Song, by Toad

Posts tagged brown brogues


Toadcast #296 – Brown Brogues Toad Session

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

Well if we can handle the racket of PAWS and the sheer numbers of Broken Records then fuck it, we can do Brown Brogues. In the two or three years since Mrs. Toad and I first saw these lads playing at an Irish pub in Austin at SXSW a couple of years ago they have become good pals, as well as DIY inspirations. Although totally fucking incapable of taking an interview seriously.

For this one I handled the audio a little differently. Instead of mixing everything in Logic I actually mixed it on the live recording desk and then played it back through our reel-to-reel tape machine, overloading both channels slightly, and then recording the results into my laptop. It’s the first time I’ve used the reel-to-reel, so I am still finding my way, and the results may be nasty as fuck but I really like them.

One thing which doesn’t sound so great, unfortunately, is the interview audio. The band used effects pedals on their vocal mics, which interfered rather badly with the recording of the interview, so I’ve ended up having to do the best I can with the tiny mics on the film cameras, which aren’t the best. It’s alright though – just not as nice as I would have liked it.

The crew for this one was just Nic and Rory and myself, but Mrs. Toad made the most fantastic roast lamb for us all, so I should really be crediting her as well. It really was fucking tasty!

Full interview podcast:

Toadcast #296 – Brown Brogues Toad Session by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Session tracks:

Session track videos

Podcast playlist:

01. Brown Brogues – Baby, it’s Alright (Toad Session) (00.21)
02. Elvis Presley – If I Can Dream (08.24)
03. Harlem – Gay Human Bones (11.52)
04. Brown Brogues – Split Disc (Toad Session) (21.43)
05. Black Lips – Feeling Gay (32.15)
06. The Growlers – Gay Thoughts (36.03)
07. Brown Brogues – Shake It (Toad Session) (44.39)
08. Liars – Overachievers (52.57)
09. Oingo Boingo – Private Life (56.35)
10. Brown Brogues – AG From the Cradle (Toad Session) (1.05.36)


Toadcast #287 – The Hibercast

tagYep I feel a bit like I’m emerging from hibernation at the moment. Something about the way Christmas and New Year fell this year completely obliterated two weeks, and this week has been spent mostly trying to slow the levels of alcohol intake from Oliver Reed levels down to about George Best ones.

I’ve also been trying to force my sleep patterns to return to something vaguely resembling normality as well. I have been an absolutely appalling weakling in the face of that ‘oh just one more episode’ syndrome you develop when you have access to entire series of TV shows at once, so I’ve been staying up until five and six in the morning watching one absolutely terrible TV show after another.

I can’t even claim it was something decent like The Wire or Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, it’s all been absolutely dismally shallow and repetitive crime and supernatural series. Fucking dreadful. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY BRAIN? Anyhow, you can see how I am having a little bit of trouble getting back into gear for the new year, can’t you.  Fucking hell, WAKE UP, BOY!

Toadcast #287 – The Hibercast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #287 – The Hibercast

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01. Clem Snide – Delight (00.22)
02. The Left Outsides – The Third Light (04.47)
03. Brown Brogues – Split Disc (Toad Session) (11.17)
04. Samantha Crain – Paint (14.39)
05. Water of Life – Sources and Springs/Abercrombie, 1949 (21.57)
06. Falling Stacks – White Wild Hare (27.37)
07. Waylon Thornton – Mustache (33.42)
08. Deathcats – Cowabunga Surf Jam (35.32)
09. The Twilight Sad – The Wrong Car (Live with the RSNO) (41.50)
10. Clem Snide – The Ballad of St. Paull (51.24)
11. Mothersday – Motion Sickness (59.25)


Song, by Toad’s Top Albums of 2013 11-20

cup 1-5 / 6-10 / 11-20

It has been, I must say, an absolutely phenomenal year for great albums this year. Really, really great.

Even before February was over I had some records I knew would end up being favourites. Yo La Tengo were back Nick Cave was brewing something, and there had already been some fantastic surprises.

So that’s a good thing, but the other good thing is that I seem to come across as less of an anti-big-label snob this year. Last year the biggest labels represented in my top twenty were Fatcat and Chemikal Underground, and the rest were tiny labels or self-releases.

Those tiny releases are still here, of course, but despite the disappointments of The National and Kurt Vile, the bigger labels are a little better represented this year. We have Nick Cave and Yo La Tengo, and might have had The Flaming Lips too, had I spent more time listening to their album, which I really like the sound of so far.

There are also some of the bigger indies represented as well, and in general the whole list just looks a lot more balanced than last year. Not that I have changed my mind about last year, but it did look a bit like I was being intentionally obscure, which I wasn’t.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is the first half of this year’s top twenty, below the jump to stop all the embedded song players from slowing the whole page down completely. Read the rest of this entry »


Okay, We Can Start Talking About Christmas Now

Yes, seriously, I am prepared to allow Christmas talk from now on. You must all be so grateful.

Generally I am pretty pro-Christmas, actually, it’s just that I have a list of demands about how people are and are not allowed to celebrate it. No houses festooned in idiotic lights, for example. And most particularly, no starting before my birthday. My birthday is in late November, so it shouldn’t be a fucking trial to keep the Christmas shit on hold before then, but in the fucking UK it’s starting before the end of fucking September in some places.

At least in the States they have Thanksgiving, an annual celebration of the glorious genocide of their indigenous peoples, to delay matters until November, but here we have no such restraint. Ideally the whole business should take place only in December, as far as I am concerned, but I am a generous and open-minded man and am prepared to tolerate some overspill into the later days of November, but absolutely NOT any earlier than the 20th.

One of my other rules is absolutely no Christmas music. It just doesn’t work, frankly. Mostly the music itself is saccharine, shit and completely unlistenable. Alternatively, if it’s the kind of stuff I might actually enjoy listening to, the generally air of glumness, needle and morose bitterness doesn’t really suit the Christmas spirit. Or worse, you get the kind of bands who make music I like completely ruining their sound by forging this unholy alliance with chirpy wholesomeness, either in the forced, awkward lyrics or a horrific bastardisation of their normal sound to incorporate the sort of hellish elements which make Christmas music so unbearable in the first place.

There is music I prefer to listen to around Christmas time, but it is not Christmas music in any sense, more stuff which suits the dark and the cold and cosy evenings indoors with Mrs. Toad.

Where am I going with this rather misanthropic ramble, you ask? Well actually, believe it or not, I am going to recommend a Christmas record to you. You all knew that was coming, right?

If anyone was to make a Christmas album and have it not packed full of cringeworthy awfulness, my bet would be the DIY music pals I have made in Manchester over the last few years. Haus of Pins, which is a label run by PINS the band, are releasing just such a compilation and for a change I am genuinely intrigued by the promise of some festive tunes. Post War Glamour Girls, Brown Brogues, September Girls and PINS themselves are all contributing to it, and if anyone can make this good it’s that lot.

There is still, I have to confess, a slight sense of trepidation, but fuck it, it’s Christmas, let’s see what it’s like shall we!



Toadcast #281 – The Hatecast

Rethinking Government Assistance: David Cameron I am pretty pissed off at the moment. It’s not particularly obvious – in fact it tends to manifest itself more as a smouldering sulk than any sort of rage, but you may believe me, the anger is under there somewhere.

Y’see, in the music industry, you’re always supposed to maintain some sort of level of politeness – never burn any bridges, never lose your rag, you never know when you might need to be friends with someone. But you know what, bollocks to that. I spend so many hours of my life working on making things good – artwork, endlessly repetitive PR stuff, designing posters for gigs, trying to drum up some sort of interest in our gigs, our releases, our bands, and you know what – FUCK PEOPLE.

People are just fucking wrong about music. They approve of shite bands, they listen to garbage they’re too lazy to move beyond, they write about bands they already know are popular rather than ones which are new and might be interesting, and they generally just don’t give a shit and then pretend that it’s your fault for not grabbing their lazy, indifferent attention. So fuck people, fuck music, and fuck you. Welcome to this week’s podcast.

Toadcast #281 – The Hatecast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #281 – The Hatecast

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01. PAWS – Winners Don’t Bleed (Toad Session) (00.21)
02. Billy Bragg – Some Days I See the Point (08.19)
03. The Leg – Silver Dog (16.43)
04. Trips and Falls – You Should Really Get Yours (20.35)
05. Yusuf Azak – Swim (28.17)
06. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Early Hour (32.56)
07. Eef Barzelay – Well (44.47)
08. Brown Brogues – (48.42)
09. Meursault – William Henry Miller (Part 2) (Single Version) (54.21)
10. Trips and Falls – The Freedom of Homogeneity (1.00.15)
11. FOUND – Mullokian (Toad Session) (1.09.04)
12. The Leg – Celebrating Love (1.14.03)


New Fabian Society and Vladimir to join Brown Brogues on Saturday at Henry’s


I was going to title this thread “Electric Company Records come to Edinburgh” but I have half an inkling that search engines prefer headlines to body text so I succumbed to the scourge of 21st Century journalism and chose searchability over verbal flow, and for that I apologise. Sincerely.

But for all the headline may be clunky, it is at least factually accurate. You know by now that the awesome Brown Brogues are playing in Edinburgh on Saturday, at Henry’s Cellar Bar. Well I can now announce (I should say EXCLUSIVELY ANNOUNCE shouldn’t I, the internet likes exclusive stuff) that they will be joined on the bill by long-time Toad favourites the New Fabian Society, and Vladimir, from Dundee.

Both are signed to Electric Company Records in Glasgow, although signed might be a slight overstatement given how we do things at the DIY end of the record industry foodchain. Electric Company are relatively new, but they’re already working with an awful lot of noisy, shoegazey bands, often with just a hint of psychedelia, and are probably my favourite new label to emerge in recent years. There’s a shitload of stuff on their Bandcamp page to explore if you would like a poke around before Saturday’s gig, and that can be found here.


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 7th October 2013

triflin Well first and foremost this week, the awesome Brown Brogues are returning to Edinburgh. This will be something like the third time they’ve played here, and I am highly looking forward to it.

They were the subject of proper A&R over-excitement when they first emerged, and yet in typically bloody-minded fashion decided to just fucking well self-release thanks very much. I asked them about it once, and they basically just said that they weren’t into all that sort of shit. They’ve just released their second album, too, which you can stream on Clash here. And then COME TO HENRY’S ON SATURDAY!*

This week is also the start of the Pleasance Sessions, which I told you about last week.  The Song, by Toad involvement doesn’t kick in until next week, but we’ve got Jonnie Common and Miaoux Miaoux with the Cairn String Quartet on Thursday, the Gerry Loves Records John Knox Sex Club/Over the Wall split 7″ single launch on Friday, and Rick Redbeard, Siobhan Wilson, Honeyblood and Law on Saturday. Tickets are all available here, and they’re cheaper in advance too, so I recommend getting stuck in now while you can.

Of course next week it’s our turn, when Rob St. John, Adam Stafford and Ian Humberstone play in the main theatre upstairs, so this won’t be the last you hear of the Pleasance Sessions, believe me. Prepare to be spammed to absolute fuck – sorry, that’s just the way it goes on the internet these days.

And last but not least, in amongst all this vainglorious self-promotion and grandiose festivals we have a low-key album launch for one of Edinburgh’s most secretly successful bands of recent years. Yes, their members may have scattered to the wind a little bit, to the extent that I am not certain whether you’d call them ‘Edinburgh’, strictly, anymore, but Spook School are signed to the excellent Fortuna Pop and are launching their debut album at Henry’s on Friday. They play brash, loud indie-pop and they’re very good. So there.

*End of super-subtle subliminal marketing message.


Upcoming Toad Session Bonanza!


See the improved paintjob? And the name on the nose? And the skull and crossbones? And the scorpions above the windscreen? That takes WORK, man!

I hate to promise things like actual dates or anything, but the end of this year is going to be an absolute treat for fans of the Toad Sessions.

I mentioned a few weeks back that we were currently in the process of re-recording some of the very early Toad Sessions we did, to make up for the advances in technology and in particular streaming internet video we have seen since. So between now and the end of the year I am hoping to publish new sessions with Sparrow and the Workshop, Broken Records and Meursault, as well as a new one with Adam Stafford. But you knew that already, right?

What I didn’t mention is that as well as those we have no less than five more sessions to publish – not all recorded yet, but all in the pipeline and hopefully to start trickling through in the next few weeks. In fact, I spent large parts of my holiday last week finishing all the audio mixing and podcast editing for no less than four different sessions, some of the re-records and some new ones, so we are well underway with the work to be done.

[The rest of the holiday was spent tidying up Bette's paintjob, deciding that we should start spelling her name only as Bette from now on as she is named after Bette Davis, adding some new stickers and drinking absolutely horrifying quantities of red wine - see pic above, apart from the wine.]

The ‘other’ five sessions will include one we recorded (shamefully) ages ago with The Yawns, as well as new ones with Old Earth (just recorded a couple of weeks ago), Brown Brogues, Eef Barzelay and Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside (all of whom are playing in Edinburgh in the next month to six weeks).

I am not sure, honestly, what the work required to actually edit and publish a Toad Session will do to the blog, so be warned in advance. I do think it’s important to do more things like this though, as whilst they are still part of the blog, they do seem to better reflect what I am actually doing in music these days, and act as something of a bridge between the blog and the label. Whereas initially I basically just listened to music and then expressed my opinion about it, now I am so much more involved in actually making music, or even just enabling it to happen, that the Sessions seem like a more accurate reflection of what I do.

Having said that, I can’t possibly handle this mountain of work by myself so, as I mentioned earlier, Gavin from Full Fridge Video will be editing the re-records for us. Also, you may know him more as the violin player in Broken Records, but Rory Sutherland has helped me record and film the Split 12″ releases on Song, by Toad Records as well as many Toad Sessions, and he will also be editing the video for a couple of the new Sessions. So they may look slightly different to the ones I do myself, but I am pretty sure that in essence they will remain pretty much the same.

I think a band get more out of a session, and a more accurate reflection of themselves, than me just reviewing their music. I really enjoy the chance to talk to bands as well, rather than just blindly guessing what they were trying to achieve with their albums and how they want to go about their business.

Not that I want to stop writing reviews, of course. I still love harping on about my favourite music, and I still have the odd rant in me here and there, so don’t think for a second that the blog will be abandoned, just that with all these sessions to deal with the emphasis is very much going to be on them for the next few months. Should be interesting!


Toadcast #277 – The Ribcast

tag It’s, erm, okay to make fun of old people injuring themselves isn’t it? I mean on the internet, not in real life of course, that would be barbaric. But on the internet this shit is okay, right? I mean, we even let the Daily fucking Mail on here, we can’t be that picky.

I only ask because the reason this is called the Ribcast is in salute to my cantankerous old father, who managed to fall off a ladder the other day and break a couple of ribs. This, like most rib injuries, has proven to not be all that dangerous, so all we have is a bad tempered old man in lots of pain, unable to laugh, roll over in bed, cough or – heaven forbid – sneeze!

I’ve cracked ribs myself, before, although never broken them, and it really is an incredibly painful injury. Coughing and laughing are everyday occurrences, but holy shit you fucking notice them when this happens to you. Sneezes are terrifying, because holy crapsticks they fucking hurt! But as long as it’s not life-threatening then pain is quite funny, right?

Toadcast #277 – The Ribcast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

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01. The Leg – Chicken Slippers (00.24)
02. Trips and Falls – Destruction is Always More Exciting (07.03)
03. Monoganon – Arc of the Tuna Fish (15.35)
04. Joanna Gruesome – Lemonade Grrrl (24.24)
05. Brown Brogues – Baby, it’s Alright (26.34)
06. David Wax Museum – All Sense of Time (33.35)
07. Belgian Fog – You Drive Me to Madness (37.47)
08. Fascinator – Girl I Want You (41.55)
09. Pool Whales – What Was Her Name (50.27)
10. Honeyblood – Bud (55.51)
11. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Incident at Mono Lake (1.02.53)


Manchester Standards

a0151909486_10 Apparently this release was announced back in May, but I somehow managed to miss it. Christ knows how (apart from the Manchester scene in general not being all that great at the sort of relentless, fixed-grin, Blairite PR which you need to take you to the very top) because this amazing compilation album contains some of my favourite rough-and-ready guitar pop songs of the last few years, by some of my favourite bands from a city I’ve had more to do with musically than anywhere else other than Edinburgh. And I live in Edinburgh.

I don’t normally do this, but to give you an idea how excellent I think this release it, here is the tracklisting:

Side 1:
1. Former Bullies – Plantetarium
2. Daily Life – Alabaster
3. Temple Songs – $$$$$$’ $$ $ $$$$$$$$$
4. Waiters – Tomorrowland
5. Float Riverer – Pio Pio
6. Sex Hands – Way No Way
7. Hotpants Romance – Stop Escaping
8. Peace Signs – Hands Are Shaking

Side 2.
1. Gnod – Creedon’s Clearwater Revival
2. Butchers – Holding On, Hanging On
3. Weird Era – Summer Heights
4. Brown Brogues – Treet U Beta
5. Klaus Kinski – Riffy Bugger
6. The Bell Peppers – Bell Pepper Hop

If you’ve spend any time at all reading this blog over the last couple of years you’ll know that Sex Hands, Waiters, Former Bullies, Brown Brogues and Weird Era are firm Song, by Toad favourites. And if you’ve been round our house for a drink in the last couple of years, you’ll know that Tomorrowland, Treet U Beta and Alabaster are songs I absolutely will not stop playing at absolutely every available opportunity, even two or three years after first buying the singles. Truly awesome, awesome tunes. Why they are not FUCKING HUGE I have no idea. Probably because the world is just plain wrong about music, I guess.

I mean honestly, it offends me that people are getting all upset about that dreadful Robin Thicke video, not because it isn’t one in a very, very long line of offensively misogynistic pop videos, but because the music is so utterly fucking banal and he himself is such a desperately, dismally tedious cunt that absolutely no-one should have any fucking idea who the fuck he fucking is anyway.

What they should be doing is listening to the wonky thrum of Tomorrowland and wondering how to head-bang to such a slow song. Or rushing to explore the rest of the Brown Brogues back catalogue. Or wondering when the blazing fuck Weird Era will ever get around to releasing an album.

I don’t know all of the bands, of course, only about half. The Bell Peppers’ surfy stuff and the psychedelia of Temple Songs sound really promising, but I haven’t heard that much by either band yet, and the rest of the record – about half, in fact – is composed of bands I’ve never heard, although I’ve heard of a few when chatting to my Manchester pals about the various side projects they’re involved with. In fact, despite there being fourteen different bands on this album I reckon there are probably only about twenty musicians involved, given the Manchester DIY scene’s habit of shuffling musicians around and dealing out a few like a hand of cards and calling them a new band. That’s an exaggeration of course, but not by all that much.

The album itself is unified by its lo-fi recording aesthetic and pop sensibilities, but the style drifts from punk to psychedelia and from shoegaze to surf. It may be a little bit deliberately obscure, but it’s not deliberately hostile to the listener. You may or may not like the aesthetic of lo-fi guitar music, but believe me pretty much every single song on this (which I recognise, anyway) is a hugely accessible pop gem – even the Weird Era tune, and they generally bury their hooks and melodies as deeply as anyone else on here.

And herein lies the inherent contradiction which I love about the lo-fi garage revival: the style took me aback pretty significantly at first, and a lot of bands actively try and court noise, distortion, and more or less anything which will make the sound as un-playable to Radio1 as possible, but deep down this movement has produced the most instantly hummable, infectiously enjoyable pop tunes I’ve heard in years.