The Toads at Bunk Bar, 4/1/2018.
Left to right: Matt Kane, Dylan Valentine, Matt Dinaro
The Toads are a power pop trio based on Portland, OR. Ranging in tone from 90's alternative to Beatles pop to punk to trash blues, primary songwriters Matt K. and Matt D. create catchy, humorous, harmonized tunes that stick in the ear, at turns snarky and sincere but always memorable, performed with high energy and high volume.
Transplants from Boston, singer-guitarist Matt K. and singer-bassist Matt D., joined originally by singer-drummer Mitch Gonzales (Jackson Boone, Wave Action,) formed in the Spring of 2015 and quickly established themselves as a band addicted to live shows, with over 100 performances in Portland within their first two and a half years, plus a full length album, three EPs and three music videos showcasing their campy, antic comic style. This frenetic activity, along with their humor, chops, and rapid-fire live sets, helped the Toads gain ever more visibility in the city's garage rock underground.
2016 was a busy year for the Toads. Their music was featured on Tender Loving Empire's 9th annual "Friends and Friends of Friends" compilation, played at a Blazers game and on X-Ray FM, and written up on Next Northwest and other blogs. The Toads also performed a full live set for KPSU's Live Fridays in January, and held a video release party with MOD Pizza. Mitch Gonzales left the band in November, and the Matts brought Kings & Vagabonds drummer Dylan Valentine onto the throne.
In 2017, the Toads appeared live on Portland Radio Project and Freefrom Portland, and sat down for an extended interview on the Haute Garbage Podcast, and in August, they were the musical guests on the live chat show Who's the Ross.
The band released their first single of 2017, "Portland, OR" and followed with a six song EP, "Time", following on July 23, released via their debut performance at the hip local venue Rontoms. The sextet of tunes earned them their first acknowledgement from local alt-weekly Willamette Week. Their second EP of the year, "It's for You", dropped in December, finding praise in Vortex, the Deli, Portland Notes, and other publications.
The Toads embarked on their first tour, of Oregon, in March 2017, and did a second tour, of Washington State, in September, playing Seattle as well as Richland and Spokane, where they were well-received, landing an interview session on Thin Air Radio in Spokane and getting featured in a full-page interview in the Tri-Cities alt-monthly Tumbleweird.
In March 2018 the band appeared on Salem's CCTV and embarked on the two week "Fools' Tour", playing 12 shows in Oregon, California and Nevada. They brought with them their first cassette release, "The Compleat Toads", created with Dazzleships Records and gathering all 33 of their studio recordings in one place, serving as the ideal one-stop introduction to the band's hooky, snarky brand of distorted, old school pop. In May 2018 the band was honored to have their song "It's for You" included on the 2018 PDX Pop Now! Compilation, regarded as a significant annual barometer of the Portland music scene.
In June 2018 the Toads connected with local producer and tour manager Dominik Schmidt, enlisting him to produce their first high-fidelity album. Schmidt offered to set up a European tour as well, but Matt D., feeling burnt out from the hustle of live shows, persuaded his bandmates to withdraw from the stage that Fall, and the Toads transitioned into a mostly studio project, focusing on the album with Schmidt, which was completed in 2020 and will be self-released in 2021.
Whatever they do, the Toads maintain their mission of leading all to the Church of Rock N Roll, where they will preside for eternity over the altar. Praise be to the Toads, Matt, Matt and Dylan, amen.
Photo by Steve Montague