The return of Yusuf Azak


I’ve long supported and, frankly, been pretty envious of the Song, By Toad label and Blog. Mr. Toad works pretty hard on it, and he’s been responsible for birthing some awesome records, and for what it’s worth I have tried to cover as much of it as possible on here.

Back in 2010, I very much enjoyed the debut from Yusuf Azak, Turn On The Long Wire. It featured some gorgeous low-key moments, and picked up some nice reviews. Now, two years later, his next record Go Native is almost with us.

It’ll be released on November 12, and it’s seemingly (on the basis of what I have heard so far) an even more gorgeous and more accessible and stripped down record than his debut. In the words of Head Toad, Matthew Young ‘Yusuf tends to keep himself to himself, only to emerge with a finished album from time to time, so I doubt we’ll ever be able to make him all that famous, but this is a truly gorgeous record and I am delighted he wants to release it with us.’ Can’t say any more than that, really. I would have loved to post ‘Swim’ but ‘Smile Tactics’ is doing the rounds as a free download/single (is there much of a difference between them these days?) and it’s pretty lovely too.

New from Meursault…


I’ve long supported Meursault via the blog and, of course, their label, Song, By Toad Records. Meursault released their third album, Something For The Weakened a couple of months ago. The second single from the album ‘Dull Spark’ was one of the tracks I picked up on in the review -and like most great singles, it is:

a)available to buy on 7″
b)has a b-side which makes it worth buying the package
c)has a rather cool video.

Now, I’m not going to go and buy the 7″ for you, but you can watch the geometrical (from about 04:00 in) video and then stream the single.

‘Dull Spark’ is released on Song, By Toad Records on September 24.

Album Review: Meursault


Meursault -‘Something For The Weakened.’ (Song, By Toad Records)

At this point in time, Meursault have proved themselves to be the biggest selling act on Song, By Toad Records. Following on from their fine, first two albums Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues and All Creatures Will Make Merry, the band now deliver their third album. The reception for their second saw them playing big festivals and round Europe, and seemed to be an even bigger response than band or label dared hope for.

The promo email for this album from head Toad Matthew Young read: ” It’s rather different to previous Meursault stuff. Not so lo-fi, with lusher strings, and rather more of a thumping indie-rock (horrible term, I know) vibe where the big, loud tunes are concerned.” Now, I don’t know if that was meant to worry us Meursault fans that they might be about to go all stadium rock on us, or just explaining a progression in sound. Fortunately, it would appear I overreacted and they haven’t. Hoorah!

Granted songs like ‘Dull Spark’ and the single ‘Flittin’ may sound more polished than the earlier stuff. But that’s not to say that the rough edges which made the early stuff so exciting has been rubbed off. Because few bands do melancholy like Meursault, and tracks like ‘Hole’, standout track ‘Dearly Distracted’ and album opener ‘Thumb’ deliver it in spades. In the best possible way.

Yes, they recorded this in a poper studio, rather than on a portastudio in their own homes like with previous records. This has captured the evolution of the band. There’s perhaps less of the electronica feel than there might have been on Creatures, but the band seemed to have wisely decided to avoid making the same record twice.

Looking forward to hearing the next stage of their evolution, sometime about 2014…


Something For The Weakened is released by Song, By Toad Records on July 16.

The album launch takes place at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on July 7. Gulp! Tomorrow..

The return of Meursault!


Perhaps the biggest stars so far of fellow Edinburgh blog turned label, Song, By Toad Records, Meursault are set to release their third album Something For The Weakened on July 16.

Having recorded their previous two albums in bedrooms and living rooms, this album was recorded in an actual recording studio (Pumpkinfield Studios, near Perth). Production duties were handled by Pete Harvey, the ‘cellist whose work on other SbTr records I have singled out on this blog before.

‘Flittin’ is the first single from the album, and you can stream it here:

The full tracklisting for the album is:

Lament For A Teenage Millionaire
Lightning Bolt
Dull Spark
Dearly Distracted

It’s playing as I write; so far the album sounds bloody brilliant.

It’s always good to support your local record store, but you can also buy the 7″ of Flittin’ from the Song, By Toad Records site. You can also donwload mp3s from the site of earlier Meursault work.

Finally, it’s (almost) here!


As an avid watcher of the Edinburgh music scene, I feel like I have been waiting for the debut album by Jesus H. Foxx perhaps even longer than the eagleowl one (though I believe that’s due soon).

Song, By Toad Records released their fine six track EP Matter back in 2009, and as Toad Supremo Matthew Young says, ‘their debut album has been, they have assured me, mere weeks away from completion. And two and a half years later, here it is.’

Out very, very soon (can’t see a release date but it’s soon), and entitled Endless Knocking, this is the first track to be made available as a free download, the rather fine ‘So Much Water.’

The album tracklisting, by the way is:

The Reins, Quick
So the Wind Won’t…
Permanent Defeat
Elegy For the Good
Half the Man You Were
This is Not a Rental Car
So Much Water
Twins (reprise)

A review will follow shortly. Oh, and it has the fine ‘cello sounds of Pete Harvey on not one, but two tracks. Matthew Toad told me that he ‘is trying to prise Pete’s solo album out of him.’ Come on, I’m waiting…

Forthcoming from Song, By Toad


Song, By Toad Records, as run by Matthew Young and his lovely wife are gearing up for a very busy 2012.

First up at the end of this month is the new album from The Leg. Entitled An Eagle To Saturn, so far two tracks have been made available to download for free. The first is ‘Twitching Stick’ which can be downloaded from their awesome 2012 sampler at the bottom of the page (new stuff from Meursault, too! Yusss!!) and they have now made ‘Bake Yourself Silly’ available to download for free, too:

Not only that, but according to Matthew Toad’s blog there are mysterious things afoot for the launch night in Edinburgh in two weeks’ time: “Saturday 28th April we will be holding a very special launch night at a secret venue in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Due to the slightly dubious nature of the space itself we’ll be meeting in the pub beforehand – probably upstairs at The Wash bar, which is the closest by – between 7 and 8pm, and will then all walk up to the place together.”

Find out more here

Forthcoming from Song, By Toad


I’ve long been very supportive of what Matthew Young has been doing with his Song, By Toad blog and label -and indeed the favour has often been returned.

Amongst his latest signings are King Post Kitsch, who (his name’s Charlie, it would appear) his debut single next week. It’s a four-track single entitled ‘Don’t You Touch My Fucking Honeytone’ which is rather ace. I think it’s what the Hives might soundlike if they ingested lots of fizzy pop and hung out in Glasgow and tried to blend in, aftre losing their suits.

You can hear it here:

King Post Kitsch – Don’t You Touch my Fucking Honeytone by Song, by Toad

Meanwhile, the album The Party’s Over will be released soon. It may share its’ title with Talk Talk’s debut, but I suspect the similarity may well end there.

You can also downlaod an EP from earlier this year by visiting the Bandcamp here

Now, I like to think I’ve made it blatantly bloody obvious how good the stuff on the Toad label is (last year’s Top 50 albums on here had several entries from the label), but if you haven’t been paying attention, here is a sampler Matthew has made available:

Song, by Toad Records Sampler 2011 by Song, by Toad


Album review – Yusuf Azak


Yusuf Azak -‘Turn On the Long Wire’ (Song, By Toad Records)

This year I have felt like I have been drowning in singer-songwriters of both sexes. What has been utterly dispiriting, frankly, has been having to write reviews of albums that are dull, dull, dull and even worse, that people have poured their heart, soul and more often than not, their life savings into. So when so give it the thumbs down, you’re left feeling like a VERY NASTY PERSON.

So it is fantastic to be able to report that, follwoing own from his own self-released EPS Gazelle and Light Procession (still available from his myspace page) that the Aberdeen-born, Glasgow-based’s singer’s debut is an utter delight from start to finish. Many singer-songwriters dream of people mentioning them in the same breath as Nick Drake or Bob Dylan, when all they have done is fail to find their own voice. This album shows, however, that Mr. Azak’s found his own voice and taken influences from both. The album’s strings were scored by the man himself. There’s not a week track on here, though standouts have to be ‘The Key Underground’ and ‘Thin Air’, though today my favourite is ‘Eastern Sun.’

At 27 minutes, some may argue that it’s short for an album…whatever. Not a note is wasted.It’s a beautiful and dreamy collection of songs that deserves to be heard.

Make sure you do.

Turn On The Long Wire is out now on Song, By Toad Records.

Yusuf Azak -‘The Key Underground.’ mp3

Yusuf Azak -‘Eastern Sun.’ mp3

The continuing rise of Song, By Toad Records


Matthew Young over at Song, By Toad continues to show the rest of the blogging community not only how to blog with style but how to run impressive record labels as well.

A few weeks ago I posted a track ‘Eastern Sun’ from the forthcoming Yusuf Azak album Turn On The Long Wire; now another one has arrived from Mr. Toad and a track from the forthcoming savings & Loan album Today I Need Light:

Yusuf Azak – The Key Underground by Song, by Toad

The Savings and Loan – Pale Water by Song, by Toad

Check these out and let me know what you think.

And yes, I’m aware I have been rather quiet round these parts over the last few days…been busy doing DiY getting the flat and life in order, ahead of it all being turned upside down…

Album review – Inspector Tapehead


Inspector Tapehead -‘Duress Code’ (Song, By Toad Records)

Having given Matthew Young, owner of Song, By Toad Records, a few sleepless nights -given that this album was supposed to be ready two years ago,Inspector Tapehead finally unleash their debut album on the world. Several listens in to this fine album, I have given up trying to find a category for it, because it just seems like a lame attempt to pigeonhole something to try and pin it down. And because every time I listen to it, I find something new I haven’t picked up on before.

There’s definitely a freshness no matter how many times you hear it. And whilst I clutch at straws, I genuinely think it will appeal to people who like label-mates Meursault. Though having said that, it doesn’t really sound much like Meursault at all.Think a garage rock meets a straight country band, only who sound as scottish as, but without particularly scottish accents.

‘I Am Your Pedigree’ is an awesome love song -of sorts -complete with ‘OMGWTF did he really just sing that‘ moment. It appears to have more going on its’ less than four minutes than some people manage in an entire career. Without becoming unbearably complex or too clever for its’ own good.

As the album draws to a close, and I know I will be playing it again, very soon, I reflect on two things: Firstly, it may have been a long time in the making, but the end justifies the means. And secondly, coming just a few months after the Meursault album -to say nothing of Trips and Falls, Maxwell Panther and Cold Seeds, Song By Toad Records are flying very high indeed.


Duress Code is out now on Song, By Toad Records.

Inspector Tapehead -‘Yarvil.’ mp3

Inspector Tapehead -‘Pherenzik Tear.’ mp3

The album launch takes place at the Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art this Thursday. Before that, they play an instore at Avalanche Records, Cockburn St at 5PM.