Write Yer Ane Zine

Words about DIY punk; records, shows, interviews, whatever.

Month: July, 2012

Brain Fever (Can) / Bonehouse / Kaddish / The Shithawks

Sunday night at Kage Nightclub saw the Brain Fever/Bonehouse tour wrap up with a hometown show for the Bonehouse boys in Dundee. The two bands have covered most of the UK over the last two weeks and I could detect a sense of excitement in the air surrounding the last show. Bonehouse have seen a great response to their July 2012 demo (which I reviewed previously) and have been destroying venues around the country since it came out. Jamie had given me the heads-up that they were incredible in Edinburgh on Saturday night, so I was very much looking forward to catching their last show of tour. It’s pretty just a matter of fact that bands get infinitely tighter when they’ve spent any amount of time on the road and that theory would once again be proven correct.

The Shithawks kicked things off with their patented brand of noisy slacker garage punk. They are a pretty wild band musically, constantly teetering on the brink of chaos but always managing to keep things together with a sleazy riff and some demented hollering from frontman Dan. The Shithawks play punk rock with a definite artschool twist and they have some great stage banter. They haven’t been a band for too long, really just getting started after the demise of Gong Fei, but they definitely made some more fans this evening. My personal highlight of the set may well be the new song “Dick Blues”, a video of which you can see below. The next time we will be graced with the presence of The Shithawks will be at the Blacklist Royals show at Kage on Sunday 23rd September. Full details of that banger can be found here.

Next up were the mighty Kaddish. Again, much like The Murderburgers, is absolutely no secret that Kaddish are one of my favourite bands, not just locally, but favourite bands period. Once again, they stepped up to the plate and delivered an intense and heart-wrenchingly passionate set of their distinctive abrasive hardcore/skramz jamz. The new stuff is sounding absolutely incredible and I, along with many others I’m sure, are waiting in patient anticipation of their upcoming second full length. It’s a massive trauma for any band when they lose a lead vocalist, but Kaddish seem to have taken that challenge and morphed into an even more intense proposition. The pure anguish in Dom’s vocal delivery is the kind of thing that stands the hair on the back of your neck on end, and tonight was absolutely no exception. Blasting through a six song set, Kaddish were over all-too quickly, but left us wanting more as they always do. The new record will absolutely destroy, of that I have complete and utter faith. Once Kaddish manage to get themselves out on the road again, they will decimate everything that they come into contact with. Undoubtedly one of the greatest screamo/hardcore bands in Europe, if not the world. Call me hyperbolic if you must, but I absolutely believe that to be true. Here’s a good 10 minutes of their set from last night. Stunning.

Brain Fever from Calgary, Alberta, Canada were up next and were a fearsome proposition indeed. I was speaking to them earlier in the evening and the only anecdotal facts about Calgary I could furnish them with were stories about the Hart family. Being a pro wrestling geek, I tend to get rather over-excited about these things, as my own bandmates would attest to. As it stands, they knew of the Hart Foundation but weren’t particularly excited by said story. Can’t say I really blame them and they seemed a little confused that some Scottish goon at a hardcore show was talking to them about wrestling legends. Such is life. Anyways, I digress. During said previous conversations, the drummer told me that they try to always use a different time signature in every movement of every song. Little did I know how accurate that assertion would turn out to be!

Brain Fever play ridiculously intense, frantic, skull-splitting hardcore that pauses for breath only to reel you into a false sense of security before absolutely pummelling you once more. Perhaps it’s a lazy comparison based on both having female vocalists, but Brain Fever very much reminded me of Circle Takes The Square. Mathy, angular, desperate screamo/hardcore madness that devastates is how I would describe it, played with passion and an exuberance that you just can’t fake. All the guys in the band seemed super-nice and everyone was very excited to be playing music overseas, although there was definitely a hint of sadness in the air as the tour was drawing to an end. They certainly didn’t let it stop them as they ripped through their set with zeal and encouraged everyone else to get involved. Inclusive, introspective hardcore? Yup. Incredible band, if you can get your head around it! You can get their new record now from Pint Sized Records and can stream it online here.

Last up were Bonehouse. I spoke to them all at various points prior to their set, including Dave immediately beforehand in the lavs, hurrying him on as I had to catch the last train back to Perth. It was clear from talking to them that the tour had been a success, perhaps not monetarily but in terms of inspiration. That was a word that I heard numerous times throughout the evening. Touring is inspiring, as there’s few things in life better than seeing new places and playing the music that you love.

Playing every night also makes your band fucking tight. That was instantly apparent when Bonehouse kicked in; the radge parts were suitably radge, the quiet parts suitably introspective and intense, dynamics sharpened. It was clear, to my mind at least, that this was an important show. Dave was more talkative onstage and spent more time facing the audience, seemingly more comfortable in his role of frontman. This comes across in his vocal delivery also, more of a yelp against Owen and Sean’s smoother croons. Plenty of singing along and hand-clapping down the front too.

Unfortunately I missed the end of set invitation stage invasion as I had to boost to run for my last train. I didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye to anybody as I sneaked out, but Bonehouse were rocking it and appeared to be having a great time doing it. If you haven’t already done so, get the new recordings from their bandcamp. Don’t send them e-cheques though, whatever the hell they are.

Cracking show all round, especially for a Sunday night in Dundee. There’s a few rad Sunday night shows coming up over the next few months, including the Blacklist Royals show we announced today, so it’d be good to keep the ball rolling!

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The Murderburgers – How To Ruin Your Life

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that The Murderburgers are not only one of my favourite bands that Make-That-A-Take Records have put on, but one of my favourite bands full stop. I have been pretty excited about this record coming out and listened to it heaps of times on bandcamp before my physical copy of the LP came through the mail, alongside their split with The Gamits (thanks Abbie!).

I got the vinyl  issued by All In Vinyl (the same label that issued the aforementioned split), with the CD version released by Dutch label Monster Zero, home to the likes of The Apers, DeeCRACKS and loads more Euro-punk bangers. The company that The Murderburgers keep speaks volumes about the band themselves; they’ve toured extensively with the likes of The Copyrights and are heading out on a massive tour with Dear Landlord in the USA this week.

Hyberbolic as that may sound, “How To Ruin Your Life” is the album that The Murderburgers have been threatening to make since they formed. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it’s the best, most coherent and down-right exhilarating album that they’ve put out yet. They’ve always been a prolific band, what with this being their fourth full-length in five years; an impressive output for any band, let alone a punk rock band from Glasgow.

Things kick off with the instrumental “It’s Burger Time” before blasting into “Unemployment, Here I Come”, a song which articulates the Burger Manifesto from the get-go. The first thing that strikes me is the increased strength in on the songwriting front and the brilliant, crisp production job by BOAB and Ricky of Punk Rock Rammy . The record was also mastered by Mass Giorgini of Squirtgun fame, along with “shitloads of help” from his co-conspirator Flav, so that gives an indication of where things are heading. Things are less overtly “Ramones-core” though, with lead guitars especially more akin to The Copyrighs and Teenage Bottlerocket than The Queers.

The vocal harmonies cut through with greater clarity than on previous releases and strengthens the songs with a euphoric, defiant glee. The familiar themes of employment (or the lack thereof), girls, touring, depression, anxiety and the idiocy of the general public are all present and correct, are delivered with Fraser’s characteristic dry wit and humour. Fraser seems much more comfortable with his role of lead singer on these recordings, perhaps encouraged by the more mid-paced approach on this record. That’s not to say that the songs are slow by any means, they still career along at a fair old pace, but there seems to be a little more focus on the songwriting and structure of things, as opposed to just racing towards the finish line. That said, the likes of “She Don’t Wanna” and “Valentine’s Day 2009” blast past and rattle your brain, the latter with the repeated refrain of “I don’t wanna be a suicide”. Bleak subject matter aside, these bastards are earworms and will get stuck in your head for days.

This collection flows together impeccably, with the re-recorded “Moron” fitting in perfectly. That was always a favourite song of mine and it’s nice to hear it with a better recording than before. The background”woahs” are a spoonful of sugar throughout. I wouldn’t want Fraser writing a “diss-song” about me though, as he can be lyrically caustic when it comes to it!

If I was to pick some personal favourite songs from the record, I’d probably have to go for “Gimme Gimme Negativity” with it’s super-speedy tongue-twisting lyrical delivery and hyper-catchiness and “It’s Over Already”. If there’s a cheerier song written this year about everything being fucked, then I’d be surprised. Closing track “Learning To Hate You” is probably the most expansive song The Murderburgers have ever written and it’s fucking brilliant. Fraser’s vocal melodies have come on so far and these are some of the most hooky sing-a-long songs he’s ever written.

The whole record has more of an “epic” feel to it than previous recordings and is absolutely the best thing that The Murderburgers have put their name to. I’d go so far as to say that “How To Ruin Your Life” has to be one of the best Scottish pop-punk records ever.  If there was to be a Scottish “Dream Homes” or “North Sentinel Island”, then “How To Ruin Your Life” is pretty much it.

It’s fucking brilliant and you should go buy it!

Their US tour with Dear Landlord kicks of on Friday in Minneapolis. You can find all the dates here.

You can stream and download “How To Ruin Your Life” here.

They’ll play their last show of the year in Dundee at Book Yer Ane Fest VI.

No Justice, No Peace

 

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Bonehouse – Summer 2012 Demo

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Bonehouse are a four-piece DIY emo/punk/indie band of fine pedigree from Dundee, featuring past and present members of bands such as The Fall Of Boss Koala, From The Tracks, Archives, Fair Do’s and many more. They’ve been together for just under two years and this is their second release, after last year’s Demo July 11. Bonehouse are, however, something more than the some of their parts.

The first demo was great and saw the band finding their sound. It’s follow up sees the band coming into their own and is a natural progression sonically and songwriting wise. Everything that was great about the first demo; frantic drums, razor-sharp yet delicate guitars, the gang-chants, poetic lyricism, layered vocals; are all present and correct, but all seem “bigger”. This is a very good thing indeed.

“The Bonehouse Summer Jam” kicks things off in haze of fuzzy guitars and punk rock drums before blasting into a frantic verse. Lead vocalist Dave seems more audible than on the first record but his impassioned throaty yelp remains fully intact, cutting through more than ever before. The song is catchy but doesn’t stay in one place too long. The refrain of “despite of it all, she’s unable to tell the time” is super-hooky and is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for days.

There’s a warmth to the desperation of the sound throughout with a thoughtful production job from Ross Middlemiss of Engineered Audio Recordings. This is none more apparent than in the second half of second song “Minnesota” with it’s picture-esque soundscapes, shimmering guitars and multi-layered melodic vocals, before racing back for an anthemic rocking ending. It’s the kind of sound that would fit seamlessly into the Emo Diaries catalogue.

To these ears, there seems to be a greater positivity in both sound and lyrical subject matter. Where previously things may have appeared a little dark, there seems to be more than a chink of light shining through. Overall, things are less frenetic but maintains urgency. Things are less Euroskramz and more Deep Elm/Dischord. I can’t help shake the thought that there’s a hint of something akin to Idlewild here also, although I reckon that lies in the distinct Scottish-ness of it all. The vocal hook and message at the end of “One Arm In” is a particularly fine example of such.

That said, closing track “A Grasp Too Far” brings with it a sense of bewilderment with reference to aimlessness and loss of faith, yet somehow it still seems positive; as if acknowledging the passing of a feeling/state but being quietly content with it. Finality leading to liberation, if you will.

All in all, this is a brilliant little release from a hard-working band from a town no stranger to hopelessness. There’s a knowing joyousness to it though and that has to be fully applauded. To my mind, Bonehouse are definitely on a level with the best of contemporary UK/EU emo/punk.

I’d definitely recommend getting hold of this release, whether it be for £2 from the band’s Bandcamp page or on CD from them at one of their upcoming shows. I am very much looking forward to the impending full-length.

They kick off their tour with Canadian punks Brain Fever today in Sheffield. Check out the rest of dates below;

19th July – SHEFFIELD – The Redhouse w/The Slow Blade (ex-Flatlands) and Bayone

20th July – MANCHESTER – Fuel (Donations) w/Doctrines, Claw the Thin Ice and Tribal Fighters

21st July – LEEDS – House show (Donations) w/Nai Harvest.

22nd July – NOTTINGHAM – The Chameleon w/Without Maps

23rd July – TRURO – Live Bar w/Monolithian

24th July – BRIDGEND – Hobo’s w/ Hunger Artist

25th July – LONDON – The Old Blue Last w/Kind Eyes and Bird Calls

26th July – NEWCASTLE – The Central w/SundayXLeague and Tide of Iron

27th July – GLASGOW – Captain’s Rest w/Great Cop and Without Aeroplanes

28th July – EDINBURGH – The Banshee’s Labyrinth w/Without Aeroplanes and Half a Dead Bird

29th July – DUNDEE – Kage w/Kaddish and The Shithawks

Here’s a live video from last year too;

Cleavers/Clowns Split 7″

This little gem of a split 7″ was released by Elgin Rock City/Our New Planet and is limited to 250 copies. The record was speedily dispatched and came with some awesome Wolf Mask artwork cards, plus a Cleavers patch. Can’t argue with that for £4. Full points for packaging, artwork and DIY value for money, but what about the music?

Cleavers formed about a year ago and come from Elgin in the far north-east of Scotland. I can’t help but feel that their geographical isolation has done them the world of good, as Cleavers bare little or no resemblance sonically to any other punk rock bands in the country. Things kick off with a creepy howl of feedback before some biscuit-tin drums kick in, signalling the arrival of “Girls In Their Sunday Best”. Then it’s all fuzzy guitars and hyper distorted riffage before Danny lets rip with his trademark maniacal vocals. The approach is minimalist and DIY as fuck. It works incredibly well with the wild gang screams and ripping 50’s rock’n’roll guitar solos. Clocking in at just over 3 minutes, this to me is the sound of Cleavers nailing their colours to the rock’n’roll flag.

Next up is “Hulk Hands (Cryin’ Into My Cafetiere)” which follows a similar blueprint but amps the speed up somewhat. To me, Danny’s well-known love of Descendents shines through on this track, mostly from the hooks of the vocals, as the music continues to echo the Black Flag/Jay Reatard/bubblegum rock that Cleavers have become known for.

The Cleavers side of the record features two songs and is over and done with within four and a half minutes. I can’t help but feel that I want to hear more, which you can do as the download code included with the record includes an extra track. You’ll have to buy the record yourself to hear that banger.

On the flipside, we’ve got Clowns from Melbourne, Australia. I’d never heard these chaps before this record. They weigh in with three tracks, kicking off with a sample at the beginning of “Eat Your Gun” before things blast out in a hail of riffs, screaming and distortion. Fine stuff indeed. There’s definitely a strong Aussie rock’n’roll influence, with Radio Birdman being the first band that immediately springs to mind. This is speedy, trashy, gobby hardcore punk rock’n’roll. It’s not rocket science, but it’s fucking good. It’s catchy, well-written and just executed with just the right amount of sloppiness to keep things exciting. Plus, who can resist the repeated screaming of the words “You Motherfucker”? No fucker, that’s who.

The next track “Fight Me” sounds pretty much exactly like you’d exactly like you’d expect a song with the repeated refrain of “do you want to fight me?”. It’s all over in less than two minutes and ends with a sample of some lovely sounding fella detailing how he knocked some hapless clown out for twenty two and a half minutes. Fighting music? Maybe. Guid? Definitely.

Clowns wrap things up with “You Want It” which follows the path paved by the first two songs. Clowns seem to mix the aggression and volatility of 80’s hardcore with a 60’s rock’n’roll swagger and they pull it off before it all falls apart at the seams, like the perfect soundtrack to a heavy Saturday night of broken bottles and broken noses.

All in all, this is a quality little split of dirty hardcore garage punk’n’roll and comes highly recommended.

Ye can get a copy for yourself at DaDa Tunes, although I’d be quick as there probably aren’t many left. Good stuff indeed.

In the beginning…

Greetings,

I am starting this “zine” or “blog” or whatever to express thoughts, opinions, reviews and general musings about the state of the DIY punk rock scene. I am mostly going to try and be positive and will be writing reviews of records and shows, with the occasional interview and/or profile of bands.

I’ve done this separately to Make-That-A-Take Records as I am writing all of this solo, as opposed to as part of the collective, and I wish to avoid the quagmire that can be the dreaded “conflict of interest”. I also wanted to keep it separate from my personal blog as that is mainly expressions of my own wallowing misery and self-indulgence.

The aim of this page is to talk about music in a way that doesn’t involve clogging up timelines of social networks or whatever. Any and all opinions expressed on this page will be mine and mine alone. I understand that the email address attached to this account is that of MTAT, but that’s purely functional insofar as all of my other email addresses are already accounted for. If anyone cares to discuss these musings with me, either positively or negatively, then please feel free do to so.

I shall post my first review later this afternoon.

Cheers.