Song, by Toad

Posts tagged vic galloway


Hidden Door Festival


From this weekend the Hidden Door Festival will be running in Edinburgh. Having grown from the Bowery several years ago, they’ll now be taking over the sweep of arches at the East end of Market Street.

If you know Edinburgh you may still have no idea these arches are even there, but they look amazing. And the plans for the various nights look equally excellent.

In Toadly terms, we have Adam Stafford and Plastic Animals joining Rory Sutherland and Broken Records tomorrow night, and then next week on Friday 4th April Meursault are playing with Miaoux Miaoux, Conquering Animal Sound and Law. There’s also a Lost Map showcase on Monday 31st March, as well as a Songs in the Key of Fife evening this Sunday 30th, hosted by our charming but odd friend Vic Galloway, and based around his recent book.

The plan is to combine multiple art forms across the various spaces, with music, installations, theatre, dance and visual arts all overlapping and creating something a bit broader and more interesting than the usual, rather segregated Edinburgh habits.

So get ye along. I’ll be back soon, and then the usual stream of bollocks on this blog will resume. Sorry, but it had to happen sometime.

And apologies again to the Hidden Door folks, and Jamie Sutherland. I was supposed to be helping them out with this, and then Meursault’s US tour became more and more all-consuming and I had to drop out at rather late notice. So I’m sorry lads, and I hope it goes really well.


Song, by Toad at SXSW 2013 – Day 1

A quick video diary of our time at the the SXSW festival 2013, featuring Holy Esque, Paws, Foxygen, Jim James, and Vic Galloway and Ally McCrae from the BBC.

The rest of the videos will be added to this playlist as they are completed.


What If We Lose Regional Introducing?

 When 6Music was threatened with the axe a couple of years ago I objected on about three grounds, if I remember correctly.

– First was self-interest, because almost no-one else ever plays the stuff I release on the radio.

– Second was about the damage to the arts caused by effectively cutting adrift musicians and bands at lower levels by removing one of the only feasible remaining ladders to the higher levels, meaning the only way to financial viability now would be to leap from a few local blogs to Radio1 all in one go.

– And thirdly, I pointed out that the BBC has a remit to not overlap too much with the commercial sector, and to support the arts in the UK on a basis of artistic merit, the cultural health of the nation and some hazy notion of the public good.  They seem to rather inexplicably take this to imply cutting BBC4 and 6Music, channels not competing with anything out there in the commercial landscape, whereas I personally think it directly implies cutting Radio1 and Strictly Come fucking Dancing.

Now their excitable axe-man has turned his eye on the regional shows which make up the BBC Introducing network.  For those who don’t know, BBC Introducing has a flagship show late at night on Radio1 presented by Huw Stephens, a show on 6Music hosted by Tom Robinson, and then three regional Introducing shows in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and it is these three which are being threatened with closure.

Now, first things first. I don’t know Ally McCrae, who presents Introducing in Scotland, all that well, but he and his producer Muslim Alim are nevertheless people I would consider to be pals.  So from the very start, my feeling about this is ‘hey, fuck off, those people are my friends, you fuckers’, so I am not entirely objective on this topic.

Also, the self-interest clause still very much applies: Introducing in Scotland have probably played more songs by artists on Song, by Toad Records than anyone else, with the possible exception of Gideon Coe.  Also, Muslim and the show’s previous presenter, Vic Galloway, were absolutely instrumental in getting Meursault a Maida Vale session a couple of years ago, a daytime playlisting on Radio1 and a prominent slot on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury.

So one thing you can be certain of, is that someone like me is absolutely never going to support the closure of BBC Introducing in Scotland, to the extent that I suppose I should barely need to even say it.  People in Newcastle and Leeds and places like that, however, must be laughing at us just a little bit.

In Scotland we get a whole Introducing show all to ourselves, for a population of something like five or six million people.  In Wales they get one for three million and in Northern Ireland a whole to show to represent just under two million people.  In England they get one show to represent a country of nearly fifty-five million – I have to say I far prefer our odds of getting played!

The English music media is incredibly London-centric, too.  I don’t mean that as an insult or an accusation either, it’s just the inevitable consequence of the size of the population, the fact that it is a massive cultural hub, and the fact that so many music people down there end up knowing one another, going to the same shows and stuff like that.

But it does mean that if you’re from Plymouth and you’re awesome you’re going to have the same difficulties breaking into the ‘British’ music scene as a band from Scotland would have, only without all the benefits we have courtesy of being a quasi-independent nation and having a mutually supportive and relatively inward-facing (alright, call it parochial if you want to) music media of our own.

So apart from Manchester bands (who might feasibly end up bumping into Marc Riley, Jo Good or Michelle Choudhry at a gig, although they face the same obstacles of cost in their efforts to engage with London) we in the officially recognised regions are in a particularly privileged position when it comes to BBC Introducing.  I wouldn’t think bands would have much sympathy with us if they come from other regions, like the North-East, which is less clearly-defined or pandered to, yet equally out in the sticks as far as the London music media is concerned.

And, in fact, say the regional Introducing shows do go, what then?  Well I was discussing this with a friend yesterday, and he pointed out that even if the regional shows themselves are axed, it would almost certainly be politically salved by a significantly increased emphasis on those regions in the remaining Introducing shows – Huw Stephens and Tom Robinson.

So instead of a very likely play to the population of Scotland, we’d end up less likely to be played, but still at a significant advantage to a lot of people, and the audience would now be able to reach would be a portion of the six-odd million population of the UK, rather than simply the tartan tranche.

There are political questions of course, such as what it says about the regard for the independence and national identities of the member states of the increasingly loose-knit United Kingdom.  There are questions about just how London-centric the BBC actually wishes to be.  There are personal questions about friends of mine losing their jobs, and the loss of a group which has played a significant role in the development and support of a music community of which I am a part.

So I will sign any petition you ask me to to help save BBC Introducing in Scotland, and I most certainly don’t want it to go, because that would be insane, particularly for someone in my position for whom Introducing has done so much.  But for some reason this week I have found myself looking at the other side of the coin, with a sort of morbid fascination.


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 10th October 2011

 So here were are once again on another distinctly mediocre morning in one of the most utterly unremarkable months of the calendar.  I was born in November and at least November is pretty reliably completely shit, whereas October doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.  It’s not even consistently rubbish enough to hate.

So far so fucking splendid.  I have been driven away from Facebook today by an over-abundance (i.e. one person) of grown fucking adults talking in fucking babyspeak.  “U cud of come 2 [insert name of some shit club or other].”  Dear lord, that makes me want to stamp on something fluffy and cute.

How much fucking time can you possibly be saving yourself by deliberately spelling things like a fucking clueless, infantile fucktard?  Just suppressing the urge to commit suicide for being such a shallow, vapid, hateful cunt must take more energy than just using the English language properly in the fucking first place. The universe will catch up with you twats, you know.  That kind of imbecility won’t go unpunished in a just world. Karma hates adults who think they’re illiterate twelve-year-olds, and you will get yours eventually.

Fuck it, that’s all I’ve got this week.  Here are some gigs.  Go to them.

Tuesday 11th October 2011: Lach performs at the Storytelling Night at The Stand.

Having hosted an open mic night in New York for the last thirty-odd years Lach not only has a lot to tell, but also has developed a knack for telling it.  He the kind of guy who can be funny without actually having to tell jokes – just a natural storyteller, really.

Lach – Blue Overcoat

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.

Thursday 13th October 2011: Men Diamler at Henry’s Cellar Bar.

Men Diamler, for those of you who live in St. Andrews, will be playing on an amazing bill on the 11th, with Jeffrey Lewis and Withered Hand, but for those of us Edinburgh-bound you can catch him here on Thursday at Henry’s Cellar Bar. Rich plays solo acoustic music, but that doesn’t really even begin to describe it – he can be singing tragic ballads one minute, and bellowing in your face the next.

Men Diamler – Naughty Songwriter Blues

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.

Thursday 13th October 2011: Vic Galloway presents Bwani Junction, Miniature Dinosaurs & Blank Canvas at the Electric Circus.

This is the first in a series of monthly gigs hosted by Vic at the Electric Circus. He’ll be introducing and interviewing the bands from the stage as well, so you’ll get to hear the voice of Scottish music radio coming from an actual person for a change, instead of a set of speakers.

Friday 14th October 2011: Michelle Shocked at the Caves.

I genuinely have no idea what Michelle Shocked is up to these days, and I haven’t listened to her music in ages, I have to confess.  But on hearing she was playing here I happened serendipitously upon a copy of Short Sharp Shocked in a secondhand record shop, and it reminds me how much I enjoyed her early records, which I discovered back when I first moved the UK in the early nineties.

Michelle Shocked – Black Widow

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.

Sunday 16th October 2011: Alasdair Roberts, Aileen Campbell & Wounded Knee at the Scottish Storytelling Center.

This is the Edinburgh leg of the Archive Trails tour, which I believe is a project organised by the artists and the ever-impressive Tracer Trails, creating new work inspired by the contents of the archives at the School of Scottish Studies.


SXSW 2011 Video Diary Day 5

The highlights of the final Sunday of SXSW were Chicken Shit Bingo (no really, I’m serious), a night of bowling and margaritas at The Highball, and the somewhat surreal experience of recording the annual Song, by Toad SXSW review podcast with Vic Galloway, Peej from Dear Scotland and Stuart from Creative Scotland whilst surrounded by a BBC camera crew.

I’ll be honest, the cameras were a little unnerving to begin with, but it’s funny how quickly you learn to ignore them. There’s even an outside chance the recording of our podcast will make the final cut for the documentary itself, which is initially being made for BBC2 Scotland and BBC3, with the hopes of expanding to BBC2 nationwide, the SXSW film festival next year, and I am not sure what else.


Toadcast #166 – The Tequilacast

Apologies for the lateness of this week’s podcast, but inevitably the chaos of SXSW nudges schedules into the background a little.

Last year, several margaritas the worse for wear, we sat down with Ben from Instinctive Racoon, Stuart from Creative Scotland, Vic Galloway from BBC Radio Scotland and Peej from Dear Scotland, and recorded a ramshackle, lurching podcast about the fun of the week.

This year, perhaps goaded into something bordering on professionalism by the presence of the BBC camera crew who have been following Vic around all week, things were a little smoother.  Although this may also have been related to the fact that the margarita-hoovering didn’t actually start until afterwards this time. Ben wasn’t here this time, but we did have myself, Peej, Vic and Stuart sharing a beverage on Peej’s back porch and talking something approaching the usual gubbins.

Oh, and the Detour Scotland Big Walk video we mention in the podcast can be found here.

Direct download: Toadcast #166 – The Tequilacast

01. Admiral Fallow – Squealing Pigs (00.37)
02. Withered Hand – Religious Songs (10.40)
03. Menomena – Taos (23.02)
04. Clock Opera – A Piece of String (28.13)
05. Ringo Deathstarr – Imagine Hearts (35.32)
06. The Twilight Sad – Cold Days From the Birdhouse (48.50)
07. Josh T. Pearson – Sweetheart I Ain’t Your Christ (62.27)
08. Erland & the Carnival – My Name is Carnival (74.19)
09. King Creosote – Grace (Jeff Buckley cover) (82.49)


Does Vic Galloway Like Withered Hand?

Before we get back to the serious business of in-depth journalism (and, of course, gin and swearing) I thought you might like to see the difference between the sort of bollocks I’ve been filming this week, and the kind of high quality scoop produced by the real professionals.

A BBC crew have been following Vic Galloway around this week, shooting a documentary about the Scottish bands at SXSW, and one of them had time to prove that, even without the fancy equipment, a professional cameraman still gets the best footage even when using a lowly iPhone.

And then he was kind enough to share it with me. Forgetting, perhaps, that as an amateur, things like professional scruples or discretion mean nothing to me at all, and now it’s on the internet. Mwah-hah-ha-haaaaaaaaa….!

(Oh, and this is a bit of a Scottish music in-joke, so apologies to anyone who doesn’t find this funny in that particular way. It’s still an amusing video of a man dancing around like a muppet though, so hopefully you can still enjoy it in some sense.)


Piss off, Galloway

BBC Introducing in Scotland is going to be undergoing changes in the new year. It was announced a while ago that Ally McCrae from Detour will be taking over from Vic Galloway, who had been doing the job for something like ten years.

BBC Radio 1 is aimed at a yoof market, and I suppose this kind of transition was inevitable at some point, even though it seemed a little abrupt when it finally happened. I’ve only really met Ally once or twice, and I hardly know the guy, but he’s always seemed like a really sincere, decent bloke so I am sure he’ll do a cracking job, and this post is in no way supposed to be a slight on the new regime, just a quick salute to the old one.

The first time I ever really came across Vic was when he was in a band called the Khartoum Heroes with Kenny Anderson, who I loved when I was at university, although I only found this out much, much later.  The first time I knowingly encountered him was at Homegame quite a few years ago when his band, Deaf Mutes, played a set.  I cynically expected it to be shit, ended up really enjoying it, and I remember thinking ‘Oh right, so he can actually walk the walk, unlike most of the rest of us doing media-based stuff, who generally just talk a good game’.

Anyhow, since then I have bumped into Vic and his producer, Muslim Alim on a number of occasions (Scotland is just not that big a country) and honestly, they are two of the loveliest guys you could hope to meet.  They’ve also given our label and the bands we work with an absolute ton of support, not least in the absolutely crucial role they played in getting Meursault their BBC Introducing set at Glastonbury, which resulted in a playlist slot on Radio 1 and all sorts of other stuff.  They haven’t always played everything we’ve sent them, but they’ve been generous with advice, honest about what they haven’t played and why, and just massively encouraging in a way that means an awful lot to a startup record label with no idea whatsoever what the fuck it is doing.

More to the point, though, they are not dicks.  That may sound like a stupid statement, but it actually isn’t; the music industry is full of total pricks.  Whiney pricks, slippery pricks, backstabbing pricks, fairweather pricks, snotty pricks, status whores, fashion whores and attention whores.  The number of times I have been dismissively ignored by people who think what we’re doing might not be fashionable enough for them to be associated with, or by people who have themselves been treated like shit and realise that, given our respective positions on the status ladder, now it’s their turn, is just plain depressing.  In fact it is one of the most wearing parts of being involved in music.

So when you meet people like Vic and Muslim who are just absolutely straight down the line, genuine guys it is a complete breath of fresh air, believe me.  With those two I have never once felt like they expected me to try and impress them, like they were evaluating us, or like they were anything other than just plain good lads who enjoyed what they did and wanted us all to do as well as possible.

So no slight on the new team intended at all, but I did think it worth saying this: cheers fellas, you’ll be missed.


Jesus, They’re Everywhere


The new Jesus H. Foxx EP is being given a full release on Song, by Toad Records in about a month’s time.  By full release, I mean that we will be making a run of five hundred copies, with hand-painted artwork and I will be doing my best to publicise it around the various magazines and radio stations and blogs out there.  It also implies that they are Song, by Toad Records’ latest signing, I suppose, in the sense that anyone is signed to Song, by Toad Records, which is something I am really pleased about because the stuff I’ve heard from them in the last year or so has been truly excellent.

I’ve not emailed bloggers yet, but we’re getting a little traction with radio it seems, with I’m Half the Man You Were appearing on both Gideon Coe’s 6Music show (my favourite show on the station, which makes it even nicer) and Jim Gellatly’s New Music show on Radio Magnetic.  And apparently I got hammered on the Toad night last Saturday and gave BBC Radio Scotland’s Mr. Vic Galloway a big sloppy kiss, so if that doesn’t get them some airtime on his show I don’t know what will.

That picture above is how the artwork is shaping up so far.  It will be printed on natural card, so there will be a texture to the flat areas of colour which should look really nice.  So, in general, I am really excited about this.  Publicising EPs is harder than albums in many ways, because a lot of magazines don’t cover them, but I am going to try to get through to as many online and community radio stations as possible and see if we can’t make up for it that way.

Any suggestions appreciated, and in the meantime, please enjoy Elegy For the Good Times from the Matter EP.

Jesus H. Foxx – Elegy For the Good Times

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.

Jesus H. Foxx on MySpace