Musee Mechanique Release New Single and UK Tour Dates

New Single & Tour Dates


Portland’s Musée Mécanique are heading back to the UK in September for three dates to promote their upcoming new single “Fits & Starts”, taken from the album “Hold This Ghost”, which will be released on Souterrain Transmissions on September 20th.

After having released “Hold This Ghost” to much critical acclaim and toured for the first time in the UK in 2009, the band are returning as part of their European tour, as a five piece, rather than the duo which came to these shores last year.

Creating music from items as wide-ranging as tack pianos to saws, hand-operated ice cream makers to old radios, the song writing talents of Sean Ogilvie and Micah Rabwin are not only a sound to behold, but a sight too within the live setting of their shows especially now the three extra band members [Matthew Rubin Berger, Jeffery Boyd and Brian Perez] are coming along for the ride.

More info.

21stLondon, The Borderline

22ndBrighton, The Albert

23rdBristol, The Louisiana

Single Review :: The Magic Numbers – The Pulse

The latest release from The Magic Numbers as a preview of their upcoming album.


The Magic Numbers

The Magic Numbers © The Magic Numbers

Returning to their harmonious, country and vaguely indie rock roots, The Magic Numbers return with their latest single “The Pulse”. Also featured on the track are sneak previews of two songs from their upcoming album The Runaway scheduled for release later this year.


With a sound that made them traditional cult heroes with their debut album The Magic Numbers in 2005, the group was being hailed as the new champions of the folk and indie fusion that was sweeping the scene at the time. Through no fault of their own, The Magic Numbers were never truly able to conquer all who unfolded before them and by the time their second album, Those The Brokes was released in 2006 they had all but solidified their status as cult favourites and little else more. The true extent of this is the fact that they are currently still touring the country in a vague attempt at promotion for the album that debuted almost four years ago. However, with the prospect of the new album on the horizon, it would seem the band are preparing to stage somewhat of a comeback.

“The Pulse” itself is as interesting a single as the group could muster to release. A typically layered folk ballad, the soft, kindly spoken lyrics and vocals of Romeo Stodart encompass the listener within the fairy tail world that the band paint so very well in almost all of their songs. Coupled with the harmonic, almost spiritual backing vocals of the rest of the band, as musically sound as “The Pulse” is, there just seems to be a lack of kick and any real depth, or dare it be said, point to the song as it wistfully continues without ever really reaching a climax. Standing at almost five and a half minutes also means that listeners cannot really avoid the song, willfully waiting for an end that never really comes.

The other songs included on the single release, “Dead Mirrors” and “This Isn’t Happening” offer a much more focused return to previous form for the band. “Dead Mirrors” has a haunting, celtic quality, Stodart and his sister Michele coupled with percussionist Angela Gannon on vocals evoke the wonderfully crafted images. It is also worthy of note that a deep lineage of an almost country root running through the song. Drums from Sean Gannon pulse throughout the song evoking the image of galloping horses across a starry-lit prairie, sending a tingling shiver down the listeners’ spine.

“This Isn’t Happening” is much more of a single and suspected album filler track, the probable product of studio time spent that did not wish to be completely wasted. Once again the musical ability is without question, Stodart’s vocals here show particularly good range but the overall track once more feels like it lacks a purpose and direction. Its combination of a quiet ballad opening with a more up beat, more typically indie feeling chorus and second half feel clumsily put together that gives a less than convincing disjointed feel to the song. The thrashing symbols and drums also sound out of place, drowning out the remaining percussion and guitars at points which, coupled with the repetitive nature of the lyrics do not do much for the band or their product.

Overall the release of The Pulse is in general a good enough release to tease fans and occasional listeners of the band’s work. However it is greatly hoped that these songs are merely samples and not an overall representation of the album as a whole. That would be majorly disappointing as it would fail to spark the initial enthusiasm and pleasurable enjoyment that led to The Magic Numbers’ success. The single is on general release from 31/5/10.

Jonathan Whitelaw


Check out the band’s official website. The single is also available for download from itunes: http://www.themagicnumbers.net/

Ronnie James Dio – A Tribute

A tribute to one of Metal’s finest voices and talents, Ronnie James Dio 1942 – 2010


Dio

Ronnie James Dio 1942 - 2010

It is with the saddest and heaviest of hearts that the recent news of Ronnie James Dio’s death has touched every metal and music fan across the globe. With a career spanning the better half of five decades within the music industry, the metal and rock and roll world has lost one of its great champions and will be very, very much duller without. Here we pay tribute to his life and career.


Born Ronald James Padavona in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA, Ronnie was immediately bitten by the performing and musical bug having started his first bands in his early teens with other members of his school classes. After stints amongst various high school and college bands, and after changing his stage name to Dio from the notorious mafia member Johnny Dio, Ronnie found stability and fame in 1969 when he formed the band Elf who would open for Deep Purple.

Although moderately successful it would not be until Deep Purple’s virtuoso guitarist Richie Blackmore left the band and convinced Dio to do the same that his success would become apparent. The product of this borderline super group was Rainbow, a typically 70s blues inspired pop rock band that gave listeners such hits as “Stargazer” and “Long Live Rock n Roll”. Although their impact on rock and metal history will probably only be a footnote at best in the tattered, ruined history books of the genre, this incarnation of the second division band will always be important for bringing about the attention of recently frontman-less Black Sabbath of Dio.

As was heavily featured in the recent album review of Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell here on Moon & Back Music, Sabbath’s recent fall out with Ozzy Osbourne meant that Tony Iommi and the others were on the prowl for a singer to front their godfathers of metal act. Dio was the answer and provided a much needed regeneration and almost reinvention of the band as they pulled themselves from the drug and booze filled rut of the late seventies and rejoined the emerging New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the early 1980s. Dio would go on to record one more studio album, The Mob Rules in 1981 and Sabbath’s first live album; Live Evil, released in 1982. Although he never truly matched the popularity of Ozzy, an almost impossible task, it would be here that Dio would enjoy his most success and gain his reputation as a commercially viable and reliable member of heavy metal. It also helped of course that he popularized the “devil’s horns” hand gesture, a throwback from his youth, that is now enjoyed by every single person who loves heavy metal, that and anybody on MTV or Cribs pretending to be rock and roll.

In 1982 Dio left Black Sabbath with replacement drummer Vinnie Appice to form his own band, Dio. Throughout the remainder of the 80s and early 90s, apart froma  brief return to Sabbath to record Dehumaniser, Dio and his eponymous band enjoyed mediocre success, constant bookings and a large fan following assuring him and the rest of the group a constant presence within the metal community. In 2006, Dio and Appice teamed with Tony Iommi once again and with former Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler formed Heaven&Hell. Producing one album, The Devil You Know, the group performed a world tour that saw fans and a new generation be introduced to some of the finest and traditional heavy metal personnel and music.

Heaven&Hell were due to perform a string of dates this summer but had to cancel due to the diagnosis and ongoing treatment of Dio’s stomach cancer. The long haired metal magician eventually succumbed to his illness on May 16th, 2010, a statement from his wife Wendy read on Dio’s official website: “Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May” he was 67. So the world begins to move on from the tragic news, now only left with the memory of one of metal’s great heroes and contributors. With his screaming, perfectly pitched vocals that described the most epic and fantastical of landscapes and worlds, Ronnie James Dio was for many their first introduction into metal and what a metal frontman could and should be. He will be sadly missed by all.

Dio Must Listenables:

“Stargazer” – Rainbow: Rising

“Children of the Sea” – Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell

“Neon Knights” – Black Sabbath: Heaven and Hell

“Turn up the Night” – Black Sabbath: Mob Rules

“Rock and Roll Angel” – Heaven&Hell: The Devil You Know

Jonathan Whitelaw


Check out Dio’s personal website for a fitting tribute to the man: www.ronniejamesdio.com

Electro Filth for 2010 :: Noisia – Split the Atom

Take a shotgun. Put barrel in mouth. Pull trigger.

Enter club toilets. Nod at freshen-up man. Slip across a crisp twenty. Take all in one go.

Buy a strobe light. Turn it to fastest setting. Stare at it for 3 days.

There are many ways to fuck with your head this summer, but buying Noisia’s new single is probably the easiest…


‘Split the Atom’ is a ridiculously filthy mix of electro and thumping bassline, awesomely catchy hooks and breaks to die for. The title-track off the Dutch trio’s critically-acclaimed album of the same name, this is gonna be dropping on dancefloors for sure. Single is out on 31st May.

Check out the sweet vid below which caused a little bit of bother on YouTube recently…


Noisia | MySpaceTwitterFacebook

News & Promo :: Dog is Dead debut single out 7th June

Dog is Dead release their debut single ‘Glockenspiel Song’ on June 7th through their label Your Childhood Records. A glorious marriage of soaring harmonies and melodic pop with an extra helping of sax, ‘Glockenspiel Song’s infectious groove is guaranteed to get even the most taciturn of toes tapping.

Dog Is Dead have been enthralling audiences in their hometown of Nottingham and beyond with their eclectic sound, stage show camaraderie and their wizardry with that much overlooked and underrated instrument, the saxophone. Bassist and driving force behind the band Rob Milton describes their sound as “uplifting pop for jazz junkies and choir folk” – a sound that has earned Dog Is Dead accolades from audiences who witnessed their recent run of support slots for a host of acclaimed artists, including OK Go, Local Natives, Mumford and Sons, The Rumble Strips, Peggy Sue and Hot Club de Paris.

An unlikely collision of skate kids and thespians who first met at school, Dog Is Dead draw inspiration from musical theatre to musical heroes ranging from Paul Simon and Cap N Jazz to Mystery Jets and Fleet Foxes. Their unique brand of indie-hit pop music, inflected with jazz sax solos and math rock riffs, has earned Dog Is Dead a reputation as one of Nottingham’s most exciting new bands…all at the ripe old age of 18.

2009 has already seen main stage slots at Splendour festival (supporting Madness and playing to 12,000 people), Dot to Dot Festivals, a rapturously received support slot with OK Go, and a riotous headline show at London’s Old Blue Last. This year, Dog Is Dead return to Dot To Dot, and appearances at Sound City and a host of London shows have been confirmed. Their boundless energy, ever-growing musical prowess, and fistfuls of hook-laden pop tunes will thrill their already loyal fan base as well as recruit a new legion of admirers.


UK dates:

May Wed 5th Hoxton Bar & Kitchen – London – Fierce Panda Night
Sat 22nd Sound City – Liverpool @ Bumper
Thurs 27th Camden Barfly – London supporting Underground Heroes
Sat 29th Dot To Dot Festival – Bristol
Sun 30th Dot To Dot Festival – Nottingham
Mon 31st Dot To Dot Festival – Manchester

June
Mon 7th Single Launch @ Cow – Nottingham

August
Sat 14th Summer Sundae – Leicester

Dog is Dead are: Rob Milton (bass and vocals,) Joss Van Wilder (guitar, keys, vocals,) Lawrence Libor (drums, vocals,) Paul Roberts (guitar, vocals) and ‘Trev’ (saxophone,vocals).

MySpace

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun

We’ve had this charming young fellow recommended to us by the same folk who also sent over my still-favourite-of-2010-so-far, ArdentJohn. Folky and home-grown, Colin Macleod hails from the Isle of Lewis but now resides in the bustle of London.

His music…well, the easiest thing to say is that there’s a descriptive omission to his name. It should probably read The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, And Then Sent It Back Into The World Via The Medium Of Music, but that’d be a mouthful. It’s music to fall in love to, like the Weepies. Innocent, charming, sentimental and perfectly suited to himself. It’s not over-done, over-thought nor over-produced. For what it is, it’s really rather perfect.

The Boy Who Trapped The Sun’s first EP ‘Home‘ is out now, and debut album ‘Fireplace‘ is out this summer – the title-track is beautiful and lyrically reminiscent of Broken Records and Belle & Sebastian.

We recommend you to keep at least half an eye and a full ear open to this chap in 2010 and encourage you to check him out online.


TBWTTS MySpace | iTunes ‘Home EP’ | Twitter | Facebook

I’ve heard summer already: it’s K-Os and Sub Focus

Apparently, anthemic isn’t a real word. Well god-damn it, it should be. And more importantly, it should be used this summer. Alot. Why? Because two singles are set to be heard blasting out of the likes of Radio 1 and MTV. And they are:

Sub Focus feat. Coco :: Splash, out May 10th

All you lovers of non-mainstream DnB are probably gonna hate it, call me a cretin and ‘diss me blog’ (it’s happened before, you know). So to appease you, we’ll call it pop-DnB and tell you it comes with or without the flitting vocals of Coco, (of I Blame Coco fame). It’s a fast-paced, freakingly hot tune tastefully produced and once more, since his ’09 release, elevates Sub Focus into more than just DnB circles.

Included as B-sides are the extended, instrumental mix which is less commercial than the single and the grime-sounding Rusko Remix which adds a bit more ghetto to the mix, shall we say.


K-Os :: I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman, feat. Nellie Furtado, out 19th April

Okay, I’m a tad late in posting about this one – but that’s only because I’ve been too busy listening to it and being unable, like actually physically unable, to turn it off it’s that good, seriously.

K-Os releases his third album Yes! to the world on May 3rd (we’ve got copies and it is, simply, awesome). Sampling Phat Planet’s god-awful, should-have-been-forgotten California and bringing in Nellie Furtado along with Saukrates, K-Os creates a catchy, pop-friendly, bbq tune. It’s slow, chilled and different enough to be interesting. In a recent interview, K-Os stated “popular culture will always dictate what’s okay to an extent as long as it’s leashed to something that is familar” – perfectly summed up in our opinion.


K-OS Yes! Sub Focus feat. Coco :: Spash

Lauren Pritchard :: The Jackson Sessions EP, out 03/5/10

Lauren Pritchard :: The Jackson Sessions EPWith a voice as sensual and as warming as Jack Daniel’s (both from Tennessee incidentally), Lauren Pritchard’s debut EP ‘The Jackson Sessions’ comes out on 3rd May on legendary Island Records.

The video for EP opener ‘When The Night Kills the Day‘ has been up on Moon & Back for a good while now. The unconventional addition of a steincourt piano (owned by co-writer Ed Harcourt) adds a hauntingly eery sound to the track whilst all other  instrumentation is provided by non other than Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwaine of fellow-Islanders Mumford & Sons. Intimate and personal lyrics add a delicacy which Pritchard playfully flits around with, demonstrating a exquisite talent which we just can’t get enough of.

The three other tracks on the EP (‘Stuck’, ‘No Way’, and ‘Bad Time To Fall’) display standard album-quality material with slightly-less production by Eg White, letting a rougher edge come into Lauren’s voice.

As if a recommendation from Moon & Back was not enough, Pritchard has also gone and bagged herself a guest-performance slot with Paul Weller at his In Concert performance on Radio 2 on April 15th and a slot at the will-be-big MFlow Lauch Event on April 14th – no simple feat really.


More info. and purchase links for The Jackson Sessions EP can be found at http://www.myspace.com/laurenpritchardmusic

Get The Jackson Sessions EP at MFlow here http://www.mflow.com/laurenpritchard/

The Bond Theme – Pop Pulp or Society’s Anthem?

The media’s recent obsession with Lady GaGa’s possible involvement with the next Bond theme raises the question: Is it just more wood for the pop fire or something to genuinely get excited about?


lady gaga

Lady GaGa

With the recent news that the ever entertaining Lady GaGa has been approached to write the theme for the latest James Bond theme, it would appear that the now legendary movie franchise which has spanned almost fifty years and has seen its own ups and downs, is branching into the most extreme end of popular music. However with a history as long and varied as the movies themselves, this latest foray of the Bond theme is merely another credible example of how the franchise is able to move and mould with the times that surround it.


Beginning in 1962 with the release of Dr No the James Bond franchise has become one of the most successful both in popularity and certainly financially in the history of cinema. It would seem that ever since Sean Connery donned the famous tuxedo back in the early sixties, the über male fantasy of sexual prowess, espionage and action have captured the very essence of what the public deems fit for cinematic consumption. It is therefore no doubt that with the latest release, one of the most popular questions asked is usually “Who is singing the theme song?” The song that accompanies the movie is normally a great indicator of how popular and memorable the movie will turn out to be. This however, is not always the case.

Although the inaugural movie did not feature a theme song per say, it did introduce the world to the wonderful “James Bond Theme” composed by Monty Norman, neither he nor the movie’s producers truly believing how popular the theme would become in the future. It would now seem that any reference to tactical espionage or smooth talking lotharios, the “James Bond Theme” is ever present, children humming and singing it to their heart’s content all across playgrounds. It was not until “From Russia With Love” from the movie of the same name did the world get introduced to the concept of an actual theme song for the Bond movie. Indeed Matt Monroe’s booming vocals would set the trend for the remainder of the sixties theme songs as being large, orchestral, diva esque numbers with the likes of Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Nancy Sinatra all lending their voices to the ever growing franchise.

With the advent of Sean Connery’s departure from the role for a second time, he briefly left and was replaced by the awful George Lazenby before returning for Diamonds are Forever, the sixties ended and a new man was introduced in the title role, Roger Moore. Moore’s tenure started with the vastly entertaining and immediate box office smash Live and Let Die but it would be the theme that would signify the biggest change in the history of the Bond Themes. Released in 1973, “Live and Let Die” was performed by Paul McCartney and Wings, an interesting change of direction by the producers considering their previous big voice, big number artists chosen before. However, the gamble more than paid off by hiring a popular artists as the song was an instant hit and immediately entered McCartney’s live set lists and remains a firm fan favourite even today.

The most enduring aspect of “Live and Let Die” was the legacy it would create for the Bond theme. Although not completely adverse to employing popular artists of the music era, this theme proved that the very hottest acts of the time were more than capable of delivering stand up movie soundtracks, intelligently fusing two massively financial industries together in one happy hybrid, music and cinema. For the remainder of Moore’s reign and through Timothy Dalton’s two movies, acts such as Carly Simon, A-Ha, Sheena Easton and Duran Duran all leant their talents to the movies. Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” remains to this day the only bond theme to reach number one in the singles charts.

With the announcement of Pierce Brosnan taking over the role after a lengthy hiatus in 1995, the new producers once again sought to re-invent the franchise for the 90s. Tina Turner was therefore selected to take the theme back to its more colossal, big band themed roots with “Goldeneye”, the lyrics and music provided by U2’s Bono and The Edge. Sheryl Crow attempted with her follow up “Tomorrow Never Dies” as did Garbage and the less said about Madonna’s electro/house funk theme probably the better. Which neatly brings the franchise up to date with modern times.

Daniel Craig’s harder edged, faced and acting Bond required a theme song that would perfectly match the character. Therefore the pseudo big band themes were ousted and in came hard rocker Chris Cornell, formerly of Audioslave and Soundgarden. His theme “You Know My Name” from the movie Casino Royale proved to be popular amongst long-term fans of both the franchise and the artist, his smoothened screech perfectly duelling against the slide and snap of the amplified electric guitar. Jack White and Alicia Keys sang “Another Way to Die” a less than perfect follow up to Cornell and will only really be remembered as being the first duet Bond Theme. The movie, Quantum of Solace, almost as forgettable as the song.

The history of the Bond Theme is a long and storied one and also something that has seeped into the popular culture unlike anything else in the past fifty years. Needless to say there are always huge rumours circulating around the media in regards as to who may score the big gig, Amy Whitehouse and Michael Bublé constantly rumoured, it would not be far fetched to take the latest Lady GaGa stories with a pinch of salt. However, if Miss Germanotta were to land the contract then with her past track record for entertaining numbers, excellent vocal ability and fascinating songwriting, her popularity would be cemented and she would have achieved what many merely dream of.

Jonathan Whitelaw


For all of the latest news check out the James Bond official website along with individual artists’ own personal web pages: http://www.007.com, http://www.ladygaga.com, http://www.dameshirleybassey.com, http://www.paulmccartney.com, http://www.duranduran.com, http://www.tinaturnerlive.com, http://www.chriscornell.com, http://www.whitestripes.com, http://www.aliciakeys.com

News :: I’m scared of Bjork’s imminent iMax, 3D debut…

BjorkTHE only thing I’ve seen at an iMax was a feature film on pre-historic fish and fuck me, I thought that that was too much. Okay fair enough I didn’t duck and dive when a plesiosaur that looked like Susan Boyle at an all you can eat buffet swam at the screen, but that was only because of the pacifying soundtrack that came with the visual extravagance. Now I get to thinking: if that image was set to something hauled out of the depths of Bjork’s dark and mystical musical talent, then christ I think I’d think I’d been thrown onto an opium-induced stage of Byron’s mind fighting the Jabberwocky with Carol’s face and, shit(!), Susan Boyle’s body!

And ya know, I’d love to say that all this was just imagination, but that Icelandic genius has only confirmed the film will be roughly forty minutes long. So until more details are released, I could still be proved right…right?