Song, by Toad

Posts tagged penguins kill polar bears

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 16th August 2010

Having missed most of the first week of the Festival by being in Spain, I am now going to miss large parts of this week by pootling about in Anstruther at Haarfest (tickets can be found in the right hand column of this page).

Mrs. Toad will presumably hate me for this of course, as she has to stay behind in Edinburgh and do a proper job, whereas I can fuck off to Fife, get lashed, and call it work.  Mwaaah hah haaa…!

Given the fact that during the Festival the centre of Edinburgh becomes roughly as welcoming as the picture above I think I’ll appreciate a swift relocation for a few days, ready to come back to the last week of the Festival, go to a couple of shows and pretend I always knew it was going to be fun all along.

Anyhow, for those of you not Fifing themselves all to pieces this week I have some very fine recommendations indeed:

Lach’s Antihoot – from Wednesday at the Gilded Balloon.

I was at the first night, which was great, and apparently this week has been great fun, according to the man himself and according to Dylan’s drunken Facebook pictures of himself, Bart and Jamie and Rory from Broken Records who played there on Saturday.

Tuesday 17th August 2010: Withered Hand & The Last Battle at the Electric Circus.

Dan from Withered Hand is currently working on his second album, although I am not sure how far he’s actually got just yet.  Either way, I’m probably as excited to hear new stuff from Withered Hand as I am to hear new stuff from any band on Song, by Toad Records. Dan’s way with words is as good as anyone I know, and his knack of wrapping them up in simple but effective melodies makes his music both as pleasurable and as rewarding as anything else happening in Edinburgh at the moment.

Withered Hand – Religious Songs

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Tuesday 17th August 2010: John Grant & Rachel Sermanni at the Wee Red Bar.

John Grant used to be in a band called The Czars who had some truly brilliant moments.  I saw him at SXSW, and he stepped up to a piano in a checked shirt and sporting a very alt-country sort of beard and then instead of playing the sort of Bella Union alt country I expected (fairly obvious assumptions based on costume and venue) he played a series of sweet, melodic piano ballads, with just the faintest scent of theatricality about them.  I haven’t heard the album yet, but that was an intriguing show and I’d recommend checking his stuff out.

John Grant – Where Dreams Go to Die

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Tuesday 17th August 2010: The Besnard Lakes, Heart Beats & Penguins Kill Polar Bears at Sneaky Pete’s.

I haven’t seen the Besnard Lakes live, but their sound is really nicely complex and layered, and when their songs are good they are really really good.  If that translates to the live setting as well as I suspect it might then this could be an almighty wall of sound and completely brilliant.  That’s just a guess though, but I would like to think it’s true.  Let me know if you go and find out.

The Besnard Lakes – Chicago Train

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Thursday 19th August 2010: The Scottish Enlightenment, Debutant & Dan Lyth at Henry’s Cellar Bar.

This is something of a stripped back gig for the Scottish Enlightenment, due to the absence of a guitarist, but nevertheless their slow, deliberate sound is a treat I would recommend to anyone.  There is an album due out shortly, which I am heartily looking forward to.

The Scottish Enlightenment – Riverbed

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Thursday 19th August 2010: Sleepy Sun at Sneaky Pete’s.

I’ll be honest with you, I know no more about this than the fact that I had a listen to their MySpace page and thought it sounded interesting.  Interesting it did sound however, so I reckon it might well be worth a chance if you’re looking for something to do on Thursday.

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 21st June 2010

Umm.. nada, absolutely nada this week.  Not one single gig I would be likely to go to myself, which is a bit unusual.  Still, I am going to Glastonbury for the first time, so this not entirely a bad thing from my perspective.  As a good friend of mine pointed out: ‘Giving up your job and then off to Glastonbury – it’s like the end of your adulthood’.  And he’s not far wrong.

Oh yes, giving up my job, did I mention that?  Well yes, as of Wednesday I will be a full-time Toad.  Or ToadPRO as someone called it, not that it will entail being much more professional I wouldn’t have thought.  Still, I am hugely fucking excited, not to be giving up my job actually, which I have always enjoyed, but the idea of being able to tackle all this Toad bollocks head on and really do it properly is a really exciting prospect as far as I am concerned.  More on this later, though.

Last week I strayed wildly outside the list format for my Monday listings, which caused howls of upset from the cheap seats, and this week will be no different.  There are a couple of interesting things happening, notably a Great Junction Street Music Studios showcase at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Saturday 26th.  I know nothing at all about the bands involved, but I really think this kind of event is a good idea.  If you are looking to get your band off the ground and start finding an audience, club together with your mates, put on a gig, invite all your friends and give it a go.

Alternatively, there’s the Penguins Kill Polar Bears EP launch tour passing through Scotland this week.  I may not like the music myself, but these guys are doing a really good job of  getting themselves noticed on an entirely DIY basis, and the more of that that happens around here the better.  I always admire people who just get on with it, rather than whining about what other people should be doing for them, and this band certainly deserve your support.

Can you call a list comprising one single item a list at all?  And it’s not really a gig either.  Ah well, to soothe the agitation of those I upset last week, here is my list for this week:

Thursday 24th June 2010: Nick Cave speaks at Canongate Books‘ Irregular night at the Roxy Art House.

To say that Nick Cave is one of my heroes would be something of an understatement, and I am grinding my teeth down to fucking stumps with frustration at the fact that I will be in out of town on Thursday night when he comes to do a reading down at the Roxy.  Arse monkeys.

And to make up for the lack of giggage, I have a special present for you all, courtesy of Jon from Virgin of the Birds.  He played the Toad New Year’s House Gig this year, and seems to have developed a bit of a taste for Meursault, to the extent that he is one of the first people in weeks to actually bother to spell the band’s name correctly.  Anyhow, Jon sent through this rather lovely cover of Crank Resolutions last night, and it’s great, so I thought I would share it.

Virgin of the Birds – Crank Resolutions (Meursault Cover)

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Live in Edinburgh This Week – 3rd January 2010

Why does it always seem tougher to return to work after the Christmas holidays than any other holiday?  I suppose there must be something about that end of year exhalation which makes it feel like your travails are wholly and entirely finished, which makes the resumption of hostilities with normal everyday life seem like a ruder awakening than usual.  Certainly, I’ve been in stranger places for much much longer and found it less of a pain when that alarm rings on Monday morning and I’ve had to drag my bloated carcass out of bed and back to the desk once more.

Still, there’s plenty of non-worky things to do as soon as I get home – eagleowl session to edit, New Year’s house gig videos to edit, promotional material for the Trips and Falls and the Maxwell Panther releases to send out… all the usual jollity!  And fortunately, this particular week there seems to be little to get in the way of that.  I can’t really find much happening in Edinburgh this week, as everyone’s wallets and livers attempt to emerge from the blind coma they were battered into by the Christmas period.

The Mill is going on at Cabaret Voltaire on Thursday, which is free if you are happy to surrender your mobile number and can stomach Miller lager, which is all they’ll sell you.  I’ve not really heard of either band this week, so here are the MySpace pages for The Void and Penguins Kill Polar Bears (which of course they don’t because polar bears are fucking huge, and it would take a terrifyingly large swarm of penguins to bring one down – and even then it would take hours for them to peck one to death and the spectacle would be so unpleasant it doesn’t bear thinking about, frankly) so decide for yourselves.

Incidentally, I did a podcast a while back (one of the least popular of all time, funnily enough) about bands with birds’ names, but you could probably do a similar one based around bands with bear names, but I don’t know what category I’d put Penguins Kill Polar Bears in.  Probably birds, seeing as the penguins seem to have the upper hand in the particular scenario their name suggests, but it’s far from clear cut.

Anyhow, my personal recommendation for the week would be to pop along to Out of the Bedroom, downstairs at the Tron on Thursday night.  Out of the Bedroom is an open mic night, and as such can inevitably be a little patchy, but it’s friendly, downstairs at the Tron is actually a pretty nice place for a pint (despite the rest of the place being an unspeakable shithole) and you’ll probably find that pretty much every musician you like in Edinburgh has played there at some point or other.  I used to go when my friend Scott ran the night, but I stopped when they moved to the rather unwelcoming basement of the Canon’s Gait, but seeing as they’re back somewhere nice again it would be a good time to start popping along.

The Counting Crows – Start Again

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