A-Z: Sizer Barker – Toby Slater

Sizer Barker – Hotel Juicy Parlour (album)
I’ve actually seen Sizer Barker play live twice, though neither time intentionally, they were both support slots. The first time was the first time I saw Space live, at Camden Dingwalls in August 2001. I’d thought their set was ok but nothing particularly memorable to be honest. I didn’t think of them again until I went to see Peter Gabriel at Birmingham NIA in June 2004 and they turned out to be the support band there! They’d signed to his record label infact. But yeah that was somewhat of a surprise, to see them in this big arena when I’d seen them 3 years earlier in a pretty tiny club where I was so close to the stage that I almost got hit in the head by band members’ guitars a few times! I really really enjoyed their set at the Peter Gabriel gig and was then interested in getting their album, which obviously I did at some point later. On first listen I enjoyed it but it was nothing breathtaking – this is only my 2nd time of listening to it all the way through as an album. The songs have been on my playlist though so have been growing on me and I’m enjoying the album much more this time.
‘Climb Aboard’ – Hmm, none of these songs are bad, but there aren’t enough exciting ones – I’m starting to get a little bored now. I definitely enjoy them more when I just hear the occasional song rather than them all together.

Toby Slater – Consumption (single)
I know he wrote his name ‘tobyslater’ for his solo stuff, so maybe I should put this under ‘T’, but I haven’t, it’s under ‘S’, so there. I’ve really been looking forward to getting up to Toby’s solo stuff. For anyone who’s forgotten from previous blog entries, Toby was the lead singer in ‘Catch’ who I lurved and have since followed the musical careers of all the ex-members. I was so excited when I first discovered Toby had gone solo and had his own website. I bought all of his MP3s through it (the first MP3s I ever paid for), plus bought this single (the only actual CD he released as far as I know). It’s a shame he didn’t get round to releasing an album as he had enough songs for one. Anyway, this single features the brilliant ‘Consumption’ plus 3 (yes 3! Woo!) b-sides. Also on it are the videos for Consumption and For You, plus some remixes of those 2 songs. Value for money indeed.
‘Consumption’ – All about, well, consumption! Most of the song is running off a list of different companies, which is strangely satisfying to be able to sing along with. The video’s on YouTube if you want to check it out – ta da! The video for ‘For You’ doesn’t seem to be on there though, sadly. I might upload it myself… yep, success! I’ve also got videos of Consumption being recorded and one of a song called ‘Want You’ which I don’t actually have on MP3 – I might have to rip it from the video – both of those vids I got from the website at some point. I might upload them to YouTube at some point too.
‘For You’ – One of the first Toby Slater songs I remember hearing as it made me think he’d gone quite Radiohead-like in style. It’s an ace song.
‘Uprising (Things Are Going To Change…)’ and ‘Smoking Isn’t Natural’ are both ace songs too. Infact I basically love everything Toby’s ever done – Catch were ace, his solo stuff was ace and Tough Love (formerly Kunta Kinte) are ace! How I haven’t actually managed to see him live yet I don’t know. I suppose he rarely gigs outside of London these days and the gigs always seem to be at awkward times or when I’m just broke! One day though!!

Toby Slater – Catch Up
I got fed up with there being no Toby album so decided to make my own from the songs on his website! Ha ha. I’ve since discovered there were even more songs recorded that were never made available on the website – some of which you can find on last.fm, so I’ve stolen those from there – finding Toby songs I’d never heard before was rather exciting! 😀 There were some ace ones too – ‘Scars’, ‘Propaganda’, ‘Coming Back To You’… better than a lot of stuff by other bands that actually gets released! Anyway, out of the songs I did actually have back when I made this compilation, I decided upon the following tracklisting:
1. Consumption
2. Lachrymosa
3. Disconnected
4. Begging Rebecca
5. The Next Life
6. Conquistador
7. Sunbather
8. Dumb Blonde
9. Smoking Isn’t Natural
10. Ritalin
11. For You
12. Uprising (Things Are Going To Change…)

And a damn fine ‘album’ it is too! To fill the CD up even more I also put on a few bonus Catch tracks! He he. It was before I got the album so they were just the 2 singles plus my 3 favourite b-sides (‘Morning Sun’, ‘No-one Knows’ and ‘Bitten By You’).

‘Begging Rebecca’ – Ah the creepy stalker song!! And the one that always used to start playing first when you visited the website. I spent quite a lot of time on that website and the message board, even though the overall design and navigation of the site was terrible (sorry Toby!).
‘The Next Life’ – An instant favourite, though I don’t listen to it as much as I used to. Generally Toby’s solo style was pretty different to ‘Catch’, but if I had to choose one song that was most similar to the ‘Catch’ style it would definitely be this one.
‘Dumb Blonde’ – Love this song. Tough Love have done a version of it too, which is growing on me now, but my favourite is still this version! “And if she’s got great legs and if she’s got nice breasts, she can be a dumb blonde and I can be her boyfriend”.

I might actually leave the A-Z here for today – I’m not hugely excited by the next CD coming up and want to listen to some songs I’ve downloaded instead. Ta ta for now…

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