“…It’s alright, because this motorbike is really warm” – Abbie Broom
This session was a bit of a mad one to record. We found out Abbie was going to be in Manchester shortly before she arrived, and had more sessions to shoot that day. Needless to say, we were in a bit of a rush. So after trying to find a well lit corner of Manchester to film, we threw Miss Broom out into the cold and had her perform a couple of songs before running off into the night to our next engagement.
Despite our hastiness (it was cold out there too!) and the lack of light, the session came out really well. Background noise and Manchester’s least courteous people aside, of course. If you want to hear more from Abbie, head over to Rough Trade.
“This is a song about Polish ladies…” – Mike Scott
While on tour with Random Hand’s Joe Tilston, we asked Mike Scott if he’d like to partake in one of these ‘Moon & Back Sessions’ we’re so fond of doing. Not only did he oblige, but he dragged a few more people in on it too.
Backed by Luke Yates (Sounds Of Swami) and Ren Aldridge (Ren Spits At Magpies), Mike performed ‘Following The Leader’ – a track from Everything Else – and I think you’ll agree that it turned out rather well. You can hear more from Mike by heading over to his Bandcamp page and by ‘liking’ him on Facebook.
As always the video was shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions. Thanks a lot to The Star & Garter, Manchester, for letting us film. if you have any suggestions as to who we should get in session next, put it in the comments, write to us on Facebook, or send us something on Twitter.
“I got the chorus slightly in tune that time…”- Dave Hughes
Dave Hughes recently embarked on a short UK tour with Emma Hallows. Under The Bridge (and, by proxy, Moon & Back) organised a Manchester show for the pair and, whilst we were waiting for things to get rolling, we shot a session with Dave under a bridge.
Dave performed ‘Tacitus (Burn Like A Fire)’ – a track taken from the Hughes/Harker/Hallows split released on Under The Bridge Records – and ‘Mirrors’ for his session. Sorry about all the wind, talking and trains. These are the hazards of filming outside. Regardless, both videos turned out well. Enjoy!
As always the video was shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions. If you have any suggestions as to who we should get in session next, put it in the comments, write to us on Facebook, or send us something on Twitter.
“Do you want a tray for all those mugs?” – Sam Russo
I decided to do this issue of Going Underground on Sam Russo for one single reason, if I didn’t do it soon then I never could. There’s a big countdown-esque clock ticking away, and when it hits the “dun-nen, nen-nen, nen-a-nen, duuuun” Russo will be catapulted into the dead centre spot light of “acoustic punk.” Sam Russo is, and this isn’t arguable, the best songwriter the UK has to offer. In fact, if someone wanted to contest against this, the debate might go a little like this, “Sam’s the best!” “No he isn’t.” “You’re an idiot.” “You’re right I am, Sam’s the best.”
It’s funny though, because I was once that exact idiot. The first time I heard Russo was on the Hotel Payphone Carpark Demos track ‘All These Postcards’ and it did nothing for me. The recording was almost inaudible, and I couldn’t understand why I’d heard such great things about this guy. Then I saw Sam live. There was such a raw honesty in the way each line was sung, I not only felt like I could relate wholly, but that I’d been there next to him through every experience of his narrative lyrical style, because the words are where the true magic of Sam Russo lies.
Russo openly admits he hates recording but, thankfully, practically everything else I’ve heard on record is pure gold (can I really count ‘XXXXXXXX’ and his phone call to Giles as pure gold? Well, maybe the latter).
He’s also a fucking nice bloke and if you tell him you’re a poet and show him one you’ve wrote he might just give you a little magpie badge, or maybe that was just me.
“Holy shit I look like an idiot when I’m drunk!” – James Hull
Having made his triumphant return to Manchester, we decided it’d be a good idea to get James Hull to do a session. Why we thought this is beyond me, we did though. With his hangover from the previous night, presumably, still lingering (he played an ‘Under The Bridge’ show) we set Leagues Apart’s tallest member to work again, after an intimate gig at Manchester’s Star & Garter.
James decided to play a Leagues Apart song (I don’t think you can call it a cover if they did the original, right?) as part of his session and even managed to improvise a completely new verse just for us. Enjoy!
“I’m gonna change the name of that song to ‘Egg Free Mayonnaise'” – Beans On Toast
If you’re not familiar already, Beans On Toast is a folk singer/songwriter from Essex, and he might be one of the only artists in recent memory worthy of the ‘folk’ label. His songs are filled with comedy, tales of woe and are as ‘true to life’ as I’ve ever heard come out of any singer/songwriters mouth. Beans was in Manchester for a show, so we decided to record a little session. A session featuring two brand new songs, no less!
The session was recorded at V Revolution – a newly opened punk/hardcore record/vegan lifestyle shop on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – a place that every music in Manchester should get behind. It’s not often you get someone trying something like this and, they’ll tell you themselves, it’s a bit of risk. Massive thanks to those dudes for helping us out with this one. It’s really hard to record sessions in bad light!
As always, enjoy the session and if you’ve got anyone you’d like to see performing for Moon & Back drop us a comment.
It’s looking like 2012 is going to be a big year for Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun. The Cheltenham-based band are hotly tipped to do well this year and, with tracks like this one, you can see why. ‘A Song About Death’ is the second (?) single to be taken from the folk-punkers Xtra Mile Recordings debut, and is more than enough to tell you what this band is all about.
‘A Song About Death’ is released today (Feb. 14th) and is taken from the band’s forthcoming album Death, set to be released in April by Xtra Mile Recordings.
“…just the correct amount of “right-on” politics, sung soothingly through her Buffalo accent and delivered in a heavily poetical style”
It must have been about 2001, I was thirteen and reading an interview with Alkaline Trio’s guitarist Matt Skiba who was mentioning music that inspired him, one of those acts was Ani DiFranco. A few years later a friend of mine downloaded (illegally) the track Gratitude and I fell in love instantly with the stripped down folk sound and intensely emotive lyrical content. I’d heard one song and I was hooked so I headed to the nearest record shop, which was unfortunately HMV, and thankfully found a copy of 2005’s album Reprieve. The album did not disappoint and as soon as I worked out how the hell to order stuff offline I bought every album by DiFranco I could and have eagerly anticipated every release since.
This album is very much an Ani DiFranco album, her style hasn’t changed massively since the 90’s and her initial self titled full length release, but this is by no means a bad thing. If the phrase “if it isn’t broke…” has ever rained true, then Ani is the case in point. That’s not to say the album hasn’t progressed at all, with an interesting use of electronic drums on the title track and the Mars Volta-esque guitar solo two thirds into Amendment, along with the bizarre deep vocal effect on the track J which makes the song sound very much like a homage to the Pennsylvania tripsters, Ween. But apart from some slightly more experimental use of production, the songs themselves feature everything expected from the Feminist virtuoso, featuring just the correct amount of “right-on” politics, sung soothingly through her Buffalo accent and delivered in a heavily poetical style, whilst dashing it all with a tantalising amount of love.
The album is not completely without fault, and the afore mentioned title track becomes a bit of a drag towards the end. Ani’s politics are in the right place but the constant repetition of the title line “Which Side are You on” makes the track sound more of a rant than a justified political statement, but this is only a minor fault on what is otherwise a superb release from Ani.
It wouldn’t be an Ani album without at least a cargo ship full of inspirational lyrics and this record is no exception. There are far too many to mention so I’ll end with what I feel it the most crucial hook in the entire of ¿Which Side Are You On? “If you’re not getting happier as you grow older, you’re fucking up.”
Earlier this month, Chris T-T embarked on a tour of the UK with Franz Nicolay. Whilst in York, we caught up with him and he played us a couple of songs for a Moon & Back Session. A stalwart of the UK folk scene, T-T recently released an album comprised of A.A. Milne poetry having had a fantastic reception at this year’s Edinburgh festival. For his session he performed ‘Halfway Down’ – a song from the Milne record – and a cover of Sebadoh’s ‘Willing To Wait’.
Chris’ session is the final session of 2011, but we’ll be back in the new year and are hoping to continue where we left off. If there’s anyone you’d like to see us have ‘in session’, please leave a comment below, message us on Twitter or post on our Facebook.
The idea that there’s a one true ‘album of the year’ is a pretty misguided one. With that in mind, we’ve tried to offer up a series of recommendations from both the Moon & Back Music staff, and from a few notable names from the world of music. Today it’s the turn of, Moon & Back contributor (and our favourite American!) Cara Moore.
1. Dave Hause – Resolutions
I saw Dave with this album at the beginning of the year, and Twitter promotion is to thank for that. I dragged a along a group of friends to Kentucky to see him, and we all left massive fans. He let me buy his album for $9 because I tried to pay the last dollar in quarters. I doubt more than two weeks passed this year without me listening to this album. ‘Prague’ and ‘C’mon Kid’ are personal favorites.
The rest fall in no order but definitely were defining albums of 2011 for me:
Laura Stevenson And The Cans – Sit Resist
This album really blew me away. I can’t thank Fake Problems(knew they’d find a way in here!) enough for exposing them to me. This is again a choicenthat was greatly influenced by seeing them live. The lyrics are just so honest and I love the variation of instruments used. Every single sound compliments Laura’s unique voice.
The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
Anyone who knows me knows this is a given on my list. I was really happy with how Elsie turned out, mostly because it wasn’t The Gaslight Anthem like critics predicted. I had the opportunity to see one of the two US shows and it was amazing. This album just moves. There are sad songs and soft songs and powerful songs. Fallon has amazing vocal range and Ian’s ability to come through and play so dynamically as a complimentor, taking background or really blowing it out and commanding is genius and really completes the album.
Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours
I’m a massive CWK fan. I really wish they would’ve toured to StL. Regardless this album is so good. It is poetic and strong and weird and great. I love that no CWK album sounds like it is trying to reinvent the sound yet they are all CWK. I feel like all I can say is so so good, and Hey! Listen!
The Swellers – Good For Me
This last spot was so so so hard to pick and I felt like not only was it hard enough to filter but there are still albums thatbI haven’t heard. I think this is going to be a surprise to some but I loved this album. I was even surprised by it. It was so relateable for me. I listened to it countless times this year. When I was pumped, when I was sad, when I wanted to hear something heavy-ish, when I was shoveling snow…OK not the last one yet but this album is like the color black; goes with everything. Super amazingly nice group of guys to boot.
Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse
Not only do I adore this album and Ben in general (he wrote me a poem once!) But I owe a lot to it. It was what really brought me to M&B, the podcast and mostly Ian and Barlow. It’s so mystical yet haunting yet full of lore and bouncy. He’s like the folk Buddy Holly ‘everyman.’
Other notable records:
Tom Waits – Bad As Me
Title Fight – Shed
Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Hurricane Season
Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground
Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Peyton On Patton
The Kooks – Junk Of The Heart
Man this was exhausting. I’m glad it only comes once a year.