Ever since Sparrow & the Workshop first considered using one of their Toad Session recordings as a b-side I have been fascinated with the idea of releasing Toad Sessions more formally than just giving them away on the internet.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the death of guitar music, and whilst that argument may have some merit in the commercial sphere, underground guitar music is absolutely thriving.
Recently we’ve seen a plethora of tiny, DIY tape labels spring up frequently releasing lo-fi guitar music of one form or another, from Paws’ own Cath Records, to Comfortable on a Tightrope down in Manchester who release Waiters and Sex Hands’ stuff, amongst others, to the likes of Tye Die Tapes in Sheffield and Art is Hard in Plymouth.
What inspires me the most about these labels is their energy and productivity. They don’t wait for the perfect recording or toil for hours with overdubs; things tend to be recorded live, on simple equipment and then released as they are. It’s good. It’s rough as hell a lot of the time, but that suits this kind of music.
After the Milk Maid and Paws Toad Sessions worked out so well, despite being recorded entirely live in our living room, and having seen the Rob St. John and Cold Seeds albums come together so quickly in the same space, we decided to try and record a full album of rough and ready guitar music in the same kind of spirit - mostly live, only a couple of takes per song, and minimal overdubs for the vocals.
This was also a chance to work with some new bands, and try and capture that energy and informality which I so admire in the tape labels, but to still put together a really nice release at the end of it.
So, we got first Waiters and Sex Hands, the two Manchester bands, round to our house to record their songs, and then Dolfinz the following week. Another week or so later Paws were playing in Edinburgh, and they came by on the afternoon of the gig to record their four tracks.
The recording barely took longer than an hour or two per band, and we deliberately kept the mixes quite loose and unpolished, to suit the style of both the songs and the recording style.
The cover design is a blatant rip-off of sixties jazz records, because they also recorded things live, released all sorts of collaborations and generally made recorded music feel like a living thing, rather than a museum piece, which I think is very much one of the things we are trying to achieve with this split 12”.
We had a ball making this record, and I hope you enjoy it.