Song, by Toad

Posts tagged marcy playground


Marcy Playground: Not the Most Obvious of Valentine’s Day Music, But Hear Me Out…

Mrs. Toad and I tend to ignore Valentine’s Day. That’s not to say that we are scrooges when it comes to romance, in fact I would say exactly the opposite, but for us the compulsory nature of it doesn’t feel very romantic.  Everyone’s different, but we’d rather take our sentimentality when it naturally wells up during the normal working week, which is actually pretty frequently, so we don’t exactly miss out by missing out.

We also, as I suppose do most couples, have a few songs which have ended up being strongly associated with our relationship for a variety of reasons – songs we played a lot when we were courting, songs which played at our wedding at key moments (even if entirely by happy accident of the shuffle function), or songs with lyrics with which we strongly identify.  It’s all the usual stuff really and the songs themselves, whilst not exactly classic choices, are at least the sort of songs you would expect people to gravitate towards for this kind of thing.

This one is an exception though, and it’s also one I have never mentioned to Mrs. Toad either, as it is a song which I have ended up associating with her, and with my falling in love with her, entirely by accident: All the Lights Went Out by Marcy Playground.

It is a love song, I suppose, but it’s not even my favourite song on what is not even my favourite Marcy Playground album. The reason it stuck is a bit convoluted, but bear with me…

I was always pretty pragmatic about love and marriage.  At the time I met Mrs. Toad I had had a couple of girlfriends I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with, so I had an inkling I would know what I was looking for when I found it.  I never expected the struck-by-lightning, love at first sight thunderbolt stuff, but I knew that those previous relationships had lacked something, even if I didn’t know what it was, so I guessed that when I met the girl I wanted to marry the lack of that absence at least would be some sort of indication.

That wasn’t the case, though.  It was a classic case of an absolute, life-changing, instantaneous thunderbolt. It even seems silly to me now, but right from the the very start I knew absolutely and without a shred of doubt that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Mrs. Toad.

The result was in some ways related to the shock of grief you feel at extremely bad news, in that I was walking around in a sort of glazed over, detached daze for days afterwards. Of course, it didn’t have that hollow, sickening undertone that grief brings, it brought a sort of terrified, wobbly excitement instead, but I think the sense of shock was similar.

Of course, I still had a job to go to, but I found myself sitting at work with my headphones on gazing into the middle distance an awful lot of the time.  I remember exactly what I was thinking, too. I was thinking ‘Holy shit, is this it? Is this the girl I want to marry? Can I really be this sure this fast? This really is it, isn’t it?  She really is the one.  This is what it feels like.  This is what people talk about when they say ‘you know’.  You really do fucking know.  Holy fuck.  I think this really might be it.  Fuck. Oh crap. Fucking hell this really is it!’

I was not, as you can probably imagine, at my most capable.

At that point I was listening to Shapeshifter by Marcy Playground an awful lot, and I tended to turn the volume up a wee bit louder, just to drown out the rest of the office so I could be alone with my thoughts. I ended up playing All the Lights Went Out over and over again, without ever really knowing why.

The lyrics aren’t exactly sophisticated, but maybe that helped.  Maybe that hypnotic repetition of the line “Well today, all the lights went out in heaven” helped soothe my dizzy brain.  Maybe that talk of short-circuiting, well, basically everything struck a nerve too, because that’s what I felt like, like my brain had blown a fuse and was scrabbling about trying to get everything working again before it had to do something complicated like cross the road safely.

And the music isn’t exactly classic love song stuff either.  It’s not the most aggressive guitar in the world, but the crescendo of the song is a bit loud for a serenade.  Again though, maybe that helped, maybe the volume to which the song builds struck a chord with the kind of inner turmoil I was experiencing at the time; it was like a tornado was bouncing around inside my head half the time.

This was, of course, never a love song between Mrs. Toad and I, like most of the songs you would tend to associate with a relationship. Instead, it was a song which caught me at the exact moment lightning struck and somehow seemed to represent what had happened better than anything else around me at the time, so I sat in work and stared into the middle distance, turned up the volume, and played it again and again thinking ‘Holy shit, is this really it?’

And yes, it was really it.  I knew immediately, and with total certainty that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and every single day since has done nothing but cement the clarity of that decision. It was easy, really.  Obvious. And the best and most important thing that has ever happened to me.  There are just a few odd quirks in the soundtrack, that’s all.


Friday is Like a Rabbit in Headlights

Bloody hell.  Holidays are awesome things, but getting back from them to the terrifying number of neglected tasks which pile up in your absence is quite intimidating.

So far the best I have managed has been to stare in a startled way at my desk and adopt a facial expression which looks dangerously like Ctrl-Alt-Delete is called for.  I think I might wait for lunch and just go an lie in the sun in Inverleith Park instead, and accept the meltdown rather than fight it.

Anyhow, that clip at the top is from the BBC’s SXSW documentary, due to go out on BBC2 Scotland on Tuesday 5th July at 9pm. I mention this for several reasons.  Firstly, I was there this year, and seeing that all documented from someone else’s perspective is both very cool and a little strange.  Secondly, there is a significant amount in the programme about bands I (and presumably you too) happen to love, such as Withered Hand and Kid Canaveral.  This is a good thing.

And thirdly, really quite surprisingly, there is quite a lot of me in it as well, which is also both odd and splendid at the same time.  The Beeb have used a lot of the footage they shot of Vic, Peej, Stuart and myself recording our SXSW hangover podcast, and it may only be the last ten minutes or so, but given I am not a band that is pretty incredible really.

Anyhow, while I am scrabbling to get the post sorted out, in order to prevent outraged shoppers battering down our door due to the lateness of their orders, here are five stupid questions to which it would be nice to receive five stupid answers, and god knows whatever other bollocks is on your mind at the moment.

And I promise that after the disruption of the last couple of weeks, normal service, whatever that is, will be resumed henceforth. Phew!

1. What chore are you currently the furthest behind with?
2. Do you like tennis (in general) or Wimbledon (in particular).
3. Are you fond of strawberries?
4. Have you watched pals of yours on the telly before?
5. Anyone going to any gigs on the weekend?  I seem to have completely lost track of what the fuck is going on at the moment!

The Radiators – Television Screen

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Doc & Merle Watson – Bonaparte’s Retreat

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Marcy Playground – Sunday Mail

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

George Pringle – Carte Postale

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Orange Juice – Holiday Hymn (Peel Session)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Toadcast #171 – The Chillcast

No, no, don’t worry this isn’t some sort of chillout special (although we did actually do one of those once upon a time).  The only reason this is called the Chillcast is because on what was a beautifully sunny day for the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh performed its age old trick of drawing a freezing sea mist off the North Sea – the haar, as it’s called – and turning a lovely Spring day into a damp, chilly sulk.  Bastard.

I realised a while back that I don’t actually cover all that much Scottish music, despite the location of this blog being quite a prominent feature of the thing. This week, though, we have something like five Scottish (or Scottish-based) bands on this, and all of them relatively under the radar ones as well.

Anyhow, I am off to play nicely with Mrs. Toad’s colleagues for the rest of the day, in some sort of horrific bonding exercise.  Ah well, it pays the bills I suppose, and it’s not like she doesn’t have to spend an awful lot of time hanging out with my ‘colleagues’.

Direct download: Toadcast #171 – The Chillcast

01. The Sandwitches – Summer of Love (00.11)
02. The Japanese War Effort – Pool Attendant (7.41)
03. King Post Kitsch – Don’t You Touch My Fucking Honeytone (10.42)
04. PAWS – Summer Wipeout (16.22)
05. Marcy Playground – Wave Motion Gun (25.05)
06. The Low Anthem – Boeing 737 (33.40)
07. Horsecollar – Christopher (39.12)
08. Morris Major – In Amongst My Ideas (47.11)
09. Plastic Animals – It Fell Apart (Demo) (50.34)
10. Earth Girl Helen Brown – Girls of My Dreams (59.06)


It’s Friday and I Have Five Hangovers

Grumble grumble. Every time I go out with those fuckwits I end up fucking hammered.

The biggest problem with bloody musicians is that none of the fuckers have fucking jobs. Consequently concepts like 9am and ‘time to go to fucking work’ have no bloody meaning for the pillocks. Nor does ‘if you get home after 4am stinking of beer your wife might just go mental’. Nobody ever fucking warns me about these things.

Anyhow, I am less than an hour away from my Friday pub lunch down at the King’s Wark. Apart from being the workplace of the rather lovely Izzy, who comments here from time to time, it is also one of the finest scoffing establishments in Edinburgh. Yum. And did I mention that they have beer?

Oh, and I got into another fucking row at a gig, you’ll be amused to hear. During Eagleowl’s show last night some silly Aussie tart came in and started jabbering away, and clearly wasn’t enjoying the music. This is fine, of course; you can’t demand that anyone likes anything, but then again if you aren’t enjoying it then Edinburgh is hardly devoid of other fucking pubs in which you might drink. If you don’t like it, sweethert, then instead of talking through the bastard thing, why not just Go Away. Eventually I suggested, in my usual diplomatic way, that she might wish to enjoy her recreation in the other fucking room if she wasn’t enjoying herself. Unfortunately, in the usual manner of vacuous bimbos, she continued to want to discuss the matter endlessly and wouldn’t just piss off and leave people to enjoy themselves.

To make matters worse, it then turned out that the grotty old mare was there with Matt, who is a friend of mine and a really lovely bloke, and who managed to stay remarkably calm whilst I insulted his pal. I do open my mouth occasionally, people, but it is usually just to change feet.

The worst thing was that later on we bumped into a couple of other plastered members of the Edinburgh music community and they confirmed that they had also heard me shush people a gigs before. So I am becoming known as the Edinburgh Gig Wheeshter which is not, I have to confess, terribly rock and roll. Honestly though – just shut up or go the fuck away. No-one is forcing you to enjoy it, but no-one is stopping just bloody sodding off either.

Grrr. Anyway, friday, bunch of favourites, de-lurk, etc etc…

You will be pleased to know that Roni Brunn from From sent me an email last night and given the monumental ripping she got from everyone, she was incredibly gracious. So whether or not you like her music it seems like she is a nice lass. Feel bad yet? You should.

1. Best Indiana Jones movie.
2. Custard or rice pud?
3. Painful comedian you actually like (NOT Adam fucking Sandler).
4. Drew Barrymore deserves to die. How should she achieve this?
5. Silliest sports kit – with pictures please.

Gerry Mitchell & Little Sparta – Nocturne in C
Neil Young – Heart of Gold
The Wallflowers – Josephine (For those of you who don’t know, this is Dylan Jr.)
Ghostkeeper – Solid Gold
Marcy Playground – All the Lights Went Out
That last song is one I used to listen to a lot when I first met Mrs. Toad. I lived a long way away at the time and we only saw each other every couple of weeks, and I was so dazed and in love I used to sit at my desk and hum along to this all the time… ♫yes today, all the lights went out…♪ I was developing a soft spot for the girl even then, it seems.

Ian from Broken Records sent me this, by the way. The Luminaire fucking rocks.



Too Tired to Write, So Here’s Marcy Playground

Marcy Playground

I am too tired and too busy to write anything today. I haven’t really got into any new stuff enough to have anything to say about it, not even anything as half-arsed as my usual reviews.

We are homeless while our house is being renovated to the tune of a kersquillion pounds, and have in the meantime squatted for two months with Mrs. Toad’s brother (he was away at the time), the next few days with a friend from uni, and for the rest of November we will be in a short-stay apartment. This blows goats like nothing else. Add to that the fact that I have done an extra two weeks of work during October over and above my contracted hours, and you can imagine I am feeling pretty spent at the moment. Once the money joys of a major renovation project are taken into account it’s a wonder I even find the energy to beat the servants.

Anyhow, as I like to do when given little time to think, I thought I might mention an old favourite. Marcy Playground’s eponymous debut album is known for little more than the hit single Sex & Candy, but it is one of my favourite records to listen to. There’s a laid back, gentle rock ‘n’ roll to it, slightly unusual imagery and a comforting loveliness that soothes my spirit. At the same time somewhere in there lurks a little alienation and a little tension.  There’s an edge to the stories and a slight scratch to the guitar that makes it a slightly deeper sound than its one-hit wonder status would suggest.  If I am ever stuck for something to play, this is often it.

They released a follow up – Shapeshifter – that did little, and eventually a third album called MP3 that did less. Lead singer John Wozniak apparently has a couple of solo albums, but I know nothing about them, and even if they never did another day’s work in their puffs they would always have an affectionate wee place in my musical soul reserved just for them.

You can actually buy this for less than a quid on Amazon Marketplace, so go and have a try. Honestly, there’s something that is just plain right about this album.

Marcy Playground – Dog & His Master
Marcy Playground – Gone Crazy
Marcy Playground – Sherry Fraser