Feature :: Onwards And Upwards – A Preview Of 2012

It’s a leap year, there’s an extra day to give us more greatness or more tripe.

2012No sooner has the last drops of champagne mixed with hydrochloric acid been left on the pavement of a city centre and the last resolution broken before the new year is twenty four hours old, the prospect of another year of musical fantasy is upon us. Whether we like it or not.

With this new advent and the fall of Christmas trees and decorations all over the world, it would appear that the general population of planet Earth can return to normality, or as close to it as is possible, long winded editorial similes and hackneyed metaphors included.

So down to business. What follows is a small selection of prime cuts that are expected to be amongst the highlights of the upcoming musical year. Of course it would be silly and naive, if not down right ignorant, to place all hopeful eggs in the one basket, some of the best music and best tracks are often heralded without much hype and decorum. However, with some exhaustively huge names promising material in 2012, its best to get in at the ground floor.

Starting off is the incredibly long winded 19th studios album from venerable hard and prog rock legends Rush. Clockwork Angels the first since 2009’s ill received Snakes & Arrows, many positive things have been spoken about this latest offering. Rush are still considered major players amongst the rock journalism and fandom worlds, perhaps due to their impressive, genre busting back catalogue. However, without a solid album in over ten years and a seemingly endless stream of delays in the release of this one, expectations are high from Neil Peart et al.

The Smashing Pumpkins provide a new album, Billy Corgan and his mismatched, alternative rock behemoths deliver what should be a fine tribute to the band, and image’s, roots in alternative, melancholy roots. Oceania will for part of the ongoing, tentatively titled “concept album” started with Teargarden by Kaleidyscope and lasts for forty-four, lavishly lazy tracks.

Veteran arena rockers Aerosmith, Van Halen and KISS offer more material to their beying fans later in the year. After the very public spat between lead singer Steven Tyler and Joe Perry have put their differences aside, over a nice cup of chamomile tea, Aerosmith deliver their as of yet untitled new album this coming May.

Van Halen’s first album with singer “Diamond” David Lee Roth since the brilliant 1984, is still shrouded in mystery, despite a tentative release date of “early 2012.” This could prove to be VH’s triumphant return after the darkness of the Van Hagar debacles and reassert one of the best hard rock, musically sound bands of their generation.

KISS’ curiously titled MONSTER has all the makings of the classic creature feature KISS albums of the late 70s and 80s, the prime and pick of their live material to date. Capitalizing on the surprisingly entertaining and toe curlingly enjoyable Sonic Boom, look out for subsequent tours, t-shirts, tattoos, toilet seats and tantilisingly tasteful Kondoms to flood every market imaginable after launch.

Along with these giants come a series of interesting releases that will remain under the popular radar but may prove to be enjoyable additions to already stacked back catalogs. UFO release Seven Deadly which could prove to be one of the albums of the year this time in twelve months time, Phil Mogg and the rest of the gang long overdue a wider recognition of over forty years of hard rocking, stone washed denim anthems.

They are joined by the veteran Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy of Heart. Although “Barracuda” is now relegated to the doldrums of Adam Sandler movies and, what is knocking on the door, Glee specials, the as yet untitled project is their fourteenth studio album. Red Velvet Car was a surprise hit in the US the back in 2010.

Finally and by no means the least, 2012 will see a positive renaissance in the big hitters of heavy metal as two of the founding fathers, should that be grandfathers now? Go head to head this summer. Judas Priest are going back to basics with their late 2012 release, what will be their first offering since the untimely retirement of guitarist K.K. Downing.

They will be joined, goaded and battled all the way in the cataclysmic metal domination by the recently reformed, in everyway possible, Black Sabbath. The original lineup of Toni Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and John “Ozzy” Osbourne, announced their triumphant return in as dramatic a fashion as can be expected by this lot. On the 11th of November, 2011 at eleven minutes past eleven, there’s a Spinal Tap joke in there somewhere, the announcement was made that a tour and new album would be on the cards for 2012. Metal gurus everywhere had to change their underwear.

More questions than answered are sure to arise form this small selection of upcoming musical machinations from some of the best-known acts in music. But let this list be the tip of the iceberg and here is to the unsigned, mysterious bedroom producers who are out there cutting their teeth in an industry that is as unforgiving as the weather we have here in the UK. For those who continue to rock… we’ll salute you in 2012.

Jonathan Whitelaw

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Everyone in the world at this point already knows that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and the man who brought us the iPhone and iTunes has died of pancreatic cancer on October 5 2011.

People may be thinking: “What the hell does this have to do with music…? Have you forgotten which website you write for?!” but I do believe the guy deserves a mention. Steve Jobs totally revolutionised the way we listen to and share music. End of.

How many of you are sitting here reading this, while iTunes is downloading or playing something in the background or your iPod is dangling off your ears or blaring out of the dock across the room?

There has been a massive change since the first iPod, which is crazy considering it has only been out 10 years. No longer do you need to reinforce your pockets to keep it in (as awesome as it was, it was a bit big), now we have gigs of music at our very fingertips… on a device about the size of our fingertips.

None of this would have been possible with out Steve Jobs. The man took the way we listened to music, saw past the limitations of CD’s, threw it all into the blender and came out with the iPod and we’ve never looked back since.

Your grandparents, or even your parents would probably never in their wildest dreams have thought that they could carry around thousands of songs, videos, photos with them all day on a matchbook sized machine.

Now, I’m not the biggest Apple fan. I don’t like Macbooks, I don’t own an iPhone, I think the iPad looks a bit annoying (give me a keyboard any day) but the one thing I can’t deny is that I’d be utterly lost without my iPod. Whether I’m on the train going to uni, going for a run, skating, snowboard or just sitting around the house I need a soundtrack for my life and my iPod caters to my every need.

Steve Jobs was a pioneer, I could live without most Apple products but I couldn’t live without my iPod. It’s a constant accessory that goes with everything. It is a way to listen to music that is practical, looks good and is easy to function, what more could you ask for..?

All of this is why Steve Jobs deserves a little mention here today. For now he’s resting up on the iCloud and we’re all iSad (couldn’t resist, they are trending on Twitter after all).

RIP Steve Jobs, 1955-2011. iPod 1G Advert

Here Are The Champions

Here We Go! Here We Go! Here We Go!

In anticipation of the oncoming football season, storming its way through the blissfully quiet summer like some rampaging, infidelity charged super beast, Moon&Back Music cobbles together a little Sunday league team so as not to miss out.
Although the glittering stars of our team are accomplished musicians, song writers and artists in their own right, many have had, in their past incarnations, chances to perform on a professional sporting stage. So grab your black and orange scarf, choke down a half time pie and prepare to cheer for M&B FC, the bookie’s favorite to end in tears before a ball has been kicked!

Goalkeeper – Zakk Wylde

Keeping the nets for this maudlin mash-up of musical millionaires is the ever-controversial guitar wild man, previously of Ozzy Osbourne’s troupe and Black Label Society. He has the important job of keeping out the opposition with his frankly gargantuan hands, best, of course, for screeching up and down the fret board to such timeless classics as “Hellraiser” and “Miracle Man”.

Wing-Backs – Keith Moon (The Who) & Lars Ulrich (Metallica)

Taking up a smaller, yet still noticeably important defensive role are two drummers to complete the back four. Lars Ulrich was a highly touted tennis player in his youth before the “glamour” of thrash metal dragged him away bringing at least some sporting and athletic prowess to a team sadly lacking in that department. Keith Moon was… well Keith Moon.

Centre-Backs – John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) & Steven Adler (Guns n Roses)

For the heart of defense there are none bigger, bruisier or boozier than Bonham and Adler. Known more for their off stage antics, be it smashing through hotel walls or feeding incredulous fish into parts unknown of bewildered groupies, these two get the nod at the back from the gaffer, purely for their raucous plans for the team Christmas night out.

Wingers – Angus Young (AC/DC) & Bob Marley

Using the age old tactic of speed and skill, Young and Marley get their call up to this prestigious and well followed ball club with names that have the fans in the stands cheering and screaming for a piece of the action. Angus with his hyperactive, duck walking antics to leave any defender in his dust and Bob, who was an accomplished footballer in his native Jamaica. They aren’t half bad guitarists either as it happens.

Central Midfield – Rod Stewart & Liam Gallagher (Oasis)

The Oasis front man is one of the more prominent football fans in the music industry, his well publicized adulation for Manchester City, along with his brother Noel, has recently become more feverant and public. Nothing, of course, to do with the team’s recent success and economic sky rocket… A true fan.

Hot Rod, despite being cursed with the affliction of being both a football fan and Scottish, take pride amongst place at the heart of midfield, gifted with the captain’s armband. Who else could it be?

Forwards – Joan Jett (The Runaways) & Michael Hutchence (INXS)

In the interest of equal rights and a glaringly obvious tip to the recent Women’s World Cup in Germany, Joan Jett, Punk Queen’s temper who no woman, a quite a few men, dare to cross brings a tempestuous, thrashing attitude in front of opposition goal.

Partnered with smooth talking, self choking Michael Hutchence because every successful team needs a deceased sex symbol.

Manager – Brian Johnson (AC/DC)

The Geordie warbler gets the dugout hot seat, he provides his own flat cap.

Medics – Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith)

When injuries strike, who better than the Toxic Twins to provide something a little more stimulating than a slice of orange and the magic sponge

Jonathan Whitelaw

All pictures are copyright their original owners. All acts mentioned can be found at their official websites.

Feature :: The Art of Selling Out

Gene Simmons, the man who invented Gonorrhea.

“….either grow up, or have a wank.”

You’ve been listening to the band for the past few years. You love them, you’re their number one fan. You watch them play every possible opportunity and love the fact that the gigs they do are in such small venues you could literally touch the singer if you wanted to. After their third record they sign to a major label, get a single out with a high budget video and pretty soon every little prick who watches KERRANG! are telling you how much they love your favourite band. So what do you do? What else can you do? You turn on the computer, get on the googles and start posting on every possible blog you can about how the band have “sold out the REAL fans” and that you “were there since day one” and remember when they only “played basement shows, instead of high capacity venues.” You denounce the band and verbally insult them as much as you possibly can over the internet because HOW DARE your favourite band sell out? If you’ve just read that and feel you completely agree and can relate to that situation so much, then you either haven’t had sex in so long the pent up energy is too much and you’re finding any way to release the pressure, or you have the mind of a selfish child. So either grow up, or have a wank.

Admittedly, I should of wrote this a while a go, when these issues had just come out, but I didn’t and I still feel they’re relevant as they still come up in conversation and the points I’m putting forward can be adapted to most situations of bands “selling out.”

Against Me!'s White Crosses album

The first band I’d like to bring attention to is Against Me! who have got a lot a shit in recent years, ever since the release of “New Wave” and intensifying with the latest album “White Crosses.” I’d like to first point out that these are both REALLY good albums, but neither of them are my favoured album by the band. In most cases, with most bands, I do prefer the older, more raw sounding releases. But this isn’t the point. The band Against Me! have been called “sell outs” by countless supposed fans because the later releases are far too commercial and not sticking with the punk rock ethos that they began with. This is because, and it might shock the readers who are pissed at Against Me! and their current sound, the band started in 1997 and it is now 2011. As crazy as it might sound, people can change their likes, views and aspirations in the space of over a decade. Can you honestly say that you think and feel the exact same way as you did in 1997? If you can, you’re a liar or you live in a cave with no access to anything in the form of media, be it books, television, radio, etc. In fact, singer Tom Gabel actually clarifies my point in White Crosses first single, “I Was a Teenage Anarchist,” when he sings the lines “I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid. It was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me. Narrow visions of autonomy, you want me to surrender my identity” and though yes, this is in reference to Anarchism, not Punk Rock music, the point is that Gabel is openly expressing his development throughout his life as a person, a change of his views and beliefs and goals as an artist and a human. But even all of this is irrelevant, because the point is this, musically Against Me! ARE pretty much the same band they always have been. It is still simple, four chord punk, with aggressive vocals, a hard hitting back beat and politically tinged lyrics. The only difference is now the band can actually afford to go into a studio and record, instead of using someone’s garage. That is basically the only difference. They haven’t signed to a major label and been told to write hit after hit and change their sound, they’ve done it because they wanted to not because they were made to, and any change in sound or style is the bands decision entirely. I’ll leave the Against Me! factors with a quote from an April 2010 interview with Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms as we discussed these very things, “It’s the people in the fucking band that go ‘you know what I want to broaden our appeal. We’ll sign to a major label, because that’s an opportunity we have, and we are going to write songs that are more populist as a result of our new found ambitions’.”

Alkaline Trio's Nike shoe and a potential cover for their next album?

The next band I’d like to call upon is Alkaline Trio, and I’m gonna focus on the fact that the band brought out a shoe in cahoots with Nike. My main point is, so fucking what? I’ve seen many posts and such about how Alk3 have “sold out” because they have signed merchandise deals with the likes of Nike, Hurley, etc. It really is irrelevant because it doesn’t affect the actual song writing process in any way. The fact they have merchandise deals with big name clothing companies isn’t going to influence how they make music, the next Trio album won’t be called “Go Out and Buy Our Nike Trainers” and it won’t feature songs such as “Eighty Dollar Hurley Jeans.” They’ll still be writing songs of a punk rock sound with darkly tinged lyrics, and if they don’t, it will be because they have wanted to change their sound, not because Nike have told them too (an Alkaline Trio cover of the Misfit’s Nike A Go-Go would be fucking brilliant right about now.) The band KISS, whose ultimate arsehole sexpest singer Gene Simmons is the image for this article, have “sold out” more than any band in terms of merchandising with items such as KISS Kondoms, KISS hot pants, a KISS leather embroidered cheque book, KISS doormats and of course, the ever popular, KISS  Kasket for a trip to Satan’s doorstep that’s “Hotter Than Hell” (bad joke, I know.) The point is, KISS have all this bullshit, pointless waste of money crap for the more pea-brained of fans to buy and you know what? It hasn’t changed the band as a musical unit one bit. They still do kick ass live shows and rock harder than practically all of the cordial bands that have appeared in past ten years. Their merchandise has absolutely fuck all to do with the band as a band. Not one iota. And to be honest, if Nike came up to me and said, “HEY! Wanna make you’re own fucking shoe? It won’t cost you anything, in fact, you’ll make some money and you’ll have YOUR OWN FUCKING SHOE!” I’d totally do it.

Now that’s not to say bands don’t ever sell out musically. I’m pretty sure the Offspring releasing songs like “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Original Prankster” isn’t the band wanting to take a new musical step so they can express themselves as musicians in a way they have been previously unable to, but in fact, releasing some trite radio play horseshit to make megabucks whilst compromising their music (though the point remains, even though they did this, THEY did this, not the label. THEY still wrote the songs.) My point is don’t be another fucking moron who, as soon as a band has more than four fans and doesn’t record in a ditch, calls their once favourite bands arseholes over the internet because THEY don’t like the new direction the band has taken. I’m all up for freedom of speech but goddamn it’s wasted on some people. I’ll end with a quote from the previously mentioned Californian outfit the Offspring, “….and if it offends you, just don’t listen to it.”

Video :: Dicking Around with Oxygen Thief

Last month signaled our arrival into the world of gig promotion. We were pretty successful too. The first ‘Under The Bridge presents…’ show featured Konny, James Hull (from Leagues Apart) and Oxygen Thief. With this being somewhat of an occasion, it seemed only right to give it it’s own Dicking Around video. Here you’ll see some bits of the gig, some busking and we can introduce the world to, our new friend, Constantinople Winstanley.


If you liked this video and would like to see more, visit www.farrensfault.com – The home of Dicking Around Productions. You can ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter too!

Video :: Delta Maid – Tighten Up (Black Keys cover)

Delta Maid is rapidly ascending the ranks on the contemporary country circuit.

Delta Maid

Citing some of the best guitarists and musicians ever as her inspiration, Delta Maid, the young, 25 year old Liverpudlian country singer has had a phenomenal twelve moths. With the likes of BB King, Stevie Ray Vauhan and Taj Mahal as heroes, she is certainly aiming high.

Here we have but a snippet of her undeniable talent. Covering the Black Keys’ seminal tune “Tighten Up” from their album Brothers (Reviewed by M&B) Delta makes a strong case not only for herself but budding young women breaking into the country scene. With a voice that cradles the listener in its softness and pronounced glory, Delta lends her talents to a song that has been igniting the mainstream charts for a considerable time now.

Eagle eared listeners may also recognise this from FIFA 11, although the sounds of anguish, frustration and down right anger at internet connectivity and various bugs may have drowned it out.

All of Delta’s information can be found on her personal website: http://www.myspace.com/deltamaid

Video :: Dicking Around Up North (Featuring: Frank Turner, Dive Dive & Ed Harcourt)

After a slight leave of absence Dicking Around Productions is back to provide you with another unruly travel diary. This time we’re taking you on a tour of three cities in the North of England.

Frank Turner took to the road yet again at the end of 2010 and, being the good disciples we are, we followed him as far as we could. Armed with our trusty flip camera we set about filming our foibles in Preston, Sheffield and Liverpool. Only in this video can you see how one Preston off license took inspiration from Against Me!, find out about the Hungarian history behind Sheffield and see an ‘explosion’ in the center of Liverpool.

Check it out below.

Happy New Year!

Hey guys, I’m the sad one and I stayed in and got drunk on my own this NYE. Despite being a little worse for wear (it’s taken me 10 minutes to get this far) I wanted to wish everyone involved with Moon & Back and the readers a Happy New Year!

2010 was a fantastic year for Moon & Back Music (and music in general) and we hope that continues. We’ve got a lot of cool things coming up including: Another interview with Chuck Ragan, three new videos from Dicking Around Productions, the ‘2009 Album Of 2010’ and ‘Readers Choice’ awards and a whole lot more. Be sure to have a good un. I’ll leave you with this.

Anthony Barlow

Co-Editor in Chief at Moon & Back Music

Video :: Dicking Around In London (Featuring: Ben Marwood, Abi Thommes, The Leano, Kill Chaos, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun And Chris T-T & The Hoodrats)

“I thought we were getting underground tickets, not waiting for the Pepsi Max”

After the success (maybe?) of Dicking Around in Southsea, we’re back to bring you some more music from another city. Dicking Around in London was filmed on October 9th in and around Lexapalooza – an all day gig in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign – and features the likes of Ben Marwood and Chris T-T. There’s even a cameo from Jamie Lenman (formerly of Reuben)!

We’re going to cut the performance videos out and release them separately for your viewing/listening pleasure. That’s right, the video looks and sounds great this time. Awesome! Check it out below.

We’d like to thank Evan and everyone on the crew for organizing the event, Frank Turner for letting us know about it, all of the bands for being apart of it and the people of London for putting up with us.

Germs Of Perfection :: Cheap Girls


Cheap Girls are the lastest additon to the Germs Of Perfection roster and they don’t dissappoint. The ‘classic rock’ take on Bad Religion’s ‘Kerosene’ is not what I expected from the Michigan-based pop-punkers, but they’ve managed to provide another great, interesting addition to MySpace and Spin Magazine’s tribute album.

‘Kerosene’ is taken from Bad Religion’s eponymous Recipe For Hate album, an album of choice for many of the featured artists on this compilation. I first heard about these fine fellows the other night from Above Them. They’ve released a split with them on All In Vinyl, and you know what, it’s really bloody good. Cheap Girls can definitely consider me a fan.

Be sure to check out their cover on MySpace. You can get their split EP with Above Them right here.