Thu, 7 January 2016
Well as you probably know, Mrs. Toad and I spent the last quarter of 2015 living in Brooklyn - in Red Hook to be precise - and it was fucking amazing.
Red Hook itself is a fucking brilliant neighbourhood. Still pretty industrial, but with loads of really nice places, so the balance between residents and incoming hipsters (like, I suppose, ourselves - we are the problem!) is still pretty decent for the time being. Only a matter of time, I suppose, but for now it's a pretty great place to be.
Well while I was out there I went to some gigs, listened to some music, and with the help of my little brother's recording expertise and Tom from Gold Flake Paint's curatorial sagacity we made a record. That's right, the fifth Song, by Toad Split 12" (actually the one and only release on Toad Flake Paint Records) was recorded at the National Opera Centre while I was out there.
So this is a mix of bands I saw, bands I listened to and bands I worked with in the three months when we could pretend to be a trendy Brooklyn record label for a bit.
01. The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You (00.24)
Fri, 18 September 2015
The Lithpcast is named after the rather impressive lisp I have developed since my dentist yanked my front-left incisor out of my mouth the other day and replaced it with empty space and stitches. There will be a new tooth bunged in there at some point, for the time being I have a rather uncomfortable denture which I don't wear, a bad lisp, and a general sense of trepidation about how I am actually supposed to fucking eat.
The tunes this week are somewhat defined by the fact that various things have nudged me out of the way of new music, so there is a lot of Song, by Toad Records stuff, but for some reason also a lot of profoundly obscure other songs too.
I feature three really good compilations put together by other folk, a wee plug for a pal's label, and there's even time for some surprise Chumbawamba. Who could possibly resist.
01. Blood of the Bull - Hold Your Head Up High and Go Fuck Yourself (00.22)
Thu, 20 August 2015
So Mrs. Toad and I are back from Rust2Romania (just) and before I throw myself into the second half of the Pale Imitation Festival I thought I might take the time to reflect on the rather epic adventure we just experienced.
We have some of the tunes, both excellent and just plain silly (and sometimes both), which we played as we charged about through some of the more unexpected parts of Europe. Driving from Edinburgh to Romania, for example, probably shouldn't include a chapter titled 'via Greece', but somehow it did.
Getting slung in a Romanian jail also 'shouldn't' have happened either, but it was awfy close, and finally Mrs. Toad and I ended up with a wee trip down memory lane by going to a Heuriger in Vienna on the way home. It was all over the place, this particular trip, but especially fantastic because of it.
01. Simon & Garfunkel - Baby Driver (00.25)
Fri, 31 July 2015
Hiya folks, once again in advance of the glorious Pale Imitation Festival we have a podcast exploring all the weird and wonderful bands who will be playing in Edinburgh during August for your wild and enthusiastic entertainment.
Because you're coming along, right? All of you?
Oh god do please come. Please. Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!
Ah fuck that, it's really undignified when I grovel isn't it. Fucking come along or you are missing the fuck out on seeing the best under-the-radar bands in Scotland at the most reasonable of prices (a fiver per show or a season ticket to the whole damn thing for £25 - all tickets here) in one of Edinburgh's most legendary underground venues. (Literally. It's actually a cellar.)
It's a bit haphazard, but it's a bloody great festival, the beer in Henry's is really good these days and the wonderful Kitchen Disco will be providing cakes and DJing on every single night because they are massive heroes and they are the reason the terrorists will never win.
01. Numbers Are Futile - Monster (00.17)
10. Happy Meals - Electronic Disco (1.03.57)
Thu, 25 June 2015
This is what is becoming the annual Rust2Rome podcast. Not so much intentionally as such, it's just that sitting in the car with tapes is pretty much the only music I've been listening to recently that's all, so that's what the podcast is from.
After two years doing the French Alps route I decided that since Mrs. Toad wasn't coming with me this time (she's coming on Rust2Romania in August) I would try the new Swiss Alps route.
The driving was definitely more spectacular, if not quite as quick due to the general busyness of the roads, but it was fantastic to do the new route. And after the absolute rammy last year when there were 55 cars and 140 people, going in a group with 10 cars and a mere 22 people was blissful peace and quiet, much more sociable and of course with fewer people everything was easier too.
What a fantastic expedition! And good old Bette too - ticking up towards 300,00 miles!
01. The Golden Toadstools - Silly Savage (00.21)
Tue, 12 May 2015
What a weird, monumentally depressing and yet slightly hopeful few days we've had. A majority elected Tory government basically labels whatever percent of the imbecilic British people who voted for them as rapacious, bullying, socially vindictive, economically illiterate idiots. And there is literally nothing to be happy about in them being elected to govern Britain again. Nothing.
But on the other hand, where Labour destroyed themselves by failing to refute plainly ridiculous Tory fairy tales about the economy, and by being cowed into bowing to their (plain stupid as well as utterly immoral) program of increased welfare cuts, and their (plain stupid as well as utterly immoral) crusade against immigration and asylum, at least Scotland massively embraced the most vocal, credible alternative in the whole conversation.
This shouldn't be seen as a wholesale endorsement of all SNP policies, or even their track record. I don't want to live in a one-party state, and I think we'll see a far more politically diverse result during the Scottish Parliament elections, not least because we embrace proportional representation up here, and that the country will be the better for it.
What this was was a complete rejection of a long-discredited economic dogma and an utterly regressive social narrative spun by one vindictive and avaricious party and barely countered at all by the self-described alternative. It was a rejection of the Lib Dems for their spineless support for a Tory government and complete abandonment of their election promises. It was basically a backlash against two parties who have show their spinelessness in the face of the other, and the narrow cowardice of the Westminster consensus.
It may not fix much in and of itself, but at least up here people have called bullshit as loudly and unanimously as possible.
01. Breakfast Muff - Dishes (00.22)
Fri, 24 April 2015
Fuck me, sorry, I seem to have managed to not do one of these for about two months. That totally took me aback, I have to confess.
Ah well, I suppose it was inevitable. Due to slightly ambitious scheduling we ended up with four or five releases all being live at the same time in the late Winter/early Spring period and I was kind of overwhelmed with all the work which needed doing for all of them I am afraid, which kind of accounts for how overwhelmed I ended up getting.
The Cherryblossomcast was suggested by Stephen Lappin on Twitter, as I took that picture over there of our front door once the two cherry trees which flank the gate started flowering this week.
It's been sunny and gorgeous here in Edinburgh, and we've been doing that classic thing you do in Northern cities, and sitting outside and drinking too much absolutely every available sunny second, and sometimes persisting way after it's become far too cold to reasonably sit outside. It's just such a joyous relief to feel the warmth and the sunshine, much of a Winter fetish as I do have.
01. Garden of Elks - I Hid Inside (00.22)
Wed, 11 February 2015
I am going to be spending an awful lot of time on motorways in the immediate future (this is after a Manchester round trip last week as well) so I figured calling this the Motorwaycast made some sense. So many white lines, so many headlights.
I actually don't mind long drives. I find them sort of meditative in a way, although that effect sort of diminishes when you've driven the same stretch of motorway a bit too often. Then it's just dull and frustrating, but in general long drives are kind of nice. I stick a pile of tapes on the seat next to me, get a coffee and just muse my way along the road for hours.
That car in the picture is not entirely like Shirley (our new 240 wagon) but not all that unlike, and because there will be a funeral involved in one of these trips I think Shirley is rather more suitable than Bette, covered in stickers and a ludicrous green racing stripe. Shirley's good, though, she's handled a few good long round trips now so it looks like we have another long distance workhorse on our hands.
01. Le Thug - Outer Hebridean (00.37)
Thu, 22 January 2015
So many of the songs on this week's podcast should really have been played at the very least six months ago that, honestly, it's just a little bit embarrassing. Some of these came from emails which got utterly buried in my inbox, some from things that I kept intending to feature, only to realise that I had accidentally allowed months to pass without doing so, and others I simply didn't get the chance to even read until the January lull.
That's fine of course, I know none of you come here to be on the very cutting edge of the cutting edge, but some sort of vague punctuality would be nice wouldn't it. Given that, as we discovered last week, jokes have to automatically stop being funny once more than ten people have posted them to Facebook, I assume you probably have to stop enjoying songs now by the time they are three months old or so.
There also seems to be a weird preponderance of all-caps bands. I know that's quite the thing these days, just as no-one ten years ago would even bring themselves to glance at a capital letter, but still, I find it unnerving. Do they care that much? Can I ignore it? Or do they hate it when people spell it like a normal word? Oh my god the anxiety.
Anyway, fuck it, tunes.
01. BETS - Don't Give a Fuck (00.10)
Wed, 14 January 2015
So, with the first podcast of the year I suppose I should be doing New Year's Resolutions, right? I guess I do have some, sort of, for a change.
Firstly, I didn't exactly keep on top of the label admin well enough last year - particularly the accounts - so that really does need to improve.
We're doing gigs again this year, partly because it seems to help with the general awareness of the label and partly because no-one in Edinburgh seems to be putting on the kind of gigs I want to go to. Actually, that's less of a resolution really, and more of an announcement, isn't it.
And thirdly, we have to suck less at PR. I've got a few plans for this, but mostly we just have to do a better job of getting label artists covered in the bigger online magazines in particular. It's heavy work, PR stuff, but if you can't do PR then you aren't really a label so it has to be done.
Also, we have a playlist on Soundcloud of all the new bands we're working with this year.
01. The Muppets - Movin' Right Along (00.00)