Interview :: Dive Dive

“I fucking loved Reuben and I think Very Fast Very Dangerous is one of the great lost albums. Somebody needs to say, ‘that is one of the best rock albums of the past fifteen years’.” – Nigel Powell

Dive Dive are a band that are hard to categorize. Often compared to Reuben, the Oxford four-piece have been kicking it since 2001. In that time they’ve managed to release three albums and help launch the solo career of a certain Mr. Turner. Seeing as three quarters of the band would be heading out on Turner’s UK tour anyway, it only makes sense for Xtra Mile’s latest recruits to reintroduce themselves. We chatted to Jamie and Nigel for a while in Sheffield about the trials of touring and how they might deal with being thought of as ‘Frank’s band with a different singer’.

Anthony Barlow: How’s it going guys?

Jamie Stewart: Good

Nigel Powell: Very Good

AB: You seemed a little stressed when we saw you before Nigel, are you alright?

NP: I’m not stressed, no. It’s just that I’ve got a cold and I was just going out to the bus for something…

AB: When you got jumped by a bunch of people.

JS: [to Nigel] Someone stole your crumpets

NP: Yep, somebody stole my crumpet. I was getting the Marmite from the bus to put on my crumpet in the venue and someone took my crumpet. How about that?

Ian Critchley: Who’d do such a thing? That’s just sick.

JS: So low.

NP: That’s the kind of tour we’re on, guys. I don’t know what to tell you.

IC: How’s the tour going?

JS: We’re with a bunch of ruthless, merciless…

NP: It’s fine. I mean, it kinda felt to me like last night in Preston was the first proper night of the tour, because Aberdeen was fucked. We couldn’t get there. Trying to get to Glasgow for, what was, the proper first night of the tour was so stressful. A lot of our crew were in Newcastle so the bus picked us up in the South of the country and tried to get them from Newcastle. We couldn’t get to Newcastle, because Newcastle was covered in snow and the whole thing was just like “oh no, this isn’t going to happen!” So Glasgow, I think, for both Dive Dive and for Frank, things were a little bit tense, because everyone involved with the whole show was just going “oh my god, oh my god”. Last night was good.

JS: Everything dropped into place. In Glasgow, it was all so last minute and it came across as last minute. It was almost like watching a really long sound check, I’m sure. It was fine but, in terms of how much fun people had on stage last night compared to the night before, yeah. We’re rearing to go now.

AB: I thought it was a little weird actually for the tour to go North and then back down South again. Nigel, you’ve experienced one of Frank’s mad tours before…

NP: Yeah, that’s down to the people who book the shows. They try to make it sensible. This is actually a lot better than some tours I’ve been on. When you’re in a van and it’s kinda like Aberdeen, Southampton, Glasgow and you go “you really don’t know what’s going on, do you?” *laughs*. It’s fine, it’s good to be busy with this kind of thing. I’m actually, even though I’m playing in the support band and the main band, I’m slightly less busy on this tour than I was on the last Frank tour, because I was doing the lights as well.

AB: Jamie, you’re kind of the ‘tour rookie’ compared to the rest of the band, as it were…

NP: Yeah, yeah, yeah

IC: How’s it been?

JS: I try to preempt a lot of the bullshit that I was expecting from the rest of the band and Frank and stuff like that, so all of this condescending crap that they give me like “oh no, you don’t sleep in that bunk” or “you don’t ever poo in the toilet” I try to get it out of their systems by asking loads of really dumb questions over a series of days leading up to the tour, so they got really pissed off with me and now it’s ok. I think I’ve slipped into it quite well. I understand that the crew that we have on the bus are fairly superhuman and to not try and keep pace with their drinking or anything like that, because then there will be no more signing from me. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s luxurious. You talked about the routing being all over the place, I don’t give a toss. I go to sleep and I wake up in the next town. It could be badly routed and I’d never know. Yeah, it’s great.

AB: Dive Dive has recently just been signed by Xtra Mile and you’re two previous albums are being re-released. Is this something you guys wanted to do or just a requirement from the label?

NP: No, it certainly wasn’t a requirement. They were mainly interested in the new album, but our first two albums were released on two different record companies, who have both since gone belly up. I don’t know if one fact is to do with the other… *laughs*. It meant that, ultimately, they actually weren’t available anywhere, but we had the rights to them so we asked Xtra Mile to put them up on iTunes.

IC: The new album is being released digitally on the 6th [of December], but isn’t coming out, physically, until January. Why’s that?

NP: Partially because the industry, despite the fact that it’s kinda dying on it’s feet, there’s still some things in the industry which hold true. One of which is, Shops, between October and December, are full of compilations, Christmas carol albums, all of the big hitters – Take That – will release their album running up to Christmas, so people will buy it for people as a Christmas present. As soon as you get into the new year, that kind of all disappears immediately, so there’s more room for a smaller band to try and get actual CDs on the shelves.

AB: Could you not have just released a Christmas carol album?

NP: We could, but I fear…

JS: I like it!

AB: A Dive Dive Christmas?

JS: Totally. Oh, imagine it.

NP: Picture us with walnuts by the fire.

JS: I’d definitely go traditional with it. I mean, we have friends in bands that have done Christmas singles and they’re always a little bit comedy or punk versions of ‘White Christmas’ and stuff like that. Ed Harcourt, who’s playing tonight, has got a fantastic Christmas song called ‘Satan Came Down The Chimney’. It’s a great Christmas song. No, I like the traditional idea of doing it as well as possible, with sleigh bells and stuff like that.

NP: Yeah, absolutely.

AB: I can’t wait *laughs*. Are you guys expecting any kind of backlash after signing with Xtra Mile? People saying stuff like “oh they’ve only been signed there because they’re Frank’s band”

JS: I couldn’t give a fuck in all honesty.

NP: Possibly, but in order to have a backlash against a band they need to, at least, be reasonably successful.

IC: So you’re hoping for a backlash then? *laughs*

NP: *laughs* I think we’re pretty safe for the moment. It just makes sense to be with Xtra Mile, because a lot of people are gonna be interested because of the connection with Frank. Although he’s gone on to massive success, we actually pre-date Frank. We met him when we were supporting Reuben, before he left Million Dead. We got him his agent and kinda helped him out and stuff. From our side, it kinda feels like a parallel development, except someone’s gone a little further ahead *laughs*.

JS: And the label judge it on it’s own merits as well. They kinda listen to the album and go “can we work with this?”. Obviously, the answer’s yes and Matt’s got a band as well. I don’t see him releasing an album *laughs*.

IC: *laughs* What do you guys think of the song title ‘Swim Like A Shark, Not Like A Rock’? I thought of it last night, and thought I’d just put it out there. You can have that. That’s my gift to you, Merry Christmas!

JS: Swim like a shark, not like a rock? I like it. It makes me think of that Futurama monologue, There’s two kinds of people in this world, the sharks and the sheep *laughs*

IC: Yeah, I know the one. So do you think you’ll name one of your songs that?

JS: *laughs*

NP: If I could step in and say we can’t promise.

IC: Ok *laughs*. Musically, you seem quite similar to Reuben. Sort of like a more accessible take on what they were doing?

NP: Yeah, maybe. The melodic thing, I think our Jamie and Reuben’s Jamie have a similar grasp of…

JS: When we first started playing with Reuben and hanging out with them, we were very similar. Very, sort of, punk pop kind of bands. And then Jamie – Jamie number one – went a bit more hardcore with it and a bit filthier. I said to him, it was a little more metal and grungier and he said “you think it’s stupid or something?!” *laughs*. He got really arsey with me. But we went for a slightly more jagged kind of, poppy, side of things.

NP: I don’t see us as mainstream, strangely enough. Take us and Reuben at the time they were doing Too Fast Too Dangerous and we’re both about there [in the middle of a line demonstrated by Nigel’s arms] and we’ve kinda gone that way [left]. I feel that we’re equally away from the mainstream on different sides. We’re kind of more stop start and jagged.

JS: Did you see the video for ‘Liar’?

AB & IC: Yeah, yeah.

JS: That’s how he dresses! I said “is he just wearing that for the video?”, but no he just wants to look like that.

IC: We’ve got a bit of a joke question for you now. Do you think Reuben failed as a band finacially, because Jamie Lenman bought too many shit, expensive suits and too much tache wax?

NP & JS: *laughs*

IC: Sorry, that’s a terrible question *laughs*

NP: What a loaded question. I fucking loved Reuben and I think Very Fast Very Dangerous is one of the great lost albums. Somebody needs to say, “that is one of the best rock albums of the past fifteen years”.

Frank Turner: I have a question for you. Why don’t you play ‘Good Show’ anymore? *laughs*

NP & JS: *laughs*

IC: Will you play ‘Good Show’? *laughs*

NP: We can, if we can remember it. We’ve played that song two and a half thousand times. Every time we come to rehearsal we’re like “we can’t remember it” and then something just goes ‘click’ and we’re playing it again. Anyway, thank you very much.

AB: No, thank you guys. Cheers!

Promo :: Crazy Arm & Apologies, I Have None UK Tour

“There’s nothing left for us in the city, I’ll take my chances on the road”

Crazy Arm are easily the best band to come out of the UK in many years. Their debut album Born To Ruin – or “Born To Run” as many dipshit record store workers have labeled it (it isn’t a Bruce Springsteen covers album!) – has been hailed by many of the well known faces of the punk rock world as being the best album of the year/decade/century.

Guys like Tom Gabel of Against Me! – “I can’t stop listening to Crazy Arm. Their album, Born to Ruin, is the best I’ve heard in a while.”

Also on the tour are the band Apologies, I Have None. I recently (about ten minutes before writing this) wrote an article on the band, you can read that here.

  • 9th Cavern, Exeter (TBC)
  • 10th Unit, Southampton
  • 11th The Croft, Bristol
  • 12th Hobos, Bridgend (+ The Living Daylights + Solutions + more)
  • 13th TBC
  • 14th Scruffy Murphy’s, Birmingham
  • 15th The Wildman, Norwich
  • 16th Santiagos, Leeds
  • 17th Everything Sucks, Cafe El Paso, London
  • 18th White Rabbit, Plymouth (+ Head Of Programmes)

Crazy Arm’s new single ‘Ambertown’/’Sweet Storm’ is released on 13th December (digitally on Xtra Mile Recordings; vinyl on Gunner Records).

Album Review :: The Xcerts – Scatterbrain

“Play Some Reuben!” – Ian Critchley

Ian’s cries from the front row during Southsea Fest forced a wry smile to cross Murray MacLeod’s face. Perhaps it was in recognition? I think so. There was no hate in Mr Critchley’s words, he was merely making a point. One that I agree with – this band have quite a bit in common with Reuben. They’ve brought a bit of the Surrey-based outfit’s post-hardcore style back, but in a more accessible way. I like it, I like it a lot.

If I was to describe Scatterbrain in one word, it would be “powerful”. Each track on the album has a great passion behind it. It’s easy to see that this record means a lot to the guys and that’s important to me. When you get bands making albums for reasons other than they really want to, you don’t get the same effect. It just doesn’t come across right. Now I’ve mentioned “post-hardcore” and “powerful” and I can tell what you might be thinking. No, this isn’t an album full of screaming and heavy distortion. In fact, it’s the opposite to that. It’s emotionally powerful and that’s been captured perfectly by, producer, Mike Sapone.

For a band so early into their career it’s odd to see such a difference between their debut and this album. In The Cold Wind We Smile hits the listener immediately, whereas Scatterbrain builds and flourishes into a great album. It’s a real grower. It might not hit you on first listen, but give it time and you’ll be singing it’s praises. It’s packed with subtleties that you don’t often find in a record like this. Little things that make tracks like ‘Gum’ so brilliant.

Those looking for the ‘hardcore’ experience (and wonder where the Reuben comparisons are coming from) will find that in tracks like ‘Hurt With Me’ and the aforementioned amongst others. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an identical experience to a Reuben record. There’s nothing on the scale of something like ‘Our Song’ in terms of screaming. The two bands just share similar qualities. Ones that help the band and this album appeal to a wider group of people. I won’t be surprised when the hardcore kids are listening to this whilst tracks like ‘Young (Belane)’ can be heard coming from the UK’s indie-rock clubs and ‘Hurt With Me’ is being played on Radio 1. There’s a lot to love here and it’s rare that a band has the potential for such wide appeal.

I’m giving The Xcerts a lot to live up to, but they deserve such comparisons and praise. Scatterbrain is a real tour de force of an album. One that show’s the bands range of sounds, that they’re in no way a throwback to a forgotten scene. The guys have really pulled it out here and have become one of my favorite UK bands with this record. If you haven’t heard this, you need to.

Promo :: Frank Turner’s New Single – ‘Try This At Home’

“Some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks”

I’ve not written about Frank Turner in a while, something that may come as a shock to casual Moon & Back readers (whoever they are, I know you’re all hardcore). Well now seems as good a time as any, because he’s got a new single out and it’s dead good. Honest!

Earlier this year, Frank asked everyone to do exactly what the song says and ‘Try This At Home’. Alongside a few other judges, Frank picked out two B-sides for this latest release (one from the UK and one from elsewhere) that were submitted by fans. How cool is that?! Well now the single is being released and there’s a video for it, also featuring a bunch of Frank Turner fans. The new video, which was shot in a park – a place more appropriate for another track from Poetry Of The Deed – can be seen below. Look at it, listen to it (in all it’s censored glory) and then go and buy it.

You could get it from your favored digital download specialist, or perhaps you want it on an exclusive 7″ vinyl. Well if you do want the latter (I do) you can order it at Banquet Records. Do it! Now look at this video.

Podcast :: Under The Bridge – Episode 1: Something To Do With Trolls

First of all, we’d like to appologise to Paul Tyers for this podcast being around two months late. We originally planned to do this on a train to/from Leeds on May 5th, but we’ve only just gotten around to doing it.

‘Under The Bridge’ is a music podcast hosted by us two – Anthony Barlow & Ian Critchley – in which we chat bollocks about music for a while, tell some stories, give out some recommendations and promote some up and coming new bands. This week we have an interview with, Far frontman, Jonah Mantranga as our “main topic”. We also discuss the merits of the film ‘Riding In Vans With Boys’. how good Crazy Arm are and stalking Frank Turner.

Under The Bridge – Episode 1: Something To Do With Trolls (Featuring Crazy Arm)

This week’s music was provided by Crazy Arm. You can find out more about the band on their MySpace and be sure to buy their album here.

The tracks used are as follows:

  • Roasting River
  • Still To Keep
  • Kith And Kingdom
  • Henry Fabian Flynn
  • Poverty And Spit
  • Broken By The Wheel

Each episode we want to feature a different, up and coming, artist. So if you have any suggestions you can contact us by email, by leaving a comment below or on Twitter.

Gig Review :: Frank Turner @ Birmingham 02 Academy, 21/03/10

It was one of those weeks, or more so, it turned out to be…

Okay, so this is meant to be a gig review, but I thought I’d make a more of a three date diary thing, as I wasn’t actually meant to be in Birmingham at all. It began with fellow Moon and Back-er/Frank Turner botherer, Anthony Barlow, planning on seeing the Frank man in Manchester on the Wednesday, then hitting the Leeds date the following day. The Manchester day went great, we did the interviews with Crazy Arm, Chuck Ragan and Frank Turner and they went really well. The gig itself was awesome. Unfortunately, the following day, I was DEAD. I’m not sure exactly why, I didn’t drink THAT much, but illness was a wash over me, my stomach felt like it was being eaten from the inside, and the anxiety that enjoys me so much was at an all time high, so Leeds, for me, was canceled. Barlow went, and said it was great, Chuck doing an extended set which included his cover of the Alkaline Trio hit, Bleeder.

So what was I to do? I couldn’t go a Frank Turner tour with only one installment, plus the lovely folk involved with Crazy Arm were super nice and I wanted to see them again, so here’s what happened.

The hugest thanks has to go out to, Xtra Mile’s very own Wonder Woman, Anthea, who has helped us, and Moon and Back in general, so friggin’ much. Once again she saved the day, hooking me up with a guestlist spot for the Birmingham show. But how the fuck am I gonna get there?! Alan Grundy is my dad, an old punker dude, and a God send. I bought him a ticket and around 5pm on Sunday, we were on our way. Once again, the impossible was pulled off with a little help from my friends (fuck off Beatles.)

Now onto the gig. First of all, we’ll get rid of all the negative points, Birmingham’s O2 Academy isn’t a great venue, Crazy Arm once again had a really short set, which is a shame, because they’re awesome, and people would not shut the fuck up during Chuck Ragan.

It has to be said that the Crazy Arm are thieves of the highest calibre, taking our insults from the interview and incorporating them into their set! GREEN ARMY! Plus, the guest vocals by Chuck on Crazy Arm’s International Front, frankly, gave me a music chubby.

Frankie baby takes the stage with a Bob Dylan backing soundtrack before bombing into Photosynthesis, one of my personal favourites, and by the sounds of things, one of the majority of Brummies too.

It seems that every gig, Turner gets a little more confident and his on-stage banter becomes a lot more transient, adding stories, jokes and politics seemingly in-between and even during songs. My personal best for the evening has to be before the song Sons of Liberty, where Turner asks the crowd politely to smash up any CCTV camera’s in their area, an example of just how much Frank hates this new Big Brother government horse-shit that seems to be coming more into effect with each day.

Musically, it’s a good mix from the FT catalogue, a good blend of new and old, with the usual acoustic/Frank solo installation about mid way through, with the full band Long Live the Queen we were treated to last time being scrapped and returning to its roots.

The set closed up with The Road, another of the new Turner tunes that seem to be putting his name up in lights. I can’t help but feel that a lot of the people at the gig were only there for this song specifically seeing as an otherwise stoic crowd seemed to erupt for this one, if only a little. There were no circle pits, but there was some sing-a-longs, with Turner and his band of merry men, as always, on top form.

On a trip to the bar I bumped into some of the Crazy Arm folk, and as the night continued I got to see them all, got a pint of cider in with Bassist Tim, and singer Darren even mentioned him stealing GREEN ARMY as soon as he saw me, damn I’m cool. After that, it was time to head home, filled with beer and cider, many service stops were made.

This turned out more like a blog-post than a gig review…….shit. If you enjoyed it though, you should check out my blog.

Interview :: Crazy Arm

Green Army!

Crazy Arm are one of the best bands to come out of the UK for some time and we like them. In fact, we like them a hell of a lot. We caught up with Darren Johns and Tim Rowing-Parker in Manchester before they took to the stage in support of Frank Turner. As always, it got political and we may have even started an international incident.

Ian Critchley: First of all, did you name your band ‘Crazy Arm’ after the Ray Price song Crazy Arms?

Darren: Good research man, well done. Yeah, nothing more, nothing less. That’s what it is, just a subtle country reference.

IC: I like it, yeah. Some of you were in a band called No Comply before…

DJ: Unfortunately, the two of us doing the interview weren’t actually in it

IC: Oh no, it wasn’t a specific No Comply question. We just wanted to know if there was any other musical history in Plymouth, because you don’t really hear of many bands coming from there.

DJ: I was in a band called … we were huge in the post-punk scene. We weren’t huge, but we did alright. We did ok, but we weren’t as high profile as No Comply were. Tim here, he was in Loggerhead.

IC: Yeah. I’ve heard of Loggerhead. I’ve heard the name before.

DJ: You didn’t release any records though, did you?

Tim Rowing-Parker: What? No. Well, just little bits here and there.

DJ: They were a good band, I used to like em.

TRP: Well, we’d always be supporting all of your bands.

IC: At the moment, is there actually any other bands in Plymouth?

DJ: Yeah, there’s loads of good bands in Plymouth.

IC: Is there? It’s not very well documented.

DJ: Yeah, there’s loads of good bands. They just don’t tend to do much outside of the town. A lot of them don’t push themselves enough. They create records and demos, but they don’t then say “right, we must get out of this town”.

TRP: It’s a bit further away as well.

DJ: Yeah but if you go on a tour, it’s only far away for the first show.  Then, once you’re on tour, you’re out and about.

IC: I read on your MySpace that some of you are vegetarian and some of you are Vegan. Is that like some are Vegetarian and some are Vegan?

DJ: Two of us are vegetraian, two of us are vegan. On tour, we’re all just vegetarian, mostly because it’s so hard to find supplies.

IC: Yeah, yeah definitely. How do you feel about people who don’t follow your views?

DJ: What, like my mum for instance or my dad? Yeah, I hate them.

All: *laughs*

DJ: I’ve got absolutely nothing against people do as I do. I’m not a Nazi *laughs*.

IC: Yeah, it’s when I go and see my Nan and she’s like “oh it’s only got a bit of ham on it, I’m sure It’ll be alright”. I’m like “no, you don’t really understand what’s going on, bless you for trying”

DJ: The only thing that I mind is when people start picking an argument with me. I used to be quite millitant when I was younger being vegetarian and vegan, but now it’s like if someone wants to pick an argument, well I’ll fucking jump on it. Especially if they’re just doing it to get some kind of oneupmanship on you. When they start thinking they’re more superior. Then it’s like, if you want to talk about it properly, go and read a book. I’ll suggest you a list of books to read. If you don’t want to talk about it properly, then I’m not going to listen.

IC: Could you suggest a book for us now?

DJ: ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer. That’s, perhaps, the bible of animal rights really. Yeah, there’s no more I need to say, just that one. Although he’s gone back on it a bit, recently. What is it he’s said? He’s said something odd about…yeah, I can’t remember what it is, but he seems to have done a bit of a U-turn on one issue in particular. That’s unusual. I’ve kinda blanked it out. If people are just being arsey, then I’ll give them a whole book list and tell them to read it. It’ll turn them on to a whole level of information. If you just want to be a twat and just try and get a rise out of me, it’s not gonna happen.

Anthony Barlow: So you’re not going to go and beat Frank [Turner] up for eating a ham sandwich before then?

DJ: Yes, I am *laughs*

IC: Actually, speaking of breating people up, last time Frank was on tour, one of his support acts was a band called Fake Problems.

DJ: Yeah, I know them.

IC: Do you think you could take them?

DJ: Fuck yeah *laughs*

IC: You seem quite a bit bigger than them. They were little guys *laughs*

DJ: I’ll tell you who could take anybody, Chuck Ragan.

IC: You could bring out every band that’s ever supported Frank and Chuck would take them all. He’s huge.

DJ: But, he’s also very, very nice. I can’t imagine him fighting.

TRP: Yeah, but I imagine if he was to, I don’t know if I’d want to be on the other side of that.

DJ: I don’t know what Fake Problems are like, I’ve never seen pictures of them.

IC: Oh they’re not big guys. They’re nice guys though. Lovely.

AB: Chris, the lead singer, looks a bit like Tom Gabel

IC: Yeah, if Elijah Wood and Tom Gabel had a bastard child, it would be him *laughs*. It is a pretty looking bastard child though.

AB: So, it’s St. Paddy’s day today.

DJ: Fucking hell, it is isn’t it! I’m a quarter Irish, I’m not lying.

AB: Guiness is not vegetarian friendly does that…

DJ: I hate Guiness anyway.

IC: Are you on the Jameson’s then?

DJ: Whiskey or cider, yeah. Although, my veganism stops short of alcohol. I’ve never been so fussed about the alcohol side of it. We are a bit more now, but there are times when you just think “well, y’know…” Because some cider’s aren’t vegan or vegetarian friendly. I just think, I’m here and someone wants to buy me a drink, I’ll have it. I’m not religious about it. I’m not religious about anything. I’m not religious, so I can’t be religious about veganism either.

IC: Getting back onto the topic of music *laughs*, was your album a full band session recording?

DJ: Yes. As opposed to?

IC: Like, individual instruments recorded bit by bit.

DJ: Half of it was done live. Well, five songs were recorded live.

IC: I could tell that on some of the songs. I could hear, like,  a drum rattle in the background and stuff like that.

DJ: Yeah, yeah.

IC: It’s good though, I like it.

DJ: You’ve done your research you, haven’t you. You’ve really listened and read. That’s good. It makes a change, doesn’t it. Yeah, we recorded four songs first, just because this friend of ours moved down to near where we were, about 20 miles away. He loves us, so he asked us to come and do a weekend of stuff. So we went down there, and we’d been recording the album first in a local studio and it was taking ages. Then when we did these four songs with Pete, it was like, we can’t go back, we have to do the album here. Those four original takes stayed on the album.

IC: It’s not like that’s a bad thing though.

DJ: No, not at all. It’s great.We did three or four really well, with click track and really made them release worthy. Then another couple, we did live. So it’s a good mix of professional and full on live. Apart from vocals, they were always done afterwards. Yeah, so it’s nice to have those little glitches in there.

IC: You’re quite a political band, you’ve got a lot of political statements…

DJ: Yeah, it’s all mouth.

IC: *laughs* Yeah, it’s all just a front.

DJ: It is.

IC: Every time we interview people, “what are your views on the BNP” just seems to crop up. Should they be allowed to say shitty stuff?

DJ: Should they be allowed to? That’s a hard one. We took part in the protest against the BBC allowing Nick Griffin on Question Time. We did a regional one in Plymouth. It wasn’t so much I was against him being on there, I just thought it was a good opportunity to highlight what he’s about, whether it stopped it or not. I was quite excited that he was on in a way. I don’t think anyone was doing anything else for that hour, other than watching him. I like the idea of using that campaign to highlight how idiotic and dangerous he is and they are. I don’t like the idea of banning anybody, but at the same time, if you don’t quash those kinds of extreme views, they rise up and then you’ve got no choice and it’s too late. Hitler used to say that if we’d have been attacked with the most ferocious force Nazism wouldn’t have existed.

IC: Who is it you’re rooting for in the election then?

DJ: I’m not. I don’t vote in elections. I have no faith in anybody. I’ve grown up being an anarchist all my life and I know it’s not realistic in every aspect of life, but that’s one thing I’ve always held true, that there is a field of irrelevance. I do understand the relevance of not getting the BNP in power. I’ll probably spoil my vote. That way it registers as a ‘spoiled vote’ rather than ‘no vote’.

IC: Just draw a picture on it.

DJ: Yeah, or just go into the voting booth and say they’re all shit. I think that’s a fair enough statement, if you want to make that statement.

TRP: You should have an ‘opt-out’ option.

DJ: Yeah. Then again, that’s pretty much what a spoiled vote is. They do get registered as ‘spoiled votes’. I mean, there’s no danger of the BNP getting in this year, so it’s not like you have to. The idea is just to expose them. If they’re not going to be banned, then the idea is to expose them and confront them and fight them on the streets when you have to. That’s my logic. Never let them get away with anything.

IC: You’ve got a live 7″ out with Frank [Turner] haven’t you?

DJ: His is live, ours isn’t.

AB: See, that’s what you get when I do some research. A bunch of lies.

DJ: It is out new single. ‘Still To Keep’ is our new single. It was a digital only release, but then the label said “how do you feel about doing a seven inch of your single with one of Frank’s songs for the tour”. That’s fucking perfect, y’know. We’d like to release our singles on vinyl. The last one we missed out, with ‘Henry Fabian Flynn’, but this one has worked out nicely. The timing is perfect for us to do it with Frank, because we’re on tour. I think it’s released in five days on the 22nd.

AB: Well, I’ve bought it.

DJ: You’ve bought the actual vinyl? Oh, bless you. It’s quite interesting, it’s nice. I don’t really see what’s in it for Frank, to have us on the other side *laughs*. For us, it’s just…

IC: It’s a big thing. As a band, you kind of transcend genre. Sort of like The Queen transcended from Nazi bitch to British monarch. How do you feel about that comparison? *laughs*. In fact, what are your views on the monarchy, The Queen and whatnot.

DJ: What the hell is this question? It started off about music and now it’s about the queen.

AB: We’re saying you transcend genre

DJ: Yeah, like The Queen. I think that’s a bit bizarre. I think the monarchy is ludicrous, it’s outmoded, it’s a waste of money and it’s quite offensive. The other part of the question…

AB: Basically, how would you describe your sound?

DJ: We try not to describe it really. We used to have the little tag, ‘Hobo-core’. We used to use that. I liked it for a while and then it became like a joke and we left it behind. Now, I quite like it again.

TRP: I like the Fugazi with banjos, but without banjos.

All: *laughs*

IC: I’ve actually got this written down as a question, Fugazi are fucking mint aren’t they?

DJ: Yes!

All: *laughs*

IC: I don’t know if that’s a question or more of a statement.

TRP: I think that’s more a statement.

DJ: A statement disguised as a question.

IC: I think I wrote it and then tried to make it a question. Yeah, they’re really good.

DJ: This is it, trying to sum it up is hard because a lot of our songs are different from each other and you’d have to have about ten different tags. I do like the ‘Hobo-core’ thing. ‘Roots punk’ is one I like to use a lot. Folk roots, that’s where we draw a lot from. We’ve got influences from the sixties and seventies in a folk roots style. So yeah, it’s ‘Roots punk’ music, not reggae roots.

AB: You’ve got some mad vocal harmonies in there as well

DJ: Yeah, absolutely. There’s progressive tenancies to it as well. Yeah, we like to mix it up.

IC: So for each of your specific roles within the band – vocals, bass e.t.c. – can you pick out someone that specifically influenced you?

DJ: No, I can’t do that *laughs*. I find it really hard. The others might be able to do it, but I can’t. I was obsessed with Fugazi from like 1989 until 2001, when they split up. I think that informed a lot of my style, but you wouldn’t see it in this band. You would have in my other band, but you haven’t heard it in this band. I still feel that kinship in the way they structured songs and the ideas they had, but you won’t hear that in this band. Baroness, I think, are the band that we aspire to be like. I absolutely fucking adore them. We all do. They’ve influenced us recently, more than any other bands. You won’t have noticed it yet. You won’t notice it until maybe another six months time, when the new stuff comes out. Have you heard of Baroness at all?

IC: No, I’ve not. I think I’ve heard the name, but…

AB: Yeah, I was gonna say I’d heard the name

DJ: They’ve got a few similar scenarios to us and they’ve got the Southern thing going on. They’re quite heavy, they’re very heavy and they’ve got a lot of sixties folk elements in their breakdowns. They’re all over the place, but I think they’re a bit more music based than we are, but I don’t mind that. They’re more music based than vocal based. We’ve got loads of words and they use sparse amounts of lyrics, but they are amazing. There are too many places to draw from really. In the past, The Clash were my favorite band. It’s songwriting that I care about more than how good a guitarist or a drummer or a bassist is.

IC: You’ve been quoted as being: “The most exciting band of the past few years” how do you feel about that?

DJ: Who by? You? *laughs*

IC: Ok yeah, honestly, it was me.

DJ: Really? *laughs*

IC: How does that make you feel?

TRP: I’m flattered

IC: Surely it’s not as good, because it’s just me

DJ: Every review is only another individual opinion so…

AB: I completely agree, by the way

DJ: Oh really? Cheers mate.

IC: I just think a lot of new bands lately have been the same old shit. There’s been some good ones, but…

DJ: That’s the thing. We’ve had a lot of reviews be the same, if not more glowing. Someone said our album was the best of the last ten years. I’m thinking “are you sure?”.

All: *laughs*

DJ: I mean, I’m gonna take the compliment, but have you heard all the albums of the past ten years? There’s been some great albums. It’s amazing, honestly. All the hard work has paid off y’know.

IC: We’ve got one last thing to ask you. Have you seen that advert with the guy going to the football?

DJ: I knew you were gonna say that. Green Army!

All *laughs*

AB: How many times have you been asked that, by the way?

DJ: Never.

IC: When my mate found out you were from Plymouth he was like, “get them to do a Green Army” *laughs*

DJ: This isn’t gonna get heard though, is it?

AB: No, but I’ll make it look cool in print.

DJ: You have a go at it then

IC: Green Army!

All: *laughs*

DJ: Green Army! You do it better and it’s my accent anyway.

IC: I’m glad I impressed you *laughs*

AB: That’s it I think, yeah thanks a lot for letting us sit in a room with you and slag your accent off *laughs*

DJ: That’s alright.

IC: The ‘exciting band’ thing was nice though, wasn’t it?

DJ: *laughs*

Thanks a lot to everyone in that room, especially Darren and Tim, for being such good sports. The best thing is, the “Green Army” thing did catch on and we’ve been informed that the band used it on stage every night after the show in Manchester. Very cool indeed. Do yourselves a favor and download Crazy Arms’ debut album, ‘Born To Ruin’, here.

Promotion :: Frank Turner’s New DVD

If you’re one of those, admittedly odd, folks that doesn’t like to go to gigs, but you really want to see Frank Turner live then you’re in luck!

On March 22nd of this very year Frank is releasing a live DVD filmed at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire during the Poetry Of The Deed Tour. This looks to be a great addition to  the growing Turner catalogue and is a must have if, by the time it releases, you’ve yet to see the man live.

The DVD is titled ‘Take To The Road’ and will feature all of Frank’s hits. As a Frank Turner fan, I know I’ll be getting this and so should you all. There’s a trailer below, why don’t you take a look.

Guest Playlist :: Frank Turner

Not since last month has Frank Turner’s name graced the pages of Moon & Back Music, but now he’s back with more musical recommendations.

It’s already been established that Mr. Turner isn’t a fan of typical ‘chart music’. In our first interview he actually talked about having a fight with Fearne Cotton and that Reggie bloke from the radio, after listening to their chart show. In this playlist Frank has highlighted some of his favorite artists and tracks and there’s a good mix of styles here. Have his recommendations let us down before? Thought not.

Loudon Wainwright IIIMotel Blues
Tim Barry – On & On
Fairport Convention – Matty Groves
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
The Weakerthans – Tournament Of Hearts
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – There She Goes My Beautiful World
Bob Dylan – North Country Girl
Billy Bragg – Levi Stubbs’ Tears
The Hold Steady – Yeah Sapphire
Frightened Rabbit – Heads Roll Off

Thanks a lot to Frank for putting this together. Please go and give him your hard earned cash by buying an album from iTunes or maybe Amazon. How about a T-shirt? Hoodie? Hot pants? Get your other Frank Turner merchandise right here. Oh yeah, he’s touring the UK in March and you can find tickets for the appropriate venues here.

Album Review :: Beans On Toast – ‘Standing On A Chair’

He plays an acoustic guitar, hates the government and is a mate of Frank Turner. It isn’t actually possible for me not to like him.

Beans On Toast - Standing On A Chair - coverYes, despite sounding like a band, Beans On Toast is actually just one bloke called Jay with an acoustic guitar who sounds like he’s got laryngitis. Having been wandering in the music wilderness for around 3 years, Beans has  finally got himself a deal and released his first album. Standing On A Chair is a massive double album filled with 50 tracks about sex, drugs, politics and peaches (yes, peaches). Not only is it a great deal, but a bloody good set of folk tunes too.

Having seen him live during Turner’s ‘Poetry Of The Deed Tour’, I didn’t really know what to make of him. His voice really is knackered, but his music and lyrics are really good. Granted every song is played with the same three chords so it’s no musical masterclass, but for some reason I can’t stop listening to him. You’d think someone who sounds like they’ve eaten a bag of gravel would get annoying after 50 tracks, but as soon as the album finished I started it back at track one all over again.

Beans is the everyman, a normal guy that’s doing what he wants to do and saying what he likes. This isn’t some pretentious way of getting attention, he’s not trying to be a working class hero or anything, he just wants to sing some songs and have a bit of a laugh. This is reflected in his music. Tracks like The Price Of Rice, Don’t Believe The Bullshit and I Ain’t That Old Sunshine are tracks that reflect what I think the majority are thinking.

Standing On A Chair isn’t just an album filled with stories of woe from the UK, there’s something here that people the world over can relate to. A lot of the tracks look back on the singer’s life, reciting tales of love, loss and sticky situations. There’s a lot of tracks here about the future and technology, not a typical folk music subject matter but they’re some of the best. I can particularly relate to “I’ve never scored a proper goal, but I’m really good at Pro Evo. I can’t ollie up a curb, unless I’m playing Tony Hawk. Hell, I can’t even drive a car, but I’ll kick your arse at Mario Kart”. A perfect rendition of the life of the average man if you ask me.

There’s a lot of political stuff on here too. I wouldn’t say BOT was a political singer/songwriter but there’s definitely some great political commentary here, even if it is a little tongue in cheek. Some great examples of this are I Shot Tupac Shakur And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt and, a favourite of mine, An Afternoon With Henry Rollins. However, the most major over arching topic on the album is nostalgia. A lot of the tracks show how good a storyteller the singer is. Something that particularly sticks out is The Pub In Holloway. A track about Holloway’s Nambucca pub that was burnt down about this time last year. Here Beans sings about all the people affected by the blaze, what they’ve lost and how they’ve all got “memories they can’t remember”. A favorite track of mine and a particularly poignant one if you ask me. The familiar Frank Turner tones can be heard here too, at least I think it’s him providing backing vocals.

Speaking of backing vocals, that’s the biggest problem with the album. They can occasionally overpower Beans’ vocals which can take away from the track. Thankfully, not all of the songs have backing vocals so most of the tracks sound fine. Whether this was an attempt to cover the singer’s gravelly tones, I don’t know. I just know it doesn’t really work.

A 50 track album seems pretty unheard of and the fact that it’s really good took me by surprise. It’s certainly not for everyone, I doubt a lot of people will get past his ‘bad’ voice. However, if you want to hear the, sometimes sordid, stories of a bloke from North London, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Buy a signed copy of Standing On A Chair at the Xtra Mile Recordings store