz
08. Gay Marriage by Sex Hands
On the subject of recording in our living room, the Waiters, Dolfinz and Sex Hands tracks are from a split 12” (which will also include hotly-tipped* Glasgow band PAWS) all of which was recorded almost entirely live in the living room of our house by myself and Rory Sutherland from Broken Records. It’s sort of a compilation of some of my favourite underground, garagey (and frighteningly young) bands, and we’ve just had it mastered, so it will hopefully be ready for release in late March or early April.

09. A Mother’s Arms (demo) by Meursault
It feels like we’ve been waiting quite a long time for the third Meursault album too, doesn’t it. Well it’s finally done, and we are looking at a release date in mid-July, with a release night pencilled in for Saturday 7th July in the Queen’s Hall.

10. School (Toad Session) by The Black Tambourines
We recorded a Toad Session with these guys last year and immediately offered to release something. I’m not sure what it’ll be yet – probably an EP in the Autumn I would guess.

11. Lay Me Down by Yusuf Azak
From his unspeakably gorgeous second album, due out in 2012 sometime, depending on when I get a final master.

12. That is a Big Door! by Trips and Falls
From their second album, People Have to Be Told, released in September 2011.

13. Dead Golden Girls by Lil Daggers
From their self-titled debut album, which we released on vinyl at the end of last year.

14. Pinkening by Animal Magic Tricks
This was recorded just after 2009’s stunning Cold Seeds album, which was a collaboration between Frances from Animal Magic Tricks, Pete Harvey and Neil Pennycook from Meursault and Kenny Anderson from King Creosote. There still isn’t what you could describe as a finished version, but I am not giving up hope because it is a gorgeous album, even just as it stands at the moment.

15. Pool Attendant by The Japanese War Effort
This is from 2011’s Summer Sun Skateboard, and we hope to release another mini-album with Jamie in the Autumn of 2012.

16. Blue Overcoat by Lach
From 2011 vinyl album Ramshackle Heart.

18. Movies and Magazines by King Post Kitsch
A free dowload from kingpostkitsch.bandcamp.com After a year in Glasgow, Charlie has moved back down to London, and after his awesome debut The Party’s Over in early 2011 I am eagerly looking forward to new material.

*Yes, I know I said ‘hotly-tipped’, but honestly, they are, I’m not just copy-and-pasting from The Big Book of PR Clichés.

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 12th September 2011

You know, the only things in my Facebook events thingy for this week are my own gig, a friend’s birthday piss-up and some club night or other.  Three items.  In the days before Facebook events became an invite to bury our inboxes in spam it used to be fucking useful, but now… sheesh!

Still, even having investigated a little further, this really does seem to be it.  Am I right?  Is this it?  Are we going to have to do something intellectually valid with our week instead, like read a book or go to the Cameo and see some Romanian film with Cantonese subtitles or something like that?  I’m not sure I can handle that type of highbrow shit anymore.

Friday 16th September 2011: Indie Funday at Henry’s Cellar Bar with Night Noise Team, The Spook School, Thank You So Nice, Little Love, Alex Foottit and Coral Brierley.

Indie Funday looks to be extremely aptly named.  I assume with so many bands on the bill that this will be going on late, and from the looks of the bill the term ‘indie’ applies as much to the aesthetic usage – as in a blanket term for guitar pop – as it does to the ethos of the bands. Should be a highly enjoyable night.

Spook School – Hallam

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Saturday 17th September 2011: The Japanese War Effort, Animal Magic Tricks & Yusuf Azak at the Wee Red Bar.

This will be our first post-Festival Ides of Toad night.  Most of the rest of them are booked up already, so we’ll have a full schedule between now and Christmas.  All three of these artists have the ability to be as obscure as they do melodic, and I think that ambiguity is a large part of what attracts me to them.

The Japanese War Effort – Surrender to Summer

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Upcoming Ides of Toad Stuff

So, after the chaos of the Festival, we are back to normal service here in Ides of Toad HQ (which looks suspiciously similar to Song, by Toad HQ and bears a more than passing resemblance to Song, by Toad Records HQ).

Actually, I thought I managed to get myself horribly waylaid by the Festival, but it turns out I have most of the Autumn’s lineups already filled and ready to go, with only a few gaps here and there.  This level of organisation rather shocks me, I have to confess, but I am sure I will find some way to have a last-minute panic in the end.

Anyhow, apart from next week’s Japanese War Effort, Animal Magic Tricks and Yusuf Azak gig, on Saturday 17th at the Wee Red Bar, we have the following:

Saturday 1st October, just confirmed: John Knox Sex Club, Plank! and Easter at Henry’s Cellar Bar.
This is going to be a cracker.  JKSC have a new album to promote, which sounds amazing, and Plank! and Easter are coming up from Manchester.  It’s going to be one of those evenings where none of the bands have that much in common exactly, but I still think the lineup will work really well.

Saturday 22nd October: Rob St. John album launch, with Meursault and eagleowl.
The venue is TBC on this one, but we are looking for somewhere a bit interesting, rather than your usual gig club bar venue thingie.  And I would imagine that readers of this site need little introduction to eagleowl or Meursault, but as Rob plays in both those bands as well, I do find myself wondering if he’s given any thought to just how much work he’s going to have to do on the night.

Saturday 5th November: Dad Rocks! and Shoes and Socks Off, with one more TBC, at Henry’s Cellar Bar.
This will be an evening of smart acoustic pop, and we have one more band still to add to the bill. I may try and add a full band to the headline slot though, just to make sure everyone stays on their toes.

Saturday 19th November: at the Wee Red Bar, and it’s my fucking birthday as well!
The whole lineup for the 19th is TBC, because I am trying to get Manchester’s Weird Era and Glasgow’s Battery Face onto the same bill, but we are just in the process of juggling dates, so none of this is confirmed yet. I am confident it will work out though, because everyone involved is keen to make it happen.

Sunday 27th November: Withered Hand, Samantha Crain and Michael McFarlane at Henry’s Cellar Bar.
I think Withered Hand will be playing solo acoustic, although I’m not sure, and I am absolutely thrilled to get Samantha Crain here for a gig, some three years after regular commenter and sometime contributor Campfires and Battlefields introduced me to her music. And finally, Michael McFarlane is someone I knew absolutely nothing about, but he’s a local lad who played Lach’s Antihoot this Summer and I thought he was bloody excellent, so I asked him to open.

Saturday 10th December: Song, by Toad Records Christmas Party.
This entire thing is TBC, but I think this is the best date for it.  It should at least give us time to clean up the house in time for the New Year’s House Gig, in any case.

So, umm… there you go.  I have to confess I never thought ‘putting on the odd gig’ would lead to this, but er, they should be really, really good shows.  And it would be nice if you all came to them too, otherwise I am going to be in all sorts of money trouble!

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Animal Magic Tricks – What am I to Do When

This is fucking great. To say that I am chuffed to be working with Animal Magic Tricks is an understatement. ‘Nuff said. New album coming in Spring, and the one that this might be on… well, hopefully soon after, I reckon.

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