Song, by Toad

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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.


Toadcast #278 – The Smashcast

TAG Smash as in smash hits, of course, we don’t condone vandalism here at Song, by Toad! No, this week we have a podcast full of what can really only very tenuously indeed be described as banging number one smash hits. Or, perhaps more accurately, a lot of single releases.

We’ve the next 7″ from Gerry Loves Records, some new stuff by Vadoinmessico, the new single from local favourites Honeyblood and Halfrican, and the something off the new Black Tambourines album. I add to the smash hit single vibe by including a couple of absolute corkers from varying degrees of yesteryear, in the form of The Animals and the Shout Out Louds, largely because they’ve been on tapes in the car while we were driving to France and back to visit Mrs. Toad’s family.

While I was there I took the opportunity to mix a whole pile of new Toad Sessions, and they’re all awaiting editing now, so I thought I’d also include one from the recent Old Earth Session as well. I think you’ve heard stuff from The Yawns and Sparrow and the Workshop already, so I figured something new might be interesting for you. And there you go, that’s pretty much the lot. Pour a big ol’ gin, as I am about to, and wrap yer lugs round this little lot.

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01. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (00.44)
02. Honeyblood – Bud (08.34)
03. John Knox Sex Club – Animals (13.44)
04. Over the Wall – Tell Her I Love Her (18.26)
05. Old Earth – Themes and Alarm (Toad Session) (28.27)
06. Halfrican – Cocksucker (36.17)
07. Vadoinmessico – Perfect Strangers (42.25)
08. The Black Tambourines – Out Cold (46.07)
09. Dim Peaks – Reason (52.53)
10. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave it (1.01.29)


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)


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 15th April 2013

BeervsRecords digiflyer

This week is, of course, the week of Record Store Day where we hopefully remember that record shops are nice places to  spend time and money and resolve to go there more often, rather than just fight for the exclusive scraps scattered like breadcrumbs for pigeons. Understandably, most of the gig action this week is focussed on that very event, and naturally I am going to tell you that *cough cough* our stuff is by far the most awesome.

It is though.

We have the Beer vs. Records launch at Summerhall on Saturday evening, where all four bands on the Split 12″ will be playing. Full door price is £8, but if you spend money in a Scottish independent record shop on Record Store Day you can come in for £6. That goes down to £4 if you buy our new Split 12″ (this record, here) from a Scottish independent record shop.

During the day on the 20th there will be plenty of events as well. Over the road from VoxBox Music on St. Stephen’s Street there will be a whole day of live music in The Last Word cocktail bar. Playing will be all of the following: Mike Heron Band (feat members of The Incredible String Band and Trembling Bells), Adam StaffordWounded KneeRob St. JohneagleowlKid Canaveral (ish), Honeyblood and Magic Eye. I think it’s going to be brilliant. Meanwhile down at Elvis Shakespeare on Leith Walk Saint Max and the Fanatics will be playing, and after seeing them live at Wide Days last week I highly recommend them.

Finally, in non-Record Store Day news, we have two other excellent gigs taking place this weekend. Firstly, on Saturday (again – I know!) Brinksfest will be taking place down in Leith, with craft merchants, zine makers and all sorts, as well as the excellent lineup of Stanley Brinks, The Wave Pictures, Freschard, The Occasional Flickers and Saint Max and the Fanatics. This will all be taking place at Henderson Halls, which is a new one for me, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a gig being put on there before.

And finally, on Sunday we have the eccentric and awesome Thomas Truax coming to Henry’s Cellar Bar, with his homemade instruments which look a bit like something out of Batteries Not Included. It will also be your first chance to catch excellent Edinburgh newcomers Numbers are Futile live too, so I’d go, if I were you.


Five for Friday: 8th February 2013

2013-01-04 11.51.05

Seeing as Mildred has been preventing me posting this any earlier by doing pretty much exactly what she is doing in that picture – i.e. sitting in my lap and DEMANDING attention – I figured I might as well start off with a cute cat picture.  This is the internet after all.

Anyhow, welcome to the Friday Fives, where I fire in links to five things which have caught my eye this week, and you either slag me off for being shallow, infantile and easily impressed or chip in with your own interesting stuff in the comments section.

1. BAD FUN at Henry’s tomorrow: 7pm, £5.

It’s a really exceptional lineup at Henry’s tomorrow.  The Black Tambourines were so good when they played here just before Christmas 2011 that we tried to sign them.  Their music is basically a very surfy, lo-fi guitar pop but it’s played with such reckless abandon that you can’t help but get carried away with it.  Their Toad Session is great too – that’s the main video above, and the whole thing can be found here.

North American War are another one of my favourite ‘Scottish bands no-one seems to have heard of’. It’s a shame really, because they are more accomplished and fiercer live than most bands we’ve seen at the Toad gigs.  These two will be joined by the excellent Honeyblood, who I’ve been trying to put on for ages, and who have exciting plans in the pipeline apparently, I’ve just not yet managed to weasel out of them what they are!

The gig is at 7pm, and you’ll pay a fiver on the door, which includes free entry to the club night afterwards, because Henry’s are that nice!

2. Scary Airports

Kai Tak airport, Kowloon: A plane approaching the airport

I am a bad flyer at the best of times, and this Guardian gallery of the world’s scariest airports is quite literally the stuff of my nightmares.  There are at least two or three of those airports I have had horrendous dreams about, without knowing that they genuinely existed somewhere in the world, including the one above, where there basically is no fucking airport!

3. Song of the Day: Shock Shock by Sparrow and the Workshop

Well it kinda had to be this one, didn’t it! As you’ve probably gathered by now, we are releasing a couple of singles by our good friends Sparrow and the Workshop in the run up to their third album, which will be out later this year.  I’ve wanted to work with these guys from the day they recorded one of the first ever Toad Sessions back in 2008, and after constant, undignified pleading and hanging around outside their flat all hours of the day and night, it seems they have come to their senses at last!

4. Awesome Coloured Vinyl


Purists hate coloured vinyl because apparently it doesn’t sound as good.  Personally, I don’t have a particularly cultured ear, and so I fucking love it.  It looks amazing! Come on, you joyless fuds and gaze upon the multicoloured swirls and sparkles!  The gallery linked above is from Official FM Vinyl, who make short runs of 50-100 records, which is something we might well look into doing next year if we can, so the fanatics can have vinyl while the rest of the world wants CDs.  And, as a bonus link, here is a bit of a rant against the vinyl revival, just as a couterbalance.

5. Hartley and Poole score for Hartlepool

Seriously, this is the ‘lighthearted chuckle at the end of the news’ section, but honestly it did happen.  Last week Peter Hartley and James Poole scored for Hartlepool as they beat Notts County 2-1.


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 4th February 2013

ToadGig2013 2 Digiflyer

Well of course all anyone in Scotland could possibly be talking about this week would be this Saturday’s BAD FUN at Henry’s Cellar Bar (with an actual cocktail menu these days, would you fucking believe it) where we will host the fabulous Black Tambourines, the amazing North American War and the awesome Honeyblood.

We recorded a Toad Session with the Black Tambourines last time they were here, and it is bloody excellent.  If you fancy some videos, an interview and some free tunes, go here. And hopefully see you on Saturday.

Other than our own amazing lineup (cough cough) there will be another fine gig on Saturday night, with Edinburgh School for the Deaf and Battery Face joining last month’s BAD FUN headliners Plastic Animals at the Voodoo Rooms for a Strange Fish Records-themed Limbo.

And finally, in something which is not a gig but nevertheless entirely music-related, Sofi’s Bar down in Leith will be screening the LCD Soundsystem film Shut Up and Play the Hits on Thursday night.  Entry is £3, which will go towards Mtondia Orphan school in Kenya.  Plus, of course, they’re a bar so, y’know, they have beer and stuff.

And that, I think, is it.  Did I miss anything excellent?

[EDIT: Christ, I am a bellend.  I managed to survey the Electric Circus’s listings and miss that the Robin Guthrie Trio (that lad fae the Cocteau Twins) is playing on Thursday, along with Mark Gardener from Ride.  Apologies, I am a muppet.]


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 21st January 2013

ToadGig2013 2 Digiflyer

So, apart from complaining about the snow is there much going on this week? The answer, I think, is not all that much so I thought I might take the opportunity to plug our next BAD FUN gig at Henry’s.

There are, however, a couple of things going on in which you might be interested, so let’s get that dealt with first, shall we. Neu Reekie are hosting a rather interesting-looking Burns Night thing at Summerhall, but it’s sold out so umm… well, tough tits really, if you don’t have tickets yet.

Something you can actually attend though is the Sick Kids Foundation benefit gig at the Wee Red Bar on Saturday 26th. Playing will be Book Group (who you might know as the Bad Books), along with solo shows from the Last Battle and Meursault, so it should be a good ‘un.

There are also a couple of gigs on the horizon to keep an eye out for, as tickets may become an issue closer to the time; namely Richard Hawley at the Picturehouse in February and Meursault at the Liquid Rooms in April.

And finally, that BAD FUN gig I was promising to flog – well after the success of Saturday’s gig I am now doubly looking forward to this one. On Saturday 9th February The Black Tambourines will be returning to Edinburgh for the first time since we recorded their Toad Session a little over a year ago, and will be playing with North American War and Honeyblood, two absolutely awesome Glasgow bands. Hope to see you there.


PINS, The Shondes & Honeyblood – Live at Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh, Friday 12th October 2012

It was a cheerful racket of a gig at Henry’s last Friday – the perfect end to a week, in fact.  And whilst I may have slightly allowed my bonhomie to get the better of me by the end (well, it was either that or all the Stella I managed to pour down my gullet), I will still very much sober enough to take full enjoyment from a fine lineup.

Both headliners Pins and openers Honeyblood have been the subject of interesting label machinations recently, but when I asked Stina, front woman of the latter, about it afterwards all I got was an enigmatic smile and reassurance that it was good news, and that I would hear about it soon enough.

I’ve heard the band’s early recordings on Cath Records, but their newer stuff (see player below) is a lot less fuzzy and heavily distorted.  Equally with the live show, the performance is exuberant, but the actual sound is less aggressive than I had been expecting, and if new single Super Rat is anything to go by, these guys could go well beyond the underground tape labels with which I initially associated them.

Anyhow, before Pins came The Shondes, from New York, but to be honest they weren’t really my cup of tea.  Individually they came across as being really likeable on stage, but musically it wasn’t really my bag, frankly.

I am a little sheepish around headline band Pins these days, after coming out with some rather dubious heckles when I was really rather plastered at The Great Escape in May.  This time, apart from a brief chat, I tried to keep a discreet distance and my mouth firmly shut.

Tolerant as they were of my nonsense off it, to describe Pins onstage as a stylish band would be somewhat understating matters. They are four striking women, dressed up to the nines, and they play with a cocky swagger which more or less responds to any observation you might care to make about them with a sneered ‘Yeah? And so fucking what?’ As I said, they seem as nice as you could ask for offstage, but on it they play with an awesomely confrontational strut.

Pins and Honeyblood seem to have one thing in common though, in that despite some more aggressively noisy elements, they are neither of them too fuzzy to have a solid chance at making a wider impact.  Pins play with tom-heavy drum lines and a lead electric guitar which veers from surfy jangle to the more riffy Dinosaur Jr. or Sleater-Kinney, and at times the outright fuzz of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

They have fine pop songs, these bands, and they don’t insist on battering them into lo-fi submission to the extent that only a certain audience is likely to appreciate them.  Pins’ new EP is released in association with Bella Union, and when a band can be coy in the face of advances from a label of that stature, you can only assume they have the confidence that better things yet might be forthcoming.

Personally, as much as I enjoyed myself on Friday, I am still a fan of the extra fuzz though I have to confess. Despite the inherent career limitations it brings with it.


Friday Has Done its Chores

PINS – LUVU4LYF from PINS on Vimeo.

Bloody hell this Friday Fives is going to be late. I’ve not been skiving though, I promise.  I’ve been to the gym (for my back, not for my abs). I’ve tried to persuade the bank that I am indeed myself and can they please turn my fucking card back on, including the surreal experience of going into a branch and talking on a public telephone to a phone banking centre somewhere else.  And then I out to the Parcel Force depot to collect what I have promised Mrs. Toad is the LAST of the Great Lamp Influx.  And then took delivery of a jumbo consignment of cat litter, and now finally here I fucking am.

So what’s up, people?

Sorry, that just sounded like a ream of tenuous excuses you simply don’t want to hear, didn’t it?  Ah well, it was either that or ‘the dog ate it’.  Anyhow, apart from fanny about on the internet all afternoon I have one more thing to accomplish this afternoon, and that is a meeting about the artwork for the new Trips and Falls record.  You may remember Trips and Falls from, say, the two utterly inspired songs below, but if you don’t they’ll have their third album out in the Spring and you can wait for the penny to drop then if you like:

Anyhow, after that I will be heading to Henry’s Cellar Bar for PINS (whose video I posted above), Honeyblood (new tune embedded below) and a couple of others.  I haven’t been to Henry’s in a while and I am really looking forward to it.  It’s a scruffy wee cave in many ways, but I do like the place for some reason.  Maybe it’s because it really is what scuzzy rock venues should be like!

Anyway, before professional meetings and the like get the better of me – ah-ha-haaa, who am I kidding, ‘professional’! – but in any case, before I start having to have meetings and shite like that, how about we waste some time futzing about in the comments before succumbing to the inevitable advances of our mysterious amber mistress later in the evening.

1. Things you make the most excuses for.
2. Most ambient music you still really like.
3. Name an awful musical fad from your youth.
4. Name an awful musical fad from now.
5. What’s for dinner?


It’s Late, but There are Some Cracking Gigs on This Week

 Well it may be a little late to breathlessly announce ‘live in Edinburgh this week’ with multiple exclamation marks and the like, but tardy or not, there are some fine shows on in the capital this week, so plenty for you to do, should you be at a loose end and have a musical itch which needs a-scratching.

I am listening to some Barna Howard in the office today, and it’s perfect.  The sun is blazing, but the weather is cold, and that kind of beautiful acoustic music is absolutely perfect for that odd sense of comfortable melancholy to which I seem to be prone at times like this.

Anyhow, we have plenty of awesome shit still happening in Edinburgh this week, so you musically inclined folk have some top stuff from which to choose. There’s a fair bit of multimedia too, so to stop it slowing down the whole page, the listings are below the jump. Read the rest of this entry »