Monday, March 29, 2010

Recent Amphibian Adventures

v/a Celestial Grass
v/a nlgbbbblth cd 09.06: Can You Travel In The Dark Alone?
v/a The Beat-Beat-Beat of the Tom-Tom
v/a La Classe de Danse
v/a Best of 2009 Disc 2: "MMIX"
v/a Best of 2009 Disc 1: MMIX
v/a The Doggie Daddies (somewhat unlistenable 2000s compilation)
v/a The Naughty Oughties (somewhat listenable 2000s compilation)
v/a nlgbbbblth: The Magic Garden
Ray Davies (Feat. His Funky Trumpet & The Button Down Brass) Part 3: (1975-1977)
Elvis Presley Dig Right In

And what are these? Why, they are TOADs. The acronym is one my pals in Frank's APA use. It comes from the early days of that august organisation. TOAD stands for Tape Once And Distribute, reminding us of a by-gone era where people in the APA distributed compilations on tape, and where people could be expected to make a copy of a tape and then pass it on. The name has stuck, even though now a TOAD might well be a CD you can keep or (*shudder*) something you "download".

Some might say that this is a surfeit of TOADs. There could be something to be said for some kind of TOAD rationing system – I am thinking maybe that no one in the APA should be allowed make more than two CD-R equivalents in one calendar year. Let us see if I am able to enforce this.

The one great winner of these discs is the third Ray Davies compilation. The second collection of music by this great trumpeter seemed to falter a bit, but here he is stormingly back on form. Maybe this is as much down to the track choices – you cannot really go wrong with parping versions of the theme from The Man With The Golden Arm, Magnum Force, The Big Boss, etc. Ray Davies' version of the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is easily the best non-Morricone version of the tune, blowing away the lamer Hugo Mantanegra effort.

With the other CDs, it is random tracks here and there that stick in my mind. One of "MMIX" or MMIX features Art Brut's 'The Passenger' (about the joys of public transport), reminding me of how great this lot were at Indietracks last year. I remember this tune well from when I saw them live, but it seems a bit different here – different in an interesting way. Live, Art Brut seem to a bit more rock than art rock, but here they sound a bit more like some kind of complicated art project. I think maybe it is to do with the vocals being fairly high in the mix. Either way, this lot seem like an excellent band – I must seek out their records, and would love to see them again live.

La Classe de Danse provided an always-welcome opportunity to hear Robert Wyatt's recording of 'Stalin wasn't stallin'. I also liked the 'To Whom It Concerns' by Magic (or the theme music to the Late Late Show as you may know it).

The Beat-Beat-Beat of the Tom-Tom-Tom features many wonderful tracks, including rocktastic tracks by Pissed Jeans (who live up to their name) and A Place To Bury Strangers. The latter's track made me wish I had caught them at ATP last December.

I enjoyed all the others as well.

One thing I find Frank's APA TOADs good for is generating an enormous musical databank, such that if I hear about random musical figure and wonder what they sound like, it often turns out there are a couple of their tracks lurking on TOADs. I got that most recently with yer man Franco and TPOK Jazz – after reading the intriguing article about him in the Journal of Music, it turned out that I had a couple of his tunes on my iPod, all thanks to the magic of the TOAD. Fascinating.

Tall Toad

An inuit panda production

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