Song, by Toad

Posts tagged woodpecker wooliams


Becky Becky – Good Morning, Midnight

becky It’s rare that I write about synthy discopop really, but I suppose that’s because most of it leaves me pretty cold. Silver Columns stick in my head as the last time I properly got enthusiastic about this kind of stuff I suppose, and that was fucking ages ago.

It’s an interesting connection though, because Pete (one half of Becky Becky) released some bits and pieces on Fence Records years ago under the name of Art Pedro. It was ramshackle as fuck, but I loved it, and he actually emailed me about this project years ago but I have to confess I never quite got into it.

The other half of the band is Gemma from the now-retired Woodpecker Wooliams project, and perhaps it was her odd but hugely compelling voice which gave me something familiar to latch onto with the Becky Becky stuff. Well that and having it on casual rotation for a long while. Slowly this stuff creeps up on you, you know.

I am not sure why this stands out above all the other similar stuff I don’t like. Perhaps tunes like I Remember, I Remember… don’t try too hard to grab your attention, but succeed despite this. Maybe its the slight theatricality – tunes like The House of the Black Madonna for example. It’s dark without being dense or try-hard, and I suppose just moody and dismissive enough to not just fall into that ‘oh fuck, not another synth-pop album’ trap which so much of this stuff ends up in for me.

Gemma’s voice has a weird knack of being elusive, vulnerable and confrontational at the same time, and this meshes well with the music itself here, which can embrace full-on disco-pop cliché for a while and then subtly drift into something more muffled and odd. It’s like an image which drifts slightly out of focus during the very times you most want it to be clear.

You can get a copy on CD or mp3 from their Bandcamp page, here. It really does leave me wondering why I didn’t properly pay attention the first time.


ALBUM STREAM: The Toad Sessions

Toad Sessions 2

Toad Sessions 1

I think it’s fair to say that the Toad Sessions are one of the things we’ve done since starting this whole enterprise of which I am the most proud. I just, honestly, think they are way better than almost all other internet sessions. It’s not about our ‘one gimmick’, we ask the band about some of their favourite music, we do a nice big long interview with them,  we give them really nice recordings at the end of it – it feels to me like our sessions are more genuinely about the band than most others.

It feels more like a benefit to the band than most others out there too, and there’s none of this ‘hahaha, here’s a session from the back of a chip shop in Shoreditch – wahey!’ nonsense, which I have to confess I am starting to find really annoying.

Having said that, that appears to be pretty much my opinion and my opinion alone. The sessions and the accompanying videos are actually some of the least popular material we publish, judging by the stats. I tend to ignore stats anyway, however, so don’t worry they won’t be going away just because people don’t seem as interested as I would have expected. I hate people who point to stats when it comes to things like music. I think you should have some fucking courage in your creative convictions in this industry, and in a way I guess the Toad Sessions are one of the most obvious ways I try and do that.

You can see them all on their own dedicated site too, if you fancy a browse and still have some time to kill this Friday afternoon…


Toadcast #260 – Woodpecker Wooliams Toad Session

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This was recorded at Toad Hall in October 2012 with Woodpecker Wooliams, who releases with our friends Robot Elephant Records. She played at a BAD FUN night on the Friday at Henderson’s at St. John’s, and we were finally able to get this recorded on Sunday after the hangovers had subsided a little.

We were rather short of personnel for this one, so the whole thing ended up being recorded and filmed by me and Ian, with only the one other body to help out – the awesome photographer Nic Rue, with whose work you are all probably very well familiar by now.

For some reason Gemma only chose to play three songs, and we rather stupidly managed to run out of camera battery before the end of the third, so there is no session video for Crow, although the mp3 can be freely downloaded below as usual.  And for the first time in a Toad Session you get to properly meet one of our two new cats, who we’ve had for over a year now, but who are not quite as determined as Floyd to make themselves the star of the goddam show at every available opportunity.

Woodpecker Wooliams – Sparrow (Toad Session)

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Woodpecker Wooliams – Gull (Toad Session)

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Woodpecker Wooliams – Crow (Toad Session)

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Toadcast #260 – Woodpecker Wooliams Toad Session by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

01. Woodpecker Wooliams – Sparrow (Toad Session) (03.59)
02. Vivian Void – You Stop It (10.45)
03. Sons of Noel & Adrian – Come Run Fun Stella Baby Mother of the World (14.49)
04. Woodpecker Wooliams – Gull (Toad Session) (24.10)
05. Twice as Much – Coldest Night of the Year (28.37)
06. Peggy Sue – Yo Mama (32.09)
07. Soccer 96 – Super Warrior (38.59)
08. Melanie – The Good Book (42.16)
09. Woodpecker Wooliams – Crow (Toad Session) (50.37)


Toadcast #257 – The Plumbcast

post tag The Plumbcast is so named because we are currently having an awful time with plumbers. My flat in Leith has a leak into the flat below and we’ve had three different fucking plumbers out to look at the thing and they just can’t find anything wrong. Couple that with a general lack of desire to take on a difficult job – and after all why would you when there are far easier jobs out there for good money – and we are having a godawful fucking time with the plumbers of Edinburgh and the moment.

Anyhow, domestic frustrations aside, this is a fine podcast of, for once, the very best new music.  I know I am usually all over the place when it comes to the timely playing of exciting new songs, but I think this week’s playlist is fairly on the ball for a change.  I have stuff from the new Pictish Trail and Rick Redbeard albums – both out around now – new tunes by Anna-Anna and The Leisure Society, and a couple of fresh from the vine Toad Session recordings.

Yep, we are the new NME. Probably.

Toadcast #257 – The Plumbcast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

Direct download: Toadcast #257 – The Plumbcast

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01. The Yawns – Butterfleyes (00.20)
02. The Leisure Society – The Sober Scent of Paper (07.03)
03. Woodpecker Wooliams – Crow (Toad Session) (13.20)
04. Samantha Crain – Churchill (Toad Session) (17.56)
05. Anna-Anna – Marianne Will Live Forever (24.37)
06. Meursault – Dearly Distracted (Seb Reynolds Remix) (30.42)
07. Rick Redbeard – Any Way I Can (39.45)
08. The Pictish Trail – I Will Pour it Down (45.06)
09. Roy’s Iron DNA – Under My Skin (51.24)
10. Old Earth – Nonetitled (58.19)


Toadcast #248 – The Coffeecast

Coffeeeeeee… so very, very much coffee! Christ on a bike, I know I need to not be dozing off at my desk at the moment but I’ve had so much fucking coffee in the last couple of days I am starting to go fucking cross-eyed.

Mostly this is down to trying to get my head together after the Cold Seeds 2/Wolf Bear Crystal Toads recording sessions over the weekend which, despite my lack of real direct involvement, still managed to knock the usually ruthlessly efficient Toad machine somewhat cockeyed for a few days.

Anyhow, the disruption continues with a trip to London for the Meursault show at the Islington Assembly Hall next week, and some panel appearances in Aberdeen and at Unconvention in Preston both coming up as well. And you thought I just fucked about on the internet all day!

Direct download: Toadcast #248 – The Coffeecast

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01. Elvis Costello – Couldn’t Call it Unexpected No.4 (00.31)
02. The Woken Trees – Yells (07.55)
03. Arran Arctic – Covers (13.09)
04. September Girls – Green Eyed (15.33)
05. Laurence Made Me Cry – Intelligent Mr. Toad v2 (feat. Dementio13) (20.17)
06. Woodsman – Sonic Tomb (26.35)
07. Yoofs – Welcome Home (31.50)
08. The Failed NASA Experiment – So I Met This Girl (38.41)
09. Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where the Time Goes (44.04)
10. Woodpecker Wooliams – Crow (49.07)
11. Yo La Tengo – Stupid Things (56.16)


Live in Edinburgh This Week – 22nd October 2012

Morning, good people, how are things out there in the wilds of the internet? It can be a crazy and dangerous place out there I know – I think even David Cameron has some fans out there, but they might just be exaggerated fairy stories made to scare the children, I couldn’t say.

Anyhow, there’s an awful lot of stuff going on this week. First and foremost, we are recording with a band I have temporarily named the Wolf Crystal Ghost Toads for now, until we find them a proper name.  More about the exact project later, but they are basically a loose combination of musicians from Meursault, Sparrow and the Workshop and Broken Records, amongst others, and will be playing a set of the songs they work on this week at this Friday’s second BAD FUN! at Henderson’s at St. John’s.

So, while I am locked away in Toad Hall with *ahem* the very cream of Scottish musicianship and songwriting talent, here are lots of fine things with which you can entertain yourselves until Friday, when shit gets real.

Tuesday 23rd Oct.: Morris Major‘s final gig, at Whistle Binkies.

It’s a shame, this, because I rather liked this band, but Matthew is heading back to Manchester so for now Morris Major are no more.  Their last gig is a free entry affair at Whistle Binkies, and they’re on stage around 10pm I think. Anyhow, their extremely enjoyable brand of infectious guitar pop will be missed.

Wednesday 24th Oct.: All sorts of stuff, all over the place.

Sorry, but I couldn’t be fucked listing all these gigs formally, but they all merit a mention for different reasons.  Firstly, and by far the most surreal of the lot, we have Charlotte Church playing the Electric Circus.  Yes, that Charlotte Church.  Yes, seriously.

Secondly, we have the return of the excellent (if often splendidly obscure) Braw Gigs, who have a night at the Banshee Labyrinth with Islaja, Tomutonttu, Raven Shuns and Anakanak.  I can’t tell you too much about the bands I’m afraid, apart from that Anakanak is the solo work of Annekke from Conquering Animal Sound.

And finally, at the Voodoo Rooms we have a fundraising gig for Action on Depression, featuring I Build Collapsible Mountains, Letters, and the inaugural gig by The Meanest Creature Ever Known, who I believe are the band who rose from the ashes of Loch Awe.

Thursday 25th Oct.: Music Like a Vitamin at the Picture House, with Withered Hand (solo), Sparrow and the Workshop, Fatherson and Rod Jones & the Birthday Suit.

The new stuff by the Birthday Suit sounds really promising, and you already know I think Sparrow and the Workshop and Withered Hand are two of the best live bands in Scotland so umm… well, what are you waiting for. There will be some special guests too, as far as I am aware, just in case you needed further incentive.

Friday 26th Oct.: Song, by Toad’s BAD FUN with Viking Moses, the Wolf Crystal Ghost Toads and Woodpecker Wooliams at Henderson’s at St. John’s.

Yes, the second BAD FUN! has arrived, and the lineup is brimming with amazingness. Tickets are a couple of quid cheaper in advance, remember (buy them here), but £7 on the door is still pretty cheap if you ask me. We have the ethereally gorgeous Woodpecker Wooliams, old Edinburgh favourite Viking Moses and the slightly mysterious (honestly, even they’re not that sure what they’re going to sound like yet) Wolf Crystal Ghost Toads, with DJs until 1am.

Saturday 27th Oct.: The last Tidal Wave of Indifference gig (for now) with The Last Battle, Plastic Animals, Fuzzystar & Early Morning Satellites at the Wee Red Bar.

Apparently Stu from the Tidal Wave of Indifference is giving up gig promotion FOR EVER (which usually means until the itch resurfaces in a year or so), and he is bowing out with a fine bill, including the continually improving Plastic Animals, and what I think might be one of the first Edinburgh appearances of Early Morning Satellites, the recently renamed, and highly promising, purveyors of moody, shimmery guitar music formerly known as Honey.

And remember, it’s Papi Falso’s Halloween Special afterwards, at Henry’s.

Sunday 28th Oct.: Haddowfest, Everywhere!

I am not listing all these shows individually, because there’s fucking hunners of ’em.  Haddowfest is a all-day multi-venue festival in Edinburgh, and there are some awesome bands on, including Meursault, Broken Records and Mazes.  Tickets are available here, and the full lineup can be found here.



How sick are you of seeing that banner image by now?  It is time to make a new one do you think?

Yes indeed, after the awesome night we had with Onions and Birdhead the Bad Fun bandwagon keeps on rolling, and at the end of this month the second installment arrives. On Friday 26th October we have Woodpecker Wooliams, Viking Moses, and a mysterious Scottish hipster supergroup called the Ghost Wolf Crystal Toads. Because all hipster bands are called Ghost, Crystal or Wolf something, right?

In actual fact the band are a fairly informal joint project by members of Broken Records, James Yorkston & the Athletes, Sparrow & the Workshop, Rob St. John and Meursault.  We’ll be recording with them during the week and they’ll be playing some of the stuff at BAD FUN.

Also on the bill are Viking Moses, and Brendon’s relationship with the local music community makes him feel almost like a local – similar to Rob St. John and Woodpigeon I suppose. He played at Rob’s album launch last year actually, but that was a solo show, and now he’s back in the UK with a full band.

We’re also inviting Woodpecker Wooliams up to play as well. Gemma has recently released her latest album with our pals Robot Elephant Records, and it has received all sorts of plaudits – and justly so. It’ll be the first time I’ll be getting to see her play live and I am really looking forward to it.

As we have to hire in a PA for Henderson’s, we have to up the price a little to £7, but you can still get tickets for the usual £5 if you buy them in advance from here.


Toadcast #245 – The Toastcast

Today I rediscovered toast.  Yes, let it be proclaimed that toast is an awesome snack and that I deserve to be booed and hissed for neglecting it for so long.  At university I pretty much subsisted on cups of tea, toast and tins of Heinz Big Soup, but for some reason despite working from home, I haven’t resurrected the toast habit.  Well today I put that right, and it was awesome.

Toast goes so well with jam, with marmite, with cheese and with just plain butter, and it takes a second to make and it’s just so darn tasty.  So yes, there you have it, this week I shall be mostly eating TOAST! Or Toadst, if you will.

Anyhow, after a couple of fine slices of toast I sit down to bring you this week’s installment of songs which have been making me happy this week, starting with a new and vastly, vastly overdue single from Magic Arm.  And, well, I suppose you’ll have to listen to find out where we go from there.  Toast!

Direct download: Toadcast #245 – The Toastcast

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01. Magic Arm – Put Your Collar Up (00.27)
02. The Magnetic Fields – Love is Lighter Than Air (08.32)
03. Calexico – Black Heart (11.44)
04. Old Earth – Less Words (18.17)
05. Trapped Mice – Mona Lisa (22.56)
06. Woodpecker Wooliams – Gull (30.50)
07. Immigrant Union – My Heart’s a Joke (33.54)
08. Sealings – Face Basement (39.16)
09. Hot Panda – One in the Head, One in the Chest (45.46)
10. Monster Island – Pilot Whales (49.20)
11. Juffage – My Weakness (56.50)


Friday is Gearing Up For BAD FUN!

Yes, that’s right, tomorrow is the first ever edition of Song, by Toad’s BAD FUN!  We have the awesome Onions travelling up from Manchester, as well as Edinburgh’s equally but very differently awesome Birdhead.  And then then awesome Retro Catz DJing until 1am.  And I really, really need to buy some more adjectives, don’t I.

For subsequent BAD FUNs, in October we’ve got Woodpecker Wooliams, Viking Moses and a secret local superground who I am temporarily naming the Ghost Toads (every hipster band name has ghost in it, right). And then in November, for my birthday gig, we have the most excellent LeThug, from Glasgow, and Easter travelling up from Manchester, as well as an excellent local surprise headliner who I will hopefully be able to confirm later in the week.

And then it’s the Christmas Party.  Yes, I’m thinking about that already.

But in the meantime I am looking out at the rain and desperately hoping large chunks of our living room ceiling don’t come crashing down.  Because that would be shit.

So, here is a video by the excellent Onions, and below are five silly questions to help you while away the hours between now and pub o’clock. Here at Toad Hall we will be getting ready to record Magic Eye for the next Song, by Toad Split 12″.  Plastic Animals and LeThug have already absolutely nailed it, so let’s see how Part 3 goes.

1. What is the longest you’ve put off obviously necessary house repairs?
2. How often do you get the house entirely to yourself?
3. Make a band recommendation for everyone.
4. Which incarnation of modern technology do you just not get?
5. And which do you embrace wholeheartedly?