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)
Fri, 19 December 2014
Virgin of the Birds Toad Session from Song, by Toad on Vimeo. Photos – Flickr Video - Vimeo - YouTube Session tracks - Soundcloud – zip download (right click – save as) Interview podcast – mp3 – iTunes – Mixcloud (playlist at bottom of page) Virgin of the Birds first started to become part of the Toad family when he played our first ever New Year's House Gig back in, erm... I dunno, was it 2009 maybe? Jon's free EPs were pretty much all firm favourites around here, and despite the understatement of his music it was stuff I just kept going back to again and again. I liked them so much that when we released our 5 Year Box Set Jon and I put together a compilation of the very best bits to release on record, and then, despite having not had a formal Virgin of the Birds release for years he suddenly came up with a new album around the same time. The timing was ideal, and so we ended up releasing that in May as well, coincidentally around the time Jon came over to the UK to play some shows. Mrs. Toad and I had just moved house, and so this ended up being the first session recorded in our new place - with a whole new set of neighbours to annoy. Neil and Reuben from Supermoon helped out by playing on a couple of the tracks, the awesome Nic Rue took the pictures for us again, and Dylan, Ian and Steve all came round to say hello and occasionally get roped into helping me and Nic with the filming. So yes, this is what Toad Sessions are going to look like from now on. No more turquoise walls! Full Interview Podcast:
Session Tracks: Session Videos: Podcast Tracklisting: 01. Virgin of the Birds - Queen of Sweden (Toad Session) (00.22) 02. The Delgados - Been Accused of Stealing (live) (12.26) 03. Pavement - Frontwards (18.49) 04. Virgin of the Birds - Let Me Be Your Bride (Toad Session) (31.05) 05. The Savings and Loan - Catholic Boys in the Rain (44.10) 06. The Lovely Sparrows - Bury the Cynics (48:30) 07. Virgin of the Birds - The Serpent Plume (Toad Session) (58.19) 08. Meursault - Crank Resolutions (1.09.02) 09. Liz Phair - May Queen (1.13.55) 10. Virgin of the Birds - Ilona, You Should Still Be My Vampire Attendant (Toad Session) (1.25.57)
Thu, 27 November 2014
Alright alright, so the name of this might have absolutely hee-haw relation to the actual content of the podcast. It's just that I went to the tip today in Bette, as I usually do, and they spat the dummy and tried to charge me commercial rates to dispose of my rubbish and recycling because the car had fucking 'advertising' on the side of it. As in, daft rally stickers. Does Bette seriously look like a fucking company car to you, you morons?
Despite the fact that I emptied it all out on the ground and asked them to point to the commercial waste, of which there was precisely none, the best they could manage was 'well this time it's okay, but next time...' Next time what? Fucking what? Stupid stickers on the side of a car means I can't use the fucking municipal dump? Fucking idiots.
Anyhow, pointless and utterly futile outrage aside, here are some excellent tunes for you once again. Next week will be the Virgin of the Birds Toad Session, so keep an eye out for that as well. Ahh. Pub.
01. Malcom Middleton & David Shrigley - A Toast (00.57.)
Fri, 14 November 2014
I can't really believe I've not done an Edincast before. I mean, I live here, I work here, I run a label here and I go out to gigs here all the time. How has this not happened yet? I've done numerous Scottish ones, label ones, and even Manchester ones although I'm not really from there, but Edinburgh has never happened for some reason.
And why has it happened now? Well I was at the Creative Edinburgh Awards last night and had put together an Edinburgh playlist specifically for the purpose, but the organisers (probably very wisely) just asked the DJs to play through, instead of using my stuff, so I never had the chance to annoy people with my deliberately obtuse choices. Actually, most of them weren't all that obtuse really... just one or two.
So given the muzzling yesterday I figured I could just put most of these songs on a podcast and, let's face it, play them to a much more receptive audience. I mean, The Leg, The Love Gestures, Passion Pusher... not really suitable for last night's Gathering of the Middle Classes. It was fun, though. There was awesome cake and our pals Olaf (Born to Be Wide) and Tommy Perman and Rob St. John (Water of Life) both won awards. And I had too much gin. So a good night all round, really!
01. The Shop Assistants - I Don't Wanna Be Friends With You (01.40)
Tue, 4 November 2014
So this is the second Broken Records Toad Session. We actually packed a band with four guitarists and a full drum kit into our living room and decided that, fuck it, of course it would sound fine. And you know what, somewhat magically it does. Alright the drums could have done with more than one mic, and perhaps we didn't have all that much control when we had to use one mic for two guitar amps, but they recordings sound really good if you ask me.
The reason we did a second session with Broken Records is because our first was recorded in the dark days of the internet when YouTube footage was published in 640 x 480 format and those videos now look like they were recorded back before steam trains. Ironically, and to my infinite frustration, having decided to do another session in order to upgrade the quality of what we did all those years ago, we actually managed to lose all the video for this one. Yes, all of it. We actually managed to lose an entire camera when we moved house, including the memory card with all my video on it, and Gavin's hard drive, containing all his shots, had a meltdown too, so all that went as well.
I cannot express how much hair-pulling has taken place ransacking old drives for backup versions, nor how incredibly sorry I am for the band going to all that effort only for this to happen, but there's nothing for it I'm afraid. It just isn't there. So what you get instead is a series of photos by Nic Rue, the interview podcast and our session recordings. It's all really, really good stuff, but not having the video still makes me smash my head against the fucking desk.
01. Broken Records - Winterless Son (Toad Session) (00.21)
Wed, 22 October 2014
Yep, not gin anymore, these days I drink coffee with my podcasts. Nostalgia really isn't what it used to be, is it. I remember when I was wild, rude, inebriated, etc. etc...
Mind you, seeing as I am driving through to Glasgow once I finish this to engage in sensitive negotiations with a 'hot new band'*, I think half a bottle of gin might not be the wisest preparation, even by my rather slapdash standards. So it's a pot of coffee and some fine new music, and you know, I may even keep the nonsensical rambling to a minimum if I can manage it.
It's going to be weird driving through to Glasgow actually, because I will be taking a friend's car instead of Bette, because it has a working tape player while Bette's is currently out of action. It's still a Volvo estate, but just a normal one, and I have to confess it feels kind of weird that no-one does their 'what the fuck is that?' stare when I drive past. I've kind of grown used to that over the last year or two with the old girl.
01. Becky Becky - I Remember, I Remember... (00.16)