Songs To Cure Depression :: Danny Small – ‘My Girl’

“Sweeter than warm Cherry Pie.”

Okay, so we’ve entered into a situation where nothing has been wrote on the site since the last “Songs to Cure Depression” and it makes me think one of three things.
1. This should be bi-weekly and I’m writing far too much for one writer to write on one site.
2. We need more goddamn writers on the site.
3. I really don’t give a fuck about points 1 or 2 because this is magic.
So lets run with the latter.

My day (today) started hungover with the low lows, depression had reared its ugly head and nothing I did was getting rid of it. So I hit the bottle, the cowards way out. But I was out , out in the big wide world of the trafford centre when I started drinking so it wasn’t all bad. I was with a good friend (Lewis) and we drank hard, made arse-holes of ourselves and rode the bumper cars.
I’d won a plush PacMan toy from a grab machine and an hilarious 4 year old with his French parents kept us amused in the indoor wetherspoons so I gave the damn thing to him.
“say thankyou.”
“yeah.”
Hell. that was good enough for me. Then we played laserquest and as a duo we took on the staff there and won. BUT WE ARE MISSING THE MAIN POINT.
I was introduced to this song this morning (before the low lows fully set in) by a young lady with a great soul and, shit, I was blown away. Maybe this is a testament to how the talented can fall through the slits in grids and become tramps, or maybe it isn’t. I couldn’t tell you. What I can say is that Danny Small has more talent than 12 Olly Murs, 17 Alexandra Burkes, and pisses on Justin Bieber like he was nothing but a bleach cake in a urinal (which has about the same amount of talent.) This is what every miserable shit in a suit riding the subway (or underground as they call in in London ((or BUS as we call it in Manchester))) needs to shoot a hot load of sweaty sunshine right into that glory hole in between the gluteus maximus muscles.
Plus, I love cherry pie.

Interview :: Throwing Stuff

Throwing Stuff At ManchFESTer II - © 2012 J-Clique Photography

“Throwing Stuff is a collective of people who party hard and don’t learn how to play songs” – Alun Matthews (Throwing Stuff)

Ahead of their show in support of Sharks (yeah…we know), I interviewed Throwing Stuff. The band have gained a loyal fan-base and much notoriety for their high energy, erratically entertaining performances, and kept that up during our little chat outside of The Star & Garter in Manchester. We talked about falling down stairs, possible recordings and what Throwing Stuff actually is.



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.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #32: “Bill Murray Gets More Snatch Than Me”

“Good afternoon, and welcome to the misogynist podcast” – Barry

We’re back from our Christmas break with an awesome show all about last year. Emma Hallows, Andy Greenland, and our friend Barry (who you might remember from episode 30) all joined us to talk about all the good stuff that happened last year, and to look forward to the year ahead. We talked about everything from Chuck Ragan to Southsea Fest and handed out the not at all coveted ‘Under The Bridge Awards’.

In between our ranting and raving we also played some awesome music from the likes of The Menzingers, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun and even Amy Winehouse. We hope you enjoyed the show. If you didn’t, email us at – utbcast [at] gmail [dot] com and tell us how utterly shit we are.

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #32: “Bill Murray Gets More Snatch Than Me”

You can also subscribe to the show on iTunes

Podcast :: UTB #29: “No Helen, You’re Not Shit”

“It’s like the lesbian concept…” – Ian Critchley

We decided, in our infinite wisdom, to dedicate this episode of Under The Bridge to our friend Helen Chambers. Helen’s an awesome singer/songwriter from York (check her session out!) and, seeing as she made a few cameos o The Revival Tour this year, we thought we’d give her a ring so she could talk about her experiences on the tour – which included singing songs with Chuck Ragan and Dan Andriano. We were also joined by Jenny Gorton, who judged us way too harshly as we talked about The Borrowers, this year’s Warped Tour and why Dave Hause might think we’re stalking him, amongst other things.

Music this week was provided by Helen Chambers. We hope you enjoy the show. If you do, please rate, review and subscribe on iTunes, ‘Like’ us on Facebook and maybe even follow us on Twitter. If you want to listen to past episodes, you can go to the Under The Bridge website. Please do, that would be awesome!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #29: “No Helen, You’re Not Shit”

Podcast :: UTB #28: “This Review Is Totally Based On Opinion”

“…and I’ve been insulting as fuck” – Ian Critchley

After a month of absence the Under The Bridge podcast is back, baby! Did you miss us? I know you did. After The Stone Roses reformed last week, we decided to talk about the ‘reunification’ of bands: The ones that did it well, the ones that didn’t and the ones we’d really like to see happen. Music this week is ‘tribal’, in some sense at least. Ian found an old CD and that’s how it began.

We probably should have played a bit of STEPS or The Stone Roses, perhaps even a bit of Take That. Instead, music this week comes from: Crazy Arm, A Tribe Called Quest, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and…The World Wide Message Society. Y’know, because that’s how we roll: 80’s cheese, awesome British punk, old school hip-hop and bad religious…something.

Go on, have a listen -or- Subscribe on iTunes

Under The Bridge #28: “This Review Is Totally Based On Opinion” (right click to download)

Feature :: Ten Tips For Touring

“Instant cool points at the expense of a soul which was being crushed by sitting alone in the fucking Island Bar in Birmingham drinking £3 stubby bottles of Becks while some moron plays some shite version of a Paulo Nutini song…”

Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, but it took me many attempts at touring (plus numerous weekenders here and there) to work them out. The first time was in July 2007 when I decided to head out around the UK to play songs for people. It was an unmitigated disaster. I spent most nights playing to indifferent audiences in bars or open-mics, and then sleeping in Youth Hostels alone till I could travel to the next city on the megabus. To say it was soul destroying would be ideal, except for an excellent gig in Liverpool with Alun Parry that made it all worth it.

It wasn’t till over a year later, in the September of 2008 that I tried again. This time I took three months to plan a two week set of dates with a great folk-singer called Al Baker from Manchester. My brother also came along for the ride and to add mandolin to my songs. This took us from the North East of Scotland, all the way down to Brighton with a good number of perfect gigs in between (but also a couple poorer ones).

Heading out with my brother and Al taught me the importance of company in these journeys, and so the next few times I went out, it was always with another act. Roscoe Vacant (Scotland’s greatest contemporary songwriter) joined me on my most successful tour, ie, we didn’t lose money, in March of 2009, and then I hit the road with Adam Boucher and his band a year later in March of 2010. It wasn’t a great success, for a number of reasons (not following the tips below being one).

Luckily I went out with Adam Boucher again, with both of us playing solo, in February of this year and it was a much better experience. Nothing like splitting the surplus cash at the end of the tour when you go your separate ways!

So, in no particular order, here are my ten tips for getting around the UK to play music to folk, and not killing your love of doing it in the process.


Plan Your Route
One of the headaches when you are trying to plan a series of dates is the eventuality that you are going to have a massively long drive between two gigs. The geography of the UK is such that you can easily plan it out to have a maximum of two hours drive between gigs, and if you book early enough then gigs can usually be shifted around to accommodate this. It might take a bit more work than just accepting the first gigs that get offered for the sake of going on tour (OMGZLOLZ TOURING etc), but it will pay off in the long run. Advantages include less cost of traveling, more time spent in gig towns with friends, and of course, a longer lie in after the gig!

Payment
Unless you have a large disposable income (or a very forgiving wife), you are going to need some cash to get on the road. There isn’t a one size fits all rule for money for gigs when touring as an unsigned act. The major rule that I would always use (reinforced by one gig in London on the Adam Boucher gig) is to avoid the payment schemes along the lines of “you get £1 per head after the first 20 folk to see you”. Ok, it’s fine if you can pull 40 folk through the door to earn a couple of tenners, but it’s a large risk.

On the band tour with Adam, we had a fair number through the door,but the person marking the heads through the door split the total between myself and Adam, halving the probability of paying out. The bar made a killing though, more so as they didn’t need to pay out.

I’ve heard of some solo acoustic-artists-who-used-to-be-in-hardcore-bands ™ using a payment scheme along the lines of asking for the cost of their train ticket to the gig plus £20 as a minimum. Most of the times, I’ll make the promoter aware of the amount of cash I’m looking for (usually enough to cover the petrol) and make up the difference by selling my CD, and around 80% of the time, this works. Of course, if you need to find a place to stay, and are not having food provided, then it’s OK to up the amount of cash you are looking for!

Days Off
If time equals money, then days off equals a waste of time. Unless you have friends of family to visit, feed you, and give you a bed, nearby the gigs that sandwich your free time, it’s absolutely more useful to play a shit gig with the prospect of selling a few CDs, perhaps an open mic or someone’s front room. Of course, then you no longer have a day off, so everyone wins!

Food
I could eat steak every night, with a nice pepper sauce, and perhaps a fine red wine to wash it down. However, on tour this might only occur with a) a very generous promoter, or b) cash. Normally my diet on tour consists of filled rolls from village shops (service stations are too expensive, and there’s always a village shop nearby), or what ever the promoter can provide.

My favourite tour meal belongs to Hornby, just off the M6, where the guy who usually does my gigs there makes an awesome vegan chilli, followed by olives placed around the gig in little bowls. Sublime.

It has also proved useful in the past to pack a carrier bag of instant noodles, breakfast cereal and instant coffee for those times when cash is running low and the next gig is an unknown.

Away From The M6
This ties to the previous discussion of food and how I’ve found that some of the best places to play are the ones that are slightly harder to get to. By all means book shows along the backbone of Britain for ease of driving and cheaper petrol, but this means missing out on the thousands of small villages and towns where the local pub can be the gig.

Perhaps seven out of ten times I chose to play in a small village, the show has been brilliant, well paid, great atmosphere and motivation to keep going. I’m looking at you Milnsbridge, Hornby, and Trefforest. These gigs are usually harder to find but they are out there, it just sometimes means making an actual phone call to a Real Ale pub rather than a mass MySpace/Facebook message to a pay-to-play promoter in a big city.

80% Promoters, 20% Bookers

A promoter is a person who puts together a gig and promotes it, puts the word about and get’s folk through the door. A booker books bands for a gig.

Unless you are desperate to play in a town for a large number of people who genuinely want to see you play, a promoter is always preferable (in fact, even in this case, a promoter is preferable!).

Promoters sometimes work with bookers in that the venues they use may piggy-back on a regular live night, but with the promoter taking time to get the word out. I’ve played many times on these types of arrangements and if the promoter does their job, it feels like your own gig even when it’s the weekly Acoustic Night in a Student pub.

No Gig Is Too Small, But Some Are ‘Way’ Too Big
Chances are if you are reading this and looking to tour, you’re in the same boat as me. I’d rather play a small venue to a small number of people than play a massive (e.g. 300 capactiy) venue to a small number of people. I guess this comes down to being a bit picky with the gigs that are on offer. Crap gigs are really bad for motivation, and so its best to reduce the chances of this happening.

Why Do You Really Want To Play In Birmingham*?

© 2011 Matt Latham

Open up any music magazine and look at the adverts for UK tours that are being promoted, nearly all of them will have a Birmingham date listed. There are lots of places to play in Birmingham, and everyone has heard of Birmingham. Yeah, so it must be a good place to play, right? Well, that depends. If you have ‘fans’ or friends in Birmingham who will come out and watch you play, then yeah, other wise, why do you want to play in Birmingham?

First time I went out around the UK, I played mainly the big cities thinking that the attraction of a traveling musician would be enough to bring people out of their houses. It also meant I could list a whole bunch of cities on my tour route that folk knew about, “yeah, I’m hitting London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle”. Instant cool points at the expense of a soul which was being crushed by sitting alone in the fucking Island Bar in Birmingham drinking £3 stubby bottles of Becks while some moron plays some shite version of a Paulo Nutini song to welcome a hen party that has just arrived.

I didn’t return to the Birmingham area until a promoter called James got in touch about a series of charity gigs he was putting on in the nearby market town of Wednesbury. He re-instated my faith with that part of the country by putting together a good bill of acts, good drinks prices, friendly atmosphere and generally a good gig. This has given me a good reason to re-add that part of the country to my list of places to play

*I’m purely using Birmingham as an example these days.

Return The Favours
A lot of the gigs that I play around the country are put on by other people who play the same music. I’m being a bit of a hypocrite in adding this tip as I’ve not been able to return the favour these last two years as I would have liked. Basically, if someone goes out of their way to put together a show for you, always consider doing the same for them. Although, if the show they put on is shit, and they are the reason it’s shit, best scrub their name from your address book. Best for everyone.

Be Polite

Goes without saying.


Dave Hughes wrote this article. When he’s not writing articles for Moon & Back Music (which is rarely, as this is his first) he’s making music, either on his own or with The Renegade Folk Punk Band. You can check out his music on his website or over at Bandcamp. You should do. It’s great!

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #24: She Tricked Me With Her Vagina -or- Have I Got Enough For Bus Fare? (1st Anniversary Show!)

“I might just start selling my shit, like…One of your five a day” – Ian Critchley

Can you believe that, a little over a year ago, the idea of doing a podcast was just a passing thought? Oh how far we’ve come. There’s been times when we ran way too long, times when the audio quality wasn’t exactly the best and we’ve definitely offended every listener we have at least once. Despite all of this (and Ian’s original misgivings) we recorded 24 episodes of Under The Bridge.


It started off as little more than two, badly recorded, dudes getting drunk over Skype and talking crap about the latest nuggets of wisdom, bestowed upon us by the music industry. Today…it’s still the same, with Skype replaced by Ian’s flat. In all seriousness though, we’ve had some great guests on the show: Ben Marwood, Chris Farren (Fake Problems), Giles Bidder (Great Cynics) and Jeff Clemens (Gamerwok Entertainment), just to name a few. We’ve also crafted a much tighter, well prepared show. Yes, believe it or not a lot of thought goes into each UTB recording.

So, if you enjoy “the podcast that Chris Farren hates most” – hearing the “Frank Turner Minute”, our stories of woe and all our crudest moments – thank you. I just have one question…why? (Leave your responses in the comments). Anyway, here’s to another fantastic year of Under The Bridge. We’ve got some great stuff coming up that we think you’ll be into. For now, why not listen to Episode #24, or maybe you should watch it?

Cheers!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #24: She Tricked Me With Her Vagina -or- Have I Got Enough For Bus Fare? (stream/download or subscribe on iTunes)

Or, perhaps you’d like to watch it?



Music – The Falcon – God Don’t Make No Trash -or- Up Your Ass With Broken Glass

  • Feed The Monkey, Drown The Worm -or- Goin’ Home
  • Look Ma! No Fans! -or- Do You Want Fries With These Songs?
  • I’m So Happy I Could Just Cry Myself To Sleep -or- The Routes We Wander
  • Building The Perfect Asshole Parade -or- Scratching Off The Fleas
  • Huffing The Proverbial Line Off The Proverbial Dong -or- The Blood And The Frog

News:

  • Chuck Ragan collaborating with Jon Gaunt, Joe Ginsberg, Todd Beene (Lucero), Frank Turner, Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem) and more on new record.
  • Billy Bragg releases ‘Never Buy The Sun’
  • Henry Rollins touring the UK in 2012
  • Against Me! Talk White Crosses re-release
  • Frank Carter leaves The Gallows
  • Weezer announce cruise
  • Chuck Ragan/Helen Chambers/Sam Russo/Jimmy Islip split coming via Specialist Subject
  • Barlow & Ian (and Jon Snodgrass) name Austin Lucas’ new backing band

Outro:

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

The Podcast

Moon & Back

Podcast :: Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows”

“I’m going to write opinionated pieces about how much of a twat I am” – Ian Critchley

We were out of action for almost a month, but this week marks the return of Under The Bridge. This week’s a pretty good one, though it is marred by a few technical issues. We, again, recorded the show in the same room, something that seems unlikely to change any time soon. The change of scenery and increased alcohol consumption resulted in us calling up a few people we know. James Hull (Leagues Apart) makes a, half asleep, appearance on the show this week. His appearance was followed up by Great Cynics’ vocalist Giles Bidder, who was more than happy to accept our call and egg us on to call more people. However, because we called from a mobile, the interference is pretty bad. You can still make out what everyone’s saying but it’s pretty bad. Other than that, it’s a good show. Enjoy!

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #22: “I Don’t Even Lift Cows” (stream/download/subscribe on iTunes)


Music – Great Cynics

  • Nightcaps
  • All The Time Every Time
  • Not Saying Sorry
  • Moorhen

News:

  • Frank Turner Minute
  • Menzingers’ short UK tour
  • Morrissey debuts new songs
  • American Idiot: The Movie
  • Riots at Against Me! show
  • Alkaline Trio debut new/old track
  • Members of Mastodon, The Mars Volta, Janes Addiction and Dillinger Escape Plan to form ‘supergroup’
  • Mariachi El Bronx to release second album
  • Great Cynics’ Don’t Need Much is out!

Outro:

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

The Podcast

Moon & Back

Under The Bridge #20: Milo Lost His Voice

“I Have Never Satisfied A Woman, I Have Never Satisfied A Woman” – Ian Critchley

To try and get us back to our bi-weekly schedule we’ve got another, highly topical, Under The Bridge podcast for you this week. Barlow and Ian sat and chatted about Descendents’ fun, but shambolic, show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Against Me! taking on the One Tree Hill theme tune, Blink-182’s cancelled European plans and the Westboro Baptist Church’s picket of a Less Than Jake gig.

Go on, have a listen:

Under The Bridge #20: Milo Lost His Voice (Download or Subscribe on iTunes)


Music – Descendents

  • Suburban Home
  • Rotting Out
  • Coolidge
  • Sour Grapes
  • Catalina

News:

  • Bad Religion’s two 2011 UK shows
  • Laura Stevenson & The Cans give away their album
  • Against Me! to release new 7″, tour with Lemuria and Screaming Females, record One Tree Hill theme song
  • Vinnie Fiorello (Less Than Jake) responds to WBC picket
  • The Emmergency Room (Dan Andriano) album out this summer
  • Blink-182 postpone 2011 European tour

Main Topic

  • Descendents’ shambolic show at Shepherd’s Bush

Outro
Questions/Emails

Where Can We Find You On The Internet?

Anthony

Ian

  • Facebook – Harmonica Frank
  • Blog

The Podcast

Moon & Back

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