Song, by Toad

Posts tagged we were promised jetpacks


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 20th February 2013

stockbridge So, after a couple of awesome gigs (Randolph’s Leap and Paws) last week, I started to feel the live music bug again after a surprisingly long period without seeing any gigs but my own BAD FUN ones at Henry’s.

Nevertheless, a good run of stuff and the kind of weekend which felt like a little island of Spring in the middle of February seems to have cheered shit up around here and there are some fine things taking place this week to keep that particular bandwagon trundling along.

Things kick off with the Pictish Trail and eagleowl show at the Caves tomorrow night.  Apparently there’s a special secret opening act as a temptation to draw people down early, so take that as you will. Both the headline bands seem to have taken folk pop and spent the last couple of years torturing it into massive krauty wig-out endings so umm… well, you’ve been warned.  It will be brilliant.

As well as that, the Electric Circus has the awesomely-named ear-beasters Wet Nuns on Friday, as well as habitual ear-beasters the Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks on Saturday, although the Saturday gig will be all stripped back and acoustic. I’ve seen the Twilight Sad acoustic before and it was really, really good.  You know, just in case you were wondering.

And finally, there is also an interesting-looking wee show at the Banshee Labyrinth on Saturday with The Pheromoans, Shareholder and Ace Elementary bringing some very retro-sounding indie rock indeed.  Retro maybe, but they all sound really rather good, if you like your guitar music just a little bit slack, discordant and what the fuck did you expect anyway. Which of course I do, as you know.


Live in, er, Manchester This Week?


Manchester again? Yes, Manchester again.

Why Manchester again? Well I happen to be on the way down to London again for MORE MEETINGS! You know what the Cookie Monster is to cookies? Well I seem to be that to London meetings.  Anyone would think I actually enjoyed trying to get work done on shitty East Coast Mainline WiFi, which is up and down like a whore’s knickers (I got this expression from Mrs. Toad – don’t blame me).

Anyhow, on the way back I thought I would stop off in Manchester and visit my Granddad who I haven’t seen for a while, and also take the opportunity to go to the Cloud Sounds Christmas Party – see flyer image above.  Cloud Sounds is a monthly podcast, and one of my favourite things on the internet.  The music is great, and the delivery is, well… hilarious if you happen to appreciate a podcast that sounds like it’s being presented by Eeyore. Which I do.

Back in Edinburgh there are still some good things happening though, such as the Douglas Firs’ album launch.  Their new album is a fine one, and is out on Armellodie Records.  Oddly enough, after Darren Hayman’s new record and Rob St. John’s Pendle project, it is also witch trial-themed, which suits the band’s disturbed, slightly spooky folk pop down to a tee.  The launch is at the Augustine United Church on George IV Bridge, which in itself sounds rather interesting too.

More stuff comes in the form of the Is This Music? Christmas Party at the Electric Circus, with Ballboy, We See Lights and Adam from We Were Promised Jetpacks on the bill, and then there’s also Indie Funday Friday at Henry’s on Friday.

And that seems to be about it for this week.  Of course Saint Etienne played yesterday, so if I’d had my shit together then I might have been able to nudge you that way.  However I was off polishing off the mixes for the next Split 12″ yesterday, in preparation for mastering, so I can promise you I was most certainly using my time productively.  Then putting up vinyl shelves in our living room at long last, and dragging home the biggest fucking Christmas tree I have ever seen, which now occupies half our living room. Mrs. Toad is very happy, and the cats are worryingly fascinated.


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 19th November 2012

 Well it’s a quiet week in Edinburgh this week from the looks of it.  Or, at least, it is until Saturday, at which point all hell breaks loose.

In any case, it’s pretty much irrelevant to myself, as I am going to be down in Preston at Unconvention, talking about sustainable careers in music.  I have to confess that I am not entirely sure what I will have to contribute, apart from agreeing that I too would like a sustainable career in music, but I shall do my best.

Anyhow, while I am away there are three awesome gigs happening, and all on the same night.

Firstly, and most gallingly, Matthew Collings‘ Splintered Instruments album launch is at the Wee Red Bar on Saturday.  From my perspective the most exciting thing about this gig is the first Edinburgh appearance by Ben Chatwin, who records under the name of Talvihorros and has recently moved up here. It will be a pretty delicate gig, I suspect, more about composition than bands, per se, although there will be a solo set from the excellent Hiva Oa to open the night.

That’s probably my personal pick of the week, but there are a couple of rather more raucous shows on the same night as well, should you fancy making your ears bleed.

Iceage, Baby Strange and Birdhead are at the Third Door, in what should be a genuine ear-melter, whilst just around the corner at the Liquid Room we have We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Unwinding Hours and Lady North.  Slightly less ear-melty, this one, but still pretty raucous.


Toadcast #218 – The Porchcast

 After last year’s relatively sensible podcast (I think the BBC cameras scared us into some degree of sensibleness), this years is far, far less sensible.  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s probably a little more honest.

This time around, as well as the more usual suspects of Messrs. Galloway, Reid, Thomas and myself, we are joined by The Two Jamies: Webster who manages Three Blind Wolves and Gilmour who manages We Were Promised Jetpacks.  This is helpful because instead of drunken fuckwits gabbling at one another, we actually have some proper insight from people who have brought bands out to SXSW and have something useful to add.

And for the rest of it me, Vic, Peej and Stuart just take the piss out of one another.  So umm… well, you have to take the rough with the smooth I suppose.

Direct download: Toadcast #218 – The Porchcast

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01. Grave Babies – Nightmare (00.21)
02. Pond – Leisure Pony (5.59)
03. The Animals – We Gotta Get Outta This Place (16.28)
04. Bruce Springsteen – Excerpt from SXSW keynote speech (19.37)
05. Roy Orbison – Crying (21.33)
06. BITCHES – Cage Babies (27.26)
07. Yellow Ostrich – The Shakedown (34.32)
08. The Twilight Sad – Sick (45.21)
09. We Were Promised Jetpacks – The Walls Are Wearing Thin (59.56)
10. OFF – Jeffrey Lee Pierce (61.47)
11. Thulebasen – Gate 5 (77.22)
12. Samuel L. Jackson – Go the Fuck to Sleep (83.00)


Friday is on Fresh Air in a Bit

 There will be a bit of a change to the format of the Friday Fives for the next few weeks, as I combine it with my radio show on Fresh Air, which is the student radio station here in Edinburgh.

I will be joined by Brian Pokora, who plays guitar for The Last Battle, Loch Awe and Trapped Mice (and probably three or four others), and was selected for this role by virtue of having been stood next to me in the pub when I decided that Friday afternoons would be the best time for the show.

To reduce the middle-class white boy/tedious blokey pub banter factor just a little we are looking for someone else to join the team.  Specifically, someone who is not a nice, polite middle-class white boy. You’d need to be available from 3-5pm on Fridays, and have a rough, but please not exact, agreement with the kind of music we are likely to play.  Get in touch if you’re interested.

Live from 3:30pm – listen here.

As for the rest of the Friday Fives, well they will hopefully proceed very much as per usual I would think.  Five stupid questions, an afternoon to waste by answering them and then talking pish with everyone afterwards, and only one rule: fives first, pish-talking after.

So, for starters, this week’s Friday Five:
1. Which muppet best represents you (Fraggles and Sesame Street ones count too – Yoda does not).
2. What one thing best represents the really early days of the internet to you?
3. Technology you could happily do without.
4. Do you cross the road at the lights or absolutely wherever the fuck it occurs to you?
5. Say you were in a coffee shop trying to get some work done.  Say a sprawling infestations of yummy mummies and copious living evidence of their inability to keep their legs clamped shut came spilling into the place and proceeded to turn the whole fucking cafe into a writhing, squealing, cavorting cacophony of horror.  How many of the little fuckers do you think you could cheerfully batter to death with a fucking cricket bat before it stopped being fun?
Sneaky bonus research question: did Song, by Toad or Fresh Air bring you to these parts?

The playlist will appear live below from 3:30pm:

1. Bon Iver – Bloodbank
2. Rob St. John – Sargasso Sea
3. Tom Lehrer – Bright College Days
4. Randolph’s Leap – Cassie O’Tone (Fresh Air Session)
5. Cub Scouts – Evie
6. eagleowl – Sleep the Winter
7. Bob Seger System – 2+2=?
8. PAWS – Winners Don’t Bleed (Toad Session)
9. The Ukrainians – Polityka
10. The Moth & the Mirror – Fire
11. Evan Dando – $1000 Wedding (Gram Parsons Cover)
12. Yoofs – Sidewalk
13. We Were Promised Jetpacks – Medicine


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 10th May 2010

For those of you interested at all in even more of my inane prattling, I have recently done an interview with a certain Mr. Timothy London for his blog, which can be read here.  The interview itself was about a less cynical music industry, and I am not entirely sure I really made a great case in its favour, with some really very cynical remarks indeed.  Still, I tried to answer the questions themselves as honestly and intelligently as I could, so hopefully that counts for something!

This weekend I was down in Macclesfield for Unconvention, a day of seminars, workshops and general chats about the future of music and ways in which we can best try and generate awareness and success on a minimal budget using the myriad weird and wonderful tools the modern world has given us.  It was a really good day, and I heard some very interesting things, and also managed to make a tit of myself at the Managers Are The New Labels panel I was on.

The Scottish habit for constant and furious self-deprecation got a little lost in translation with all the English attendees, so everyone in the workshop got the rather unfortunate impression that I was really down on myself about what we’ve achieved with Song, by Toad and how qualified I may or may not be to be in the music industry and what I do or do not bring to the bands we work with.  After a particular rush of sympathy (“Noooo, it sounds like you’re doing an incredible job”) I did get close to pointing out to them that self-confidence really wasn’t an issue here, it’s just the way you learn to express yourself in Scotland and don’t worry I am well aware of how much we’ve achieved in the last couple of years just that you always have to be aware of how much there still is to achieve and honestly it just doesn’t do to sound even slightly boasty in Scotland but honestly I’m fine don’t worry.  But that might have made matters worse, so I just dropped it.

Iggy Pop – The Passenger

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Monday 10th May 2010: Langhorne Slim at Sneaky Pete’s.

Monsieur Slim is not only great live, Sean Scolnick is a fucking lovely bloke as well.  I know Monday is a shite night to go out, but honestly this will be worth it.  He swings the pace from the mournful ballad to stomping Americana in the drop of a hat, and there are few better voices out there at the moment, in my opinion.

Langhorne Slim – Sunday by the Sea

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My personal pick of the Tigerfest gigs this week would be twofold:

Wednesday 12th May 2010: Jesus H. Foxx & There Will be Fireworks at Electric Circus.

There Will Be Fireworks managed to sell over a thousand of their debut album pretty much on their own and without much press, which I can promise you is no mean achievement. Their Twilight-Frabbitry will be complemented by the emergence, blinking, into the light of Jesus H. Foxx who have been hiding away in some secret Foxxcave somewhere working on their debut album.

Thursday 13th May 2010: 17 Seconds presents Chris Bradley, The Dirty Cuts & The Last Battle at the Roxy Room.

17 Seconds Records’ newest signings The Last Battle join a couple of their more established acts downstairs at the Roxy.  Their debut album should be upon us very soon, so keep an eye out for that.

The Last Battle – Soul of the Sea (Live on FreshAir)

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Friday 14th May 2010: We Were Promised Jetpacks & Three Blind Wolves (both solo acoustic) play the This is Music 4th Birthday celebrations at Sneaky Pete’s.

You wouldn’t necessarily think that quiet acoustic stuff would work all that well at a clubby sort of place like Sneaky’s but it actually does – I’ve seen some really good acoustic stuff there in the past.  This is the latest in a series of gigs marking the fourth birthday

Saturday 15th May 2010: Thomas Truax, 7VWWVW, Wounded Knee & The Blue Wicked Spasm Band at the Roxy Art House.


Saturday 15th May 2010: Conquering Animal Sound, Dead Boy Robotics & Adam Stafford play Trampoline at the Wee Red Bar.

It’s an odd lineup, this one, although in a funny sense I can actually see it working quite well.  Adam Stafford will presumably be playing an acoustic set, and Dead Boy Robotics have just launched an EP of thumping, dirty disco(ish) tunes.  Add that to the strange, shy, loopy experimentalism of Conquering Animal Sound and you certainly have an eclectic lineup, but one which I think will actually work quite well.

Sunday 16th May 2010: Hauschka, James Blackshaw & Nancy Elizabeth at the Roxy Room.

Fatcat Records, innovative composer, plays lots of piano.  Those are about all the facts I have about this one, but I have to get this published before my lunchtime internet window here at Proper Job slams shut, so I am afraid I don’t have the time to find out anything more helpful for you.  There’s always the links above though, and you’re not children, so I’m sure you’ll be fine.


Toadcast #114 – The South by Southcast

Another stunt podcast for you, this was recorded on Sunday night after and afternoon of beer and Margaritas on South Congress in Austin – probably the most enjoyable day of the whole festival for me actually, and one which involved no more music than walking past the queue for an Alejandro Escovedo show.

What it did involve, however, was breakfast tacos, a splendid Mexican tat shop, a Western supply shop full of incredibly cool cowboy boots and shirts and so on, and then an afternoon sitting in the sun and shooting the breeze with Peej, Vic, Alex from Fatcat and Ben from Instinctive Raccoon.  Oh, and repeatedly having people spill beer on my jeans, there was that as well.

Anyhow, in the evening we were joined by Stuart from the Scottish Arts Council (who does a highly passable impersonation of Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons) and recorded this rather messy podcast before, erm… going bowling with Broken Social Scene and We Were Promised Jetpacks, sort of.  Actually, that’s rather an exaggeration.  We went to a fantastically cool bowling alley place to eat, and then those two bands, who seem to have become friends, wandered in, ate something, said hello and then proceeded to spend the rest of the evening bowling.  I wouldn’t recognise Broken Social Scene of course, but apparently that’s who they were, and it did lend the evening a slightly surreal tinge.

Toadcast #114 – The South by Southcast

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01. We Were Promised Jetpacks – It’s Thunder and it’s Lightning (02.53)
02. The Entrance Band – Grim Reaper Blues (11.33)
03. Shearwater – Black Eyes (20.49)
04. Broken Social Scene – Let’s Get Out of Here (Live at Radio Aligre) (24.17)
05. Hudson Mohawke – Fuse (33.59)
06. Midlake – Young Bride (41.31)
07. The Real Heroes – Baby Must’ve Known (46.07)
08. Plants & Animals – Jacques (56.19)
09. Dan Mangan – Robots (63.09)
10. Gay Witch Abortion – Down With Giants (73.07)


We Were Promised Jetlag

Well I am sure that any of you who really give a shit what’s happening at South by Southwest this week will have found out from one of the more dilligent blogs who have been writing daily updates.  Honestly though, I doubt anyone who regularly reads this site would have really expected me to be one of those blogs.

I got to Austin at about ten or eleven at night on Wednesday and stumbled into town to find Peej, who kindly offered to put me up, and Vic Galloway, who along with Peej is one of about four people I know in Austin this week, at the Scottish Showcase.

Due to not having bothered with either a badge or a wristband and the place being absolutely jam-packed, Peej had to sneak me in the back door, getting rid of a bouncer with a vague sort of ‘I’m in the band’ response which rather miraculously seemed to work.  Peej had a badge which he waved and that did the trick.

I saw the tail end of the Jetpacks show, which people went absolutely mental for.  I have never been a big fan of the band, honestly, but Peej loves them and they seem to be going down an absolute storm in the States.  They certainly do put on a good show too, so it’s hard not to warm to them.  After some quality MCing by Mr. Galloway, with an enormous super jumbo extra helping of cheese, Frightened Rabbit took to the stage and they really were good.

I gave their new album a bit of a savaging, and in the comments section there was a bit of discussion about how the songs would come across in a live setting, free of the smothering production.  I also said that a lot of the guitar sound on Winter of Mixed Drinks was really good, or at least what little of it you could hear, and live this really is what dominates the songs.  The new stuff fits in perfectly with the older songs, and when they are just played on guitar I enjoyed them miles more than on the record.

On Wednesday night I slept like a fucking corpse, and wandered into town at about three or four o’clock in the afternoon.  First port of call was the Hype Machine to meet Dev Sherlock, who has had the unenviable task of editing our hour longs chats down in to concise five minute soundbites for Hype Machine Radio.  It turns out that instead of simply being a nice bloke on the internet, he actually has a rather storied history as a music journalist and instead of going to a lot of music stuff we wandered off to the Ironworks to eat burned meat and pickles with a beer on the deck.  It was very, very civillised and finally meeting someone who’s been an internet friend for a couple of years now was a rather strange pleasure.

On the subject of internet friends, I finally met a certain Campfires and Battlefields on Thursday evening at the 4AD/Bella Union showcase.  I went in with the Broken Records lads to see them, Efterklang and Midlake, and ended up also catching an excellent set by John Grant, whose new album is out on Bella Union in a few weeks.  He used to be in a band called Czars, who I also rather liked, and he sounded really good.  When he sat down I expected something a bit like Bon Iver, but in fact it was probably closer to Rufus Wainright than anything else.  Very promising, in any case.

Efterklang weren’t bad, and I am not going to go on about Broken Records (great idea – travel all the way to Texas just to go and see bands from Edinburgh).  The real revelation of the night for me was just how good Midlake were, however.  I saw them at the End of the Road Festival a couple of years ago and they were no better than pretty good, and their new album was pretty much like that as well: really enjoyable, but didn’t exactly blow me away.  In the rather fantastic surroundings of Buffalo Billiards in Austin, however, they were pretty brilliant.  The harmonies were gorgeous, and I have no idea why they needed five bloody guitarists, but the sound they made was so nice that you can’t really question them on that count.

And of course, just before the Midlake set, Jamie Broken Records tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘I think there’s someone here you should meet – a certain Mr. Campfires and Battlefields…’


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 2nd February 2008


It’s quite a quiet week in Scotland’s capital, which isn’t a bad thing. I’ve been to a lot of live shows recently and a week of coming home, reading a book and going to bed at a reasonable hour having imbibed nothing more potent than a cup of tea will be good for my soul, my complexion and my liver. There are a couple of highlights though, so have a mind for these shows if you feel the itch:

Monday 4th February: Alex Cornish at ARK.
I really liked Alex’s debut album, almost despite myself actually, and he came across as a really nice bloke when I was reviewing his stuff. It’s melodic and winsome and popping up to ARK to see him live will only do you good.
Alex Cornish – Until the Traffic Stops

Thursday 7th February: The Steeples & We Were Promised Jetpacks at Henry’s Cellar Bar.
The Steeples are on one of these annoying labels that only allow brief snips of songs on their MySpace page, which irritates the shit out of me. The tunes aren’t bad though, so I think I’ll go along and give it a go. These two are both fairly well spoken of indie-pop acts of the NME-pleasing sort, so no idea if they’ll turn out to be any good or not, but it seems worth a go to me.
The Steeples – Loosey Lucy (Edit)
We Were Promised Jetpacks – Let’s Call This a Map

Thursday 7th February: Rob St.John & Dan Heywood at The Collective Gallery.
I don’t know if Rob would thank me for calling him the heir apparent to James Yorkston’s Hush Folk Throne, but that is very much how I would describe him. He’s bringing a full band to this set, saws and all.
Rob St.John – Wooden Rose

[Update – thanks Bart!]
Friday 8th February: Club Welto (HMS Ginafore, Wounded Knee and others)
at The Village in Leith.
HMS Ginafore is one of the founding Fencers, and I know very little about Wounded Knee beyond the fact that he ploughs that experimental folk furrow that seems to be so popular around these parts at the moment.  In any case, it looks like being an excellent night, and The Village has a really good habit of putting on excellent things.
Wounded Knee – Anthem