Moon & Back Music Presents :: Album Of The Year 2010

And the winner is…

With the year quickly coming to a close, Ian and I felt it only right that we do some kind of end of year awards thing. I asked every member of the M&B staff what their top 5 albums of 2010 were, and the results were pretty surprising. There’s something here for everyone Whether you want futuristic R&B, tales from New Jersey or politically charged punk anthems, look no further.



After dealing with a debilitating addiction to prescription drugs, Eminem is back with Recovery. The rapper’s seventh studio album still isn’t a patch on his early work, but it easily beats out the likes of Encore and Relapse. The new record hearkens back to the old days, with Marshall being increasingly self deprecating, even going as far as commenting on the poor quality of his recent releases. Recovery is a gem in the sea of shit that is modern hip-hop.


Since signing with Sire Records in 2005, punk fans have reacted pretty harshly towards anything with Against Me!’s name on it. With the release of White Crosses earlier this year, the cries of the band ‘selling out’ continued. However, it’s hard to see why this is being aimed at Tom Gabel and co. Both this record and it’s predecessor New Wave may have been released on a division of Warner Music, but the music remains very similar to everything before that. As Ian would be quick to point out, it’s the same chord progressions and lyrical content as ‘old’ Against Me!, it’s just better produced. It’s Moon & Back’s fourth favorite of 2010 and I think fans should take a second look before dismissing the band outright.


Janelle Monae was the artist that most surprised me in 2010. Her debut full length The ArchAndroid: Suites II & II was the soundtrack to my summer, and it’s good to see that it’s not just me that took notice (cheers Jodie, for pushing this into our top 5). Miss Monae is, without doubt, the most exciting woman in R&B at the minute and this record is a soul-filled throwback to times passed. This is real R&B and I for one am tipping the 25-year old, Kansan songstress, for big things in the future.


Coming in at number two, sadly -because I think it should have won – it’s Fake Problems’ new record Real Ghosts Caught On Tape. The Floridia-based indie/punk four piece have wowed many with their fresh, upbeat sound and off the wall antics, both on and off stage. 2010 has been a big year for these guys: RGOT released to rave reviews, they’ve toured all over the US on the Vans Warped Tour and even did a stint with the winners of this years award. With catchy lyrics, great production (Ted Hutt is a genius) and a fun, retro take on ‘pop punk’ I can’t help but think this record has been a tad overlooked. These guys best tour the UK next year!


This year’s Moon & Back Music Album Of The Year goes to…American Slang. The Gaslight Anthem’s third album seems to have had an effect on the Moon & Back staff (though Ian remains adamant of their ability to bore him). The New Jersey group’s tales of murky cities and urban saviors might not be for everyone, but the follow-up to, 2008’s, The ’59 Sound has secured messieurs Fallon, Rosamilia, Levine and Horowitz a place as one of the best bands of recent years.


So there we have it. That’s Moon & Back’s verdict on the top 5 albums of this year. If you don’t agree, you’ll have your chance to vote on all the albums picked by the Moon & Back staff in the ‘Readers Choice’ award coming later on this week. This will be followed by the ‘2009 Album of 2010’ award – awarded to the albums of last year that we only got around to in 2010.

EP Review :: Bop – Remix Your Mind (Med School Records)

You know that kind of music where you listen to it, and you startyi tyikping withdoutg reiaodng it bask becoaouse youefre ennjoying iit thaft mcucvh? This EP will more than likely have that effect, although I don’t have any black and white proof that this actually happens.

Of all places, Russia is leading the way in chilled DnB/Dubstep hybrid material. What’s even more striking is that as far as Discogs goes, you’ll be hard pressed to find any more than the real names and, if you’re lucky, a 4 word description of the artists on this remix-of-an-original EP. This begs the question; where exactly did they fucking come from? As it happens, this is the result of a remix competition held by Med School Records, Hospital Record’s (see: Liquid Drum N Bass) sister record label. If you’re a music producer, you’ve probably entered something similar at some point. It’s probably a good job you didn’t enter this one – I dare say you would have lost disastrously – but don’t despair yet. This is a good sign – new talent is always emerging, and by the looks of things, big labels are looking to push them. It’s about time to shake off the tired shackles of Jump Up and Wobble Bass, and delve into the realms of the weird, the dark, the original, the artistic, the intense.

Two words sum this 5-tracker up for me, and probably for you too; Soul Food. True power in music is possessing the ability to alter someone’s state of mind, and that’s exactly what this does. I don’t want to drop tired clichés (god knows there’s probably enough of them already,) but just like in the video – wait until night, get in your car, turn it up, and  just drive. It’s something special.

BUY: http://shop.hospitalrecords.com/product/medic19

Bop “Remix Your Mind” EP (Med School Music)
http://www.medschoolmusic.com

Interview :: Buffoon

The Belgian rockers give an exclusive interview to follow up the release of their brand new album


Buffoon

Buffoon

Taking time out to speak to exclusively speak to Moon&Back music, Buffoon members Peter Vleugels and Dave Schroyen share their personal views and insights into the band that are making headlines. With a frank honesty and dash of humour, the Belgian rock n rollers have their own unique views of life, music and everything else in between.

Being veterans of the music scene for a while now, do you feel that you are now both as a band and individually at the peak of your musical and creative natures?

Dave: As a band we are at some kind of peak, because we’ve been playing together for a while now and aside our EP ‘Baloney’ this is our first effort at a full size cd. We worked hard on the songs and sound, we’re very proud of it. Individually I still need to record what I consider a masterpiece, maybe in a next life ???

Peter: Buffoon exist already more than 10 years. When I was 12 I started with writing own stuff, recording them on cassettes with an old microphone of my dad.  So, for me, writing feels very natural. Somehow, I need this. When I look at the way we play today and go on with each other, and I listen to new demo’s I recorded, I think we just on our way. Destination unknown. That’s a good thing! Creativity is not so predictable, you know. It just happens or it doesn’t. That’s life. I don’t think this is some kind of a peak, it’s more like getting out of the valley of laziness.

Do you find differences between audiences and their responses to your music in different countries, if so where is your favourite?

Dave: We only played Holland and Belgium , Dutch people tend to talk more, loud during quiet songs.

Peter: I think there are natural differences in main culture. In both countries we speak the same language, but it’s like Dave says, they seem to be more extravert in Holland . Belgian people are more introvert. We think more. They shout more. Girls in Holland start dancing on songs like GIRL or GLITTER AND AMORE. In Belgium , where people are more introvert, they would need more like a collective vibe I think. You see, we think more. They just dance. That would be a nice song!

Considerred a super group in your native Belgium, how do you as a band respond to a tag like that, good, bad, indifferent?

Dave: We are just a bunch of friends having a good time making music !

Peter: Indeed. I feel lucky about that. I feel we fit good together in this band, we’re just having fun really. If people consider us as a super band, I let them think that way. As I say, we Belgians think a lot.

With this being your first major album released to an international market, what are your expectations for it?

Dave: Lots of gigs, all over the globe,…

Peter: We take chances with our both arms open. It would be a pity not to enjoy the pleasures of some spontaneous recognition, if that might happen.

Who would be your target audience beyond your native shores?

Peter: Polynesian girls with flower tattoos on their bellies?

Dave: Nerds from outer space…

Who were the major influences behind the album and its songs. Both musically and personally?

Dave: Old school : Weezer’s first 2 albums, Pavement, Built To Spill, Pixies, Spoon, Supergrass…/New School : Dr.Dog, Surfer Blood, The Shins, Blitzen Trapper, Wolf People (great band from UK!),…

Pi: Let’s not forget Big Star, Modest Mouse, Raconteurs, John Lennon, Folk Implosion, Stephen Malkmus, Fence, Sparklehorse, The Beatles, The Lemonheads, The Who, Guided By Voices, Ween, Teenage Fanclub, Smithereens, Lou Barlow, The Kinks, Avi Buffalo, Fountains of Wayne, The Posies, Nirvana, …and my dad of course.

Will you be touring the UK on the back of this release?

Dave: That would be great ! Please book us now.

Peter: Yeah, please do. Just mail us: vleugels_p[at]hotmail[dot]com.

Do you prefer recording in the studio or being on the road?

Peter: During home recording, I feel adrenaline too. I love mixing a lot. I can’t wait to do the mix when I just recorded something. That’s a creative and emotional part of my brain. Playing gigs is more a full body experience. Different sensations! Both feels awesome. It’s al part of our musical behaviour…

Dave: 2 different worlds, I prefer the live shows, more adrenaline!

As a band are you very rock and roll style mayhem or is it quiet, controlled fun?

Dave: Daytime : quiet controlled fun, Nighttime : very rock and roll style mayhem.

Peter: Everyday feels like another day. There are more rock’ n’ roll days, quit days, loud moments, intimate moments, chill moments, holidays, controlled days,… Thata’s all part of every day life I think.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Buffoon’s official website is here: http://http://www.myspace.com/buffoontherockband

A special thanks to Buffoon’s UK label Jezus Factory Records who can be found here: http://www.jezusfactory.com/

Brothers In Arms – Famous Siblings In Rock N Roll

Here a beady eye is cast over the fractious family ties that bind some of rock’s greatest bands together.


Eddie and Alex Van Halen

The world of rock and roll can be a very strange place indeed. Twenty four hour parties, thousands of adulating fans baying for blood at the sight of their fans and midgets carrying trays of cocaine merely for the convenience of their height. It stands as a good trait therefore to have somebody by your side during this rollercoaster ride of drugs, debauchery and general excess. Who else then would fit the bill than that of a loving sibling. Here the tenuous, tender and sometimes terrible sibling relationships in hard rock music are explored.


Siblings have a very special, cerebral connection with each other, that is a known biological fact. But, as most readers are aware, this volatile chemistry of shared genetics, backgrounds and other family members more often than not will result in violent, murderous rage between them. Add in the wonderfully out of control pastiche of rock and roll and the results tend to be very, very exciting.

Kicking off this list of genetically similar, musical mayhem is the Young brothers of AC/DC. Arguably two of the most successful, in terms of both musical ability and net gross income, Malcolm and Angus Young have been wowing fans with their balls to the wall, toe tapping, bar brawling, three chord riffs for almost forty years. With the honour of having sold over 200 million albums worldwide in a career that spans five decades, the Young brothers are responsible for such hits as “Back in Black”, “Hells Bells”, “You shook me all Night Long” and of course “Highway to Hell.” They are also notable for having remained in their original band with each other for their duration, a testimony to the harmony and musical vision the two siblings share.

Taking one for the girls next are Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. In the long and storied history of rock and roll there have been few, if any, sister teams who have created such a lasting legacy as the Wilsons. Starting their careers as folk oriented, post hippy lyricists, Ann and Nancy formed Heart and took a much harder, edgier direction in the late seventies that has carried on to this very day, their signature song “Barracuda” coming in 1977. With a whopping thirteen albums intermittently spaced from 1973 onwards, the latest being 2010’s Red Velvet Car, the Wilson sisters have remained a strong, iron willed backbone to the Seattle music scene since their inception. A little lesbacious controversy in the late 70s rumouring the two to be lovers also makes them cool.

Fast forwarding to a much more recent and altogether heavier sounding band are Pantera. Formed by brothers Vinnie Paul and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, the heavy, thrash and groove metal pioneers and industry leaders are still considered major players from the early days of commercially recognized heavy metal music. Although the band split in 2003 after twenty two years and nine albums later, Pantera’s legacy can still be seen in the city and town centers all across the globe as generation after generation of young teenage blod lusters feed off of their organically grown metal mania. Their thrashing drums and blistering guitar shredding is no more apparent than on hits such as “Cowboys from Hell”, “Walk” and “I’m Broken.”

Last and by no means least are the Van Halens of, surprise surprise, Van Hagar… Halen rather. Along with the Youngs, the Van Halens are two of the most commericially successful sibling combos in all of music, not just harder rock and airwave metal. With Eddie on guitar and Alex on drums, the dutch ex patriot brothers skyrocketed to success off of the back of a string of hugely successful albums in the 1980s. Famed as much for their off stage antics as they were on, along with “Diamond” David Lee Roth their front man and all round hellraiser, the Van Halens scored with the excellent combination of genuine, classically trained musical ability and the love for the rock and roll lifestyle. Must listenable hits include “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Panama”, “Women in Love” and “Drop Dead Legs”. In keeping with true rock and roll tradition, the band still tours with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass.

Of course these are but a fraction of the sibling combos that have gone on to forge the embittered, bile spewing world of rock and roll. Honorable mentions go to John and Tome Fogherty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks and of course Duane and Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers band whom without we would never have “Jessica”. Or put another way, Top Gear would be even worse.

Jonathan Whitelaw


More info can be found at the bands’ official websites: http://www.acdc.com, http://www.heart-music.com, http://www.pantera.com and http://www.van-halen.com

Going Underground :: Leagues Apart

“What happened to the scene? We lost it in the pages of the NME!”

Ian thought he’d banished me from this domain for good, but he was wrong. With Mr. Critchley in Spain, I’ve stepped in to let you know about another amazing UK punk band. They’re a band I’ve seen many times, and they to never fail to impress. Manchester’s least famous (but most loved) sons, Leagues Apart.


It’s hard to believe that these guys only started playing shows this time last year (almost), but with a year of experience under their collective belts they’ve gone from strength to strength. Their brand of fast paced, grufty punk is just what you need on a night out; there’s no way you won’t want to drink a beer once you’ve listened to these guys play. Jawbreaker, The Lawrence Arms, Dillinger Four and other bands of that ilk have obviously been a big influence on the band’s sound, but it’s far from derivative.

Their debut album To Anywhere was released earlier this year to rave reviews, and rightly so! It’s one of my favorite albums of 2010, that’s for sure. The guys are currently on tour in the UK with The Menzingers and were bound to impress any first timers in Manchester on Monday night. They’ve got two more dates on that tour before The Menzingers ship out, but it definitely won’t be your last chance to see them, that’s for sure:

  • 19th Nov. – The Portland, Cambridge w/The Menzingers
  • 20th Nov. – The Old Blue Last, London w/The Menzingers

Of course, if you’re from Manchester you’re probably quite familiar with these four already. I don’t really know if they need my promotion, because at least one of them seems to be at every gig ever. They must be raking it in! If they’re not playing they’ll be helping form human pyramids, crowd surfing or pinning someone to the ceiling. It’s always a party when these guys are about. If you haven’t managed to catch them this time around, keep a look out. Leagues Apart is a band you don’t want to miss.




Check out their official website
Listen to them on MySpace
Download To Anywhere on iTunes

3 Tracks Giving Electronic Music A, Much-Needed, Kick Up The Arse.

No, this isn’t one of those “what’s happened to music? I remember when Jimi Hendrix…” posts.

One of those that complain about the state of modern music, the lack of culture and integrity contained within said music, and a general bitch about how artists like Tempa “TEEMPPPZZZZ!” T and that Bap Bap Americano or whatever it was tune can defecate all over the much-needed artists that seem so rare these days. Actually, it sort of is. Hopefully the last few lines made you laugh so my hypocrisy doesn’t seem so well-deserved.


1) Magnetic Man ft. Katy B – Perfect Stranger

Okay, it’s not massively influential. It uses the Amen break (if you’ve so much as watched Never Mind The Buzzcocks you’ve heard the Amen break, let alone have an active interest in Drum N Bass,) the synths could probably be replicated on a Fisher-Price toy and Katy B is, well…a bit whiny. Sorry. Regardless, the whole point in Magnetic Man is that Skream, Benga and Artwork can play this track, along with the entire album, live. It’s radio friendly, it’s soulful, and you don’t have to pretend you like it because your student mates do and they went to the BangFace Weekender this year instead of Reading or Leeds so they know more about this than you do. Kick back, brock out, don’t feel like a bell end in the process. Win.

2) Stan SB – Tears In Rain

Your tolerance of Pendulum/Owl City style vocals will probably make or break this track for you, but Stan SB, at just 17 years old, has created one of the most beautiful DnB tracks ever written. I want to throw adjectives like Soaring, Euphoric, Unifying etc at you, but the track itself doesn’t require sentences, so it’s better just to say them again. You just listen to it and stare wide-eyed at each other whilst images of things like Oceans and Jetstreams and Aurora Boryalis and Super-Fast Jet Planes flick through your mind.

Stan SB is a 17-year-old producer from Leeds (of all places, the town that gave us Chumbawumba) and represents one thing – a change in tide. His tracks are soul food, the diamond in the sand that defies the odds.

3) Noisia – Machine Gun (16-Bit Remix)

Point one – if you call this “Thugstep” or any other sub-genre-of-a-sub-genre-of-a-sub-genre name, I will hate you forever. That said, it’s pretty ridiculously hard. Harder than the original infact, and for a group that prides themselves on being excessively hard and loud, the hard and loudness, or houdness (as I like to call it) really excels.

I have never been a fan of Dubstep, barring some of the chilled stuff. It sorta bores me – I’ve been to plenty of nights where by the end, I was actually praying someone would just play Dance Wiv Me so there was actually something we could all jump around like a bunch of cretinous teenagers at their first punk-rock gig. Personal preference I’d imagine, but what I can see in 16-Bit is this – I’d go fucking nuts to this. It’s violent, it’s groovy as hell, it’s downright terrifying and it hurts your ears. And your dignity. And the person dancing next to you because you just nutted him in the face by accident. But he understands. He understands.

Canada, Eh? :: TV Heart Attack

Canada, Eh?

In conjunction with the fine folks at Unrated Music, I bring you a new weekly feature; designed to deliver unto you some undiscovered audio delights from the land of Mounties and maple syrup. Up first are, Vancouver-based indie rockers, TV Heart Attack.


According to, frontman, Jason Corbett “some things are best left unexplained”, the story behind these guys’ debut record is not one of them. If it wasn’t for insurance money, TV Heart Attack might not be where they are today. An accident that claimed Jason’s guitar was the starting point to their road to success.
After independently releasing their self titled debut, the band have gone from strength to strength: They’ve gotten tons of airplay, toured Canada relentlessly, had a few TV appearances and played festivals alongside some of the biggest names in indie rock. They seem to be having a great time doing it too.
It’s clear to me that bands like Joy Division and others of that ilk have inspired these guys no end. TV Heart Attack are definitely a band that embrace their influences, but abstain from the path of rehashing what’s gone before. With a sound not too dissimilar to that of The Killers or Franz Ferdinand, I see no reason why these guys won’t make it big. They’re clearly talented enough, but dedication is key. Keep an eye out for TV Heart Attack. They might not really be my cup of tea, but I predict big things.


You can find these guys on their official website and on MySpace. Be sure to check them out!

Going Underground :: Apologies, I Have None

Finally back to good fucking punk rock.

The past month(ish) of Going Underground have been a variety of different genre’s from indie rock to piano pop. Thankfully, this week, I’m going back to roots and kicking it with some awesome punk stylings. This weeks Going Underground is all about Apologies, I Have None.


I think the first time I ever saw Apologies was at the Southsea fest (check out the video!), but I could have possibly watched them before. I drink a lot, and remember very little. All I know is the first time I saw the Southern four piece I was so invigorated by their hard hitting huge (Triple ‘H’) sound I had to take a trip to the men’s room to relieve myself.

The funny thing about this band is that the bands bassist, I’m pretty sure, is American, or sounds a fuck load like it. This, in contrast with three totally cockney accents and some silver tongue action, makes for some entertaining on-stage banter. Plus the American guy always wears a little bandanna which to me, is hilarious, sorry PJ.

Their sound has similarities to Against Me! in their early days, semi-distorted big open chords and shout a long vocal melodies. On record, the atmosphere of Apologies live show is not even close to lost. It’s just as upbeat and I’m sure anyone listening to this band on the bus, or “tube” as these lads most likely travel on, will look like a total twat when they smash their fist into the air with the meatiest grin brimming from ear to ear.

Apologies, I Have None are a band. I would recommend them. Even more so if you like music.

4/5 brews, though as the weeks go on, this rating system seems more and more pointless.


In a follow up article I’m going to put up all of the tour dates of the band’s upcoming tour with Crazy Arm. There are a few dates before that, and an abundance of songs, on their MySpace.

You can also “like” the band on Facebook, and buy their music on iTunes.

Going Underground :: Hans Island

It was inevitable. Sooner or later it was going to happen. I’m doing this weeks segment of Going Underground on an indie band, Hans Island. I know, shocking.

Apart from being named after the smallest of a section of three islands, you can tell from first listen that Hans Island clearly have a sound that could make a big impact. Though yes, it is ‘indie rock’, it is accessible and they all do have those weird boffy haircuts that so many of the kids these days seem to dig so much, there is definitely something special here – something that makes someone like myself want to write about them.



Despite all the mainstream factors, which by all means, if you enjoy, go ahead, the band have another side to the music. Its a rawness that almost borderlines on a grunge-esque sound, especially on songs such as Give Over and The Murphy Incident. The latter of the two tracks being highly reminiscent of the Foo Fighters in their earlier days.

I think the main thing that is interesting about Hans Island is that is difficult to put your finger on exactly where their niche lies. They seem to have been influenced by such an abundance of different genres, and unlike so many other bands, this is shown in such a transient way it feels almost as natural as morning wood.

The boys from the Hans get 4/5 brews. It’d be 5, but they are technically still a ‘indie’ band. I have my principles, damnit!



The band will be releasing their single You’ve Been Told on the 8th of November 2010. It will be available via iTunes, Amazon, Play.com, Tesco, 7digital, We7, Napster and some other places too.

You can find details on the album release party – where you can pick up a special limited edition copy of the single – here.

You can also listen to their debut EP on Facebook

Going Underground :: Yashin

For this weeks going Underground I decided to do something of a more comical nature. Enjoy!

I’ve decided to write about the band Yashin. A band with a name which is as fucking stupid and crap as their music. This edition has been pretty much lifted from my personal blog, specifically from a post I wrote about the Vans: Slam Dunk Music Night, which took place this past Saturday (23/10/10).

“There’s two rooms, a punk one and a “scene metal” bullshit room. Which would you choose? I chose the shit one. It was fucking hilarious.

A band called Yashin. Total joke. Bunch of skinny jeans wearing, late twenty something arseholes, with more hair products than Tres-Emmé. These beautiful perms that would look perfect on the cover of Vogue. But fuck that! We can have great hair and still be in a tough guy hardcore band. Score!

So this pansy six piece execute their clearly choreographed bullshit while the loyal audience of 14 year old girls finger themselves relentlessly with every fringe flick and low grunty “OH.” I loved it. Better than any “Live at the Apollo” stand up I’ve ever seen.” So if you haven’t had the utter pleasure of hearing, watching and just being part of the incredible musical ineptitude of these fine young gentleman, please do. It will easily relieve any form of depression you may be suffering.

You can listen to them on their MySpace with such hits like ‘Jump The Fuck Up Manchester’ and ‘America Island, Scotland,’ probably. But don’t blame me if you feel like you’ve wasted a small segment of your life that you’ll never get back. Honestly, when will people stop taking a genre called “Screamo” serious? Really? Screamo? What ever floats your boat I guess.

Yashin get 5/5 brews for being that shit.