song, by toad – toadcast #261 – the suncast

Matthew, aka Song, By Toad, was the first blogger to say something nice about my music on the world wide web and part of the inspiration for me to (perhaps foolishly?!) keep dedicating ridiculous amounts of time to making music.

His blog continues to be a cornerstone of the uk independent music scene and you would do well to point your eyes and ears in his direction here – http://songbytoad.com/

I was chuffed to pieces that he played my song Mariams Cake in his most recent podcast on mixcloud. Have a listen below if you fancy…

Toadcast #261 – The Suncast by Song, By Toad on Mixcloud

german radio, lemonjohn and song by toad

Edinburgh’s own ‘Song by Toad’ just reviewed my new album here… http://songbytoad.com/2010/01/robin-grey-strangers-with-shoes/

…and I just had my first spin on a german radiostation here… http://trackback.fritz.de/2009/12/26/trb-160-mixtapes/

…and lemonjohn reviewed ‘Strangers With Shoes’ here – http://lemonjohn.blogspot.com/2009/12/robin-grey-strangers-with-shoes.html

song by toad e.p. review

Matthew, aka Mr Song By Toad, has written some lovely things about my recent e.p. on his blog. I know some of you already read it but if you haven’t yet, have a look, it’s a gem.

“Robin is, I suspect, not the only one (who loves Leonard Cohen – ed).

I really liked his recent album Only the Missile and this appears to a rather lovely little inbetweeny EP. There’s a gorgeous atmosphere to Robin’s stuff that I can’t quite put my finger on. He has a deep, reassuring voice and a calming, unhurried delivery which seems to bring a familiar ease to his sound.

Add a splash of female backing vocals and what was simply really nice becomes bloody gorgeous. The title track is a lovely reminiscence on the transience of music taste, and the pleasant self-indulgence of nostalgia. The cover of the superb Kirsty MacColl song There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis is as good as the original, in an odd way. And then there’s Shakes & Shudders. Christ this is lovely. If I’ve heard a more intimate, weary song in ages I couldn’t name it: just fucking gorgeous.”

http://songbytoad.com/2008/11/19/robin-grey-i-love-leonard/

You can download it here and buy it here

song by toad review

Somehow I only found out about this review yesterday…might explain why things have been a bit more lively on my myspace though…you can see the original review and browse around the rest of Song by Toad‘s excellent site by clicking on the picture below.

This is going to be a slightly equivocal review, I think. Robin is a new artist, and I always think twice if I’m going to be less than entirely generous about people you may never have heard of before.

What do I mean? Well I’m not entirely convinced by all of this album. There are a couple of tracks, most notably Somewhere, which are pretty unremarkable – I’m thinking Hugh Grant starring in another of those dismal Working Title romcoms of his, basically. Going to his MySpace page, there are a couple more like that, which made me a little nervous, I had to admit.

Associating these lapses with the rest of this album is easy, but really completely wrong. It’s actually a fabulous album for the most part, really it is: warm, melancholy, gentle, witty and just playful enough that the sparse instrumentation and generally slow pace never flirt with tedium. It has real life, this record, albeit a low-key, non-intrusive kind of life.

He plucks and rumbles along, in a most English manner, tells his stories in a plain and unpretentious way that is really personal and really engaging. By the end of the record you realise you’ve listened to the sort of music that feels like a relaxed night in with a good friend at the end of a tiring week. And you’re a bit drunk, but not too sozzled. And you feel a little sleepy, but in a nice, warm way. Things are fine, actually, aren’t they?

Bluesy and folky, with enough embellishment to add texture, but which never detracts from the gentle strum of the guitar and raspy, but not growling quality of his voice. It is minimal, but it’s not sparse, and it may be a bit DIY, but it’s not amateurish, and it may not grab you instantly, but it’s a really bloody good album.