Song, by Toad

Posts tagged garden of elks

avatar

Toadcast #312 – The Resolvecast

tag So, with the first podcast of the year I suppose I should be doing New Year’s Resolutions, right? I guess I do have some, sort of, for a change.

Firstly, I didn’t exactly keep on top of the label admin well enough last year – particularly the accounts – so that really does need to improve.

We’re doing gigs again this year, partly because it seems to help with the general awareness of the label and partly because no-one in Edinburgh seems to be putting on the kind of gigs I want to go to. Actually, that’s less of a resolution really, and more of an announcement, isn’t it.

And thirdly, we have to suck less at PR. I’ve got a few plans for this, but mostly we just have to do a better job of getting label artists covered in the bigger online magazines in particular. It’s heavy work, PR stuff, but if you can’t do PR then you aren’t really a label so it has to be done.

Also, we have a playlist on Soundcloud of all the new bands we’re working with this year.

Toadcast #312 – The Resolvecast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #312 – The Resolvecast

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on Mixcloud

01. The Muppets – Movin’ Right Along (00.00)
02. Garden of Elks – This Morning We Are Astronauts (02.47)
03. Le Thug – Basketball Land (10.07)
04. Krill – Sick Dogs (For Ian) (18.49)
05. Body Cheetah – I’m There (22.17)
06. Jane Weaver – The Electric Mountain (31.26)
07. Rob Cantor – Shia LeBeouf (37.13)
08. Lush Purr – Horses on Morphine (41.07)
09. Supermoon – Klopfgeist (47.56)
10. Numbers Are Futile – Vice Over Reason (55.55)
11. digitalanalogue – Café Royal (1.01.03)
12. The Golden Toadstools – Silly Savage (1.07.51)

avatar

Happy Christmas: Song, by Toad’s MAGIC BEANZ!

Welcome to Song, by Toad’s MAGIC BEANZ! This is a wee sampler of six new band’s we’ll be working with this year – a complete rejuvenation of the label, in many ways. We’ll be releasing stuff by our more established collaborators of course, but 2015 will be dominated by the new people.

Free mp3 download (right-click, save as)

In February we have Le Thug‘s six-song vinyl EP Place Is – electronic-infused shoegaze with gorgeous, dreamy vocals.

Then in April the debut album by Garden of Elks, called A Distorted Sigh, which is all short, sharp, punchy as fuck indie rock songs. Picking the singles from this was a bit of a challenge as they’re pretty much all singles.

Ian Turnbull from Broken Records has his own album coming out too: Be Embraced, You Millions! – a beautiful collection of instrumental drone and detail, out as limited run vinyl under the name of digitalanalogue in March.

Then in May we have Greco-Portuguese newcomers Numbers Are Futile, whose hypnotic, percussive album of thrumming electronica is called Sunlight on Black Horizon.

We’re still waiting on a final mix, so we don’t have a release date, but either early Summer or mid-Autumn will see Edinburgh’s sludgey, shoegazey indie rockers Plastic Animals release their debut album Pictures From the Blackout.

And finally, in February we’ll be recording some more stuff with Passion Pusher, whose Couch King EP we released in November 2014 on cassette.

So 2015 will be all about the new kids at Song, by Toad, but don’t worry, Adam Stafford has a new record on the way, we have a Split 10″ with Rob St. John and Woodpigeon and Meursault have disintegrated and been re-born again as Supermoon, and Jonnie Common has all sorts of ideas too, so we won’t be unrecognisable, just with a youthful spring in our collective step.

Enjoy, and have a fantastic New Year yourselves.

Cheers,
Matthew

avatar

Garden of Elks Sign to Song, by Toad Records

A Distorted Sigh Hi Res

Yup, it gives me great pleasure to formally announce the first of our new bands for 2015 (there will be a couple – keep an eye out for your Christmas present on the 25th): Garden of Elks.

Because the first tracks they ever recorded were done by a friend of mine I think it’s fair to say that I’m one of the band’s earliest supporters, but that doesn’t matter for shit if you don’t follow through on your enthusiasm, does it? NO, so we’ve just reached an agreement to release their debut album next year, and I am really excited about it.

Admittedly ‘signing’ to this label is rather over-stating what happens. I send an email saying ‘fuck it, let’s do this’ and the band either say ‘hooray’ or ‘piss off’ and that’s about as formal as it ever gets, but however it happens we have ten tracks of short, sharp indie rock on vinyl or cassette coming your way in Spring 2015.

And to make things even better, they’re playing our Christmas party on Saturday 20th (yes, THIS SATURDAY!) at Henry’s. So come on down, get pished, and laugh at me as I stumble about the place.

avatar

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.

ToadGig2014 1 digiflyer

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.

avatar

Pale Imitation Festival 2014

Pale Imitation 2014 digiflyer

Well brace yourselves, here we go: the full lineup for the Pale Imitation Festival 2014 has been finalised and can now be announced, tickets can be bought, and giddy excitement can commence. It’s a cheap and cheerful festival of Scottish music, held at Henry’s Cellar Bar over the course of August.

Conceived initially as a way to keep the fun, family-friendly DIY spirit of the awesome Retreat Festival alive, I think for me it’s sort of evolved into something different. I like the Edinburgh Festival, I really do. Or at least I try. There’s lots of awesome stuff happening, but there is also a massive, stifling avalanche of over-priced, imported rubbish which smothers everything in the city and dominates the press and makes it almost impossible to do anything at all in music except sit back for six weeks and wait for it to be over. And being a bloody-minded little shit, I don’t accept that.

Music used to be really well served during the Edinburgh Festival, but now it seems that small local enterprises doggedly trying to support Scottish music are pretty much the only ones giving it any kind of foothold at all. The Queen’s Hall and The Electric Circus have some great stuff on in August, and then there is us: a reasonably-priced, month-long celebration of local music, held in one of Edinburgh’s stalwart underground venues. A fiver per gig, and a season ticket available for only £25, as well as a separate, showcase gig at the Queen’s Hall which will be the last ever Meursault show.

The full lineup is below, and tickets can be bought here, except for the Meursault/Plastic Animals Queen’s Hall show which can be bought directly from the Queen’s Hall. Season tickets are here, and they entitle you to attend all the Henry’s gigs (the QH one is separate) – meaning you could get nine gigs for the price of five, which is pretty amazing. Do try and get there by 8pm though, so we know whether to hold you a place or not at the busy shows.

Sat 2nd Aug - Adam Stafford, Le Thug & Duchess
SAY Award-shortlisted Adam Stafford is currently working on a new album, and his experimental, looped guitar pop songs will be complemented by the hazey washes of Le Thug and newcomers Duchess.

Thu 7th Aug - The Leg, Now Wakes the Sea +1 TBC
Screaming pop mentalists The Leg headline the second night, with support from the phenomenal, if a little wonky, Now Wakes the Sea, plus another band to be confirmed.

Sat 9th Aug - The Yawns, Sharptooth & alansmithee
The Yawns play a lazy brand of sloppy guitar pop, and made one of the sleeper albums of the year a wee while back. They are joined by the slightly more aggressive Sharptooth and Livingstone newcomers alansmithee.

Wed 13th Aug - Meursault & Plastic Animals – Queen’s Hall
The centre-piece of the Pale Imitation Festival this year is the last ever Meursault show, at the Queen’s Hall. That’s right, your last ever chance to see the current band play live, and they will be joined by pals and label-mates Plastic Animals.

Thu 14th Aug - Deathcats, Garden of Elks & Passion Pusher
Surfy, guitar loons Deathcats released their debut album this year, and it is every bit as hugely enjoyable and sloppily noisy as you would have expected. Abrasive shouters Garden of Elks and Edinburgh’s most hapless guitar pop star in the making comprise the rest of the bill.

Sat 16th Aug - Jonnie Common, Jesus H. Foxx & Andrew R. Burns
Jonnie Common is a maverick genius, who makes experimental music sound like the most accessible of pop songs, and he’ll be joined by the recently resuscitated Phoenix H. Foxx, and Chillwave revivalist Andrew R. Burns. Jonnie really needs to start using his middle initial, to fit on this bill properly.

Thu 21th Aug - Rick Redbeard, Siobhan Wilson (Ella the Bird) & Kitchen Cynics
If Rick Redbeard would stop buggering about being famous with the Phantom Band, I think he could be one of Scotland’s most loved singer-songwriters. He’d be one of mine, certainly, and after only recently discovering his stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear myself saying the same of The Kitchen Cynics. Siobhan Wilson has just started to perform under the name Ella the Bird, but her gorgeous voice and songwriting remain very much the same.

Sat 23rd Aug - LAW, Numbers are Futile & Wozniak
LAW has been one of the breakthrough sensations of recent years. Based in Edinburgh, and collaborating with members of Young Fathers, her music is dark but danceable, and actually reminds me of an Edinburgh pop singer of a few years back – anyone remember Helicopter Girl? No? Just me, then. On the bill with LAW are the hypnotic, rhythm popsters Numbers are Futile and messy shoegazers Wozniak.

There will be a big old after-party after this show, with Lost Map DJs and, erm, well hopefully I won’t be allowed anywhere near the decks at all.

Thu 28th Aug - eagleowl, Ian Humberstone & Smackvan
Eagleowl are Edinburgh’s most glacial post-anti-drumcore, kraut-folk band, and will be joined by the gorgeously intimate croon of Ian Humberstone and warm miserablism of Smackvan.

Sat 30th Aug - PAWS, Halfrican & Et tu Brute!!!
Our favourite pop-punk band PAWS proved they had rather more strings to their bow than just awesomely hummable guitar tunes with their fantastic second album, released at the beginning of the year.  They are pals of ours, they almost signed to our label, and they’re the most prolific accumulators of parking tickets on the Toad Van, so they seemed like a perfect choice for the closing party of this year’s Pale Imitation Festival. Joined by short-shorts-wearing Halfrican and the intense battering of Et tu Brute!!!, it’s going to a lively last show. And then I will get some fucking sleep.

avatar

Er, Thursday’s GoNorth Showcase Tips

inverness Er, what? I hear you say. Tips from GoNorth? As in the GoNorth which took place on Wednesday and Thursday last fucking week?

Yes, that GoNorth. Basically, none of you really live in Inverness anyway, do you, so it’s not like you could go to the gigs in the first place. So the fact that the hangovers from the partying last week, the gig on the weekend and the inevitable results of a sunny day in Scotland means I am only posting this now presumably makes little difference – it’s basically just some music tips on the internet, one way or another, so who cares if they’re a week too late to actually see the gigs.

Cough. You all totally bought that excuse, didn’t you.

Good, then we shall proceed. On Thursday last week there was a bloggers’ showcase, curated by The Pop Cop, Peenko and myself so I suppose I’d better start there as you would bloody well hope I would like those bands, wouldn’t you.

Well the two I’d pick from our lineup would be two bands you’ve heard quite a bit about on here already: the surfy slacker pop of The Yawns, whose debut album made the Song, by Toad Top 20 albums for 2013, and the hyperactive, shouty guitar racket of Garden of Elks. The Elks have been playing an odd game of bass player top trumps with PAWS, and I’m not really sure who won, because the band sounded just as sharp and boisterous after the change as they did before it, so maybe it doesn’t really matter.

Apart from the *cough* obvious excellence of my own personal recommendations for the blogger lineup there were a couple of other right noisy bands who happened to clash with our stage times, but who I was determined to nip out to catch at least a bit of.

Both played one after another in what can best be described as the ‘cosy’ setting of the Market Bar, a place which is very much too small to be a venue, but nevertheless applied itself to the job with cheerful success. Birdhead are a sort of thunderous, two-headed Zack Galafinakis and were a mere day away from releasing their debut album when they played in Inverness. Their music is at times a bit too heavy for my personal taste, and at others, it’s ragingly, hypnotically awesome. And when they’re a yard ahead of you battering this stuff out straight at your face it’s even more impressive.

Pinact are a band I haven’t really written about as much as I should have on this site actually. I saw them at Sneaky’s for the first time about a year or so ago and they’re really good – sort of a cross between PAWS and Dolfinz I suppose, if you’re familiar with those bands. Or, to put it another way, slacker rock turned up loud enough that it broke my ears for two days afterwards and was played with such ferocity that the term ‘slacker’ seemed rather inappropriate.

avatar

Live in Edinburgh This Week – 3rd June 2013

 Of course we all know the one really important thing happening this week is the above gig: The Leg, Monoganon and the Sean Armstrong Experience at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Saturday. That’s because this is BAD FUN, of course, the kind of fun which doesn’t take place here because we have the super old Festival, where fat-tongued, Home Counties public schoolboys arse around for the overpriced entertainment of American tourists – you know, proper culture. No, BAD FUN is where it’s at, people, that’s what we want and of all the bad fun I can think, the deranged howling and tortured-but-infectious melodies of The Leg are pretty much top of the heap.

They’ll be joined by the awesome Monoganon, whose second album will be making an appearance on Fence Records sometime later this year (I think), and The Sean Armstrong Experience.

There is, of course, one more dose of Toadliness, but this only applies to those of you who will be at GoNorth in Inverness, where Peenko, The Pop Cop and myself will be hosting the Bloggers’ Showcase at Mad Hatters from half eight onwards, although as this is an Edinburgh listings page, I won’t go on about this, save to tell you that we’ll have Plum, The Yawns, Friends in America and Garden of Elks playing.

Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, there are a couple of awesome gigs this week as well (*cough cough* besides BAD FUN of course).  Firstly, on Thursday the Edinburgh Carer’s Council present R.M. Hubbert, Adam Stafford and Esther Swift at the Electric Circus. As well as Hubby’s gorgeous flamenco and the looped experimental pop oddness of Adam Stafford, there will be an online auction on eBay which will become ‘live’ to coincide with the concert. Limited edition artwork has been donated by Jenny Soep along with signed DVDs, t-shirts and CDs from other artists including Adam Stafford, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Shirley Manson (Garbage), Beth Orton, Eddi Reader, Admiral Fallow, James Grant (Love and Money), Chris Thomson (Friends Again/The Bathers) and Leo Abrahams.

And finally, there are a couple more slice of general splendidness coming your way in Edinburgh this week. Firstly, tomorrow night – Tuesday – at the Liquid Room you can see the dreamy pop of Camera Obscura whose new album is out.. more or less now, I think, and at the Electric Circus we have North Atlantic Oscillation‘s shoegazey stuff as well.  And then there’s the Birdhead album launch at Sneaky Pete’s on Sunday. They’re a band I don’t mention enough on this site, actually, because I rather like what I’ve heard from them, even though that isn’t all that much. It’s fairly heavy stuff at times, but they have some good stuff, and I am looking forward to hearing their album.

avatar

Toadcast #270 – The Autocast

posttag Welcome to the Autocast. The Autocast? Yes, we have a new car. So exciting! It is, much in the style of pretty much every car I have ever owned in my life, a bit of a shit-heap. In fact, it’s a total shit-heap: a 1992 Volvo estate.

I will be driving it up to GoNorth in Inverness this week, to see if it’s going to prove to be reliable in the long run. It made it all the way from Oxford to Edinburgh a week or so ago though, and that was seven hours, so I reckon it should be fine. Hopefully. The thing about spending £350 on a car is that you can be pretty much certain that something serious must be wrong with it. A properly functioning car is worth more than £350, more or less whatever it is.

Anyhow, GoNorth should be fun. It usually is, and now that we are a bit more established within the Scottish music community it’s a nice chance to catch up with pals who I might not necessarily see that much of because for some reason Glasgow seems too far away most of the year. Ridiculous, really.

Toadcast #270 – The Autocast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #270 – The Autocast

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on Mixcloud

01. Book Group – Year of the Cat (00.22)
02. TV Girl – She Smokes in Bed (07.07)
03. Garden of Elks – Contented Contender (12.57)
04. Camera Obscura – Fifth in Line to the Throne (16.44)
05. Four Visions – Closer (23.01)
06. Way Yes – Get Healed (28.57)
07. Majical Cloudz – Chilhood’s End (37.40)
08. Stuart Warwick – The Nail That Sticks Out Gets Pounded (41.45)
09. The Tablets – Tablets (50.57)
10. Virals – Wax Works (59.45)

avatar

Garden of Elks – Extended Play

elks It’s nice to be right.

I remember when this lot first appeared, with the awesome, shouty This Morning We Are Astronauts, the very first thing which went through my head was that age-old Toad mantra: don’t get too excited, it’s just the one song. I know I say that all the damn time on this site, but it’s more for myself than it is for you, I must be honest. It’s so easy in this business to hear something new and awesome and then to go rambling excitedly away about it before you really have much idea if the band are going to be any good or not in the long run.

Obviously a four-song EP isn’t all that much more new information, but in general I get a really good feeling about these guys. I saw them play live at Sneaky’s again recently, as part of the Wide Days festival, and they were great. Niall snarls out at you from behind his beard, Ryan seems to be powering the bass guitar entirely by the energy of a thousand crotch-thrusts, and Kirstin manages to look wild-eyed and rock ‘n’ roll and yet curiously calm and collected all at once. And it is, simply put, just great pop music. Shouty-as-fuck pop music with loud, snarling guitars maybe, but nevertheless infectious as balls and huge amounts of fun.

There are a couple of songs from the EP available for preview on the band’s Soundcloud page, as well as both the earlier singles. The EP is available to buy here on CD or cassette, and if you do so you’ll notice one other thing which bodes well for the future of this band. I’ve written before, in reviews of Brown Brogues and PAWS, that the danger of being a band largely defined by intense, raucous pop songs is that when you move on to album territory (assuming you do) then there is the risk of wearing out the listener a little by going at them hammer and tongs for forty minutes.

Limpy the Javelin Thrower, the third track on Extended Play, whilst just as wonky as the rest of the EP, gives the sonic battering a bit of a rest and in doing so suggests that this lot know what they’re doing a little more than you might be able to guess from two boisterous pop singles. Good times ahead, I would hope.

avatar

Toadcast #266 – The Gnomecast

posttag The Gnomecast could have been called many, many things. It could have been called The Widecast after Wide Days, the Edinburgh-based music convention I attended in the middle of last week, and from the showcases at which two of the songs on this podcast were chosen. Equally, it could have been called the Witchcast, due to the fact that the vicious old Fucker of Working Britain is now a thing of the past.

In fact, now that I think about it, a whole podcast dedicated to anti-Thatcher songs would probably have been a distinct possibility, but my feelings on her death are not quite so clean cut. Yes, I am glad she is dead, but it’s more of a sense of relief, just a sort of feeling of peace now such a vindictive, spiteful cause of so much harm is finally gone, rather than the sort of air-punching, high-fiving glee which was in evidence after Osama Bin Laden was finally rubbed out.

But make no mistake, Thatcher was far more evil than Osama Bin Laden. Never mind domestic politics, her support for despots around the world was directly involved in the deaths of many, many more people than amateurs like Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden.  The fact that these people were mostly brown, or at least brownish, leads us to underestimate the horror for which she was responsible, but responsible she most certainly was. To be fair, of course, I don’t doubt that Hussein and Bin Laden would have been capable of far, far worse deeds had they had the power to actually carry them out, but I am not sure that should really be an excuse for the likes of Thatcher, Reagan, Bush and Blair.

Sorry, that really had nothing at all to do with gnomes, did it. Ah well, move along.

Toadcast #266 – The Gnomecast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #266 – The Gnomecast

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on iTunes

Subscribe to the Toadcasts on Mixcloud

01. Judy Garland – Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead (00.19)
02. M.J. Hibbett and the Validators (01.07)
03. eagleowl – Not Over (12.24)
04. The Pictish Trail – Wait Until (17.46)
05. Numbers are Futile – Justice is Light (and Blood) (27.37)
06. Law Holt – Hustle (34.30)
07. Garden of Elks – Floaty (42.07)
08. Siobhan Wilson – Reading You (45.10)
09. Kid Canaveral – Who Would Want to be Loved? (51.31)
10. Virgin of the Birds – Evening of Light (58.09)