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 :: Matt Skiba & The Sekrets – Babylon

“…it’s standard Matt Skiba fare with an emphasis on the emotional, the morose and the morbid.”

Having already got one new side-project under his belt for 2012, it was surprising to see Matt Skiba announce that he’d be releasing a full length with, new band, The Sekrets. Though considered a “solo-ish” outing from the Alkaline Trio vocalist/guitarist, Skiba enlisted Hunter Burgan (AFI) and Jarrod Alexander (My Chemical Romance) to help him out with this latest foray into the world of post-punk.

I say it’s a post-punk record, but it still contains a lot of the elements that endeared Skiba to punk fans for the past fifteen-plus years. Unlike his previous effort with Heavens, the record is a lot more upbeat and will sound familiar to fans of his work with The Trio. The addition of a synth and some light vocal effects – mainstays of that late 70s/early 80s post-punk sound – stand out as the the biggest difference between Babylon and newer recorded material. This is no bad thing, and there were times I felt that some of Agony & Irony and This Addiction may have been better served as part of this project.

Lyrically, it’s standard Matt Skiba fare with an emphasis on the emotional, the morose and the morbid, which fit well with the haunting synth tracks that lurk in the background of each song. Though even Skiba can’t be spot on all the time. ‘Luciferian Blues’ and ‘Falling Like Rain’ are the two weakest lyrical efforts on the album, with the latter definitely being the worst track on the record. There’s just a bit too much of that synth and it sounds like a bad 90s dance track.

At it’s worst it’s pretty bad, but there’s a lot to love here. ‘Voices’ and ‘All Fall Down’ make for a great opening to the record and ‘How The Hell Did We Get Here’ is absolutely fantastic. It’s tracks like these that combine the pop, punk, electro and post-punk influences the best and justify the reason for this record’s existence. With that said, despite of its post-punk roots and the clear influence of Joy Division and New Order, it’s not all that downbeat. Skiba still has a knack for making you want to sing along with him, even when it comes to the darkest of subjects.

In fact, it’s actually quite a fun record and feels like the natural progression of what Matt wanted to do with Heavens. Some may scoff that Matt’s not exactly stepped too far out of his comfort zone here, but that doesn’t mean him and the band haven’t made a really good record. It’s punky, poppy and morbid in equal measure, and definitely worth your time.

Moon & Back Session :: Mark McCabe

“She’s not thick, she’s from Austria” – Mark McCabe

Back in March, Scottish singer/songwriter, Mark McShit McCabe went on a tour around the UK with Oxygen Thief. Rather than hang around Manchester all day doing nothing, we took the pair of them under an old railway bridge (you know the one, it’s been in a few of these videos now) and filmed a couple of sessions. Unfortunately for Mark, he could only get one song out before we encountered some technical difficulties. However, all was not lost. Later that night we commandeered a lift in Manchester Piccadilly train station and set the camera rolling again.

Mark performed, a track of his own, ‘Catch The Wind’ (watch the background of that one!) as well as a cover of Alkaline Trio’s ‘Warbrain’. Remember, if you want to see a particular artist perform in session, please leave us a comment, message us on Facebook or hit us up on Twitter. Next week’s session comes courtesy of Joe McCorriston.


‘Catch The Wind’

‘Warbrain’ (Alkaline Trio cover)

These videos were shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions in association with Moon & Back Music.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Alkaline Trio – ‘Goodbye Forever’

“….stuck to the roof of my mouth with a staple.”

A hard abusive vacuum of negativity twists and hides inside your stomach, making the only viable escape an abundance of alcohol fuelled nights combined with a terrifying fear of static living, causing both the mind and body to cave in to defeat.

Again, I’d hit rock bottom. I was keeping busy, but I still couldn’t shake the depression. It was consuming me, and I was spending 70% of my waking moments drinking myself into an oblivion and trying to see the optimism in life. Then it came in the strangest of ways. I found optimism in Leeds. Fuck! I’ve already written that article, so I’ll pick up from where that one finished.

I woke on Barlow’s couch and screamed “WHERE THE HELL AM I?” – A split second of confusion, as I woke in a place I’d never seen before. I was given a lift home from Barlow’s ma and soon after met Lewis. The sun was beaming,  and I still had the edifying passion of yesterday’s antics where the music and company was like fire in my belly. We headed down the canals to a pub where the boats docked and they sold coffee, nuts, beer, and would give you a free pint of water with a slice of lemon if you bought all three; which I did. After we left, we entered an abandoned house, looked around, got lost in a forest and gave some golfers the finger. When we got back to my flat we bought a bunch of beers, pulled out the acoustic and sang Alkaline Trio songs all night.

Alkaline Trio had been my favourite band since I was about 12. Before then it might have very well been New Kids On The Block, but these things I’ve blocked from my memory. Their combination of pop-punk riffs – with dark, intoxicated subject matters for lyrics – have spoken to me in a way no other band ever have. This is where it all began (sort of). ‘Goodbye Forever’ was once my favourite Trio song. Unfortunately, as is the case with many old favourites, they become over played and left on the hypothetical shelf of music that has been burnt out from over indulgence. Lewis blasted it out, and a wave of old emotions from a time of old Trio and white cider with blackcurrent around Manchester on a Saturday afternoon flushed back. We sang it hard, we sang it loud, and I’m sure the Trio would have been proud as long as they never had to hear our off-key vocals shouts.

EP Review :: theHell – Sauves Les Requins

“…harkens back to the early days of the Trio with a little of that post-punk sound that has permeated through Matt’s previous musical efforts.”

Of all the Alkaline Trio boys, Matt Skiba has been the most prolific when it comes to side-projects – he’s gone solo, released a post-punk record, and has got a new album with The Sekrets on the horizon – but he’s always managed to do something interesting with every new creative outlet. This time Skiba has teamed up with, drummer, Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves, Rocket From The Crypt, The Offspring) to form theHell.

At it’s core Sauves Les Requins is a collection of four great punk rock songs, but did you expect anything less? The duo is showcasing what they do best, changing it up enough to make it interesting without leaving ‘die-hard’ fans of their past work disappointed. The result actually feels more like a straight up pop-punk record than a lot of the guys’ recent releases, and I for one welcome that. The polish applied to Angels And Airwaves (and the later Alkaline Trio) records is replaced by something much more raw, and yet it doesn’t feel shoddy or underproduced. Combine that with Skiba’s signature dark lyrical style and fantastic vocal, and you have something special. Something that, for me anyway, harkens back to the early days of the Trio with a little of that post-punk sound that has permeated through Matt’s previous musical efforts.

It’s that link to early Trio that makes me start this up again as soon as it’s finished and, despite not knowing what to expect coming in, I’m longing to hear more. Though there’s been nothing announced regarding a full length I, like many others, will be sorely disappointed if that doesn’t come to pass. This is exactly what I want to hear from a side project, and is sure to excite anyone looking for a fresh but familiar pop-punk sound.

Album Of The Year 2011 :: Barlow’s Top 5

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 Music Editor, Anthony Barlow.

5. Laura Stevenson & The Cans – Sit Resist

It wasn’t one that hit me right away (technology conspired against me), but Sit Resist is a beautiful record. Need I say more? Oh, alright.

I found Sit Resist to be one of the most charming records of the year. It’s uplifting, and often child-like, instrumentation makes it unlike anything I’ve heard in a long time, and Laura’s vocals are nothing less than amazing. Seeing her and the band play live is one of the highlights of this year for me.
Dismiss this record at your peril!

4. Into It. Over It. – Proper

After blasting through all the seven-inches, splits and compilations I could get my hands on, it was great to finally get a proper (sorry, I couldn’t resist) full length out of Into It. Over It. With a sound that I can best describe as “Thursday meets Onelinedrawing”, I immediately fell in love with it.

How I’d not heard Evan’s stuff earlier seems insane. Little did I know that, come the end of the year, he’d have released a record that’d crack my ‘Top 5’ and have even helped spawn a whole new branch of Moon & Back. Cheers, Evan!

3. Ben Marwood – Outside There’s A Curse

It might have been released way back in January, but there was no way I could forget Outside There’s A Curse. Armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, Ben Marwood manages to evoke every emotion possible – each of them encased within some of the cleverest, most poignant, lyrics I’ve ever heard – with this collection of acoustic gems.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Ben is bound for big things so, do yourselves a favour, get in on the ground floor and check out this record. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed. I just wish he’d have put ‘We Are No Longer Twenty-Five On Here!’

2. Dan Andriano In The Emmergency Room – Hurricane Season

Alkaline Trio are one of my favourite bands of all time and Dan Andriano may well be my all time favourite songwriter. So, as you can imagine, I was excited to have an album full of ‘Dan songs’. As excited as I was, I couldn’t help but think this could be an album of Alkaline Trio cast offs.This doubt was soon remedied and, as it turns out, the whole record is a real step away from the kinds of things I’m used to hearing out of Dan.

Hurricane Season feels a lot more personal than his recent songs with Trio, and the wide range of instrumentation makes these songs a hell of a lot more interesting than if this had been another ‘one man and a guitar’ effort.

1. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much

I’m not gonna lie, as soon as I heard Don’t Need Much, I knew it’d be sitting on top of this list come the end of the year. It quickly became one of my go to records, and I reckon it’s been played at least once a day since I got it. I’m not trying to say it’s perfect, but it’s got that something – that thing you just can’t put your finger on – that makes it completely awesome.

It’s a collection of ten, fantastic, simple, (mostly) upbeat, pop punk songs that you can’t help but sing along to. Go get it!

Interview :: Dave Hause

“I feel like a kid at Christmas or something…” – Dave Hause

Though he might be best known to some as frontman of The Loved Ones, Dave Hause has recently been carving out a career for himself as a solo artist. His debut long player Resolutions was released to wide acclaim, causing it to be picked up by Xtra Mile Recordings in the UK, but that hasn’t left him resting on his laurels. We chatted to him before the Manchester leg of the, first ever, European Revival Tour – where he’s appearing alongside Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano and Brian Fallon – about his signing to one of the UK’s most exciting labels, his forthcoming 7″ record releases and his plan for the next Loved Ones record.

Album Review :: Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Hurricane Season

“…a record that’s so different from his other work, and yet it still feels very similar. If that makes sense?”

It’s been a few years since Dan Andriano announced his solo project, The Emergency Room. Having previously released some acoustic demos online and nothing more, some thought the project may never see the light of day. Going under the moniker of Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room, the Alkaline Trio bassist has finally let his debut solo creation see the light of day and has surpassed all my expectations.

I think he’s written the best of Alkaline Trio’s songs and I adore Tuesday’s Freewheelin’, but I really didn’t know how a Dan Andriano solo record would pan out. Had it been just another ‘punk goes acoustic’ effort I wouldn’t have been disappointed, but I’d have certainly thought it was a missed opportunity. So when I heard the piano come in on, opening track, ‘It’s Gonna Rain All Day’ I couldn’t have been happier. As the album progressed, and more instruments were introduced. Add to that, Dan’s fantastic lyrics, especially his knack for wordplay, and I wondered why I’d ever doubted that Hurricane Season could be anything less than fantastic.

In fact, I’d go as far to say that, within this collection of songs are some of Dan’s finest. Not only are they great songs, but they really show off his range as a songwriter and reveal some of the influences that might not be as clear in his other work. ‘Let Me In’ has got this great rock & roll sound to it, kind of like if Elvis Costello played stuff from the current punk scene. The same atypical influences can be seen in ‘Me And Denver’. Whilst it’s been said countless times before, by better writers than I, that Dan Andriano was the first crooner of punk rock this track typifies that. It feels almost like an more modern Neil Diamond song, and that’s no bad thing.

Hurricane Season has really allowed Dan to push himself as a songwriter, and take risks he might otherwise not be able to with Alkaline Trio. It’s a record that’s so different from his other work, and yet it still feels very similar. If that makes sense? It’s easily the best thing to come out of Alkaline Trio in the past few years (and that’s coming from a fan of their recent work), and is easily my favorite record of the year so far.

Album Review :: Alkaline Trio – Damnesia

“Unfortunately this level of interest can’t be sustained throughout…”

I’ve always hated the idea of a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation: Putting a bunch singles together in a fancy new package with a couple of extra tracks (if you’re lucky!) and re-releasing them, to me, feels a little disingenuous – “Buy all the songs you already know and love…again!” So when Alkaline Trio announced Damnesia I, unlike the majority of the internet, was happy. It wasn’t just going to be a simple greatest hits album. It was going to be “re-imagined” versions of Trio classics, and that’s what we’ve got…kind of.

When I think of classic Trio tracks the last two albums don’t feature too heavily, if at all. That’s not to say they’re bad songs (I actually really like those albums), I just felt that they’re a little too recent for something like this. So kicking off this record with ‘Calling All Skeletons’ wouldn’t have been my first choice. Regardless, the new version is good. The eerie piano opening was a great way to open the record and I particularly like the Spanish-style guitar that’s been implemented throughout. Despite it being such a recent addition to the Trio catalogue, it’s one of the more interesting songs on the record.

Unfortunately this level of interest can’t be sustained throughout. Though each ‘re-imagined’ song is definitely more stripped down than the original, some of these tracks have barely been worked on. To call acoustic versions of old songs ‘re-imagined’ seems really lazy, and wasn’t something I expected. It’s not that these acoustic versions are bad, I actually really like them, but hearing the added instrumentation on tracks like ‘Radio’ and ‘The American Scream’, makes the purely acoustic songs seem a little lackluster. That’s not to say that adding new elements makes a song better. For example, ‘Private Eye’ sounds more like a more polished track from Matt Skiba’s solo album – It just doesn’t have that Trio sound I’m looking for.

The two new songs are good, but not great. ‘Olde English 800’ – presumably an ode to Skiba’s favorite lager – is catchy enough, but it feels a little too short. It’s got one of those added ‘sound effects’ that can be heard on recent Trio releases (the ‘ticking clock’ on ‘Lost And Rendered’, and the ‘scattering insects’ on ‘Dorothy’, e.t.c.) that usually sound out of place. However, I quite this one. Probably to the contrary of many other Trio fans. ‘I Was On A Rooftop’ is the other new addition on Damnesia. It being a ‘Dan song’, I was expecting a lot and it doesn’t really deliver. It’s got all the qualities of a Dan Andriano track, but there’s something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps if they play it live with a full band it’ll click with me.

Alongside the two new tracks, there’s a cover of The Violent Femmes’ ‘I Held Her In My Arms’. This could be my favorite track on the record. They took a great song and made it their own, which is exactly what you want from a cover. I say they made it their own but, It’s got this ‘country punk’ vibe to it, and I actually think it sounds more like a Lucero song. My point is, that it’s great.

Billing this collection as “re-imagined” had me thinking we might here Dan covering one of Matt’s songs (and vice versa), or that the instrumentation might have been completely off the wall. On the whole I think Damnesia is a good record, I just wish there’d been more done with some of the songs than there was. Despite that, I think this was a good experiment. Trio shunned the traditional ‘Greatest Hits’ release in favor of something a little different, and they’ve got to be commended for that.

Interview :: Roo Pescod (Bangers)

“I saw Robson Green on an island, and his whole tent blew away…Chuck Ragan would’ve handled that better” – Roo Pescod

Readers of Moon & Back Music will know that we’re always out to deliver hard hitting interviews, so we made sure to quiz, Bangers singer, Roo Pescod on all the important issues. We caught up with Roo outside Retro Bar in Manchester, and talked about what makes the ‘Bangers sound’, their upcoming appearance at FEST 10, the meaning behind ‘Geeks & Pedophiles’ and pasties (because Bangers are from Cornwall).