What’s happening at Song, By Toad Records?

song

Matthew Young writes one of the best-regarded mp3 blogs around, in Song, By Toad. He also runs a fine label, Song, By Toad Records and since we met at a Camera Obscura gig in 2007, we have been pretty supportive of each other’s blogging and record shananigans.

So, I feel rather ashamed that I haven’t covered his most recent releases over the last couple of months in more detail, and whilst this post is not a full review (these will come, promise), this is a guide to what he and his artists are up to. (This post does not cover the excellent Jesus H. Foxx, but as I reviewed their gig from last week, hopefully that won’t matter).

maxwell-panther

Maxwell Panther is a singer-songwriter whose music has been described by Toad as sounding ‘Rough as a bear’s arse’ so if you are expecting Mike Oldfield type stuff, you will be disappointed (It is also debatable, however, whether you have anything to contribute to the world other than one day becoming fertilizer). His debut album Do You Feel Different Yet? is indeed rough sounding, but that’s part of its’ charm. And the fact that they’re some bloody great songs on it. Like these two:

Maxwell Panther -’My Ex-Identity.’ mp3

Maxwell Panther -’Lost Soul On A Roll (That’s Me).’ mp3

Do You Feel Different Yet? is out now

trips-and-falls

There’s so few bands ever who have sounded like Trips and Falls. that doesn’t matter – because as far as I’m concerned, when you hear their excellent album He Was Such A Quiet Boy you will fall for them hook, line and sinker. And how can you not love a song title like ‘And in Real Life He Wears Corduroy Pants?’

Trips and Falls -’And In Real Life He Wears Corduroy Pants.’ mp3

Trips And Falls -’How Do You Do…’ mp3

He Was Such A Quiet Boy is out now

loch-lomond

Loch Lomond released a split 12″ single with the Builders And Butchers on Song, By Toad Records last year. The Portland, Oregon band are shortly to release an EP on Song, By Toad Records on May 17 entitled Night Bats. Check this out:

Loch Lomond -’Wax and Wire.’ mp3

meursault

Last, but by no means least, the mighty Meursault are to release their hotly anticipated sophomore album on May 24, entitled All Creatures Will Make Merry. I loved their debut Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues and having taken delivery of their new album last night, it looks like lightning might well have struck twice:

Meursault -’Crank Resolutions.’ mp3

Meursault -’Sleet.’ mp3

The return of M.I.A.

mia

M.I.A. was responsible for two the the best albums of the last decade, in Arular and Kala. She’s set to release her third, self-titled album in the next couple of months and the first track to do the rounds is nothing less than astonishing.

‘Born Free’ which can be streamed at her myspace is a fast and furious track (think almost as fast as ‘Charly’ by The Prodigy) and is built upon ‘Ghostrider,’ the opening track from Suicide’s eponymous 1977 album.

And as for the in your face video for the song…let’s just say that all of a sudden, Chris Cunningham’s work with the likes of the Aphex Twin seems a little tame, compared to this mini-film by Romain Gavras.

One of the tracks of the year, take it from me.

‘Born Free’ is out now, the album follows on June 29.

Gig review: Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Jesus H. Foxx/White Heath

Maggie’s Chambers, Edinburgh, April 21

Two of Edinburgh’s most excellent new(ish) bands on the same bill, free to get in…so why the bloody hell were there only about forty people here?

Well, well done to those who made it, because quite frankly, this was an excellent gig, and the rest of the city doesn’t know what it missed. White Heath blew me away with their debut EP last year. The five piece are now recording their debut album with Jim Sutherland (who was at the helm of Aberfeldy’s debut Young Forever), which should be released sometime later this year on Electric Honey. They sound charmingly powerful live, with a mix of guitar, violin, and a singing drummer, amongst other things. The four tracks from the EP all get an airing tonight -’7:38am’ ‘Leviathan’ ‘When the Watchemn Leave Their Stations’ and ‘Election Day’ which made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year. I’ve wiated a long while to see these guys and I was not disappointed.

Jesus H. Foxx are also working on their debut album, due to be released on Song, By Toad Records later this year. I saw them live supporting Broken Records at their Christmas show in December (obviously) (on a bill that also featured Withered Hand, now there’s a bill to tell the grandkids about), and this evening I fall for them even more.

To these ears, this fantastic seven piece with their two drummers, innumerable guitarists and lovely trumpet work from Tallah are like a fantastic marriage of Pavement and the Go-Betweens. With added trumpet, obviously. looking at my notes I see that I wrote that their song ‘Trying To be Good’ is like a marriage of Pavement’s ‘Type Slowly’ (yes, the one with that lyric) and the Go-Betweens ‘Draining the Pool for You.’ I mean this as a compliment, to show the paths they are follwoing and the new paths they arecarving out as a band. They finish with the very fine ‘I’m Half the Man You Were.’ I’ve enjoyed both the ‘Tightt Ideas’ (sic) single and the Matter EP, and on the evidence of tonight’s show, both bands are at the forefront of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Both bands will be appearing at Tigerfest: Jesus H. Foxx play with There Will Be Fireworks at The Electric Circus, Edinburgh on May 12; and White Heath are the latest band to join the bill, and will be appearing with X-Lion Tamer and The Wildhouse at the 17 Seconds Records night which takes place at the Roxy Art House on May 9.

Presenting…Pearl and the Puppets

pearl-and-the-puppets

I’m really chuffed to be writing this.

Nearly three years ago I went along to see Emma Pollock and was blown away not only by her set, but by her support act, one Katie Sutherland. So impressed was I that I posted that she should be signed and I did an interview with her back in September 2007 as well.

Well, she then took the stage name Pearl, signed a big record deal, with Universal and her first single ‘Because I do’ is released a week tomorrow. this is the track I posted in an early form, which has since been used in an ad in Australasia, and it’s great to see an artist that I saw three years ago be poised on the edge of huge success indeed. So, glad to see that I was right, about both artist and song, and glad to see her doing well!

Here are Pearl and the Puppets with ‘Because I Do.’

more 17 Seconds Records news…David Scott

david-scott

David Scott, once of Meat Whiplash, Motorcycle Boy and Riverhead is, as you should know, our eighth signing.

We will be releasing his album Life Is Love Is Death Is Peace, Release Me in the next couple of months.

David will be over in the UK (from his adopted home of Kentucky) around June and will be playing gigs with the best rhythm sections I could think to recommend him, namely Ken McIntish and Murray Briggs of Aberfeldy.

More news on this when we have it…in the meantime -enjoy this taster!

David Scott and the Smokescreen -’Black Death.’ mp3

Album Review – Burnt Island

burnt-island-music-and-maths

Burnt Island -’Music and Maths’ (Chaffinch)

At just under twenty-three minutes and six tracks, as to whether this an EP or a mini-album is perhaps up for debate, but I’d rather focus on the music. Quite rightly, this has been some excellent notices of late.

If you feel the need to lazily pigeonhole bands, then, yes, Burnt Island are very much at that point where scots folk meets indie. But over the course of these six songs, what they do is manage to be so lovely -and as Song, By Toad has already pointed out -they have mastered the art of the tiny surprise. I’d picked up on this album after Avalanche Records were pushing it -in a nice way, and after other recommendations (including from members of the Last Battle), I knew i had to investigate. It didn’t pin me to the floor on first hearing, but i have been playing this a fair bit over the last few weeks, and every time I hear it, it works its’ charms a little further on me.

Not only do they have a knack for great songs and tunes, but the Glasgow-based five pice also have a knack for unusual but rather cool songs. The album is bookended by ‘A Supposedly Fun thing I’ll Never do Again’ and ‘Me And All Of My Friends Are Alright.’ Both excellent tracks, but the the one that has won Burnt Island their place on my best of scottish playlist on my iPod is the fantastic title track.

If you’re not turned on by music of the indie-folk variety…maybe this album won’t work for you. But if you still have a place in your cynical, twisted heart for sweet music, make iot for Burnt Island. I found room -can you?

****

Music and Maths is out now on Chaffinch Records

Burnt Island’s myspace (stream tracks here)

Buy it at Avalanche, from Chaffinch

Argh!

cat-yawning2

Too much to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it in.

There are two interviews to be written up for this blog -Kid Canaveral and Midas Fall, numerous reviews -including at least two releases on Song, By Toad, and as ever, an inbox full of acts waiting to be discovered that I haven’t properly attacked in months.

And to add to this, an excellent gig last night in Edinburgh, at Maggie’s Chambers, featuring the very fine Jesus H. Foxx and the amazing White Heath. Follow the links and check out their myspace pages, and go and see them live if you can.

Currently making a big impression on my iPod are new albums from Maxwell Panther, Burnt Island, Woodenbox with a fistful of fivers, Swimmer One, Trips and Falls…I’m trying to get around to writing about them all.

Please bear with me.

And enjoy this track from HEALTH -liked their album last year, not sure if this is from a forthcoming EP or album or what, but I love it!

Health -’USA Boys.’ mp3

EP review – eagleowl

intothefold-coverimage-hires

eagleowl -’Into the Fold EP’ (Kilter)

oh, eagleowl, eagleowl, eagleowl.

…Where do I start?

I could speak with the envy, that this amazing band get this great coverage, worhsip and adulation, in Scotland and further afield. I could drop in -again – the fact that I used to work with vioinist Malcolm in Fopp six or seven years ago. Sulk that they’ve had a radio 1 session. But I’m genuinely pleased for them, and genuinely glad to see them doing well. Because they desreve every bit of praise that’s come their way and more.

Because – following on from their For The Thoughts You Never Had EP, and the ‘Sleep the Winter’ 7″, this third release from the Edinburgh band shows them continuing to grow and stretch their, er, well, wings (sorry). Over the course of the four songs, yet again Bart and the band break my heart. It’s simultaneously simple, yet heartbreaking, so straightforward and yet utterly complex. How do Bart, Clarissa, Malcolm (‘and more often than not’) Rob do it? the final, nearly ten minute track on the EP ‘the Conjunction’ is like being fed the whole of Low’s oeuvre in ten minutes, it’s so beautiful. Dammit, I’ve got a lump in my throat.

Every single one of these tracks is outstanding in its’ own right. eagleowl have upped their game, and if I run the risk of sounding sychophantic, so bloody well be it.

*****

The Into the Fold EP will be released on May 3 on CD and download.

eagleowl -’Morpheus.’ mp3

eagleowl’s website/eagleowl’s myspace

Album Review – Midas Fall

midas-fall

Midas Fall -’Eleven, Return and Revert.’ (Monotreme Records)

OK, so I’m hardly unbiased on this front, what with the blog, the label and the being based here ‘n’ all, but there is so much great music coming out of this wee country right now. When it comes to music, Scotland more than punches above its’ weight, and seems to be growing in confidence. Singing in own accents – acceptable (why did people sneer at the Proclaimers for it). Not moving to London to advance career – why did we have to wait for Franz Ferdinand to lead the way on this? Edinburgh – just as much to offer as Glasgow, cheers to broken Records for kicking people’s arses into gear. And being able to sound how you want – ah, that’s what I call independence!

And Midas Fall, based in Edinburgh and Glasgow are at the forefront of band shsowing how it can be done. Drawing on a range of influcences, they have songs to die for, and are forging an identity that is uniquely and distinctly theirs. They supported Mono is Glasgow recently, which is one aspect of their sound, but interviewing guitarist Rowan and singer Liz recently for this blog (which will appear here very soon, I promise), they also cited artists as diverse as Oceansize, Radiohead and Tool as having influenced their sound.

The opening track on the album ‘Movie Screens’ sets the tone here. Haunting and beautiful, in my first feature on them on here I wrote ‘Normally words like melodic and haunting in press releases are bywords for bland, but in this case, these adjectives are compliments.’ Liz’s vocals nod in the direction of almost namesake Liz Fraser and Bat For Lashes. I drove all the way to Glasgow to see the second half of their set one night, and it was certainly worth it!

I challenge you to listen to this album, and not fall for its’ charms. Your choice, my neck on the line – but ultimately, your loss if you don’t fall for Midas Fall. Oh, and in case you were wondering, there’s really nothing in the name at all, just they felt they couldn’t continue labouring under the moniker of merkin (beware if you google it). But there’s shure as heck something in these waters…

****

Eleven, Return and Revert is out on Monday on Monotreme Records.

Midas Fall -’Movie Screens.’ mp3

Midas Fall’s myspace