The Return of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Way back in the 1990s (please no one remind how long ago that actually was) I was a big fan of the band Toad the Wet Sprocket. They last released an album back in 1997 after which they broke up. Wikipedia informs me that during the intervening years they have played some live gigs here and there together, but they weren’t officially back together during that time. I never bothered to try and keep track of them given that I didn’t think the band existed any longer, but had I been paying attention I apparently would have known via their Facebook page that they finished recording a new album back in March.

I first became aware of their reemergence from a tweet by Sara Watkins. The band has decided to release the new record, New Constellation,  on their own label and were seeking help via Kickstarter to do so. Sara tweeted about the Kickstarter campaign in it’s few remaining hours saying that the band had been hugely influential on her. I know people feel different ways about Kickstarter particularly in relation to established acts, but I choose to support the things I love. Having greatly loved this band during my high school years I decided I was willing to kick in $15 to get the album early along with 4 extra bonus tracks even though the project had been fully funded for almost 2 months at that point. They managed to fund their $50,000 goal in less than a day with a final tally of $264,762. I guess I wasn’t the only one who missed Toad the Wet Sprocket.

For everyone who is not a Kickstarter backer and is not receiving the album early it comes out on September 17. I received my download two weeks ago and have listened to the new album a couple of times since then. The first thing I will say about it is that it still sounds like Toad the Wet Sprocket, which means that it immediately took me back to the sounds of 90s popular music. I’m not in that musical head space any more, so it threw me a little bit when I first started listening to it.  I’m actually not a huge fan of the first single off the album, which is the title track “New Constellation”, so I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to like the album after hearing that. I still like that track the least, but it’s grown on me a little and there are some other songs I really love, particularly “Golden Age”.

If you liked Toad the Wet Sprocket back in the day you should like this album too and should check it out when it comes out in about a month. In the meantime you can actually download a couple of their older songs along with a couple of tracks off the new album for free on Noisetrade.

Of course as seems to be the case with every band I would be interested in seeing live this fall, they are not touring in Baltimore. They’ll be hitting both DC and Philly, but not here. Sigh.

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