Fri, 21 October 2016
Mrs. Toad and I, as you possibly know, went on something of an epic road trip at the end of July this year.
We took the ferry to Amsterdam and drove up through Germany to Denmark, through Sweden via the Volvo Museum, and into Norway, where we went all the way up the West Coast via the Trollstigen in the South, up through Molde, Kristiansund, Trondheim, Mo I Rana, through the Lofoten Islands to Tromsø. After a couple of days there we went East and South through Finland, took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, then drove through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into Russia where we spent our 10th wedding anniversary in Kaliningrad, on board a decommissioned oceanographic research vessel.
From there it was Poland and the Czech Republic to Vienna, where Mrs. Toad flew home and I carried on to even sillier adventures. But that is the subject for another podcast. For now, here are a bunch of songs from our Norway trip. Because these were all on mixtapes to play in the car whilst driving it's all actually surprisingly upbeat too. Not your usual miserable shite.
01. The Get Me Downs - Sexsie Volvo (00.13)
Direct download: Toadcast323.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:06pm UTC
Tue, 11 October 2016
Firstly, NO I shall not be launching into a long-winded plea for acceptance over how long it has been since the last podcast. Other shit distracted me, as is always the case when someone doesn't do something. A lot of other shit, in this case.
I don't know if any of you remember this, but in April me and my most singularly epic Volvo Bette (pronounced 'Betty' because she's a stubborn and moody old bitch and therefore named after Bette Davis) went on the Rust2Sahara trip with the Rust2Rome Pioneers group. It was, as I am sure you can imagine, a pretty fucking epic experience.
After a couple of surprise detours, via Belfast for example, and the Pendine Sands in Wales, and some straight ahead burns down the motorways of Spain, we crossed into Morocco and there the really amazing stuff really began. We dodged camels, lost track of where the road was entirely, jumped sand dunes, clambered over the top of the Atlas mountains on a tiny goat track, visited a Bond villain lair in an extinct volcano, lost suspension, oil filters and exhausts and suffered punctures.
We had to ask random mechanics at the side of the road to help us out, welding bits of the cars back together with fags in their mouths and no more than a pair of sunglasses to shield their eyes. We ran out of petrol so badly we ended up having to siphon between cars to get to the next town, and over the CBs we planned and executed a pit stop to swap a battery from one car to another, jump start them and resume our 100mph dash to Tangiers port that an F1 team would have been proud of.
In short, it was absolutely fucking amazing.
01. Dionne Warwick - Do You Know the Way to San José? (00.23)
Thu, 29 September 2016
Technically speaking, recording is banned from our living room, but erm, Mrs. Toad was away and Rocky was by himself so why the fuck not, eh?
This was an odd mismatch. Originally the session was prepared for Chantal Acda, who was headlining the tour. Then it turned out she couldn’t make it due to illness, and then there I was having a chat with Rocky, who I’d never exchanged a word with before.
Considering I was monumentally unprepared, this was a wonderful session. Rocky was relaxed and chatty, and it was one of the nicest and easiest conversations we’ve had on the session since they began in 2008.
Thanks to Matthew and Alex for the video and to Mario for the photos.
Direct download: ToadcastNo322.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:44pm UTC
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)