Interview :: Dave Hause

“I’m feeling tired, but blessed…” – Dave Hause

After an awesome run of shows in the UK last year on The Revival Tour, Dave Hause has been back in the UK with Dear & Departed and Alkaline Trio. I met with the singer/songwriter/Loved Ones frontman in London during the Trio’s set at their, sold out, Camden Barfly show to talk about everything from a new record, to his 7″ record project, to Laura Jane Grace. There’s also a number of cameos from the people of London, some of whom were apologetic for their interview interruptions.

Anyway, check out this interview and expect Dave to be back before 2012 is out. He seems to like it here.

Album Review :: Tim Barry – 40 Miler

“Is Tim Barry the Larry David of the punk scene?”

When the punks go ‘acoustic’, it seems they head down one pre-defined path – they play punk music with an acoustic guitar. Now I’ve no problem with that, but they really stand out when they do something a little more unexpected. For me, Tim Barry is one of the few that veered off the beaten track. The former Avail frontman, swapped the harshness of punk for a, more mellow, country sound. Though he’s certainly not ‘gone soft’.

Well known for his story-telling style, Barry enchants the listener with tales of small towns, friends and adventure. Some of these you might have heard of – references to a couple of characters named Frank and Brian make up the opening to the title track, and there’s even a whole song about, Lucero’s, Todd Beene – and others you won’t. Still, he makes you feel like you’re right there alongside him throughout and you experience a lot and run the emotional gamut when you’re riding with Tim. Driver Pull’ – a song about dealing with life and all its inherent problems – showcases a much sombre side of the Virginia native, whereas ‘Amen’ will have you singing along in no time.

Similarly, ‘Fine Foods Market’ shows Barry at his most satirical. The entire song is a comment on the current ‘scene’, with a particular focus on the falseness of hipsters. It worked as a perfect palette cleanser for all of the more downbeat tracks on the album, and might actually be my favourite. Again it draws on Barry’s own experiences, as he looks back on his life and compares it to what he sees in the youth of today. Though it could come across as slightly curmudgeonly, it is delivered with such style and humor that you can’t help but love it. Is Tim Barry the Larry David of the punk scene?

Such quick changes in tone did tend to stop the record from flowing quite as well as it could have, but this is a minor gripe when you take the quality of the songs into account. The switch from acoustic to electric and back again had a similar effect, but the changes in instrumentation certainly make for a more interesting sonic experience.

Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that 40 Miler is Tim Barry’s best release to date. As with everything he’s put out, the songs are steeped in truth and adventure and provide a fantastic look into the world of a very interesting man. Not only that, but songs like ‘Hobo Lullaby’ have helped establish, in my mind at least, that Barry is one of the best songwriters around today. Though there’s a little bit of filler here and there, on the whole, it’s a pretty fantastic record. It can bring you down, but never fails to pull you back up again. If you like sober thoughts and singalongs, this is the record for you.

Moon & Back Session :: Joe Tilston (Random Hand)

“Makeup!” – Joe Tilston

During his tour with Mike Scott way back in January (woah, this has been a long time coming. Sorry Joe!) Joe Tilston was kind enough to play us a song for a ‘Moon & Back Session’. The Random Hand bassist/vocalist delighted us with one of his solo tunes, showing that, not only can the man do ska, but is a dab hand at this folk stuff too. I wonder where he gets it from?

Next week’s session comes from, self-described “acoustic ninja,” Mark McShit McCabe. After that, who knows? If you have any ideas as to who you want to see in session for Moon & Back Music drop us a comment, message us on Facebook, twat us on Twitter or just email us.

Kings Of Industry

Moon & Back Music and Dicking Around Productions would like to thank The Star & Garter (Manchester) for letting us film in the bar. Video shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions.

Moon & Back Session :: Crywank

"Crywank In Session" - © 2012 Anthony Barlow

“…nothing more than complaints from a dumb spoilt kid”

Crywank is the alter-ego of James Clayton, a singer/songwriter from Barnsley. Having garnered a lot of attention with, his first album, James Is Going To Die Soon, Crywank has become a staple of the UK’s acoustic scene. Now with Narcassist On The Verge Of A Breakdown, his latest album, out and available for download – both records are available for free online – we thought it was about time we did a session.

Crywank played two songs from the new record, and they came out awesome. Please share with your friends, like on YouTube, subscribe and all that stuff. Drop us a line in the comments if you have any ideas who we should session with next.

Nostril Tampon

You Couldn’t Teach Me Integrity

Filmed under a bridge in Manchester by Dicking Around Productions and edited in a less glamourous location.

Gig Review :: Frank Turner – Wembley Arena – 13/04/12

© Ben Morse 2012

“Even with the size of the place and all the pomp and circumstance, one thing remained the same. It still felt like a Frank Turner show.”

When I saw Frank play the Manchester Apollo last year I wondered how much bigger he could possibly get. The first time I saw the guy play was in front of 800 people, so to see him play to a crowd the size of the Apollo’s was a little mental. So you can imagine how it was seeing him on stage at Wembley arena. This wasn’t just Wembley Arena either, it was a sold out Wembley Arena. Crazy.

Just walking into that behemoth of an arena was insane. This place would soon have eleven-thousand people in it in a few hours and, honestly, that’s a pretty scary thought. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long before we had our first act on stage – Beans On Toast. For those who don’t know, Beans On Toast is a folk singer from Essex. His voice is really fucked up and all his songs are really simple (but in a good way). The fact he was performing at Wembley had to be some kind of awesome in-joke, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant. After opening with a brand new song, he brought on Bobby Banjo – his banjo player, would you believe? – and they blasted out a few of Beans’ more well known tunes. Well, when I say “blasted out”, I mean they just about got through them.

As is a custom at a Beans On Toast gig, the songs aren’t always played in full and, on occasion, aren’t even played correctly. This is exactly what we were treated to, with Beans even asking the crowd to stop clapping along with songs because he couldn’t concentrate. In between songs he told stories and chatted about what certain songs meant, whilst checking his watch to make sure he didn’t over run the twenty minutes he’d been allocated. Having closed his set, Beans was met with an amazing response from the ever expanding crowd. This prompted him to crowd surf to the back of the arena. It was a great way to open the show and an even better way for Beans to close his set. Though finding later out he’d been chucked out for crowd surfing was the icing on the cake.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius pip continued the show and, whilst they’re good performers, I don’t think they really fit in with the rest of the Wembley experience. Granted, this was my first exposure to the hip-hop duo, but I found it really hard to get into. With that said, I seemed to be in the minority as they went down really well. Perhaps I should have swotted up beforehand?

That headline slot was edging ever closer and now the crowd seemed to have all packed into the arena. Unlike the night before, people weren’t about to walk out on Billy Bragg here. For those who were at the previous night’s gig, the set will have sounded a little familiar. With that said, Bragg was blasting out the hits on both nights with only a few new ones thrown into the set. Again he played ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’, which was especially poignant given how close the show was to the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. The rest was dedicated to a few of his more seasoned songs and, again, he closed with ‘A New England’. This time, with eleven-thousand other voices singing the chorus and a chill descending down my spine. Even this wasn’t enough to top what was about to happen.

Though it had been billed by the man himself as a ‘greatest hits’ kind of set, it opened with ‘Eulogy’ – the opening track from, latest album, England Keep My Bones – and the beginning of Frank’s performance at Wembley did feel a little top heavy with EKMB tracks. However, once it got going the hits kept coming and we all kept singing. Audience participation is a big thing at Frank Turner shows, so if you’re not singing you’re not doing it right! Speaking of participation, before launching into ‘Dan’s Song’, Frank brought his mum up on stage in the hope she would play the harmonica on the track. After a little coaxing from her son and the eleven-thousand that came to see him do what he does best, she gave in and maybe even got the biggest cheer of the night. This was swiftly followed by ‘Father’s Day’, which seemed like a nice bit of set arrangement on Turner’s part given the song’s subject matter. Other surprise inclusions included ‘Nashville Tennessee’. First featured on Campfire Punkrock, the song is a fan favourite that seems to have withstood the test of time unlike others from that stage of Frank’s career.

Amongst all of the hits and surprises, a new song was thrown into the mix. ‘Four Simple Words’ – a track from Frank’s forthcoming fifth solo album – went down really well with the Wembley crowd. Though we didn’t know the words, we danced along regardless. The soft sweet acoustic opening feeling like a ruse, as the body of the song is unleashed. There are very few times I’ve thought about ‘pitting’ to Frank’s music. This was one such time. This song already felt like a hit, and it’s no where near ready for release yet.

When it came time to close the set, Frank went with a little Queen. More recently, the Winchestrian has closed his sets with a rendition of the classic rock band’s ‘Somebody To Love’ and it’s inclusion here was received with aplomb. After bidding us ‘goodnight’, attentions were turned to the big screens hanging above the stage. There was Frank, sitting in a chair, waving back at us. What was he doing? Well, he was waiting to get tattooed. Rather than that rockstar pre-encore walkoff being shrouded in secrecy, Turner decided to let everyone get a peek as a second date was added to his pre-existing Wembley tattoo (done when he supported Green Day at Wembley stadium). With that finished, Turner returned to the stage with Billy Bragg following shortly after. Just like the night before, the pair played Dylan’s ‘The Time’s They Are A Changing’, this time, with a few additional hiccups. There were singalongs aplenty, though the cynic in me wondered how many watching had only heard this song because it was featured in Watchmen. Regardless, it went down a storm. Now was time for the biggest shock of the evening.

Now alone, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Frank set about playing ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’. Though he announced this time “might” be the song’s last outing in a live venue. Emotions ran high and there were even some audible groans from the crowd, but Turner delivered the fan favourite expertly and, in the end, it felt kind of fitting to retire that song at such a poignant time. After such a somber second song, the encore was concluded (as always) with ‘Photosynthesis’. Again the audience played their part, sitting down towards the end of the song before leaping up into the air as Nigel kicks the song back into gear and confetti and streamers fly into the air. It was a showy finish, but it feels like something Frank can pull off at this stage.

Even with the size of the place and all the pomp and circumstance, one thing remained the same. It still felt like a Frank Turner show. It still felt intimate, and Frank never appeared to be out of his depth. It’ll always feel better to see him in a smaller venue – I mean, when doesn’t a small venue feel better? -, but this show was one to remember, and one I’ll be talking about for some time to come.

Going Underground :: Ren Spits At Magpies (w/Moon & Back Session)

"Ren Sits On Fridges" - © 2012 Anthony Barlow

“I am often mildly wasted so its certainly a fair representation…” – Ren Spits At Magpies

When she’s not providing beautifully haunting backing vocals for Mike Scott or performing alongside Perkie and Katie Raine in Feralus, Ren Aldridge is Ren Spits At Magpies. Her angst-riddled brand of acoustic punk has brought her many plaudits in the UK’s punk sene, and rightly so.

I first heard about Ren from, friend of the site, Emma Hallows – with whom she toured during November last year – but didn’t get to see her until earlier this year, when she played a set at a house show on top of a fridge. Later that month, I saw how she too can turn a kitchen into a venue when she put on a house show for International Women’s Day. My very hazy memory suggests that it was awesome, so it probably was.

Ren is a woman of many talents, so be sure to check her out. If you live somewhere in the London area and you’re into punk you probably know/know of her anyway, and have likely even spent time at Astbury Castle. If you have, then you know what I’m on about. If not, then check out her Moon & Back Session below.

Try and guess who this song is written about. Answers on a post card e.t.c.

Pin Song

Moon & Back Session :: Oxygen Thief

“Oi, Oi, Oi, Oi” – Everyone

Oxygen Thief recently took on a jaunt around the UK (accompanied by, the awesome, Mark McCabe) and we chucked on a show for them in Manchester. Y’know, because we’re nice like that. So before the gig started we thought we’d record a session under the very bridge our podcast/promotions thing/psuedo-record label is named after. Little did we know, we’d have some, pretty awesome, intruders.

Seriously, we have no idea who these girls are. If you do, please let us know by emailing us by clicking those links in the sidebar. And, as always, please let us know what you thought in the comments and on YouTube. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave those here too. For now, why not enjoy two awesome songs from Oxygen Thief and his two-part dance troupe.

‘Paper Planes’ (M.I.A. cover)

‘Mestle & Porter’

Moon & Back Session :: Austin Lucas

“You are fucking gross” – Austin Lucas

On his recent UK tour, we caught up with Austin Lucas and put him to work. After all, playing a song to a video camera is exactly what you want to do on your birthday, right?! Austin, very kindly, obliged to play us a new tune for a Moon & Back Session and it’s absolutely awesome. ‘Alone In Memphis’ is going to be featured on his new record and we can’t wait to hear the final version. But, for now, we have this to tide us over.

Apologies for the camera not quite getting Austin’s guitar into shot. This room was tiny and there was five of us in there. Regardless, we think it turned out great. Be sure to check out Austin’s latest record A New Home In The Old World and tell us who you want to see do a session for us in the comments below!

‘Alone In Memphis’

EP Review :: Rob Bywater – The Factory

“…speaks to the people on the lower rungs with a brash honesty not seen in many years.”

The Factory is the second E.P. from, Cleethorpes’ own, Rob Bywater (at least the second I’ve been asked to review, I really liked the first, in fact you can read it here), and it is clear that all the elements that made the first such a strong release have been emphasized on this second outing, creating a more progressive Rob Bywater sound.

Now the word “progressive” can often be construed as another way of saying “egotistical shit”, where an artist concentrates more on showing off musically than good song writing. Bywater does definitely fall into this category. The songs still maintain the simplistic elements of a strong folk record; open chords with occasional arpeggiated riffs. The progression in The Factory EP comes in the form of subtle confidence, not over indulgent cockiness, with Bywater sounding a lot more comfortable in pushing his vocal range to new levels, and doing so with much success.

On the whole, The Factory maintains the Billy Bragg-esque working class commentary that was common place on the Bywater’s first EP. With, opener and title track, ‘The Factory’ telling a modern day tale of redundancy, money struggles and upper class corruption. This is epitomized in the lyrics: “by the end we were a fraction of the men we were before,” and, “wealthy men’s incompetence bankrupt the working man,” which speaks to the people on the lower rungs with a brash honesty not seen in many years.

The point of interest in this four track record is,second track, ‘Brown Hair, Glasses and Big Blue Jeans’, a three-minute melody telling of a love interest met in the boozer. Tackling the subject of romance, even one that seems alcohol fueled, is a new approach for Bywater but one he pulls of quite graciously, maintaining a specific point of focus that reflects everyday life, instead of attempting to tackle love as a huge Disney-style concept and failing horribly like so many.

Rob Bywater remains one of the most honest singer-songwriters in the UK. and his small, yet no doubt loyal, following isn’t so much a mystery but more a testament to how little genuine talent is overlooked by commercial claptrap. We can only hope that this is just a phase before artists like this throw in the towel but, when songs are clearly done with as much love as this, I doubt they ever will.

Going Underground :: James Choice

“I know every Alkaline Trio song on guitar…”

The first thing I noticed when listening to the three songs by James Choice that I have on my portable music player (a.k.a. the pie-pod) is the fact that after the first ten seconds I was greeted by a Futurama quote, so straight away the guy was on to a winner. But hell, we’re getting ahead of ourselves right now. The first time I met James Choice was at a house party in Manchester, where he happily let me sing a couple of Alkaline Trio covers with him. In the morning, he gave me the details for an online medium I could listen to his songs. This was two months ago and here we are, finally, with the article I’d promised, half inebriated, that Saturday morning.

Now I’ve had a few run ins with Jame Choice and I could write an entire article about him as a person but, fuck, I have to maintain, not an air but at least a slight draft, of professionalism so lets move onto the music.

There are obviously similarities here with such Asian Man Records acoustic acts like Matt Skiba (the stuff the split with Kevin Seconds) and Mike Park (Asian Man founder). These are clearly a huge influence on James Choice and rightly so, he has taken a strong influence and placed his own twist in both terms of vocals and production, so lets address both.

The vocal talent of this man is surprising. Surprising in a sense that I am genuinely surprised that the first time I saw him play was a house show for little to no money (but perhaps this was a personal choice). At times the vocals are reminiscent of Anthony Raneri of Bayside fame. Seeing as Raneri is also a known Skiba fan, there’s cause for seeing this similarity as, at least to some extent, intentional.

The production of James Choice is what makes the music the most unique. Apart from the fact that, for being demos, the three songs I own would sound perfectly comfortable on most low-key studio recordings (this isn’t a put down, I prefer a bit of raw studio against the “over polished turd” studio sound). James Choice also takes this a step further adding extra instrumentation and synth/samples, creating an atmosphere wholly different to that of 99% percent of underground acoustic acts on the scene at present. Hell, perhaps even 100%, there’s definitely something else in these tracks. ‘Take A Leak’, for example, shows James Choice take a completely different path to the norm, vouching for a much darker style, which would probably be better affiliated with Marilyn Manson’s Holywood that anything in the ‘punk acoustic scene’.

James Choice is available to listen to here