Song, by Toad

Posts tagged mumford and sons

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Toadcast #283 – The Shamecast

SOUTH AFRICA BECKHAM If you listen to some people you’d be forgiven for thinking that their should be no such thing as a guilty pleasure – if you like something, you fucking like it, and there should be no shame in that. I sort of agree with that in a way, but erm, y’know, bollocks. Total bollocks.

We change who we are all the time, we develop, we grow, we learn, and just as videos of me awkwardly learning to ski would be embarrassing to watch, listening back to some of the cack I used to listen to when I was younger is also embarrassing. I don’t hate much of it, in retrospect, honestly. In fact, a lot it I still love, with a definite sense of ‘I refuse to be shamed’ defiance.

But just as every crappy, badly executed relationship, mumbled chat-up line and embarrassing sexual encounter was necessary in order to for me to end up where I am with Mrs. Toad, so every musical misstep, be it daft, excruciating or misguided has led me to where I am musically. So I don’t really regret any of this stuff (except The Streets), and even in retrospect I don’t really dislike it either, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a slight sense of shame at a younger, less confident, more impressionable me.

Having said that, though, I think having plenty of shame in your musical background is probably a healthy thing. It seems to me to imply that you were taking risks, listening to new stuff, trying things out and having your own opinions. The results may occasionally be embarrassing in retrospect, but the approach which got you there is probably more healthy than never trying out new shit and only listening to stuff you know you’re going to like.

Toadcast #283 – The Shamecast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

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01. Dire Straits – Tunnel of Love (00.56)
02. Tina Turner – Private Dancer (13.11)
03. Meat Loaf – Read ‘em and Weep (26.44)
04. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (32.10)
05. Hootie & the Blowfish – Earth Stopped Cold at Dawn (40.00)
06. Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me (47.04)
07. Moby – Southside (56.12)
08. The Streets – Same Old Thing (1.00.06)
09. The Courteeners – Cavorting (1.05.09)
10. Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait (Toad Session) (1.14.32)

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 5th July 2010

I suppose that if we are talking about Scottish gigs this week, I really do have to mention T in the Park, or Nedstock as my far-funnier-than-I friend refers to it over at the Vinyl Villain.  I’ve actually only been once myself, back in 1996 I think it was, when Radiohead and Pulp headlined the Saturday and Sunday spots respectively.  The thing is, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it seems that was indeed 1996, but then, it says Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were also on the bill and although I cannot for the life of me imagine missing one of my all time musical heroes I have absolutely no recollection of seeing them that year.

The one thing I do remember, however, was watching a hunched introvert and an awkward geek effortlessly engage one of the biggest crowds I’d ever been a part of.  I think it was probably the first time I ever really understood what real star power actually was, because both Jarvis Cocker and Thom Yorke had the whole gigantic main stage crowd eating out of the palms of their hands.

I’m glancing over this year’s lineup and wondering who I would go and see, and apart from maybe Big Pink and Dirty Projectors on Friday, and Frightened Rabbit and Mumfords on Saturday, I’d stick with the ‘also appearing’ bit at the bottom of that poster where you see the likes of Sparrow & the Workshop, the Boy Who Trapped the Sun, French Wives, Mitchell Museum, The Seventeenth Century and Washington Irving.  Most of them are playing the T-Break Stage, where Meursault are also making a guest appearance on Friday.

Wednesday 7th July 2010: Rickie Lee Jones at the Queen’s Hall.

I really don’t know anything at all about Rickie Lee Jones from a musical perspective, but I have heard one or two songs I like here and there.  And given people have repeatedly advised me never to ever put gigs on in the Summer, I suppose it should come as no surprise that this is the only one I could find this week that I liked.  Any suggestions welcome in the comment thread.

Rickie Lee Jones – Little Mysteries

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Toadcast #117 – Mumford & Sons Toad Session

Video: VimeoYouTube
Photos: FlickrBlueback Hotrod
Audio: below

This was without a shadow of a doubt the most scary level of military efficiency that anything even slightly Toad-related has ever achieved.  Mumford & Sons were playing to a sold-out Queen’s Hall in the evening, so we had to have them in and out of the door within an hour and a half, and we actually bloody managed it!  As the likes of the Pictish Trail, who left Toad Hall completely plastered after his session, can testify: this isn’t really what we’re good at around here.

So, not only did they go to extreme lengths to actually make time to record this, they did a fucking lovely job of it as well.  If you watch the video for Untitled, embedded below, you’ll see that they rattled our floors so hard that something actually falls off the shelves behind Marcus at the end of the video.  Gavin has done a lovely job of the recording and mixing, and many thanks to Dylan for the photography and Matthew for help with the filming.

As usual with the Toad Sessions, there is a full set of pictures on our Flickr page, Dylan’s own choices on his Blueback Hotrod page, freely downloadable and shareable mp3s of the session tracks below, a full podcast of the interview (with playlist at the bottom of the page), and videos of the individual songs themselves embedded below.  I’ve also made a video of the whole day, with bits of interviews and excerpts from the songs, and that is embedded at the top of the page.  Enjoy!

Toadcast #117 – Mumford & Sons Toad Session

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Mumford & Sons – Untitled (Toad Session)

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Mumford & Sons – Dance Dance Dance (Neil Young Cover) (Toad Session)

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Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page (Toad Session)

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Mumford & Sons – Awake My Soul (Toad Session)

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Podcast Playlist:
01. Mumford & Sons – Untitled (Toad Session) (04.26)
02. Vampire Weekend – UR a Contra (13.29)
03. Love.Stop.Repeat – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (17.52)
04. Mumford & Sons – Dance Dance Dance (Neil Young Cover) (Toad Session) (21.54)
05. Billie Holiday – God Bless the Child (26.42)
06. Eels – In the Beginning (29.49)
07. Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page (Toad Session) (36.27)
08. My Kappa Roots – It was Rough When the Rain Came (41.19)
09. Mumford & Sons – Awake My Soul (Toad Session) (50.23)

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Toad Top Twenty 2009 – 11-15

11. Casiotone for the Painfully Alonevs. Children
Owen Ashworth has a sort of shambolic charisma to him which translates pretty neatly to his music.  It’s unhurried, thoughtful and has the air of a good friend, right from the first moment you hear it.  This may be a fuller sound than his older fans are used to, but I think the extra instrumentation is used very carefully, and never smothers his songwriting.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Man ‘o War

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12. Mumford & SonsSigh No More
This record suffers from a bit of earnestness and the distinct whiff of adjectives like ‘soaring’, but nevertheless there are so many great songs, so much much energy and such euphorically infectious tunes that you just can’t help but love this album.  It is folky, but if anything there’s more of a gospel-style, rousing feel to this record than anything I would call folk.

Mumford & Sons – Dustbowl Dance

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13. Kurt VileChildish Prodigy
Childish Prodigy is a rough, loose album which I pretty much liked right from the start.  It swings from rough garage rock to plucked acoustic music, always full of grumble and distortion though.  For an album with little extra instrumentation, this is still really varied both of pace and mood, and manages to keep shifting all the way through the record.

Kurt Vile – Dead Alive

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14. Broken RecordsUntil the Earth Begins to Part
This album received some of the most scathing 3/5 reviews I’ve ever read, but I still think it’s fucking great.  The old songs like A Good Reason and Eilert Loevborg are raucous as fuck and some of the newer material gives us hints of new directions for the next album.  Maybe the production wasn’t all that sympathetic and maybe the album could have done with some quiter moments to offset the louder ones, but that doesn’t matter because Jamie has a great voice, and this record just thunders along at pace from start to finish and that’s how I enjoy it best.

Broken Records – Ghosts

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15. The Van Allen BeltMeal Ticket to Purgatory
Erm, well, this is just a bit weird.  It stops and starts, leaps all over the place and is generally just a weird and wonderful box of treats.  It’s been a really good year for Indiecater Records, but this is probably my favourite of the lot.

The Van Allen Belt – Dr Layman’s Terms/The Hills are Alive

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Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

mumfords
I have a slightly mixed relationship with Mumford & Sons, and not really for great reasons.  I remember being amazed by them the first time I saw them live, and their first EP in particular was a superb piece of work.  That was just as they started to go from being very much under the radar to very much on it, and I am not sure whether it was because the awe wore off or because a couple of internal miscommunications saw them renege on a promise to play a show for a friend up here, and so I sort of sulked with them a bit, which I know is largely unreasonable, but there you are.

Whatever the cause, I’ve taken my eye off them for the last eight months or so, during which time my prediction from seeing their first show – that they genuinely had the chance to break out of the alternative into the mainstream and make it quite big – seems increasingly to be coming true.  I am not claiming much cleverness in making that prediction of course, it really was obvious to everyone.

This album has been a little while coming, and contains a lot of old favourites from their preceding two EPs, so fans of the band will be pretty familiar with most of the songs already.  There’s also a grandiosity and an earnestness to their stuff which earned Broken Records’ debut album so much opprobrium, and I will repeat what I said about that album here: the way to deal with that kind of thing is not to fight it and not to pretend it isn’t there; just embrace it, turn the stereo up fucking loud and enjoy.  That was the way to enjoy Until the Earth Begins to Part, and it’s also the way to enjoy this.

They are like a euphoric four-man gospel choir when they really get going, and it’s all very soaring and words like that which we pseudo-journalists love.  But it is soaring.  Thunderous is also what it is.  Marcus Mumford used to be Laura Marling’s drummer* and even when the band were playing small DIY shows he brought along a kick-drum, so there was always a thumping rhythm driving on through the set with real passion.  It makes you want to dance – even me.

A couple of the songs are merely quite good, so I can’t pretend to maintain quite the reckless crush I indulged after the first time I came across the band at the Captain’s Rest in Glasgow, but there are a lot of really brilliant tunes on this record, and I can’t help imagining them all in a live setting and that manic buzz Mumford & Sons give the audience when they play.

Dust Bowl Dance might be the one big winner for me on Sigh No More.  It’s not my favourite song – that would be between the two early ones, Awake My Soul or White Blank Page – but the way it builds from a gentle piano and banjo-led lament to a full on electric guitar explosion at the end is as good an embodiment of the whirlwind these lads can generate.  It may be too straight-faced to please the ironists or too smooth for the experimentalists, but as blazing pop albums based on an indie-folk template go, this is as good as you’re likely to hear.


Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page

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Mumford & Sons – Dust Bowl Dance

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*And he must also be mightily sick of seeing that fact mentioned in reviews.  Sorry Marcus.

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Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page Video

Apparently this is something of an exclusive, according to the very nice Matt from Stay Loose PR who sent me the file.  So you can all feel extra special as you watch this acoustic version of Mumford & Sons singing White Blank Page from their debut album Sigh No More, which is out Monday and will be reviewed here that very day.

And you’ll be pleased to know that it’s really very good indeed. Beware though, may take a while to load.

MumfVid

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 2nd August 2009

Edinburgh Festicle

Obviously, from my perspective there is one big and important gig this week:

Sunday 9th August 2009: Animal Magic Tricks (with Pete from The Leg & Neil from Meursault) at the first Toad House Gig.

Use the link below to buy tickets and please do buy them in advance because we can’t have too many people in the house, and at the same time I would be gutted if it was empty, so it would help us plan ahead a little:


In the rest of the city, however, the Edinburgh Festicle well and truly kicks off this week.  This means that despite a rather quiet build-up, the weekend is just fucking mental, frankly.  My personal choice is going to be Trampoline on Saturday, I think.  I’m really interested to hear what Jonnie Common’s doing on his own, although Rob St. John was excellent at Electric Circus on Saturday and his show at the Portrait Gallery with Emily Scott should be fantastic.  I’ve probably missed out loads, but you really are going to have to expect that during August I think because there’s just going to be so much stuff going on, and not listed in the obvious and usual places either, so I’ll probably miss a fair bit.

I sulk about the Festival, honestly, because it tends to utterly steamroll anything which would actually happen in the city otherwise, but this year there does seem to be a lot of actual Edinburgh stuff taking place, particularly in terms of music.  For anyone wanting a full run down, Bart wrote an excellent summary of what to expect for the next few weeks last weekend, and you really should read it if you want a musically rewarding August.

Tuesday 4th August 2009: Debutant, Plastic Animals & Yahweh at Henry’s Cellar Bar.

This will be quite post-rocky and quite atmospheric and quite noisy.  Yup, noisy. Excellent!

Friday 7th August 2009: Woodpigeon & Woodenbox With a Fistful of Fivers at Sneaky Pete’s.

I have never been any more than a casual fan of Woodpigeon, but I am sort of liking their recent album Treasury Library Canada.  For me though, the real reason to attend this gig is the excellent Woodenbox who can be phenomenal live.
Woodpigeon – Cities of Weather

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Friday 7th August 2009: The Stranglers at the Picturehouse.

No, I am not a Stranglers afficionado, yes I would just be going for the famous ones, no I don’t care.  Sometimes ‘just the hits’ can be great, especially when they’re as great as Golden Brown.
The Stranglers – Golden Brown

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Friday 7th August 2009: The Radiation Line, The Kays Lavelle & Adam Stafford at the Wee Red Bar.

This is the official launch night for the Trampoline August shows, and will be a good chance to hear live versions of things on the approaching Kays Lavelle album.

Friday 7th & Saturday 8th August 2009: Mumford & Sons at Cabaret Voltaire.

Even though I am not really as keen on the band as I was when I first heard them, when they honestly blew me away, they are still phenomenal live.  It’s sort of gospelly banjo raucousness, I suppose, and bloody brilliant.
Mumford & Sons – White Blank Page

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Saturday 8th August 2009: Rob St. John & Emily Scott at the National Portrait Gallery.

I pretty much described why I thought this would be good in the main post didn’t I.  I shall just add that Emily is launching a new album, in case you need even more incentive to turn up.

Saturday 8th August 2009: David Byrne at the Playhouse.

What do I have to say about this?  The man was Talking Heads!  To cap that he’s been incredibly positive about what the internet can mean to young bands and had some very well-considered things to say about how to make the most of the new environment in the music industry.
Talking Heads – Hey Now (Yes, I know this isn’t ‘David Byrne’ per se, but bugger off, I love this album.)

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Saturday 8th August 2009: Jonnie Common, Animal Magic Tricks & Conquering Animal Sound play Trampoline at the Wee Red Bar.

This should be very low-fi and somewhat scratchy but with lovely underlying melodies, if my knowledge of both Jonnie Common and Animal Magic Tricks is anything to go by.  I don’t know Conquering Animal Sound, but then that’s why we go to gigs, isn’t it.

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Toad Festive Fifty: 11-23

Timer

Part 1: 1-10
Part 2: 11-23
Part 3: 24-36

Patt 4: 37-50

And so we stumble on to the penultimate post in the countdown to the Toad’s favourite song of the year.  At this point the idea of some sort of hierarchy of love is becoming rather ridiculous.  Do I genuinely prefer Make Another Tree to Frankie’s Gun?  No, of course I don’t.  Do I really get more goose bumps or feel more lightheaded with glee when Out on the Water comes on the stereo, compared to, say, Restless?  No, not in the slightest so what am I going on, here?  Well I don’t know, it’s just a gut reaction I suppose, largely dependent on my mood at the time at which I finally turned a ‘bunch of songs’ into some sort of list.

So don’t take it too seriously, just enjoy that fact that there have been this many brilliant songs released this year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toad Festive Fifty: 37-50

The Count

Part 1: 1-10
Part 2: 11-23

Part 3: 24-36
Part 4: 37-50

Here is the official beginning of Christmas List season, here at Song, by Toad. If you want to get involved and write your own list, then please do. Go here for more details. The more of you that contribute to that the better the results we will get, so don’t be shy.

This is the first quarter of my Festive Fifty for 2008. I will also be preparing a list of my twenty favourite albums, but I might just neglect singles and EPs this time around. If you disagree with anything then do get stuck in, but bear in mind that this is far from a definitive ranking. Ask me on another day and Pictish’s brilliant I Don’t Know Where to Begin could easily be in the top five. Ask me in four months’ time and it would probably be all-change again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toadcast #47 – The Oldcast

Toadcast

I know it’s a bit obvious to do a podcast like this so shortly after my birthday, but it gives me the opportunity to ramble a bit and play some classics I might not otherwise have played.

There are so many wonderful songs about growing old, and I actually think I may have missed most of them.  I have no fear of being old, but for some reason it feels a little more immediate this year but I don’t know why.

So goodnight people, it’s been a pleasure.  Sleep well and don’t be too rough on yourselves.  Take Kirsty’s advice and “don’t be too rough on my cold, cold heart; it’s all I’ve got left to me now.”

That may be the smart-arsed line, but the most important line in this song is the bit where she says that “there’s a light in your eyes tells me somebody’s in and you won’t come the cowboy with me”.  It’s such a crucial judgment, isn’t it.  You take a bet on someone, you throw in your chips and you hope for the best.  So if you’re feeling brave, good luck to you.  Look after her, I’ll be there anytime soon.

Toadcast #47 – The Oldcast

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01. The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper (00.01)
02. The Band – Rockin’ Chair (07.46)
03. Michelle Shocked – Memories of East Texas (11.21)
04. Hafdis Huld – Tomoko (20.57)
05. Baby Walrus – Some Dawns No Bird Will Sing (28.44)
07. Donny Hue & the Colors – The World Came Running (30.25)
08. Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (34.21)
08. Soko – The Dandy Cowboys (43.31)
09. Kirsty MacColl – Don’t Come the Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim (47.04)
10. Neil Young – Old Man (55.09)
11. Jeffrey Lewis – Back When I Was Four (58.12)