Moon & Back Music Presents :: Album Of The Year 2010

And the winner is…

With the year quickly coming to a close, Ian and I felt it only right that we do some kind of end of year awards thing. I asked every member of the M&B staff what their top 5 albums of 2010 were, and the results were pretty surprising. There’s something here for everyone Whether you want futuristic R&B, tales from New Jersey or politically charged punk anthems, look no further.



After dealing with a debilitating addiction to prescription drugs, Eminem is back with Recovery. The rapper’s seventh studio album still isn’t a patch on his early work, but it easily beats out the likes of Encore and Relapse. The new record hearkens back to the old days, with Marshall being increasingly self deprecating, even going as far as commenting on the poor quality of his recent releases. Recovery is a gem in the sea of shit that is modern hip-hop.


Since signing with Sire Records in 2005, punk fans have reacted pretty harshly towards anything with Against Me!’s name on it. With the release of White Crosses earlier this year, the cries of the band ‘selling out’ continued. However, it’s hard to see why this is being aimed at Tom Gabel and co. Both this record and it’s predecessor New Wave may have been released on a division of Warner Music, but the music remains very similar to everything before that. As Ian would be quick to point out, it’s the same chord progressions and lyrical content as ‘old’ Against Me!, it’s just better produced. It’s Moon & Back’s fourth favorite of 2010 and I think fans should take a second look before dismissing the band outright.


Janelle Monae was the artist that most surprised me in 2010. Her debut full length The ArchAndroid: Suites II & II was the soundtrack to my summer, and it’s good to see that it’s not just me that took notice (cheers Jodie, for pushing this into our top 5). Miss Monae is, without doubt, the most exciting woman in R&B at the minute and this record is a soul-filled throwback to times passed. This is real R&B and I for one am tipping the 25-year old, Kansan songstress, for big things in the future.


Coming in at number two, sadly -because I think it should have won – it’s Fake Problems’ new record Real Ghosts Caught On Tape. The Floridia-based indie/punk four piece have wowed many with their fresh, upbeat sound and off the wall antics, both on and off stage. 2010 has been a big year for these guys: RGOT released to rave reviews, they’ve toured all over the US on the Vans Warped Tour and even did a stint with the winners of this years award. With catchy lyrics, great production (Ted Hutt is a genius) and a fun, retro take on ‘pop punk’ I can’t help but think this record has been a tad overlooked. These guys best tour the UK next year!


This year’s Moon & Back Music Album Of The Year goes to…American Slang. The Gaslight Anthem’s third album seems to have had an effect on the Moon & Back staff (though Ian remains adamant of their ability to bore him). The New Jersey group’s tales of murky cities and urban saviors might not be for everyone, but the follow-up to, 2008’s, The ’59 Sound has secured messieurs Fallon, Rosamilia, Levine and Horowitz a place as one of the best bands of recent years.


So there we have it. That’s Moon & Back’s verdict on the top 5 albums of this year. If you don’t agree, you’ll have your chance to vote on all the albums picked by the Moon & Back staff in the ‘Readers Choice’ award coming later on this week. This will be followed by the ‘2009 Album of 2010’ award – awarded to the albums of last year that we only got around to in 2010.

Interview :: The Menzingers

“How do you go on tour with a band you stole a whole record from?”

Earlier this month we caught up with Tom May and Greg Barnett from The Menzingers. This was the first UK tour for Philidelphia-based four piece and they seemed to be enjoying themselves quite a bit. We chatted to them, in the bitter cold, outside Manchester’s Tiger Lounge about their new album, touring with Leagues Apart, working with Brendan Kelly and we retire an old favorite.


Anthony Barlow: Hey guys, how’s it going?

Greg Barnett: Pretty ace man.

Tom May: Everything’s going great, yeah. It’s our first time over here, so we’re really excited.

AB: I was just going to ask how the tour was going so…

TM: It’s been great so far. All the shows have been awesome. Everyone that we’ve met has been great. It’s been very drunken *laughs*

GB: Yeah, it has been very drunken. Wales was really drunk. Southampton was a lot of fun. We’ve had a lot of fun everywhere. The first night was Kingston, that was a real treat. We came over and there was a lot of people there and Leagues Apart are great dudes so it’s really cool.

Ian Crichley: Where did you play in Kingston?

TM: We played the Fighting Cocks. They sold it out. It was a blast.

IC: Manchester’s a ‘home show’ for Leagues Apart, has this date been hyped up?

GB: Oh yeah, they’ve been hyping it up the whole ride. They’re like ‘I can’t wait until you guys get to Manchester. It’s gonna be so much fun. All of our friends are gonna be there.

AB: And now us two have turned up and dragged you outside.

TM: That’s what’s really funny too. You never really get good shows on a Monday night and we’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now.

AB: It’s going to be good. Lots of other cool UK bands playing tonight.

TM: Yeah, it’s a great bill.

IC: It’s been a pretty big year for you guys hasn’t it? You’ve toured with Anti-Flag, Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem and you’re heading out with The Flatliners and Fake Problems in December. What’s that been like? And are you looking forward to Canada?

TM: Oh yeah, it’s gonna be cold.

GB: That’ll be our fourth time there this year and every time we go there we have a blast. Especially in French Canada, I love it.

AB: You played with Fake Problems on the Gaslight tour as well. Were you introduced to the ‘Mr. Yucky’?

IC: Do you know about ‘Mr. Yucky’?

TM: I don’t think so.

IC: It’s where you lick your hand and put it on the other person’s mouth?

TM: Oh, I heard about that. They never did anything like that on the though.

GB: It’s lucky they didn’t do anything like that

TM: Very lucky

GB: I thought you were talking about those little green stickers they used to put on poison that said “Mr. Yucky”

TM: Oh yeah

IC: You released your new album in April, have you had a good response?

TM: Yeah. I was looking back on this year in the van earlier today, and it’s been a pretty crazy year. With all the tours and everything. I never thought I’d be standing here right now, In Manchester, about to play a show. It’s been a fun ride.

IC: It’s your second album, do you think you’ve progressed as artists?

GB: I would hope so. I mean, we’re not gonna be like ‘we’ve completely changed and made this concept album’, but I really think we’ve progressed as musicians for sure. And the writing, we took a lot more seriously and we put a lot of work into that album, so we’re excited to see that it’s doing really well. People like it. Our friends like it.

AB: You worked with Brendan Kelly on the track ‘So It Goes’, how was that?

GB: It was hilarious, man. He came in and said ‘I’m just gonna find a harmony for it’ or whatever and he did it whilst wearing a guitar, he was looking upward a little bit and he just nailed it. Like every one. He did a whole bunch of different things.

TM: He was just like ‘Listen, I always sound terrible when I do guest vocals for a band. Just tell me if it’s bad’. But no, I think it turned out great.

AB: Is there anyone else you’d really like to work with in a similar capacity?

TM: Yeah, we’re always down for those kind of things. Absolutely.

GB: Yeah, we gotta get some friends in on this next one. Like Ty from Broadway Calls or something like that.

TM: Yeah, yeah. We’ll definitely get some friends in on it.

AB: The first single has been released and the video for that is mostly tour footage. Was that a budget thing or a way for you to show people what The Menzingers are about?

TM: The way that we went into it, I think that it was the easiest bet and the most honest bet to make a music video. We didn’t really want to do anything that didn’t really represent us as people. We really wanted to portray our personalities though the video. We called up a buddy, he flew in from Florida, and he hopped in the van with us for five days and that’s what he got.

GB: It was all Northeast cities too. Kind of record release shows. It was just a lot of fun.

IC: Do you get a lot of naked guys on stage?

TM: *laughs*

GB: Sometimes you get naked guys

TM: That’s our good buddy Andy from Philly

IC: *laughs* Oh, so you knew him then. It wasn’t just some random naked guy.

GB: He plays in a band called Luther.

IC: On the video you’ve got these blue sunglasses on. Are they from MacDonalds?

GB: *laughs* What? No, there’s tons of those cheap sunglasses in America. People use them for promotional things. They’ll just write something goofy on the side of it…

TM: Yeah, I’m pretty sure Toby from Red Scare gave me those. He went to a basketball game or something and then was like ‘hey, have some sunglasses!’

IC: On the YouTube video, some guy called SuperWhoa97 has commented and said: “One of the dude’s moms is my math teacher”

GB: *laughs* That’d be my mom. My mom’s a math teacher, yeah. It’s funny, she always pimps our band out. Well, she doesn’t pimp our band out… *laughs* Sorry, that was the wrong terminology, but she’s always like ‘you should check out my sons band’ or whatever. Writes it into word problems *laughs* She doesn’t do that, we should write her one though.

TM: Yeah, totally.

GB: ‘If the van breaks down this far from wherever and you only have six beers left”

AB: That’s the obvious problem of course.

IC: Since you guys formed people have compared you to the likes of Against Me! How do you feel about that?

TM: Yeah, sure. I think it’s fair.

IC: I’ve got a quote here as well: “How do you go on tour with a band you stole a whole record from?”

TM & GB: *laughs*

TM: Yeah, that’s definitely my favorite quote I’ve heard about our band. I mean, obviously, they’ve been a big influence on our band growing up. It was definitely a privilege to tour with them this year. It was a blast.

GB: That was one of the bands that we all really came together on after hearing all their music, so it was exciting.

AB: So you guys have been on Red Scare two years now. How’s it been working with them?

IC: Toby doesn’t work you too much?

TM: No, he’s the best.We love working with Red Scare. I think Red Scare is the best independent record label in the states and they’ve been awesome to us and we love them to death.

AB: Do you think working with them has given you a lot more freedom than you might have had otherwise?

TM: Oh yeah, for sure. We can do whatever the hell we want.

GB: Not only that, but whatever we want to do, even if Toby disagrees he knows how to do it. He helps us along. He’s great.

AB: It’s a big thing to think about, but would you ever consider moving to a major label?

GB: This is one of those questions that you hear and you have no idea if you would. At this point, with the way the music industry’s going now, I can’t see it happening.

TM: It just doesn’t seem likely really.

GB: Joe Strummer was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine and he said the one regret he had from the 20th Century is that he’d signed to a major label at one point in his life. When Jesus says something, you kinda have to listen. They’re losing so much power now anyway. Nobody’s buying CDs.

IC: Illegal downloading as well

AB: Has that affected you guys?

GB: It’s bigger. Less money, that’s for sure.

TM: Yeah. There’s two ways to look at it. I don’t think our band would be where it is today if people didn’t get the record for free.

GB: Plus, it’s not like we buy records *laughs*

TM: So it’s a trade off right there, I guess.

IC: As long as you give some back, that’s alright.

TM: I just think that there should be more musicians writing albums, because then we could all share *laughs*

GB: Then we could all share and it’d be an even trade. Even pirated software to record music is used. It’s a strange beast.

AB: Finally, and this is the last time we’re doing this because the results are getting handed in…

IC: We’ve been doing this poll for the past year of every band and every person we’ve interviewed and you’ll be the last ones

GB: Are we a swing vote? Is this close?

AB & IC: No

IC: So yeah, if Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and a shark had a fight, who would win?

GB: Oh shit.

TM: Are we in water? Are we on land?

GB: Are they on the deck of a sinking boat?

TM: Are we Chuck Ragan solo or Chuck Ragan Hot Water?

IC: Chuck Ragan solo

TM: I don’t know if you’ve seen the pictures that show how good of a fisherman he is, so I think he can beat the shark.

GB: He can beat the shark, but not if he’s in the water

TM: True

GB: He’s a small dude right? He’s not a big dude.

TM: But he’s built.

GB: Henry Rollins is like intimidating

TM: Yeah, I’d probably go Henry Rollins

GB: Yeah, but I don’t want him to win

TM: *laughs*

TM: Let’s go shark

GB: Tim Armstrong…No, let’s go shark. Fuck it! No, I’m gonna say Chuck Ragan

TM: I’m gonna say the shark.

AB: Well thanks a lot guys, it’s been fun.

TM: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge – Episode 7: Love Boobs. Hate Cancer.

“Flaming Labias…Bubbling Chi-Chi’s…Vaginal Explosion…What were we talking about again?” – Ian Critchley

Under The Bridge returns this week with a slightly new format. We’ve tweaked it a little and have actually managed to get it down to just under an hour (before editing). Don’t worry, the same amount of banter is still there. It’s just a lot more focused. You’ll enjoy it more now, mainly because you’ll be able to listen to the whole thing without falling asleep.

This week we talked a bit about the Against Me tour cancellation, Dave Grohl vs. The Scissor Sisters and even Joe McElderry. The big talking point this episode was Lexapalooza – the all day gig in London dedicated to Lexi Burrows in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get this up before the gig on Saturday. We’ll talk more about how the gig went on the next show.

This week’s music was provided by, Pontefract punkers, Above Them:

. For Those Who Paved The Way

. Put Your Heart Into This

. Give It Up To Start Again

. Perfect Like Life

. Keep Smiling

Go on, have a listen

Under The Bridge – Episode 7: Love Boobs. Hate Cancer. (Right click/ctrl + click to download)


Main Topic

Lexapalooza

  • Talk a bit about the gig/day
  • Talk a bit about the cause
  • Who was there? Who do we rate?

News

Dave Grohl Sues Scissor Sisters

  • Suing the band, the venue, ticketmaster, their label and everyone else for $75million
  • Listen to the interview.

New 7” Coming From Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves

  • Sound Bully Recordings announced this earlier in the week
  • Two new songs
  • Released October 29th at The Fest 9
    • Limited To 500 Copies

Fat Wreck Brining Back ‘Fat Music’ Series

  • Volume 7 – Harder, Fatter + Louder is coming out on November 23rd
  • Features artists such as: NOFX, The Lawrence Arms, Against Me!, Smoke Or Fire and Dillinger Four

Against Me! Cancel UK/European Tour

  • Due to “unforseen circumstances”
  • Crazy Arm, Fucked Up, Japanese Voyeurs trying to “salvage” some dates
    • Vans night looks on track
  • Everyone is gutted. Fans and bands both.

Germs Of Perfection

  • We now have details on that Bad Religion tribute album.
  • A new track streamed daily on MySpace
  • Barlow’s Daily Feature

Joe McElderry Almost Wet Himself At A Beyonce Gig

  • Spent the entire show needing a piss.

Outro

Emails

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

  • Twitter – AntBarlow
  • Facebook – Anthony Barlow
  • Blog – willneverearnit.tumblr.com

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog – youmakemecringe.tumblr.com

Housekeeping

Stuff worth mentioning

  • Sundowner – We Chase The Waves album review
  • Germs Of Perfection daily feature.
  • Going Underground is back!

Coming Soon

  • Bad Religion – The Dissent Of Man album review
  • Well Wisher EP review
  • Oli Wood Interview
  • Andrew Jackson Jihad Interview
  • The Xcerts Album Review
  • Dicking Around in London coming soon

Finally

  • Follow Moon & Back on Twitter @mandbmusic
  • Like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/UnderTheBridge
  • Rate the podcast on iTunes
  • Shout out to Matt Volp for the fantastic new artwork!
  • John Berna’s Words Of Wisdom.

Interview :: Tom Gabel (Against Me!)

“Hi, I’m Tom”

“Like we don’t know who you are!”

Fresh out of playing songs in a bathroom, we interviewed, Against Me! frontman, Tom Gabel. Sat in the wonderful Manchester sunshine, burning to a crisp, we talked about the fans, the new album, the leak and how that affects a tour.

For this one we were joined by our friend Abbie MacDonald (have a guess which one she is in the photo). She’s a massive Against Me! fan, so we couldn’t really say no. Plus you get more than just us two, which must be a bonus.


Ian Critchley: Did you say you’ve just been playing songs in a bathroom?

Tom Gabel: Yeah, I guess it’s for that magazine Rock Sound. They do some kind of in a toilet feature so…*laughs*

IC: *laughs* How’s the tour going so far?

TG: It’s been great. I mean, we’re just over here for a short little run. We did a couple of shows in Germany and we did a couple of those Slam Dunk Festival dates.

Abbie MacDonald: Yeah, we went.

TG: Oh, awesome. Which day did you go to?

AM: Sunday.

TG: Which one was that? I don’t know what day it is.

AM: It was the Leeds one.

IC: Speaking of Slam Dunk, did you have fun?

TG: I did. It was a little disorganised at points, it felt like. There was some moments I thought I was going to be in a riot, but it was fun playing.

AM: Were you there at the Hatfield one, where they wouldn’t let anyone up the stairs?

TG: Yeah, I was at the top of the stairs. It was scary. If a fire had broken out or something, who knows what would’ve happened.

Anthony Barlow: You’re playing a lot of festivals this year, aren’t you?

TG: Yeah, we always do a fair amount.

AB: So what do you prefer then, doing your own shows or the festival scene?

TG: I think that playing venues is always more fun. Festivals are either the best experience ever, or the worst experience: You don’t get a sound check, you’re not on your own equipment so you’re just jumping up there and hoping everything goes well, but sometimes it doesn’t.

IC: You’re a family man now, Tom. Is that making touring harder?

TG: It is definitely a drag being away from home and stuff like that. Technology these days makes it a little easier. We both have laptops and we can chat and stuff like that.

AB: Skype?

TG: Exactly. It helps, you know, with the small stuff.

IC: Is there any chance of you doing a solo UK tour?

TG: I would love to, but I don’t know. Nothing planned at the moment, but hopefully.

AB: The new album’s out next week…

TG: Yeah, on the 7th here right? Although it’s already out on the internet *laughs*

IC: It was kinda nice of you to give people the lyrics.

TG: Yeah man, I encourage it. If you wanna download it, go for it.

IC: Do you think it’s helped, because touring in support of an album that hasn’t been released yet must be harder? It’s been leaked, so people can be more enthusiastic about it at shows and stuff like that.

TG: Exactly. It’s more fun to play songs if people know them, as opposed to deathly staring at you *laughs*

IC: There’s been a lot of stuff on the internet, over the years, about Against Me!: People giving you a ‘sellout’ label for touring with The Foo Fighters, changing your record label excetera. What do you say to those kinds of people?

TG: I mean, that’s the point, I learned a long time ago that there’s nothing you can really say. It’s not like I could write out this big long explanation that told everybody Like, “ok everyone, here’s the reasons this made sense to do or reasons why we made these choices”, so that people would be like “oh ok, I got the point, Tom. Thanks for explaining”. Everybody’s gonna have a problem.

IC: I was talking to someone about how Alkaline Trio released their own shoe and he was saying similar things. The thing is, if you’re listening to a band on the basis that they’ve released a shoe or not…just don’t fucking buy the stuff. Seriously, just stop listening to music.

AB: Tom, if someone said “we’ll give you a load of money to promote you band and you can have your own shoe”, would you do it?

TG: *laughs* to do our own shoe? I don’t know man *laughs*. Doing a shoe seems a little weird sometimes. We’ve had the offer and stuff, but I don’t know. It doesn’t really have anything to do with music necessarily but, if it makes a band happy, I don’t see any reason to criticise them.

IC: On the subject of the whole ‘sellout’ thing, Brendan Kelly from The Lawrence Arms seems to have your back a lot. Are you guys tight? Are you bro’s?

TG: *laughs* I let him tattoo that ‘B’ on me right there.

IC: Really?

AB: That’s awesome

AM: Well done.

AB: *laughs* Who’s idea was the ‘I Was A Teenage Anarchist’ video?

TG: It was mine.

IC: There’s a story behind it isn’t there?

TG: Yeah, I got beat up by the cops pretty bad when I was a kid. I was 14 or 15 years old and it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as that video or anything like that, but it was still pretty brutal. At the time it definitely seemed to be the case. It seemed like a fun idea for a video, as opposed to like, a lot of times in videos you’ll be lip synching along to the song and looking totally fucking stupid and ridiculous. It’s a lot more fun to be like, ‘ok, let’s do a video where I’m just gonna run, someone’s gonna chase me, they’re gonna tackle me, I’ll get up and run some more’, something more physical.

AM: How many bruises did you get from that?

TG: Well I was wearing elbow pads and knee pads underneath my clothes but, definitely, the next day I could barely walk *laughs*.

AM: You said you did forty or fifty takes of it or something…

TG: Probably more. It was like all day long, just doing it over and over and over again.

AM: I think I’d have cried and gone home.

TG: *laughs*

IC: In another interview, you said you look up to Hot Water Music as a touring band. How’s it been working with George Rebelo?

TG: When we all moved to Gainsville, they were the band that were already touring, who had records out and they were Hot Water Music.

IC: Have you been friends with George for a while then?

TG: Yeah, yeah. Well we toured with Hot Water Music in 2002 and then we toured with, another band, The Draft a couple of years ago. Gainsville’s a small town so…

AB: You’ve released demos of As The Eternal Cowboy and New Wave, is there going to be something for this album [White Crosses] as well?

TG: Hopefully, I don’t know. I figure, with stuff like that, it’s if fans are interested in it and want to hear it, we’re happy to share it. We always do demos for records and stuff like that and we’re working on re-releasing some stuff that’s long out of print. Eventually it’ll come out, when we have time.

IC: Do you think Alkaline Trio stole the song name ‘Piss & Vinegar’ because you stole their merch lady?

TG: *laughs* I don’t know, maybe. Fair trade! I would’ve given them every song name *laughs*.

IC: We spoke to the guys from The Lawrence Arms a few weeks ago and we were asking them if Heather [Hannoura] is taller than you, because I thought you were really short and I saw you before and I was like “no way, the guy’s like super-tall”.

TG: *laughs* When she wears heels she’s taller than me.

IC: How’s the bet going between you and Andrew?

TG: Which one, the Blackberry bet?

IC: and the haircut

TG: Well the haircut one’s still going, I can’t cut it until October, but he won’t take me up on the Blackberry bet. It’s boring sometimes on tour, so coming up with stupid bets like that is an entertaining thing to do and I just really wanted to convince him to eat something. You know the TV show Alf?

AB: Yeah

TG: We had a big, life-sized, stuffed animal of Alf that I was trying to convince him to ear. Just bit by bit over a long period of time. I just want to see if his digestive track can make it. Just a little bit a day and he can mix it with anything he wants.

AM: He won’t even need to know, just put a bit in.

IC: Hide it in some mash.

TG: I just want to start slowly feeding him something without him knowing it, that’s a great idea.

AB: *laughs* do it! Do you think it’d be good if someone made a movie about Against Me!?

TG: I don’t know *laughs*

IC: If they did, do you think Chris Farren out of Fake Problems could play you?

TG: Play me? I’ve definitely been told we look alike before so, maybe. We’re both from Naples to, so…

IC: We spoke to him and I was saying he looked like someone and Derek [Perry] said “Elijah Wood”.

TG: Elijah Wood could definitely play Chris Farren, for sure.

AB: We’re actually making a film, it’s called ‘Dicking Around With Against Me!’

TG: That’d be awesome.

IC: Alright, we’ll start filming tonight!

AB: It’s the second in the ‘Dicking Around’ series.

TG: Can we fuck off down to the pub for a bit too?

AB: Yeah, definitely.

IC: It’s gonna be like Big Brother, but on a road.

AB: We’ll ‘Dicking Around’ with Fake Problems is first on the agenda so

TG: Oh really, so this is a franchise?

AB: *laughs* ‘Dicking Around Productions’

TG: Well the second one’s always better than the first.

AB: *laughs* If Chuck Ragan, Henry Rollins and a shark had a fight, who would win?

TG: I think Chuck Ragan.

IC: Is there any reason behind why you chose Chuck?

TG: He’s just a manly man. I can just picture him chopping wood somewhere.

All: *laughs*

IC: Finally, what’s next for Against Me!?

TG: Touring, that’s kinda the main thing in the near future. We’re playing in Birmingham tomorrow and then we go back to The States. We’re going out there, doing some summer festivals and stuff like that and then we’ll be back in August for Reading and Leeds and stuff. Hopefully in the fall, we’ll be back again for a full headline tour.

AB: Thanks Tom, that was really cool.

IC: Yeah, thanks a lot man.

TG: Yeah, thanks for waiting around. I appologise for taking so long.

Gig Review :: Against Me! :: Manchester – 02/06/10

© 2010 Abbie MacDonald

I first saw Against Me! in September 2008 in Toronto at V Fest playing to an intense number of thousands, the open air, Lego haired Oasis crowd didn’t seem too appreciative of them and Against Me! appeared a little fish out of water at the indie dominated festival.

They were awesome back then and so I got really excited when I found out one of their three headlining UK tour dates (after playing three dates with Slam Dunk) was at the 250 people capacity Manchester Academy 3 to promote their upcoming album White Crosses, and all for a tenner. Ace!
Getting there at half seven, an hour and a half before the first (and only) support band came on, gave us plenty of time to take advantage of the Student’s Union’s cheap beer as the crowd filtered in.

Instantly bouncing upon stage, Canterbury revved up the crowd within the first couple of songs (dedicated to people who have ever ridden in an ambulance and to anyone who has ever been lost in a basement…yep!) and the academy was soon bopping along to the songs of the pop-rock fivesome, which was pretty hard not to do, they were brilliantly catchy and synced together perfectly; the guitarist’s dancing was particularly special.
All in all, good music, brilliant stage presence and genuinely lovely chaps! Their album is available to download for free at canterburythankyou.com; definitely check them out! Prepped and hyped up, the crowd pushed forward and, pints in hand, lined the stage for Against Me!

The lights dimmed and the sold out Academy roared as they welcomed on the eagerly anticipated headliner. Strolling on stage to Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made for Walking, the crowd erupted and a pit followed seconds later as the Floridian punk rockers jumped straight into High Pressure Low.
Characteristically all dressed in black, Against Me! wasted no time as they rolled straight into song after song, pouring every single ounce of built up energy into the gig upon a crowd of beer-drenched, shouting-along-to-every-single-lyric fans, who had been waiting three years for their return since their last album, New Wave.
The adoring Academy is even treated to a bit of Gabel’s solo stuff, Amputations, which sounded awesome with the full band behind him, a definite highlight of the night!
Against Me! received lashings of sweaty, fist in the air praise throughout the night as they introduced new songs from their unreleased upcoming album White Crosses, including I was a Teenage Anarchist, High Pressure Low, Bamboo Bones and White Crosses.
Marching along to Don’t Lose Touch, maintaining a full blown pit and clapping in unity where applicable throughout, the Academy 3 welcomed back Against Me! leaving the crowd chanting for more at the end of the set.
Introducing the three song encore with a huge grin plastered over his face, telling the fans “this is the best feeling in the world I’m tellin’ ya!” (Tom Gabel) Against Me! dived into Ocean, closely followed by Rapid Decompression, closing the action packed set with “Baby, I’m An Anarchist” and bid Manchester farewell!
Bursting on stage with energy from the support straight on to the encore, the intimacy of the Academy 3 offered a much more personal experience, for both bands and fans, compared to when I first saw them in Toronto. Overall, an amazing gig, worth every penny of my tenner!

White Crosses is released on the 7th/8th June described by Tom Gabel (singer and guitarist) as a “new start” for the band, brimming with devotion, well received by the Manchester crowd and (if this gig was anything to go by) undoubtedly the rest of their European tour.
They’re playing Leeds and Reading festival’s Lock Up Stage too, so if you’re going, check them out! With their energy and raw performance, if you’re an Against Me! fan, you won’t be disappointed!

Album Review :: Against Me! – White Crosses

This album should really be called ‘Marmite’

It seems a strange thing to write a review of an album, that has openly been leaked for quite some time now, but, with me not being part of the illegal download nation is seems appropriate to write this for the actual release date. An album that seems to have torn Against Me! fans down the centre, ladies and gentleman…White Crosses.


The album begins with the album’s title track. A perfect start to the record, it has a driving drum beat, a big arse chorus and enough sing-a-long hooks to keep the audience striving to tear their throats up that little bit more. The songs background comes from white crosses for aborted babies, a subject singer Tom Gabel blasts into on the songs chorus, “White crosses on the church lawns, I wanna smash them all.”

The second track is the bands first single from this record, and a story from Tom’s childhood where during his teenage years he was beaten up by the police. The song itself is a lovely gem of popped up punk rock, and the obvious choice for a single. Not only due to it’s catchy, anarchist-laden accessibility, which caters to both the mainstream moguls and the more ‘hardcore’ AM! fans. How people can confuse better album production (kudos Butch Vig) as ‘selling out’ is beyond me. It’s similar chord progression and song subjects as always.

One thing I doubt any ‘sell out’-labelling AM! fan can dispute, is how goddamn interesting the song subjects are. Because of the Shame is no exception. The song tells the story of a lost love from the past and a funeral procession in her honour. For such morose lyrical content, the musicality of the track is actually quite upbeat, not necessarily happy but more with the punk rock pound familiar with the AM boys. “I watched your mother bury you today, with tears in her eyes. It wasn’t her words that shook me, it was the resemblance you shared.” If that doesn’t bring a tear to the eye of every single listener, then you’re a bunch of heartless bastards.

Next up is Suffocation, which is definitely going to be a fan favourite if not already. The chorus is by far this songs strong point, not to put down anything else about it, but it completely adheres to the fist in the air punk rock mentality AM have previously been so famed for.

Track 5, or We’re Breaking Up as it’s named, is the first song on the album that seems to have strayed away from the usual Against Me! style and taken a more Gabel solo approach. That being said, it is reminiscent of Borne On the FM Waves Of the Heart, from 2007’s New Wave. I make these comparisons lightly, as in no way is this track simply a re-scripted version of that song or Gabel’s solo efforts.

Probably my favourite track on the album, and from what I hear, a few other peoples too. High Pressure Low see’s AM at their best. Rocking hard, fast, with yet another juicy as fuck chorus for everyone to get their teeth into. Politically tinged, socially outspoken words from the mouth of one of the few punk rock spokesmen left in modern times, fronting one of the few true punk rock bands of the past decade. HPL is a perfect example of why White Crosses haters can fuck right off.

It wouldn’t be an Against Me! record without some form of acoustic installment, this comes in the form of Ache With Me, a beautiful song telling a tale of cynicism, confusion, defeat and isolation portrayed in the usual  “sway with me” (bad joke) way that works so damn well when acoustic guitars are implemented into this bands music.

A drastic change as the listener is thrown head first into Spanish Moss, probably the hardest hitting track on the entire record, as far as fan favourites go I can imagine this song being one of the bands favourite songs to play.

It seems I was wrong, as not only is the momentum matched with Rapid Decompression but it’s blown right out of the water. This is true punk rock if I ever heard it, angry, tough yet up-beat and slightly playful. RD is the the most ‘punk’ song on the record, with a repeated hook, heavily distorted guitar riffs, a catchy arpeggio pre-verse riff, a gut-wrenching bassline, drums that sound like they just might explode, pick slides (well one anyway) and all this in under 2 minutes. Fuck yeah.

The album ends with Bamboo Bones which apart from being a pretty freaking cool name for a tune, is vocally the strongest track on the entire record. Vocals aside the song itself is a powerful ballad which seems to be a homage to AM fans telling them to aim for their dreams and all the usual inspiring stuff, but hell, it not only works, but works really fucking well.

P.S George Rebelo from Hot Water Music drums on this record, we’re now best friends, you can ask him.