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.

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…

Presenting… Yusuf Azak


Song, By Toad Records continues to flourish in a way that makes many green with envy. Me? Well, I’m pleased to see a friend doing well -and I mean that most sincerely, folks ((c) Hughie Green).

On November 15 (my birthday, though I’m sure that is coincidental), Yusuf Azak will release his debut album on the label, entitled Turn On The Young Wire.

This song ‘Eastern Sun’ is being released as a free download. Considering how I have been inundated with samey singer-songwriter submissions of late, it is great to hear the Aberdonian anti-folk artist releasing something so good, and turning the genre on its’ head.

I’ve heard his two awesome EPs, Gazelle and Light Procession and I can’t wait to hear the album in full. For now enjoy this, which I have played four times already this evening…comparisons to Nick Drake are, for once, entirely deserved. And go and download those two EPS here

Yusuf Azak – Eastern Sun by Song, by Toad