Write Yer Ane Zine

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

Month: December, 2014

End of Year List; Favourite Records of 2014

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End of Year Lists are becoming customary it would appear. People appear to compile their lists for many different reasons and while it may just be a piss into cyberspace, I have put together a completely non-scientific list of favourite records from 2014 taken from what I know everyone in the MTAT crew’s favourite records of the year to be. To say that “x record is better than y record” is to engage in endless nonsense, so there are no rankings or such in this list, just a whole bunch of top quality records that we’d recommend checking out. Huge thanks to everyone who continues to support DIY and underground punk rock worldwide!

Bear Trade – “Blood and Sand” (Everything Sucks / Dead Broke Rekerds)

Our favourite northern punks delivered a stone cold classic of modern UK punk rock that ranks up amongst the finest punk records that have ever come from these shores. While there is undoubtedly a big Leatherface influence there, I think it comes more from the geographic and lyrical similarities rather than any overt aping of said band, combined with a heavy dose of melodic witty cynicism as displayed by the likes of Mega City Four, Brocolli and their ilk. Most importantly though, there are songs. Bangers by the fucking bucketload. If “Dead Leg” doesn’t get stuck in your head like a terrace anthem then you have no heart and no soul. Their headline performance at BYAF VIII was just the icing on the cake for me!

The Kimberly Steaks“To Live and Die in West Central Scotland” (MTAT / All In Vinyl)

Quite simply one of the finest Scottish punk rock records of modern times. Grieg Steaks is an exceptional songwriter who manages to wrap modern day punk rock poetry around 90 second pop-punk bangers that are deceptively complex whilst narrating tales of the grim realities of live on the bleak west coast of Scotland. It’s easy to make comparisons to early Green Day, Crimpshrine and the Lookout Records cast, but there’s a depth, wit and distinct Scottishness that sets the Steaks apart from their pop punk peers, in my book at least. We were ecstatic to play a part in the release of the album on CD and the record came out on All In Vinyl with artwork from WOLF MASK. Essential listening!

Terrafraid – “Despondent” (self-released)

One of the finest and most fully realised adventures in romantic pop-art/math-rock/emo-punk to ever emerge from Dundee. In the words of Barry “The” Kydd; I predicted it would happen one day, the coveted number one slot goes to a record born, raised and recorded right here in Dundee. As with every year I need to go with the record that affected me the most during these last 12 months. It’s Despondent by miles and miles and miles. Again, I wrote every thought I have about this in a review right here.

Kaddish – “Thick Letters To Friends” (MTAT, Black Lake, Boslevan, The Ghost Is Clear)

I’d apologise for the bias if this record wasn’t so fucking incredible but I won’t as it is absolutely no secret that Kaddish are one of my favourite bands. “Thick Letters To Friends” took some time to come into existence (having been recorded back in 2012) and its release was a worldwide collaborative effort between the bands and the labels but, by fuck, was it worth it. Coming on 180g heavyweight vinyl, this record is one of the finest hardcore records that I’ve ever heard; full-on throat-scorching yet strangely accessible dischordant emo-core that is arguably one of the defining documents in the Book of Ecossemo. Quite simply stunning. There aren’t many copies left to be had so get one before they disappear.

Against Me! – “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” (Total Treble / Xtra Mile)

One of the most important punk records of the century thus far, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is another fascinating chapter in the story and evolution of Against Me! as a band and of Laura Jane Grace as an individual. As probably the most righteous “fuck you” record of the year, this album is an all out binge and purge chronicling LJC’s transition, shedding light and giving voice to those under-represented and address these issues with trademark candour. I dare say this is a life-changing record for many and the sheer balls of the record has to be admired. A watermark moment in punk history and an absolutely exhilarating piece of work. Rarely, if ever, have I seen a band so stoked as I did Against Me! at The Garage back in November.

Stay Clean Jolene – S/T (Drunken Sailor / Dead Broke)

Though only released at the start of December, Stay Clean Jolene march instantly onto the “Best of…” lists by unleashing an instant punk rock classic. With premium punk rock pedigree featuring members of The Great St. Louis and The Leif Ericsson, SCJ bring together the finest ingredients of UK punk rock and mix with a veteran’s seasoning and experience, the likes of which can’t be faked. Instantly hooky, accessible, melodic and memorable whilst being full of shred, harmonies and more than a hint of darkness, this LP blows the pretenders away. Remember where you saw them first too!

The Hotelier – “Home, Like Noplace Is There” (Tiny Engines)

Again, in the words of The Kydd; “Utterly astounding collection of music and lyrics that devastated and inspired me in equal measure. Soundtrack to 10 months of my year and by far my most cathartic musical experience of the year was hearing this played live, in full, surrounded by pals and in the highest of spirits in Florida. What a rush. OOOOOPEN THE CURTAINS……”. Brutal, beautiful, cathartic emo goodness.

The Walking Targets – “Chasing Days” (Round Dog Records)

The first and sadly only full-length album from young Edinburgh emo punks who played their last show at Fest 13 in Gainesville. They released this record back at the start of the year and it saw them pull together their finest work to date, proving once again that they have the chops and wisdom of those far beyond their tender years. In mixing Gainesville gravel with Midwest punk and the influence of the best of Scottish pop-punk, The Walking Targets created a record that owes as much to the likes of The Murderburgers as it does Hot Water Music and Dear Landlord. “Chasing Days” is a fitting epitaph for one of our most beloved bands.

Blacklist Royals – “Die Young With Me” (Krian)

Another record that was a long time in coming, “Die Young With Me” tells the story of the band struggling with and ultimately surviving their fight for life  soundtracked by some of the finest, most heartwarming Hammond-soaked American rock’n’roll that is equal parts nostalgic and anthemic. While their earlier work may have possessed a street-punk swagger, this new record displays a confidence, grace and maturity that can only be found having experienced near-death. Recorded in LA, they’ve come a long way since playing to 30 folk on a bleak Sunday night in Dundee.

The Holy Mess – “Comfort In The Discord” (self-released)

Straight ahead kick-ass gobby melodic punk rock and roll with a crust edge to the pop-punk sheen from Philadelphia three-piece who unleashed their finest work to date. With razorsharp melodies, buzzsaw guitars and an unimpeachable work ethic, The Holy Mess made it to the UK for the first time and made an instant friend in me as I grabbed this record from them on beautiful purple vinyl. Classic punk in a way that is all too rare these days, these dudes are DIY as fuck and are doing their shit the right way. Hopefully have them back over this way in 2015.

Chris Cresswell – “One Week” (One Week Records)

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One Week Records is the brainchild of Joey Cape and it sees individual punks head to Joey’s California home and spend a week recording. Simple concept, stunning execution, especially when the individual involved is Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners, one of the finest songwriters of this generation. Things are stripped back from the usual Flatliners gusto and reveal a depth to songcraft that may have been missed previously. Originals like “Little Bones” are chilling and the cover of “Arrhythmic Palpitations” by Dead To Me is absolutely gorgeous. A wee gem of a record.

Algernon Doll – “Omphalic” (Struggletown)

 

The third full-length from Glasgow-based singer/songwriter Ewan Grant saw Algernon Doll continue to evolve from multi-layered lofi acoustic experimental/soundscape artist in full-blown fuzzed-out hulking punk rock/noisemongers on an explosive LP issued by Struggletown Records. Drenched in reverb and destructive nightmare-like noise, Ewan’s knack for pop melodies shines through and shows a great 90s grunge/indie influence, like a nervous ritalin-fuelled Nirvana tearing strips from the Teenage Fanclub catalogue. Thrilling noise pop mayhem. We’ve got a few copies on green vinyl left here.

Fat Goth – “One Hundred Percent Suave” (self-released)

“One Hundred Percent Suave” is where Dundee noiseniks Fat Goth complete their transformation from spiky agit-punk noisemakers to full-on monolithic stadium-straddling ultra-rock behemoth, oozing tongue-in-cheek machismo with dark, twisted humour and rock riffs to slay a mammoth at ten paces. With Metallica-esque leads, QOTSA/FNM style experimentalism and a gothic pop-nuance, Fat Goth have crafted an album as thrilling as it is confounding. One of the finest pieces of dark art to emerge from Dundee in some time.

The Smith Street Band – “Throw Me In The River” (Poison City Records)

Our Australian pals pull another absolute blinder from the bag. Again, in the words of Barry; “Again, it’s only been out a month or so but fuck me is it good. In my recent stay in hospital I turned to this to get me through a particularly dark and challenging night of hitting rock bottom. Couldn’t have picked a better record to stick on. Utterly life affirming, jaw dropping. Cannot wait to see them again and scream my brains out to these new songs. Close 2nd on the bonniest looking vinyl of the year. Beaut.”

Ahamkara – “From The Embers Of The Stars”

Super-bleak atmospheric melodic black metal mayhem from the grim north of England that sounds like it comes from the very heart of the scorched earth. Multi-layered, complicated, orchestral and euphoric, this is an outstanding piece of work that needs to be listened to through headphones or massive speakers in order to fully appreciate the depth and majesty on display. I can imagine it soundtracking an endless trek through the tundra, cold, without end, unforgiving. Fours tracks in a little under an hour. Truly epic.

Sad and French – S/T (Black Numbers)

Absolute heartbreaker of a record. Barry wrote at length about this LP for punknews.org so I’d recommend ye check that out here. Puts it in a more eloquent manner than I could muster. Safe to say it sounds like late nights/early mornings that I myself am trying to leave behind.

The Fur Coats – “The League of Extraordinary Octopuses” (Drunken Sailor)

Utterly infectious super-bouncy upbeat melodic pop-rock goodness with tongue planted firmly in cheek from the (short) brain of Chicago queer-punk Marc Ruvolo and his band of merry gentlemen. I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Marc’s company with The Fur Coats Scotland when we spent a weekend playing shows throughout the country in October and I grew to love the record even more after having time to pick Marc’s brains about it. We’re delighted to be working with Drunken Sailor on the forthcoming 7″ that is due to drop next summer. Keep yo eyes peeled!

 Capitol 1212 – “The Return of Rudy Nacho” (Irish Moss)

Absolutely slammin’ dancehall/reggae/dub/hip-hop mash-up madness from Edinburgh on what is a history lesson in the roots of reggae and hip-hop with a punk rock heart on Irish Moss Recordings, coming on like Jurassic 5, Afrika Bambaata and Grandmaster Flash jamming on crust-punk and hxc records from the mind of From The Cradle To The Rave/My Own Religion mastermind Kenny Dargan. Don’t take my word for it, check out the hooks and bass on that fucker!

Vamos – “More Songs About Circles” (Anti-Pop)

Ultra-hooky Beatles/Beach Boys-like melodies wrapped up in Buzzcocks-esque barbed wire fizzy pop-rock mixing wit, humour and sheer tragedy. One of the most complicated bands that I’ve had the pleasure of touring with Vamos are a band who are at their most thrilling when they’re teetering on the edge of chaos. “Hands” is undoubtedly one of the sweetest pop-punk songs ever written and a beautiful example of what these guys are capable of. The record was recorded 100% analogue to 8-track tape in a farm house in Ireland under the guiding hand of Vinny Vamos. Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once.

Bongripper – “Miserable” (self-released)

Sludge-core/doom at its absolute pinnacle; this is over one hour of claustrophobic, suffocating doom/metal/punk misery that is as thick as it is rage-inducing. Pure hatred and misanthropy in drop B, this is some caustic, hypnotic, mesmeric shit that thumbs its nose at such silly conventions as “song” and “melody”. While there may be hardcore records of far greater depth, this is one the one doom record this year that made me want to self-immolate. Absolutely vengeful stuff, the kind of revenge you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

So there ye go, there’s 20 records that we would recommend checking out from 2014. Let us know what ye think or if there’s anything screamingly obvious that we may have missed!

Cheers!

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Last Show of 2014; Dundee Foodbank Benefit – This Saturday

2014 has been another very interesting year in the history and evolution of Make That A Take Records. We’ve hosted some incredible bands and put out some records that we are very proud of. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to support what we do. I’ll write up a full retrospective of the year (hopefully) over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we have our final show of the year to look forward to and we’re doing it as a Christmas Food Drive to benefit Dundee Foodbank. The fact that there are families and children who are dependent upon foodbanks for survival is disgusting in and of itself, the fact that it’s happening on our very doorstep is even worse. I would actively encourage those who are coming to bring items of non-perishable foodstuffs to Kage on Saturday in exchange for a Christmas present from MTAT. All food will then be delivered to the food bank over the weekend in time for Christmas. Please see this list of suggested items.

Christmas show

We are very pleased to welcome Basement Benders from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Dundee for the very first time as part of their whistle-stop UK tour. These dudes have impeccable punk rock pedigree and have collectively been part of literally dozens of DIY punk bands including the likes of This Bike Is A Pimp Bomb, Future Virgins, Cleveland Bound Death Sentence and many more. The band have only released a top notch demo tape thus far but have their first 7″ coming out very soon on Drunken Sailor Records.

The show at Kage will be their second of the day as they’ll be playing a matinee show at the 13th Note, Glasgow at 1pm on Saturday alongside Get It Together and Science Made Us Robots. This triumvirate will then be joined by Dundee’s finest soulful indie rockers Robot Doctors, who shall be playing a rare stripped-down acoustic set to open proceedings. There will be free download codes for everyone on arrival and Christmas presents for all who bring donations for the food bank.

ONSIND

We have also just announced the first of our shows that we’ve got booked for 2015 featuring ONSIND, Spoonboy, The Spook School and A Hopeless Cause. The show is strictly limited to a capacity of 70 people so ye can ensure entry by grabbing yourself an e-ticket. This show, as all others are, is included in your 2015 MTAT Season Ticket which includes copies of all 2015 releases as well as all shows, including Book Yer Ane Fest IX. Ye can get one of them for 75 sheet here.

Hope to see y’all out on Saturday night for the last tear-up of the year!

Book Yer Ane Fest VIII; A Retrospective

Writing the post-BYAF blog is always daunting for me, so much so that I pretty much skipped out on writing about last year’s entirely.  I guess that had more to do with my own circumstances than anything else, though, as has been discussed in detail elsewhere. This time last year was a pretty dark time for me personally, but ultimately a time that led me into the light, so to speak. Without dwelling too much, it’s safe to say that I’m in a far better place this year. I don’t think that I’m alone in saying that BYAF VIII was pretty special and it may well have been the smoothest running fest that we’ve ever done. It’s humbling that so many people can come together and get behind the loose objectives that we all share and there’s no way that things would have ran so smoothly without the support and co-operation of everyone involved.

To everyone involved, I personally and we as a collective offer our deepest thanks. I certainly can’t do it alone and debts of gratitude go out to everyone. Apologies if I miss anyone; the MTAT crew (Abbie, Barry, Jamie, Jonny, Kenny), all the BYAF volunteers who got on board with sound, feeding and accommodating bands (Gav, Sean, Laura, Ross, Russell, Gerold, Gemma, Gaz, Neil and Joanne), Fiona and all the staff at Kage, Audrey, Dave and all the staff at Cerberus Bar, Boab at Punk Rock Rammy, Tristan and Harris at Dundee Music Studios, the staff at Rainbow Music, Mitch and crew from Audiowave Dundee, Team Beard Records, Round Dog Records, all the crew at Shadow Sound Central in Glasgow, Kev and the Anti-Manifesto troops in Edinburgh, Black Lake Records, Alshy for being a top geezer, Mighty Vision Entertainment, Dave Hughes, everyone who donated tombola prizes including Kenneth and the good people of Highland Fling Bungee, Grant George at Badlands Barbers, all of the bands and labels who donated prizes, all of the bands who came and nailed it and every single person that came through the door to support what we do and, more importantly, to support the ongoing work of Safe-Tay and Tayside Mountain Rescue.

For the month of December, all donations for digital downloads from the MTAT Bandcamp page will be added to our total for donation to Safe-Tay. The Legendary BYAF Tombola was a roaring success over the weekend. Huge thanks to Abbie and her crew (Cheryl, Fraser and Barry) for taking care of everything at the tombola table and everyone who took a punt at playing as it made an incredible £444.50 over the weekend. We will have the final figure to share at the end of the month once all digital downloads are taken into account. You can find over 60 releases, most of which are available for free/pay-what-you-want download, on our bandcamp page here.

I’m always interested in hearing about the experiences of other people at BYAF, as I am usually running around like a headless chicken over the course of the weekend. It’s both a blessing and a curse; all of these friends from all over the place assembled in one place for such a short period of time that it’s rare I get a chance to have more than a five minute chat with most people. To this end, I am seeking to put together a BYAF zine of sorts featuring stories from those who have attended BYAF, not only this year but from all the fests that we’ve run since we started in the back room of Mucky Mulligan’s back in 2008. If this is something that you’d be interested in contributing towards and being a part of, please get in touch by emailing me here. With a bit of luck, I’ll manage to throw something together by the time Book Yer Ane Fest IX rolls around (running from Friday 27th through Sunday 29th November 2015, in fact). I realise I failed to make good on my promise of a zine this time around, but believe me when I say that it’s going to happen this time, dammit!

 While BYAF is pretty much a year-round job, I guess my weekend started on the Wednesday night on my way back from teaching a class in Blairgowrie when I got a heads up from a pal (cheers Pete) about potential problems with the pre-BYAF show the following evening. Cue some manic texting and a couple of phone calls with Alshy and we were all set with a new venue. Massive props and shout outs to the troops at Shadow Central in Glasgow for sorting us out with both a venue and a backline at the very last minute and to all of the troops for making it out despite the changes. Alshy and I headed down to Glasgow together on the Thursday afternoon and met Freddy Fudd Pucker, his crew of New Zealanders and the dudes from Austeros for the first time whilst hooking up with our old muckers in Mug, Sink Alaska and The Kimberly Steaks. The show itself was rare; all of the bands killed it, the space for the show was a great one, there was a veritable corridor of merch, we covered costs and everyone seemed to have a great time. After that, it was in the motor and up the road for the back of midnight. Solid job all round and a great way to kick off what was already shaping up to be a wild weekend.

The Kimberly Steaks slayed it at pre-BYAF.

The Kimberly Steaks slayed it at pre-BYAF.

First thing on Friday morning saw me cooking the biggest pots of rice my kitchen has ever seen, drinking coffee like it’s going out of fashion (nothing new there) and ringing round everyone making sure all was in hand. We try to take each BYAF as a learning experience and things were fixing up pretty smoothly. The crew met up at Kage around half 2/3 and we got everything loaded in before I left Boab in general charge of sound and setting up while I scooted up the road to meet Russell and get set-up for the pre-show at Cerberus. I’d like to thank Russell and Dave Hughes for the PA and for volunteering to help with sound over the course of the weekend, your contributions are much appreciated gents. I opened the show playing acoustic THT shit and I can barely even remember what I played. I do remember playing the blues at one point and pissing myself laughing. I guess I must’ve entertained myself at least. Gav and Sean then took to the floor of an increasingly busier boozer and played a quick set of beautiful stripped-down Terrafraid material before Maxwell’s Dead absolutely tore the place apart with a suitably raucous set of rowdy ska-punk stompers that very much set the tone for the evening. Then it was a quick bolt down to Kage to catch Lachance open up proceedings.

I was running around like an idiot at this point, so I didn’t really get a chance to watch any full sets as such for the first half of Friday night but I did manage to catch at least a few songs of every band; The Lemonaids absolutely nailed it and it was the first of drummer Ross’s three sets of the night, seeing as he was drumming for both The Kimberly Steaks and The Murderburgers. Hats off to that man for sure! Austeros were spectacular and definitely made some new friends with their sparkling pop-punk goodness. Speaking of the Steaks, the two shows at BYAF were the first times that I’ve seen the band with the new line-up and they were absolutely incredible both times. I’ve been friends with Grieg for a long time now and it makes my bosom swell with pride to see how far the band has come and how Grieg himself has grown as a songwriter. I’ve said it before that “To Live and Die in West Central Scotland” is one of the records of the year and I’ll reiterate here that it is, to my mind, one of the truly great Scottish punk records; an absolute pop-punk masterpiece. The fact that they wrapped up with a cover of “Going To Pasalaqua” was just the frosted icing on the bittersweet pop-punk cake.

The Murderburgers' Annual BYAF Rammy.

The Murderburgers’ Annual BYAF Rammy.

The Murderburgers then rammied things up another notch and the usual BYAF Boiga chaos ensued. For a band that has spent the vast majority of the year on tour, the boys looked remarkably fresh and ready for a rammy at what was their first Scottish show after tearing it up around the USA. Jonny and I had to do a little of ye olde security at the front to make sure that people didn’t fall teeth-first into the monitors but, as always, the crowd capers were all in the best possible spirits and nobody was hurt. I think the mayhem was respectful over the course of the weekend, but I’m undeniably pro-mayhem so I may not be the best person to ask as far as these things go! Judging by the smiles strapped to awbody’s coupons though, all was good. Lipstick Homicide then stepped up and absolutely destroyed it, ripping through a half-hour of fizzy and gobby pop-punk bangers that reminded me why I got involved in this punk rock caper in the first place; short, sharp bursts of energy and attitude wrapped up in a sugary pop-punk coating. They were fucking brilliant and a more than fitting end to a wonderful first night of BYAF. After sorting out the last of the “business”, we slinked off home to try and get some rest before the madness resumed the next day. As usual, it was 3am bed, 8am rise!

Saturday started with the usual coffee and rallying of the troops before I spent a quiet minute being stoked that I didn’t have a hangover on the Saturday of BYAF for the first time ever. Neil from Bicycle Thieves gave me the heads up that he was running late so Turtle Lamone opened things up in Cerberus with some of his piano punk rock wonderment before Gone Wishing treated us to his first set of the day before hitting a bolt to Glasgow to play later on that evening. The assembled hardcore crew were then treated to something very rare and really rather special indeed; a secret acoustic set from Joe McMahon of Smoke Or Fire. As I have written about previously, Joe and I have been in each other’s orbits for some time and it was really rather surreal to have him sitting playing in the boozer where we throw our last minute shows.

Once Joe wrapped, it was a quick tidy up of the gear before heading down to Kage just in time to catch A Victory At Sea kicking up a storm upstairs in the main room. The acoustic stage was running one behind all day as we felt it important than Neil being able to perform after coming all the way from Wales to play, but I don’t think that anyone minded too much. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend too much time downstairs during the Saturday but from all accounts it was truly intimate and memorable the whole way through. That’s one of the very few downsides of being involved in putting on a festival of any kind; you can never really catch all of the acts that you want to, despite having the very best of intentions. Luckily, and more importantly, we managed to stagger things so that clashes wouldn’t happen (on the whole) and that no attendees would have to miss out on any acts. I do hope that everyone managed to catch all of the artists that they wished to over the course of the weekend. That said, I managed to miss my pals in Terrafraid almost entirely as I was running around, I think I caught them playing one song. Fair play, that song is a banger; “always does what everyone does, what everyone does, it’s all the same”.

Random observation from Saturday afternoon; Joe McMahon somehow managed to sleep through the entirety of the In Tongues set in the main room, quite the achievement. In Tongues were fucking incredible, not to mention one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in Kage, truly tremendous stuff indeed.

Our boys in Sink Alaska were up next on the main stage and were a man down from pre-BYAF as guitarist Richie was unwell and deemed sidelined but Alshy, Brad and Sneddy put in a very admiral effort in his absence and ripped through 20 minutes of razor-sharp melodic punk zingers that could peel the enamel from your teeth. Get It Together then took up the baton and ran with it in the way that only they can; Mark a ball of frenetic nervous energy while Craig shreds the skin from your face with his riffage. Unfortunately we didn’t have the “Rebuild, Recover” 7″s ready in time for BYAF (and still don’t, but that’s another story) but their set was triumphant and celebratory nonetheless, with Mark handing out vocal duties to rest his heavily-infected chest. I’m pretty sure that me and Ade got involved in some sort of hardcore version of “Cuddyback Fights” at some point too; not overly dignified but undeniably guid craic. Uniforms played next and, again, it was pretty much a blur for me. We had some technical gremlins messing with us to begin with but that was quickly sorted and I think we hit our stride. BYAF is always a pretty emotional show for us and it was also our first Dundee show since Chic joined the band so we were super pumped. I probably talked a little more shit than usual but what can ye do? Thanks to everyone who checked us out and sang along with us, it truly was something pretty damn special and it means a lot to us.

It was a quick smoke and a quick change for me before getting stage-side for Guerrilla Monsoon. It was great to finally meet those dudes in person as I’ve built up a good relationship with Mark online over the course of the year and they are just a bloody tremendous band. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I’d strongly encourage you to do so; they blend an American emo/punk energy with distinct modesty and a bucketful of indie/punk bangers. Fucking great band and one of the hardest grafting yet ungrizzled bunch of dudes that I’ve ever met who deserve everything that is coming their way. Almost the exact same thing could be said of Algernon Doll, who were at their pulverising and chaotic best. They’re currently in the States recording their new record with Steve Albini and I have absolutely no doubt that it’ll be their best and most fully realised piece of work to date. Ewan is good friend of mine and it has been a pleasure to watch him evolve from shy acoustic multi-instrumentalist to full-on tattooed rock beast. Real as fuck.

Algernon Doll

Algernon Doll

It was great to finally get the dudes from Leagues Apart up for BYAF as it is something that we’ve talked about doing for a while. These dudes are a super talented band and know exactly how to bring the rukus, although I’m pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t more of a rukus in response to James balming everyone up. The dudes were playing only their second show with their new bassist Hub (of Pure Graft) and they rattled through a the pick of the bunch from their banging “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” LP that came out earlier this year. They may have a reputation to uphold but these roasters have got some absolute crackers up their sleeves when they get to it. Standing at the side of the stage watching them, it was impossible for me not to have a massive smile strapped to my face at the sheer sight of everyone being pumped. Talking of being pumped, being invited onstage to sing “Dead Leg” with Bear Trade during their following set was one of the highlights of my year, if not my life. It’s no secret how much I love that band and their incredible “Blood and Sand” LP has been my most listened-to record of the year. It’s safe to say that they absolutely killed it and peeled out the choice cuts from the LP and dropped in a cheeky Replacements cover for good measure. There was a little bit of confusion towards the end as we’d run a little over time, but when they kicked into “Bastards of Young” as the last song of the evening, sheer joyous bedlam ensued. It sounds cliche and cheesy, but it was fucking incredible; one of those moments that makes all the shit that comes with it worthwhile. Life affirming stuff indeed.

Sunday started with a queue outside Cerberus and some sore heads before Shitgripper played our first show in Dundee and cracked some skulls open with some instrumental doom loud enough to rival the church bells before Ewan played a secret Algernon Doll acoustic set that included a delightful Fugazi cover. Lancashire punks Dead Neck than absolutely slayed it with their 1000mph skate punk, NOFX and Propagandhi covers and the most ridiculous version of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” that you’re ever likely to hear. Maxwell’s Dead then opened proceedings at Kage with a last minute set of stormers and “nah-nah-nahs” before Robot Doctors slammed it with their high-energy indie rock and enviable high-jumps for such a delicate hour.

Our pals Question The Mark then nailed it and it was great to see them playing with our friend Rich of Team Beard on the bass for the first time. He played with such style and slipped into the pocket so tightly that you’d think that he’d been in the band from the very beginning before reunited Perthshire indie/emo legends Venetian Love Triangle played their first show in Dundee since supporting a little-known Biffy Clyro back in ’03. It was great to hear some of those old songs again, bringing me back to my youth and young manhood as Stef and his bands were always a great inspiration to me as a kid. I remember seeing Tenesee Kait playing Ramones covers at Blair Live in the Wellmeadow when I was around 15 and it clearly left an indelible effect on me. Italian punks Low Derive then took to the floor and entirely blew the place away with their thoughtful European take on midwestern punk rock; such a tight band with intricacy and harmonies all over the place. I was very grateful to be able to catch their full set at post-BYAF the next night. Another truly great band of truly good dudes who I very much look forward to seeing again.

Random memory; “Your voice is part of the space you take up” – Andy Chainsaw. Wise words, my friend!

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Billy on the Acoustic Stage

By this time of the weekend my memory was beginning to haze over a little, something in which I’m sure I wasn’t alone. I think that perhaps the atmosphere in the air at the acoustic stage whilst Billy Liar was performing best exemplified that of the weekend; excitement, humour, togetherness, positivity and everything that is good in punk. Billy is one of my bestest pals and his set was, to me at least, hilarious and I think he spent more time talking shit and going nuts than he did playing songs. Either way, it was another one of those special moments. Talking of which, the Broken Stories set was one of the most poignant and heart-wrenching sets that I’ve ever borne witness to. We were obviously all very excited that the set was doubling as the launch show for the “It’ll Be Alright” 10″ EP but I shall forever hold in my heart the feeling of complete awe and utter respect with tears rolling down my face whilst Kevin and Gillian performed “Playing On Repeat” from the EP. For Morgan Nicol, Jordan Cameron and all who’ve gone too soon, may you find peace. I had to go outside for a little while once they’d finished then helped Chris T-T and The Hoodrats load in. I caught a little bit of Bonehouse’s set beforehand and they were tremendous as always, delivering buckets of blood, sweat and tears as ever. My only regret is not getting to see more.

Our friends in Carson Wells had pulled an incredible shift in driving from London where they’d played at About Time 3 the previous day and destroyed it once more. I could labour on at length about the impeccably high standard of bands across the weekend but Carson Wells are very near the pinnacle of Ecossemo greatness. Truly a spectacular band, I have every confidence that their new LP will blow minds the world over once it is unleashed next year. Don’t sleep on these boys. I finally managed to pick up a copy of their split 7″ with Human Hands too, after many months of meaning to. The mighty Kaddish were up next and were at their mesmeric best, mixing in tracks from the “Thick Letters To Friends” LP with some classics and a couple of tasty tracks from their forthcoming full-length. Browsing facebook the next day, I saw a friend post that “seeing Kaddish at BYAF was the best twelve pound I’ve ever spent”, pretty much the perfect summation of things. By this point, my brain is mush, Fat Goth are on the floor decimating Kage and rattling the remaining skulls while shredding the roof tiles off the place. Then it was over.

To offset the imminent post-fest blues, I got dressed and headed along to Kage to load out the PA loading out all the backline from both Kage and Cerberus then returning them to their rightful homes (DM Studios and our spare room, respectively). A quick shower later and Russell was texting me from outside and we were off to the post-BYAF show in Edinburgh as hosted by our esteemed colleagues of Anti-Manifesto. Unfortunately we missed Dead Neck but arrived just in time to see Paper Rifles charm us with his impassioned Wildhearts-esque acoustic set before Question The Mark smashed it through the walls one more time. I bore witness to my third Joe McMahon set of the weekend and sat quietly before Low Derive rounded out the wildest yet smoothest-running weekend of my life with some rowdy punk rock bangers. Then it was back in the motor, up the road and back to DD1.

To all involved in a truly momentous weekend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Ye are deece.

See ye at Book Yer Ane Fest IX.

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