Going Underground :: Abi Thommes

It’s going to, once again, be something a little different from the usual punk rock antics of “Going Underground.” I am back, Barlow will never again commandeer the ship that is my “new and exciting music” slot, because he is a shit.

This week we have a special treat, singer/songwriter Abi Thommes.

I first met Miss Thommes outside Camden tube station in lovely London. She was busking with such intensity it was hard not to pay attention. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and her mellifluous vocals, she displayed more power than any stadium rock outfit I have ever heard. Quality, not quantity.

Her music is unfeigned, impassioned and very intimate. Every note draws the listener closer to the subject matter and give a feeling that each and every song is written specifically for given moments within your own life.


The majority of songs on her MySpace are live but you wouldn’t of known unless it was stated. There’s not a single flaw, off note or finger slip as she graces the headphones and speakers of her growing fan base.

This being said, the studio recorded tracks come as a great treat. With a full band recording the close personal feeling of her live songs is replaced with a copiousness that creates a huge sound which would fill the nooks and crannies of any of the local London venues she often frequents.

Please do check out Abi Thommes if you are a big fan of laid-back acoustica (clearly not a word) and even if you’re not, I think you will be pleasantly surprised! 4/5 brews, can’t give a full 5 to a southerner!

Her upcoming gigs are as follows:

18th October @ The Vibe Bar

4th November @ Hobgoblin in Angel

and “Busking Jubilee Bridge whenever I have a spare moment and it is not raining!”

Album Review :: Sundowner – We Chase The Waves

“…this is not an album of incredible studio production, mass-multi-tracked instrumentation, auto-tuned, top ten hit record bullshit. But who the fuck would want that?”

For anyone who doesn’t know, Sundowner is the acoustic side-project of Chris McCaughan, guitarist and singer of the band Lawrence Arms. I was skeptical of using this as an opening line, I didn’t want to give the impression that this was just a side-project and that without the Lawrence Arms link, Sundowner would be nothing. Oh contraire, Sundowner is by all means a project to be taken very seriously, and this second release only continues to clarify that point.

The album has quite a peculiar start, the song The Flicker, is very sombre and not one you would expect to be chosen as an opener. It’s a good song, just one that seems odd to begin with. Less than three minutes in and it is obvious the lyrical talents of McCaughan have not diminished in the slightest. It becomes clear at the end of the song why this was chosen,  as it builds up and slips sublimely into Araby by way of a classic ‘1, 2, 3, 4.’

As far as progression goes, there is nothing intensely different from the first Sundowner record. If anything, this record has been given even more of a stripped down feel, with minimal instrumentation giving it a real home recording effect. Some people might find this a little strange. I personally, think it’s fucking great, as the album focuses far more on the lyrics, vocal melodies and guitar tracks, making this a very personal record with a far more natural flow than previous effort, Four, One, Five, Two.

Making this record was no half-arsed process. Whilst listening through the album, it is clear that a lot of work has gone into the vocals specifically. Both the main vocal and back up sounds have pushed the boundaries for Sundowner. Not so much in terms of range, with a very comfortable array of notes coming from the mouth of this Chicago born singer/songwriter, but more in terms of rhythm. The closing track, What Beadie Said, is a perfect example of the entire albums curious but effective motion.

As said before, this is not an album of incredible studio production, mass-multi-tracked instrumentation, auto-tuned, top ten hit record bullshit. But who the fuck would want that? If you look for deeply intricate lyrics, kick-ass sing along melodies and some good acoustic rocking, then this album might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Check out Whales and Sharks and also Mouth Of A Tiger, personal faves of mine.

EP Review :: Myles Pereira – Of Pears and Figs

Just who the hell is Myles Pereira?

London-based Myles Pereira is a Blues/Country/Rum influenced singer song writer, who curiously seems to be finding his place within local punk scenes. Surprisingly unknown, I first saw Myles play a low key punk gig in Manchester and was blown away. When he announced his EP was free to download, I felt I had to not only enjoy this five song gem, but also share it with the world. (well Moon and Back readers at least!)

The album opens with the track ‘Lumberer’ a track which truly sets the mood for the entire E.P. The sound is very personal and stripped down, giving a sense of intimacy that seems to be missing from even the biggest names of singers armed with acoustic guitars. (Yes I’m talking about you James Blunt, you don’t even come close to this kind of talent.)

The album continues in a similar fashion. Showing Myles as a very sensitive soul, tearing through his thoughts and emotions with a very unique a melodious vocal sound, which thankfully is not a product of careful auto-tune editing, as this euphony is not lost during his live performances.

As said earlier, the sound is very personal, and the production of the E.P echoes that with a kind of “high quality home recording” feel. This isn’t a hindrance, it only emphasizes the intimate nature of the EP. Each song feels to have it’s own sense of warmth which relates the subject matter of the poetic lyrical content.

The songs are in no sense “punk rock” but there is definitely something here that makes Myles Pereira playing alongside the upcoming bands of that scene work. What that is, I am not sure.

The four original works on this E.P are some of the most fantastic songs I have heard from a solo artist for a long time. In addition, there’s a cover of Danzig’s ‘Mother’ on here too!  It’s free, what more could you want?! So download Myles Pereira’s Of Pears and Figs, tell all your friends, find out when and if he’s playing near you and go and support this talented young man!

You can download the E.P from Myles’ MySpace page:

Dicking Around Presents :: Jonah Matranga

L-R: Martin, Ian, Jonah Matranga, Anthony

I bet some of you are reading this and wondering what the hell ‘Dicking Around Presents’ is and that’s what we are here to tell you. If you’re a reader of our work you’ll remember (hopefully) that, back when we interviewed Chris Farren, we mentioned “Dicking Around with Fake Problems” (we also brought this up to Tom Gabel too). Well that film is the works, but before that happens we decided to set up a little ‘production company’ and do a bit of video work for Moon & Back.

With Dicking Around Productions, we aim to bring you cool, music-based video content. Our first project was with, the lovely, Jonah Matranga. He allowed us to film some of his gig in Manchester last month and this is what we bring to you now. Sorry about the audio quality, we’ll be sure to fix that for our next video. Enjoy!

Jonah Matranga – ‘At Night We Live’

Jonah Matranga – ‘Smile’

All videos recorded and edited by Dicking Around Productions ©2010

We also interviewed Jonah Matranga and you can listen to that interview here on Moon & Back Music’s new podcast,  hosted by us two. The Under The Bridge podcast will be recorded every fortnight and will include some cool stuff. Check it out here.

Interview: Nick Cook

Moon & Back Music is pleased to announce an interview with soulful acoustic artist Nick Cook

Nick Cook © nick-cook.com

Nick Cook © nick-cook.com

So far, Nick has had two full releases: ‘uncooked’ in 2006 and ‘mistaken’ in 2008. Playing with just an acoustic guitar and with occasional piano, his songs are soulful, personal and beautiful. ip info Nick is currently working on a new record, which we shall of course be enquriring about, and thus hopefully a tour. We have yet to see this fellow live, but we are confident that it would be a memorable show.