Review :: Kyla La Grange – Ashes

“Channeling the past great women of rock, Kyla’s vocals evoke the ghostly, tormented lyricism and harmonics of a Stevie Nicks not yet bitter with the world”

The second and third albums are said to be the trickiest to deliver. Especially after a success that was perhaps never fully expected. That certainly has always been the case in the tospy-turvy, often fickle world of the music industry.

Although it may have undergone a series of radical changes within the last decade, the industry as a whole still proves to be a place where young artists are desperate to break into. Come hell or high water, there are legions of singers, songwriters, bands and soloists from all the different corners of social and economic backgrounds that wish to ply their trade and become the next global superstar.

As the circles of genres and subgenres tighten, the digital availability of music and instant, thro away culture has given birth to a new breed of artist aching to be discovered. The latest in a long line of these is one Kyla La Grange.

Her debut album, Ashes, offers a unique and well rounded approach to the single female vocalist who yearns to tell a story. Standing at eleven tracks long, the album marks another chapter in this young woman’s musical adventure and another piece of work ready to be thrown into the jaws of the baying, music buying public

But this is no glitzy pop number or electro infused dance track. Instead, La Grange reaches out to the more discerning musical tastes and brings a piece of work suited for those who enjoy lyricism, imagery and grand sound. Lead singles, “Been Better,” and “Heavy Stone” display a mature approach to a musical passion that can sometimes be overlooked and unfairly ignored in modern markets.

Channeling the past great women of rock, Kyla’s vocals evoke the ghostly, tormented lyricism and harmonics of a Stevie Nicks not yet bitter with the world. The tributes to previous trailblazers continue throughout the album.

“To Be Torn,” demonstrates Kyla’s enormous vocal range in a more than blatant tip to the ethereal qualities that made Kate Bush an international star. Where La Grange differs, however, is the distinctly 21st century styling and delivery. Oozing with glossy production that drips from every track of Ashes, this is music for the contemporary adult.

Bearing her teeth, quite literally at times, this album yields an edgier quality often amiss from artists of this persuasion. Tracks like “Vampire Smile,” the third single, combine the savage beauty and fragile, folkish charm that is set to propel La Grange into the mainstream in a flurry of accolades and praise.

All too often a softly spoken, eternally innocent yet well travelled female singer has come along and failed to live up to expectation. In the digital age of self-production, self promotion and sky high self assurance, the market place is clogged with those who emulate Diana Vickers and Pixie Lott. Indeed, the competition is now of such a high caliber that a revolving door policy seems to exist with even those who are sought to be established members of the industry.

Barring the monumental success of Adele, the female singer wearing her heart on her sleeve, soul bared for all to see, is at a premium in the 21st century. Not that it should be the case but it is with great surprise then that an album like Ashes offers what can only be described as a genuinely enjoyable, substantial and artistically credible piece of work.

Kyla La Grange is about to make a big splash in the music scene of 2012. Ashes is as strong a debut album as any that have been released this year and within recent memory. With the backing of her label, the ever impressive and imposing Sony, great things are expected from this young woman from Watford. Released on July 30th, the proof will, as ever be in the pudding when the general public get their hands on it.

Kyla’s official website has details of availability and tours.

Moon & Back Session :: Joe McCorriston

© 2012 Ian Percival

“Are we going?” – Joe McCorriston

It’s not only Mark McBabe McCabe that can do songs in lifts ya know? On the very same night, Morcambe-based singer/songwriter, Joe McCorriston performed two songs in a Manchester Piccadilly lift, including a cover of Hot Water Music’s ‘Trusty Chords (accompanied by Dog Coffee). The other track, ‘Dismantled Chord’ is taken from, Joe’s debut album, Try As You Might. And we’ll have a review of that up on the site very soon.

We love doing sessions, and we want to do as many as we can. If you’ve got someone you’d like us to get in session drop us a message in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter. Next week we’ll have Mikee J Reds in session.

‘Dismantled Chord’

‘Trusty Chords’ (Hot Water Music Cover)

All videos shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions. If you’d like to give these fools a job, head to their website.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Tom Jones – ‘Treat Her Right’

“I’ve never kissed two sisters”

Having very little recollection, but still feeling the effects, of an evening over 72 hours ago and trying over that 72 hour period to dull down the anxiety, depression, and head aches by, no surprise, drinking more it seemed as good a time as any to give up the booze for a while.
“Did I really fall over in front of all those people?”
…and if so, and that’s what I remember, then what else?
We should be changing the name of this article to ‘Songs to Cure Being a Massive Drunk’ but lets just keep it as it is because, as any real boozer knows, there’s a heavy time of dark melancholy after every occasion where the binge gets out of hand and your brain tells you,
…though it might very well still be.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Tom Jones. In fact, if anything, I think the guy is scum. Nothing but a giant abscess in the dental work of the music industry, but instead of rooting out the puss-filled bastard and attempting to remove the remaining dead pulp that’s been left over with a filling of something with an actual reason for being and a shred of remaining talent, I mean, how hard can it be to find another mediocre singer who isn’t as old as time and space, and doesn’t sport a face that looks more like a cow that had a stroke than a human being? It can’t be that difficult. Not with the 83,746 talent T.V. shows out there (one of which, our favourite Manatee featured, sheep fucking, crooner now presents).
Anyway, we’re going away from the main point here, this is supposed to cure depression, not give some sad over-the-hill fart a heavy dose of it (not that he ever read this) so here we go. Yes, it’s Tom Jones. Yes, he is a shit. But watch this video and, as long as you’re not some ardent feminist (and maybe even then), you will LOVE this. This is sexuality at its peak. The guy has hips like a perpetual motion giro. His arms are two cobras snapping with a rabid fury at the air, searching for some illustrious field mouse in the sky so as to rips its heart from its tiny little chest. His head, well his head look like someone shaved their pubes and stuck them to a bobble-head doll. BUT. Other than than, this guy is lightning.
Hell, after watching this even I wanna have a few dances at the ‘in the bed disco’ with the old ball bag.

Advanced Album Preview :: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Its a Corporate World

© Warner Bros Music 2012

“A living detachment exists between the music and listener”

It seems there is a renaissance afoot. Amongst the musical community, the resurgence of indie infused psychedelic, electro pop has never been more popular.

As much of a mouthful as that seems, the oncoming summer months seem to bring out such bands like midges from a mossy log. Throwing their hat into the ring with debut offering It’s a Corporate World are Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

For those UK fans unfamiliar with the band. Formed in Detroit, Michigan, the duo takes their name from American Indy Car racing legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. who, according to some sources, is a reputable fan of the band. Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott have sky rocketed their reputations amongst fans and music critics alike since their formation in 2007.

Branding themselves as psychedelic, electro and Motown influenced, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. appear to be on the cusp of domination of the indie, elector scene. This debut album, It’s a Corporate World arrives as the total of maligned performances, side projects and other dedications that have prevented the two members from publishing their collective work. They bring the haunting, wistful vocals and soft guitar hooks that have established them as a stand out indie outfit to what will presumably be a much wider audience, possibly globally.

Tracks “Simple Girl,” “When I open My Eyes,” and the eponymous “It’s a Corporate World,” showcase the band’s eclectic, anathema style. Drawing clear influences from late Beatles and their own brand of psychedelic pop rock, Epstein (coincidentally) and Zott mesh seamlessly together both vocally and musically.

None more apparent than the harmonic, toe tapping “Vocal Chords.” A fun, catchy, high tempo track that lends itself perfectly to the up coming summer months, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. know their audience and how to effectively win them over new listeners.

This stellar rise amongst their own scene and the music industry as a whole raises some suspicions amongst the more skeptical listeners. And therein lies the problem with both Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and this debut album. It’s a Corporate World is, quite simply, a clean cut, glossy, over produced album that would be more suited to a band’s second or third offering.

Following their various EP releases and a loyal fan following of their energetic live performances, this fully fledged debut album arrives amongst a sea of publicity. None more apparent than the highly touted select UK appearances on Club NME and HMV Next Big Thing. Surprising, surely, to those indie electro groups from native shores who are still scratching around on their home turf all begging for that big break. More importantly, with substantial discographies behind them.

Fundamentally, the band’s ethos and material seems oddly unoriginal enough to warrant this lavish production. Although by no means a poor piece of work, it is exactly that that makes for suspicious reasoning. They may sing of heartfelt, unrequited love and psychedelic jaunts through golden fields, albeit with the looming presence of a disapproving chaperone lurking somewhere in the background. It’s fun but well supervised fun.

A living detachment exists between the music and listener. Begging the question, have Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. sold out before they were even in? Suddenly the album’s title takes on an altogether more sinister and frightening meaning.

Jonathan Whitelaw

The album is released on May 24th. All info on the band and availability can be found, as ever, on the official website,

Songs To Cure Depression :: Ween – ‘Bananas And Blow’

“Stuck in my Cabana…”

This has been lifted straight from my blog so what does that tell us exactly?
Either I’m getting terribly lazy or the words already wrote were a perfect fit. In all honesty I think it’s both but the latter being more of a fluke then any kind of premeditated scheme. Anyway, that ugly, ugly, bastard know as depression was here biting at my nut sack again and even though the song really has fuck all with the current situation, it did briefly alleviate the grim feeling of melancholy. Here’s some additional words to go with those above.

It’s probably a good idea to do this while the adrenaline is still flowing through my body. I’m back off the drink again after falling back into it over the past week due to (or perhaps resulting in) finding myself in quite a dark place again.

But the adrenaline helps.

Even if all I want to do is sleep.

I guess I should make some kind of actual point here.

For the past few years I’ve spent my time honing a skill that has helped me throughout my days. This metaphorical tough skin that allows me to detach myself from any negative situation and just carry on with things. It prevented me from being getting bit in the arse by bad people, bad women, pretty much anything (the day I learn to use this technique to the same effect but for the bad feelings coming from within, shit, well that’ll be the day the apocalypse rears it’s slimy head and blows us all the fucking smithereens).

So who would have thought that my special ability would, in fact, bite me in the arse? Sometimes being an emotionally handicapped, socially inept, closed off freak isn’t a good thing. Especially when something (someone) good comes along and you find yourself going through the old routines of alienation and complacency instead of tearing down the self-constructed walls of reclusion and allowing yourself to be an actual damn human being and stop pretending you don’t give a crap.

It’s a scary prospect, this reintroduction into the wild.

To admit to caring.

To realise you’ll probably get broken down all over again, but giving it a shot anyway.

I’m a real fuck up and I’ll make a plethora of mistakes along the way.

But I’m willing to give it a shot.

Just gotta keep those digits crossed in hope this irrational fear of attachment hasn’t fucked it when it being fucked is the worst possible outcome.

Moon & Back Session :: Mark McCabe

“She’s not thick, she’s from Austria” – Mark McCabe

Back in March, Scottish singer/songwriter, Mark McShit McCabe went on a tour around the UK with Oxygen Thief. Rather than hang around Manchester all day doing nothing, we took the pair of them under an old railway bridge (you know the one, it’s been in a few of these videos now) and filmed a couple of sessions. Unfortunately for Mark, he could only get one song out before we encountered some technical difficulties. However, all was not lost. Later that night we commandeered a lift in Manchester Piccadilly train station and set the camera rolling again.

Mark performed, a track of his own, ‘Catch The Wind’ (watch the background of that one!) as well as a cover of Alkaline Trio’s ‘Warbrain’. Remember, if you want to see a particular artist perform in session, please leave us a comment, message us on Facebook or hit us up on Twitter. Next week’s session comes courtesy of Joe McCorriston.


‘Catch The Wind’

‘Warbrain’ (Alkaline Trio cover)

These videos were shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions in association with Moon & Back Music.

Feature :: Against Me! Is…Reinventing Awesome Fans

I wrote this article before Tom announced that he suffers from Gender Dysphoria and will now become female – Laura Grace. This event, and the response to it, has put Against Me! fans and the punk community in an interesting light.

You’ll notice the title of this article is “Against Me! is Reinventing Awesome Fans,” but the article speaks negatively of many ‘fans’ of the band. The title was originally “Against Me! is Reinventing Dickhead Fans”, but this situation has reminded me that despite a few bad apples, one of my favorite bands has a pretty great fanbase.

I will be referring to Tom as Laura from now on, with appropriately changed pronouns. I’ve seen a few people expressing complete disgust at those saying things like “RIP Tom Gabel” or just “Tom Gay-Bel,” but I don’t worry about it, because for every disgusting asshole I’ve noticed there have seemed to be a thousand punk rockers coming out of nowhere with raised fists telling that person to fuck off. I for one am proud to be an Against Me! fan right now.

However, to indulge some of the criticisms I’ve heard, and to bring this back to the point of the article: if you care at all to read this, it is because one or more Against Me! records have affected you in some profound way, and those records were made because Laura and the guys sought fulfillment. Now Laura will come fully into herself because she continued to seek fulfillment. On that note, I must support her, if only to repay the debt I owe for all the long nights spent being kept alive by records she made for the same reason she is now undergoing hormone treatments and electrolysis. If her voice changes and I never hear that beautiful howl again, so be it. She’s given us more than we ever had the right to ask for, and if this is what she needs to do, this is what we should all want her to do.

If you’re reading this, Laura, every Against Me! fan I know is right beside me saying that we love you, and that we wish you the best.

– Zack Fowler

“So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?”

So there’s this thing shitty fans do when they fall in love with a life-changing record where they put the band or artist that made it into this career gridlock. If their next record expands on the same idea, then “all of their songs sound the same.” If their next record is a departure from that style, then they’ve “lost their way” or, more commonly, “all your new songs are shit.” Perhaps the most important part of this outlook is that judgments are made independent of quality. They don’t care if the new record is good. In fact, they can never consider the new record adequate, because they’ve put the old one on a pedestal.

This is about as dramatic as I’ve ever seen with one of my favorite bands, Against Me!, though this certainly applies to loads of other bands as well. Everything Tom and the boys have put to tape since Reinventing Axl Rose has been called sellout bullshit, and I just think it’s ridiculous. Tom particularly has been harassed by former fans to an unacceptable extent. It’s not because the new records are good (though I think they are, and anyone who doesn’t feel something during ‘Ache With Me’ clearly has no soul), it’s because it’s logically impossible for any artist to please these people.

Take Reinventing Axl Rose, Born To Run, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The ’59 Sound, or essentially any record that someone heard and said, “This is it. This is what a record should be.” Once you’ve turned any work of art into the ideal within that medium, then logically any other work will not be as good. If Reinventing Axl Rose is your definition of perfection for a record – more specifically a punk record, or  a record written by Tom Gabel – then there is no fathomable way you will ever like another record as much without enduring some fundamental personal change (which, for “fans” like this, would be an improvement).

Now, deeming a record the ultimate fulfillment of a medium is perfectly fine; the problem is handling that. For example, while it’s alright to be disappointed in the direction a band has taken, expecting every record to be that good is unfair to the artist, because “good” in this context just means “like the other record,” and no great record can be made twice. Furthermore, if you acknowledge that Against Me! or any other band can make great records, even if you like them less than your particular favorite, but still are disappointed with their direction, there are ways to handle that too.

The best response to not liking a record your favorite band put out is obviously not buying the record. If they put out several records you don’t like, stop going to shows. We live in market economies, that means that not buying the record and skipping out on shows is all the “fuck you” you’re allotted without looking like a twat. If you have a blog or you write for some magazine, be a dick there, and we’ll use the supply and demand policies you’ve ignored to not read that blog. You should never decide to take time out of an artist’s day to treat them like their latest record is a personal attack on your musical integrity. If Tom Gabel asks you what you think, tell him, but he won’t because he doesn’t give a fuck, and tweeting him about how terrible you think White Crosses is personally robs him of the five seconds he could’ve spent not reading your bullshit.

I know it sucks when a band you love stops making music you enjoy, but if they’re past that point in their creative lives, then there’s nothing you or them could do to make them write another record exactly like the one you love but somehow better. So, next time you feel the need to take it further than your place as a consumer of art, why don’t you put down the keyboard and find something constructive to do?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go try to write a record half as good as White Crosses.

Zack Fowler

Feature :: Bottles, Rocks and Bird Poo: Top 5 Funniest Incidents of Audiences Pelting Musicians

“Grow the bloody hell up, Chad. It’s not Portugal’s fault that you suck.”

During 1988’s Reading Festival, cheese-rock crooner Meat Loaf and country-pop charter Bonnie Tyler both suffered torrential storms of plastic bottles, launched at them by audience members unhappy these artists were included on the event’s traditionally more-alternative bill.

Bottling artists which “do not belong” has become an almost yearly ritual at Reading Festival ever since with artists such as 50 Cent, My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, Bring me the Horizon, The FF’s and The Rasmus suffering the same fate in recent years.

Reading is not the only festival in which audiences have pelted unwelcome musicians with various items however, as the following list will show (though as you will notice; two Reading Festival incidents have made the cut).

Here – in ascending order – are what I consider to be the five most amusing incidents of audiences declaring war against live bands:

#5: Stick You Daphne (and Celeste!)

Reading Festival, 2000
Everyone thought it was a joke when one-hit-wonder pop duo Daphne and Celeste were announced as being on Reading Festival’s year 2000 itinerary. Alas; it turned out to be true and they were greeted by quite a large crowd as the video below shows – unfortunately for the irritating double act this crowd only appeared to fine-tune their arm-eye coordination!

But how did such an act end up on Reading’s bill?

Well apparently the pair begged the event’s organisers for an invite in the wake of rumours that rapper Eminem would be giving a headline performance. 8 Mile’s finest later pulled out and D&C apparently tried to do the same but the event’s organisers were having none of it.

Those with tickets to the festival were proudly declaring their plans to attack the pop tarts during their set months before and so I can only assume the organisers quite fancied the media attention that surrounded the inevitable bottling.

#4: Kings of Pigeon

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 2010

It’s not always human audience members that take a disliking to a band or artist – in 2010 a flock of birds took particular offense to the Grammy-nominated American rock band Kings of Leon.

The Oklahoma/Tennessee outfit were halfway through their third song when they began to feel fowl droppings fall upon their heads (and in some cases, in their mouths). Blink and you’ll miss it but at 1 minute and 12 seconds into the video below you will see drummer Ivan Followill wipe the nasty stuff off his face and by the close of the song, his brother and vocalist Anthony Followill can be seen wiping the substance from his own face:

The band later told the music press they were forced to leave the stage for health reasons (ingesting poop isn’t the best thing for you, apparently) and for purposes of safety, worried that their equipment would become damaged, despite likely having extensive music guard insurance.

#3: Panic at the Festival!

Reading Festival, 2006

The contemporary emo scene was at its height of popularity in 2006 and so it is hardly surprising that wordsmith disco-poppers Panic! at the Disco were included on Reading Festival’s line up. Many people were unhappy about this though and so decided the Nevada group should receive a good bottling.

P@TD had been on stage for a matter of seconds before one missile struck singer Brendon Urie in the side of the head, instantly knocking him unconscious on the floor. The following footage (which I find highly amusing – look how he falls like a bulleted deer!) has become a bit of a sensation and has had over 1 million views to date:

I can’t quite decide whether Urie deserves our kudos for getting up and continuing with the set after blacking out for a few seconds, or a mocking for being taken down by a mere Evian bottle.

#2: A Brown Day for Green Day

Woodstock, 1994

Shortly after their breakthrough album ‘Dookie’ was released to the masses in 1994, punk trio Green Day were invited to play a set at the legendary Woodstock festival. Due to the heavens pouring for the entire first day of the event, much of the entire field had been rendered mud and it was not long until the wet dirt was being pelted at the now-renowned pop-punkers.

Whether the mud was being thrown because of the bands’ new found mainstream (read as sell out) success or simply because the crowd could do so is unclear but singer Billie Joe Armstrong definitely encouraged the masses by confidently flinging that which accumulated on the stage right back at them:

Bassist Mike Dirnt was unfortunate enough to have several teeth knocked out by a security guard who wrongly thought he was one of the audience members who invaded the stage by the close of the band’s set.

#1: Nickleback’s Rocky Start

Ilha do Ermal Festival, 2002

Mainstream (and arguably; piss poor) rock band Nickleback only played one-and-a-half songs before leaving the stage at 2002’s metal-orientated Ilha do Ermal festival in Portugal. Not only were the quartet bottled but many in attendance decided to throw rocks at the Canadian outfit also.

Despite neither of the materials actually hitting members of the band or their equipment, Nickleback – or rather, front man Chad Kroeger – decided they had had enough. Chad was first to quit the set but not before asking if any Nickleback fans were in attendance (to a resounding “NO!”) and then giving the middle finger salute.

The band later cited “safety concerns” for not pushing through their set, despite the issue obviously being a matter of overinflated ego.

Grow the bloody hell up, Chad. It’s not Portugal’s fault that you suck.

What do you think of my top five? Did I forget to include a particularly funny pelting incident? If so, be sure to give me a good telling off in the comments below.

You can follow the author of this guest post – Kat Cole – on Twitter @DeadBoomerang.

Songs to Cure Depression :: The Muppets – Manamana

—–Original Message—–
From: Critchley, Ian
Sent: Fri 04/05/2012 8:12 PM
Subject: Thank You

Dear XXXX,

First of all I promise you haven’t subscribed to the weekly “Ian’s depressing life in 60 seconds” newsletter (I have a blog for THAT!) but I just thought I’d say thank you for the kind words the other day and tell you how much they’ve inspired me.

I got in touch with XXXXX (XXXX’s assistant) as I know he does a lot of gardening work (something I used to really enjoy) and I’ve spent the day helping him out and even GOT PAID. So that’s nice to know that if the world’s greatest writer thing doesn’t work out I have something to fall back on.

I’ve felt a lot better since that day, and I think you’re to thank.
I’m also doing a solo acoustic show on the 17th of May. Lets see if I survive THAT!

Thank you again,

Ian Critchley

(I won’t see you Monday as it’s bank holiday but I’ll crack on with my proposal)

News :: Moon & Back To Release Menzingers Benefit Compilation

The other night in Manchester, The Menzingers played an absolutely awesome show with Leagues Apart, Red City Radio and The Bouncing Souls. After the show, the guys came to hang out with everyone at a bar. During this time, their van was broken into and a whole lot of stuff was stolen.

Last night, Greg Barnett (guitar/vocals) released the following statement:

We played a sold out show at The Moho last night in Manchester which ended up being the absolute best show of tour. It was one for the books. Everything’s going great. We walk around the block to the van and I hear Dave give a quiet “oh fuck”. The driver side window was smashed out and three personal bags were stolen, my bag with all of our tour money inside it, $2000 in US in case of an emergency. €5000 Euros, an iPad, 3 iPods, 3 passports, 2 pairs of RayBans, my personal tour journals from the last year and a half which included all of my lyrics and all of my memories, a digital camera, prescriptions, It really fucking sucks because it’s not your fault and so many – in fact an absurd amount of you want to help out. It’s pretty surreal and heartwarming to know we’re not alone in this situation.

In response to this we here at Moon & Back Music have decided to help them out by putting together a Menzingers covers compilation. This compilation will be released on Bandcamp in the near future and will feature tracks from a lot of fantastic artists. All proceeds will, of course, go to The Menzingers.

The first of these tracks is available to listen to now, and it comes courtesy of Giles Bidder from Great Cynics.

We’ll have details on the other artists and where/when you can download the compilation in the coming days.


Anthony Barlow

Editor, Moon & Back Music