When we opened the shop on May 21st 2011, we awaited the inevitable fan-fare and whoops of joy that a new Edinburgh second-hand record shop opening would definitely bring from The Scotsman and The NME. Despite not telling any of the press we were opening either before our opening party or at any time afterwards I still did the odd Google search expecting a write up.
VoxBox without a space; SEARCH, Vox Box with a space; SEARCH.
Any non-famous person who has ever Googled themselves will be aware of the slight apprehesion and excitement followed by timidity and a feeling of, “Wow, I’m not alone!” “Wow, Facebook is really popular!” Followed by, “Why are there 5 pages of people before me?” Chased closely by the hound-dog of guilt of having searched in the first place.
This can only lead to bad things. What if someone has written about you? To click to read something is like opening your exam results.
So, after opening VoxBox (no space) and long, long before we had a website, a card machine or even thought to put any records in the window, I treated myself to another sneaky peek at the world wide web and what do you know!
You Beauty! An article!
By Toad. By Song, By Toad!
This was it: http://songbytoad.com/2011/05/vox-box/
It looks and reads, well, excellent!
And, I was right to search for vox box with a space!
It was posted on 25th May, 4 days after we opened and I beamed with pride. What a nice chap.
But who is he? This Toad. Why didn’t he say hello when he was in? He didn’t leave a Z on anything. Nor was there a Native American companion. There were 25 comments to his piece! Yet he snuck around taking photos incognito. I’m not saying he had a fake moustache. Just that he bought some albums, disappeared and we couldn’t remember what he looked like.
But, holy cow, after a delve into the Song, By Toad website, it seems that our Mr Toad is a busy man. Weekly Podcast, Music Blog with free swearing, he puts on gigs, DJs, he records bands in his home. He has a record label. And puts out records. Hold on. Puts out records? We’re a record shop! We should have this kind of thing!
I emailed the kind chap to say Thank You for the kind words. And can we have your records! Records are brilliant! He also puts out CDs. A bit less brilliant. But hey, we’ll stock whatever you put out.
One or two very kind people came in on the back of the Song, By Toad blogpost. Actually, I think many, many people came in due to it, just I was not interrogating the customers hard enough: ‘Ver deed tzu feend owtz abootze recordzhop!’
I tracked Mr Toad down in person and surprised him at the Independent Label Fair at SummerHall 2011 and after that, we’ve had Song, By Toad Records, at VoxBox Music and too many commas, ever since. Why, the comma? Short, story. But I won’t go, into, it, here. (Wind in the Willows)
Nevermind the commas! What are they! The records dammit, tell me about the damn records!
OK. I’m not being Australian when I say ‘they’re all good’. But I think they all are.
I like The Leg, Yusuf Azak, King Post Kitsch, L’il Daggers and Meursault. He’s put PAWS on vinyl and bands with names like Sex Hands and Dolfinz (kids these days, eh?).
Haven’t listened to the rest yet. (big listening pile).
But I’m not reviewing the records here. I will just say that the label is a great filterer of ordinary, run of the mill music. So you’re always in for an ear treat. They’re kept in our Local release section with Fence Records and Gerry Loves Records (more on them some other time).
Toad Hall is literally round the corner local (Raeburn Place) and a showcase of the real grass roots, young and starving, the sleeping on mates floors music scene. But it’s much bigger than that too and also has great ambition. So it is important stuff and something for us to be proud of. Edinburgh is even better for having such a dedicated and hard working professional record label packaging art for us.
For Christmas, for those who don’t need another Grateful Dead live album, think about taking a punt on some of the Song, by Toad releases.
To get an idea of what’s on the vinyl, please come along to the Song, by Toad Christmas party at SummerHall. It’s an event that supports independent venues, labels, bands and shops too. So it’s pretty unmissable.
There will be tiny sets by some of the Toad artists and an EP launch for King Post Kitsch. Listen to this:
It’s Friday 7th December. (Tomorrow)
There are few things better than a live band and this is much better value than The Rolling Stones.
“Shout— Hoo-ray! And let each one of the crowd try and shout it very loud, In honour of an animal of whom you’re justly proud, For it’s Toad’s— great— day!”
A belated thank you again to Matthew and Ian who continue to make fine things happen.
* I will soon figure out how to embed a Soundcloud player on the page. Do click the link, it won’t bite.
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