Write Yer Ane Zine

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

Tag: hardcore

Plague Diaries; Two

(Full disclosure; I started this a week ago and didn’t get my finger out, so this’ll be non-sequitorial as fuck. Shit happens.)

These are sketches, not theses.

Not every post on the internet is a declaration of an ideological position, but industrialised capitalism is the enemy.

Approaching five weeks of lockdown and we still haven’t completely lost our minds. I’ve put on weight. This has probably been the most extended period of healthier eating that I’ve experienced in about twenty years. My mother will be relieved, she thinks I’m wasting away every time she grabs my bones when giving me a cuddle. Well fed but with ants in pants and the knowledge that it’s hardly suffering to be indoors, we deconstruct existence through curated newsfeeds.

Unstable Unicorns comes highly recommended.

It’s been nice to have some time, a little breathing space, but we’re keenly aware of the privilege of our position. The stories are getting worse every day; this morning they’re talking about temporary morgue at the technology park and how we’re running out of body bags. Just a couple months ago, we were discussing the possibilities of a park and ride there, now we’ll be prepping to stack corpses, if some stories are to be believed.

Tesco breadlines

I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that neoliberalism has succeeded in protecting the rich and fucking up everything else. I started writing this blog a week ago, got distracted, and we’re drowning in more data and (dis)information every day, so this particular screed is non-linear, even by my own skewed shitty standard. That nobody has any trust; institutionally, culturally, inter-personally; is of no great surprise. Roasters gon’ roast.

Dundee streets

The American preppers who’ve spent the last twenty years getting ready for the “impending race war” or whatever misguided bloodthirsty nazi bullshit these clowns spout are fucking insane. To say they’ve picked up the wrong end of the stick would be a considerable understatement. Be careful what ye wish for, ye may just get it, “hard” Brexit and that. Maniacs of the far-right aside, if you are out and about on your government-mandated daily exercise or getting supplies and see someone out there on the street struggling, please god give them a hand if you’re in a position to safely do so.

We demonstrably can’t depend on the criminally-negligent powers that be to take care of us, each other or our communities, and that stretches from the essential frontline staff of the NHS to the homeless dude begging for something to eat on the street; they don’t give a fuck about any of us if it ain’t lining pockets, yo. We can dream of post-crisis accountability but we live in world where Tony Blair is considered the measured voice of the labour movement and not a war criminal, so I don’t have high hopes.

Cheers to the troops at Food Not Bombs for putting this graphic together.

This has been longest period of time without being at or playing a show in my life. I miss the live punk rock exorcisms pretty badly. However, this has also been useful, insofar as it is clearly not solely loud music that causes and perpetuates the ringing in my ears. I’ve been for multiple hearing tests and can hear all frequencies. I suspect it’s got something to do with dead nerves or directionless pathways in my broken tooth, long overdue removal after being broken in a ruckus outside Kage thirteen years ago or so. The less said about that, the better, but I really should go and get that tooth pulled. Either way, ear plugs strongly recommended.

Also, I’d suggest vocalists should be buying and bringing their own microphones to shows. This is something that I’d recommend anyways, but doubly so now. I took one telling, once, from a massive scary fucking sound man for swinging his mic around at a Joey T show; “if you’re gonna pull that poser shit, bring your own fucking mic”. Yessir!

2xLP on No Idea Records

Given that we’ve got some time on our hands, Purple Haze and I have been working through the record collection from front to back. Like everybody else, we’ve been keeping in touch with everyone on social media. We both have siblings with toddlers, friends with families, and I’ve seen a lot of reminiscing online. Seismic catastrophic shocks will give rise to pondering, to reflection and shifts in perspectives. I wrote this about booze four years ago. I’ve seen Jonny recalling some Uniforms stories on FB and was reminded when we got to “B” about The Bomb.

Uniforms played with them at the post-Book Yer Ane Fest show in Edinburgh, I think it was either BYAF VII or VIII, whatever one happened in 2013. I was full of self-congratulations as I’d managed to “behave” myself all weekend, at the after-party I was merely “letting off steam” because I “deserved” it. All utter bullshit, of course, the lies that we tell ourselves. It had been a long weekend for everybody and, quite rightly, Jonny was in no mood for my shite after he’d packed the van, which I didn’t even realise he’d done. Despite the fugue and everything that followed, I remember his words clear as day; “ye can either get in the van and I’ll drop ye at yer door, nae bather, or ye can stay with that prick and yer one yer own”. I stayed with that prick. A blessing in disguise, I guess, as that was the last time I ever drank.

Guid colour, pals!

“The Half Life Of Teaspoons” is the debut LP from Follow Your Dreams. It is out now on TNS Records and 5 Feet Under Records and I implore you to go and check it out immediately. There’s always a lot of hyperbole gets thrown around about “pushing the boundaries” of hardcore when a new, fresh and exciting record drops, but, on this occasion, I think it is truly merited. Follow Your Dreams are not an easy proposition; confrontational, contorted, driving, furious, angular, articulate, passionate, literate, rocking, packed full of noise/samples/RIFFS and fucking A+ philosophical lyrical content. It’s one of the most ferocious and exciting UK hardcore records I’ve heard in a long time, something like Crows An Wra meets Converge meets Punch meets Crass, absolutely jawdroppingly wonderful stuff. Buy it.

Razorcake #114. We have some copies in the distro.

While I’m sure everyone who reads this will broadly agree that the most that we’re in has been a long time in coming; that a decade of Tory austerity has stripped the state and civil society of its heart and capacity to cope in times of crisis, and that our current governmental, parliamentary, economic and ecological institutions are no longer fit for purpose and that we are, existentially and for lack of a better word, fucked. The “normal” that many long to get back to isn’t, wasn’t and never has been normal. The emergency response stimulus packages thrown together by governments around the globe has proven that, once again, the magic money tree does indeed exist, especially when it threatens to the future capacity of those with means and capital to continue to grow them in future. The entire construct has been exposed as a sham and Piers fuckin’ Morgen is being lauded as a national hero sticking it to the government. We are through the looking glass, freedom is slavery, etc.

Prepare for tomorrow today, the future will be built from the ashes of the industries and institutions that have destroyed our ecosystems. They’ll be paying you to fill up at Tesco shortly, oil is worthless in an economy without consumption. We need a transformative global socialist green new deal and we need it forty years ago.

I’ve got some more coherent ideas about this but riffing it out on the blog right now ain’t the moment.

Shupostekud Drone Party

We started doing DAE YER ANE STREAMS this week with Jason kicking things off with a Shupostekud set on Monday night. It’s dystopian as fuck that we’ve already normalised communicating with our loved ones exclusively be electronic means but I guess if there’s a positive lesson to be taken from the alienation, the learning points towards gratitude and appreciation. I know I am guilty, as fuck, of taking those around me for granted, especially those who you share space/art/principles/love with, when things are “good”; it shouldn’t take crisis, or a intersecting crises, the get the ego in check but, alas, here we are regretting being an arsehole for the millionth time. Tell the people that you love that you love them when you have the chance to do so.

Alldeepends took the stream on Tuesday night and provided one of the most entertaining lockdown sets that I’ve seen so far. Ye cannae go wrong with two transatlantic maniacs armed with banjos, bongos, punk rock bangers and firecrackers. Their “Hello MY NAME IS” 7″ is now available for pre-order from the MTAT Bandcamp page and they’ve got a couple of truly superb DIY music videos up on Cowpunk TV. We’ve also just uploaded “In Ruins”, a new short film from Owen McLaughlin, a live Dog Eared video covering Chewing On Tinfoil and some live footage of Seas, Starry from the last night of Dundee Women’s Festival, the last show held in Conroy’s Basement, courtesy of Johnny P. Threshold.

There are 300+ videos from over the last decade or so, many of them fair cringey if you’re me, up there for your delectation, please feel free to have a deep dive and let us know what ye think. If you’d like to publish something on Cowpunk TV or Write Yer Ane Zine, get at me and we can sort something out. All content will be considered, have ye read some of the shit I’ve written on here?!?

Dae Yer Ane Streams schedule

Queequeg’s Coffin will be bringing the ruckus to Dae Yer Ane Streams this evening (if I ever got this damn thing done and published) with Buffalo Heart on Thursday before Chris Snelgrove beams into our living rooms from Montreal. We’ve got four sets happening over the weekend from Paper Rifles (go download their new “Headstrong” EP immediately, all proceeds to Health In Mind), Dog Eared, Beth Wood of Sofa Time and the wonderful Little Anchors on Sunday evening. All sets streaming from the Make That A Take FB Page. Week Two details coming so, if we decide to do a Week Two, which we probably will.

It’s not ideal, it’s not much, but at this stage in the game, you truly do what you can with what you’ve got.

Good old ice cream eyeball, by Jamie.

With Rad Apples being closed, we have no physical store and, obviously, there are no shows to sell records at. As such, Purple Haze and I FINALLY got to stock-taking and making a full inventory of the records, CDs, cassettes and all other merch, which is now available online through our Bigcartel page. We’re got STACKS of vinyl going and we’re down to last items on a whole bunch of things, so if you’ve ever wanted to own a copy of The Fur Coats’ “Short-Brain” EP on snot green 7″ vinyl, now is your time to do so. That Goodbye Blue Monday EP is gonna be ebay gold one day, mate. Five small MTAT HXC Cross shirts left too. Cool free shit with all orders.

 

 

MTAT also released the new “Luxury Interior” EP from Concept Car. Four tracks of blissed-out 80s-inspired transcendental synth-fuelled float-y post-rock goodness for free/pay-what-you-want download. All proceeds to the Cowpunk Defence Fund. Spaces cost money and that.

I couldn’t be more grateful to be facing the future with Purple Haze. It’s been thirty three days or something since our business closed and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s been sitting sewing masks while I’ve been spewing forth spoiled bratty screeds on the internet. I love her, she’s the best. She is also absolutely wise to bullshit, of which I spew plenty, and mental riffage can be a form of sport.

Talking of bullshit, “On Bullshit” by Harry Frankfurt may be the preeminent essay of our late-capitalist times, “Calling Bullshit” an online course all internet users could benefit from. With the world at your fingertips, ignorance is no excuse.

If you’re in a position to do so, find a local mutual aid network and get involved. Here’s a list of vital services in Dundee, cribbed from one of the online support groups. Cheers to Steve Not Bombs Dundee for bringing it to my attention. I’ve just straight copied and pasted it, so, ken. For web links, just search your preferred engine provider.

Groups & Organisations providing support during COVID-19z

Domestic Abuse Helpline 24 hour helpline
Domestic abuse helpline: 0800 027 1234

Dundee Women’s Aid Phone, text & e-mail support – domestic abuse support & access to refuge
Helpline: 01382 207099 (check opening hours)
Text: 07763 682 105
E-mail: support@dundeewomensaid.co.uk

Rape Crisis Helpline every day 6pm – midnight
08088 01 03 02

Women’s Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre. Live chat & phone support – sexual violence, abuse & exploitation. Dundee Helpline: 01382 205556

Abused Men in Scotland: Call 0808 800 0024 Mon – Fri, 9am – 4pm

Boomerang Centre: Distributing sandwiches, fruit, bottled water and school meals. Mon – Fri 12:30pm – collect from 10 Kemback Street. Bring carrier bag.

Broughty Ferry Foodbank :Food parcel delivery. Delivering Tue & Friday. Make a referral online.

Camperdown & Lochee Ministry (CALM) :collection/delivery of prescriptions for those self-isolating & delivery of emergency shopping essentials Call 07903673547 (Between 13th-19th April call 07511713940).

Coldside Community Cupboard: Fruit, vegetables and bakery to take away Collect Mon – Friday 10am – 2:30pm, outside Maxwell Centre.

Community Fridge, Perth Road: Open as usual
Open 11am – 4pm.

Eagles Wings & Parish Nursing:Small food parcel collection available. Collect between 1 – 3pm Monday – Thursday from Eagles Wings, 10 Douglas street.

Dundee Thegither :Food parcel delivery
E-mail covid19dundee@yahoo.com / call: 01382 413072

Haven on Hilltown: Food available to collect
Collect Wed and Thurs 11:30am – 12:30pm

Kirkton Food Larder: Food available to collect each Thursday between 11am and 3pm. Contact the Larder through Facebook to arrange to collect.The Larder now based at the Attic Lounge, Beauly Avenue, Kirkton.

Lifegate Church: Soup, sandwiches and snacks to take away. Collect Tuesday & Fridays between 11am – 1pm

Lochee Community Larder: Food deliveries and collection available. Call between 10 & 11am 01382 936191. Open Mon, Wed & Friday between 10 – 2pm. Collection from 5 Whorterbank.

Menzieshill Church: Various food items to take away. Mon – Friday, 12:30 – 1:30pm (free school meals to take away); Mon, Wed & Fri 1-3:30pm (FoodBank); Wed 1-3pm (takeaway soup); Thursday 11am – 1pm (Food Hub)

RockSolid @ Douglas & Mid Craigie Church: Community larder, soup to take away & takeaway school meals Mon-Fri, 12:30pm (free packed lunch school meals), Wed & Fridays 2-3pm (Food Larder). Please bring your own bag. 1 bag per household. Deliveries are possible. Please PM the RockSolid FB page or email angie@rocksolid.org.uk to request a next-day delivery Mon-Fri.

Salvation Army: Food bags, tea & coffee to collect
Collect from Salvation Army, Thurso Crescent Mondays 12-2pm and Fridays 6 – 7:30pm.

St Lukes Church, Downfield: Food bag delivery
Call 07711410017 between 9am – 3pm every day. Deliveries after 3pm.

St Mary’s Church: Food bags to collect
Collect Saturday between 1-2pm from Grays Lane, Lochee

St Paul’s Group: Hot drinks, filled rolls, fruit & cake to take away. Collect Saturday between 7:30 – 8:30pm from South Tay Street car park (across road from Lidl/Overgate car park entrance)

Taught by Muhammad FoodBank : Food bag delivery only. Call 07505009097 to arrange.

Tele Taxis VARIOUS: Support with collection of supplies & prescriptions for older/vulnerable people Call 01382 825825.

The Friary FOOD & TOILETRIES:Tea/coffee available. Food & toiletry packs to take away
Collect from Tullidepth Rd. Mondays between 10:30am – 12:30pm.

Transform TOILETRIES: Free sanitary products
Call 07849 085 007 or e-mail sanitaryproducts@transformcd.org for support.

Whitfield Food Larder FOOD: Supporting mainly own volunteers and participants but if you live in DD4 area and require urgent food bag, get in touch. Contact via Facebook.

Mental health support

Age Scotland: Free, confidential phone service for older people, their carers and families in Scotland. Call 0800 12 44 222 Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm

Alternatives Listening Rooms Helpline for pregnancy choices, abortion/miscarriage support
Phone 01382 221112 (24 hour answering service) or text 07599 955231 to make an appointment.

Breathing Space Phone support for people feeling low, anxious or isolated Call 0800 83 85 87 – advisors are available in the evenings (6pm – 2am) and at the weekends (24 hours)

CALM Helpline for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. Call 0800 58 58 58 or live chat here (open 5pm – midnight every night)

Camperdown & Lochee Ministry Team Befriending for older/vulnerable people in the Lochee area. Listening service for those concerned about their mental wellbeing or substance usE-mail RGrahame@churchofscotland.org.uk
Call Louise on 07511713940 for listening service.

Community Companions Phone support/listening service. Call 01382 305736, 07983707168, 07939154330 or e-mail communitycompanions@dvva.scot.

Cool 2 Talk: YOUNG PEOPLE: Confidential and safe space where young people aged between 12 and 26 can get questions answered accurately and without judgement as well as access the 121 counselling service. Visit http://www.cool2talk website

Cruse Bereavement Helpline BEREAVEMENT: One-to-one support for people facing bereavement
Call 0845 600 2227

Dundee Thegither General phone social support.
Call 01382 413072.

Dial-OP Blether Buddies & Morning Call Phone support for vulnerable people. Offer two different telephone services – a Morning call which is a quick 4-5minute check in to see the person is well and has everything they need. The other service is a Blether Buddy where volunteers are matched with a vulnerable person and they blether together once a week for 20-30 minutes, building relationships and sharing news and stories and keeping connected. A vulnerable person can choose one service or both.
Access via: VolunteerDundee.org or via email – dialop@dvva.scot or phone 01382 305757.

Feeling Strong
YOUNG PEOPLE: Providing support via video chat including peer support, talk about the difficulties of isolation, and ask for a food/care package to be delivered to you. Talk about your mental health, recovery and self-care. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1500-1800. Visit book.feelingstrong for more info and to make an appointment

Healthy Minds Network
Phone support and live chat on Facebook. Virtual Drop ins (group video chat) on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:30pm – 2pm.
Contact Lynsey McCallum on 07530237465 / lynseymccallum@dvva.scot; Louise McEwan 07948239575 / louisemcewan@dvva.scot
Virtual drop in spaces should be booked in advance.

LGBT Helpline Scotland
Information and emotional support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families, friends and supporters across Scotland. Support for those questioning or wanting to discuss their sexuality or gender identity.
Call 0300 123 2523 Tue & Wed (12-9pm) or live chat.

Living Life Appointment-based CBT support for people who are feeling low, anxious or stressed
Call 0800 328 9655 Mon – Fri (1 – 9pm)

Lochee Baptist Chapel Chaplaincy Support Helpline. Listening service for those experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, anger, addiction, suffering, grief, relationship breakdown etc.
Call 01382 612348 Mon – Fri 3-4pm. Leave message out with these times and someone will get back in touch.

Making Recovery Real: Phone support and live chat on Facebook
Call Michelle Donoghue on 07377788817 / e-mail michelledonoghue@dvva.scot.

NHS Tayside Community Listening Service Listening service to talk to someone if you are worried/upset. Phone appointments available Mon – Friday. Call or text 07967771941.

Samaritans Phone support for worries, concerns, suicidal thoughts etc. Call 116 123 free 24/7

SHOUT Crisis Support: Text-based crisis service for people struggling to cope and need immediate help. Text Shout to 85258

SilverLine OLDER PEOPLE: Free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 0800 4 70 80 90 Freephone service

Uppertunity/ Phone call listening support only for people with additional needs, families & carersCall 07931560936 or 07948212504 (9am – 6pm)

Young Minds YOUNG PEOPLE: Online resources to support young people who are worried or concerned: visit website.

Substance use / alcohol support

AA & NA online meetings Online sessions available
Various online sessions.

Albert Street Hub Essential drop-in support Drop in at Boots Albert Street Hub Monday, Tuesday & Thursday – times flexible – call 01382 206888.

Crossreach Tayside Support Services. Phone support and online recovery meetings Monday – Friday Call Lucie on 07384836092 Monday to Friday; Stan on 07384836091 Monday to Wednesday; Nan on 07909253840 Monday to Friday. E-mail nan.boyd@crossreach.org.uk or recoveryatthefriary@yahoo.com.

Drinkline Scotland Free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm)

Hillcrest Futures: Harm Reduction Centre at the Cairn Centre, 12 Rattray Street Dundee. Lunch packs available every Tue & Friday. Telephone support to anyone struggling with their own, a family member’s or loved one’s substance use.
Opening times: Monday 9-5; Tuesday 10-6; Wednesday 9-5; Thursday 9-5; Friday 10-6. Phone support: Les 07734599521; Paul 07917585530; Alan 07452917976; Kelly 07725593900; Graeme 07452923544.

NHS Tayside (Safer Injecting) Delivery of injecting equipment and naloxone kits Call Hillcrest Futures on 01382 200532 Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm (naloxone & injecting equipment); We Are With You on 07760755673 Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm (naloxone only). Order online.

NHS Tayside (Harm Reduction Nurses) Wound care and anti-biotics, BBV testing, advice on safer substance use, naloxone
Face to face: Cairn Centre, 12 Rattray Street, Dundee Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm. Call 01382 496745 Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm.

NHS Tayside (online advice) Advice for people who use drugs.

Peer Recovery Network: Phone support for people affected by substance or alcohol use. E-mail peersuppor@dvva.scot or call 077199957849.

RecoverTay: Telephone and online support for anyone struggling with their own, a family member’s or loved one’s substance use RecoverTay are available to offer support through their Facebook page.

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs
Helpline and live chat support if you are concerned about someone else’s alcohol or drug use. Chat, offer advice and information, and link you either into their services or services local to you. Call 08080 10 10 11 weekdays 9am – 11pm.
E-mail helpline@sfad.org.uk

SMART Recovery – online meetings Online sessions available every day

Tayside Council on Alcohol: Phone support available. Call 01382 456012. Alternativey e-mail enquiries@alcoholtayside.com or contact via Facebook.

Terrence Higgins Trust: Phone & e-mail advice for people living with HIV Call 0808 802 1221 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm Mon – Fri.
E-mail info@tht.org.uk

We Are With You (formerly Addaction)
Free confidential support to people experiencing issues with drugs, alcohol or mental health
Call 01382 206888 or access their web chat.

Hope some sense was gleamed from this stream-of-subconsciousness and barely concealed disgust. Love, of course, would probably be the more compassionate approach to healing, but I’m preoccupied with the rules of engagement for Guillotine or Gulag?.

Peace.

xdkrx

‘Ugly David’

‘Ugly David’

An essay by Dom Kaddish

I wasn’t in the habit of noticing it at all: a small rectangular fridge magnet bearing a likeness of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, gifted to me by an eccentric member of the Hume Society many years ago….It is frankly hideous: Hume’s likeness comes from a bad waxwork, and it looks like he is melting. To avoid offending my eyes with it, I had placed this piece of cheap and ugly plastic on the side of the fridge. It was meant to be; out of sight, out of mind; (And, more to the point, out of sight and mind for potentially curious houseguests).

But there I was in the kitchen last night, doing the dishes as a way of 1.) hiding from the kids for ten minutes, and, 2.) focusing on something small, tedious and halfway in the midst of the (mindboggling and bewildering) COVID-19 crisis in the UK, when Ugly David reached right out from the fridge and grabbed me (I mean this figuratively, not literally; I have not lost my mind….Yet).

A quote beside David reads: “Tis not reason that is the guide of life, but custom”. The trained philosopher in me has always viewed this as a fairly dull statement of Hume’s philosophy (empiricism). The vain aesthete in me has always seen it as a fairly poor and random slogan for a fridge magnet.

But then I got to thinking….

Our habit in the face of something like the COVID-19 pandemic is to be hyper-rational. And by ‘our’ here, I mean that of literally everyone: child, teenager, parent, grandparent, teacher, pupil, friend, sibling, doctor, nurse, shopworker, policeman, criminal, soldier, student, artist, worker, jobseeker, engineer, homeless person, asylum seeker, politician, journalist, economist, epidemiologist…. Whichever terms here best describe you (and there are innumerably many others that can be added), we are extremely well versed in being hyper-rational these days.

This means we do things like the following: we reason in terms of chains of inference (if X, then Y…. Either A or B…. ); we look for relationships of cause and effect; we try to reason in terms of relevant analogies, symmetries, asymmetries and patterns; we think in terms of parts and wholes…. These and other processes are what we might call the hyper-rationalist ‘toolkit’.

This toolkit can be put to especially industrious use in networked societies. This is because there is astronomically more information for these habits and customs to work with in such societies. In fact, you might call these habits and customs ‘algorithms’. This is because they can be mathematically modeled and trained, and because a particular class of machines (Von Neumann ones) are extremely good at performing them (in fact, significantly better than humans in certain cases, such as on chains of inference and pattern recognition).

This can be a very good thing. We do, for instance, all have very good reasons to be concerned for healthcare workers and the ill/vulnerable at this time, and it is completely rational to want to support them as best we can. The right algorithms and machines, moreover, can and will be an important part of helping us through this.

Hume’s point, however, is that these kinds of habits and customs, although important, can only be part of the story. There are two main reasons for this (it is of course a paradox that these are reasons, but just suspend that trained philosopher ‘clever clogs’ tick for a moment: dull scholastic papers can be written about it in the future….) First: being hyper-rational can guide us in the wrong direction, in no direction at all, or in too many directions at once (the toolkit is only as good as its material, and it can do a botched job). Second: there are other kinds of habits and customs.

On the first point, it is worth noting that there are other (less edifying) types that could have been added to the list of people given above: ‘conspiracy theorist’, ‘narcissist’, ‘egotist’, ‘paranoiac’, ‘reactive’, ‘harsh judge’, ‘troll’, ‘preacher’, ‘catastrophist’….

Hume, I think, would want to see these types in a continuum with the ones listed above. This is because we all have the propensity to be these kinds of people at least some of the time, and because these less edifying types also make use of the hyper-rationalist tool kit. The conspiracy theorist will, for instance, reason in terms of cause and effect (Which scapegoat/dark nemesis is the cause of all of this? Who must be responsible?). The paranoiac will do this too, and often with justifiable reason in the immediate circumstances surrounding a change that has not yet become familiar (Is that person standing less than two metres from me? Will they cause something in me?). And the catastrophist will reason by analogy and see things in terms of patterns and parts and wholes (Is this a kind of ‘war’? Have I been ‘enlisted’? Where are we on a sliding scale between CJD/Spanish Flu/ The Plague? What part will this play in rearranging the whole economy?)

Quite how well these types use the hyper-rationalist toolkit is a different matter. That they are using it is a matter of fact, and one that is historically intensified in highly networked societies, where we all have the means to be these kinds of people more often, and, thereby, to lead ourselves and others round and round in vicious circles of scepticism, shame, anxiety and doubt.

On the second point, consider three recent events: 1.) when the phrase ‘panic buying’ entered the media in connection with COVID-19, people started panic buying; 2.) when it was announced that pubs would be closing (Friday 20th March 2020), people bought booze in bulk; 3.) when it was announced that large sections of the UK population were being asked not to go to work, people visited parks and holiday spots.

These three events generated a lot of moralism online, but the target was largely misplaced. People weren’t doing these things for reasons they had reflected on; they were acting according to well-ingrained habits and customs that have been inculcated in them (Worried? Let’s go shopping…. Pubs are shut? Let’s party back at mine…. No work on Monday? Let’s go on holiday….)

Bad customs and habits can be as worthy of condemnation as bad intentions and reasons, and just as pernicious in their effects. If we fail to recognise precisely what we are condemning, however, and how badly and condescendingly we sometimes do it, then we will fail to see how the situation might be altered for the better: in the face of a pandemic, you can’t just appeal to people’s reason and expect things to be altered immediately; you also have to reshape their habits and customs, and this takes time.

The ‘what aboutery’ response here, of course, is that time is what we might not have. But this never was a zero sum game: it is not a case of either reason or custom. Instead, Hume’s point is that you must appeal to both, because they are in a continuum, and, even more importantly, you ought to focus most of your attention on customs and habits, because that’s where you can expect the most important and progressive changes to happen.

Providing we can find the time to let them grow, such changes can, as Hume puts it, be our ‘guide of life’. Whether and how we can find the time for them at a national/planetary/civilisational level is a matter of great hyper-rational consternation right now. What many of us do currently have, however, in a situation where many of our most cherished habits and customs have received an almighty jolt, is the scope to reinvent our own habits and customs. And we have to do this, both in order to have them to fall back on for personal care, and in preparation to join the dots between them/ scale them up for the more caring society that we are going to have to find the courage and energy for as we move towards the future.

So, I was not in the habit of noticing an ugly fridge magnet that a snobby part of me had intentionally misplaced….

What I was also not in the habit of thinking was that a sustained philosophical reflection like this could have grown out of one Koan-ish sentence, previously discounted as a bad slogan (‘Tis not reason….’), or that the reflection in question could have been written out on a phone (as this one has). This is because the snobby part of me, you see, still thought that you simply had to take the time to read and understand entire dusty old books, and that the writing conditions for philosophy simply had to be more romantic (the starving lunatic/genius in a garret – the usual teenage-angsty bullshit).

In the present conditions, I am much more inclined to trust and celebrate the part of me that can’t afford to be this self-indulgent: the part that has to steal ten minutes to do the dishes and have a think sparked by whatever important stimuli are to hand.

It turns out that that old cliché is right: there are stimuli around us like this all the time, making gentle demands to be noticed. What I want to convey here, however, isn’t just the cliché. It’s also this: good and healthy habits and customs can be nurtured around these stimuli and their attendant acts of noticing.

In times as fraught and hyper-rational as these, such regimens and routines are what can keep us sane and together…. I will, for instance, be stealing ten minutes to do the dishes this evening. I am looking forward to it, and already have a notion of what I want think about: it concerns that magnet again, but doesn’t have to do with high-faluting philosophical ideas. What writing this (another such regimen) has made me recall, you see, is that my elder son used that magnet as a way of learning the name of my wife’s brother. My son would point to it, and make utterances; my wife and I would say back ‘yes, that’s David’; over time, the habit of saying ‘David’ was acquired and perfected. It is now a little anchor in my son’s life. To him, it is not a word with two syllables, not the name of a Hebrew King, and certainly not the first name of a famous Scottish philosopher; it is rather a bridge for making contact with an Uncle who loves and cares about him.

That’s what I’ll be thinking about when I do the dishes tonight: the story, not of ‘Ugly David’ the fridge magnet, but of my son and ‘Uncle David’.

The “World World Was Still?” LP by Kaddish is out now on Make That A Take + Black Lake Records.

CONROY’S BASEMENT; BOOKING – TERMS & CONDITIONS

***Reposted from makethatatakerecords.com***

As ye may well be aware, things have changed at Conroy’s Basement over the summer. We at Make That A Take have seized the means and are now in full control of the diary and the book. Evolution is part of our human experience, the only true constant being change. The previous “The Summer of Our Discontent” blog discusses these changes in greater detail, but we’re through the worst of the transition period now.

We thought it prudent to publish these terms and conditions, both in the interests of transparency and to have an online reference point. That MTAT formed in 2006 is no secret, but the pre-history of our collective stretches back well over twenty years. In the first instance, we were mentored by the folk music scene in rural Perthshire; Wedge took us into his practice room to watch his band rehearse. We learned by observation before being invited to play ourselves, by full immersion in the experience; learning by doing informed our principles and formed the foundations of our collective – ye do what ye can with what ye got. Ye can read all this back story stuff on Write Yer Ane Zine. We acknowledge our privilege; we were very lucky.

Collectively, we have spent most of our lives learning and growing, thousands of hours of labour; being in terrible bands, playing shows, touring, doing sound, hosting bands, booking tours, sleeping in vans, playing to nobody, being in decent bands, lending gear, building PA systems, badgering pals, losing money, making money, losing gear, being mugged, being banned, making friends, losing friends; making all the mistakes that it’s possible to make, like Sisyphus pushing the rock. We’re pulling for ALL artists, we want your band to rule. I want Goodbye Blue Monday to be bigger than Blink 182. If a lesson learned in Joey T can help our friends today, then it should be passed on. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it burned in six.

Basically what I’m saying is that these “rules” don’t exist because we’re assholes (we’re assholes for entirely separate reasons), these “rules” exist because we have lived and learned experience. We don’t claim to have all the answers, things ALWAYS work better in the spirit of collaboration, when a sense of shared purpose brings people together. We are living in times of desperate alienation, just today the local press has talked of another decade of austerity while millions are being made in the private sector. We believe that by working together to create a better space, we can begin to create a better world. Sure, a punk basement isn’t the world but it is a start. To quote Dom Kaddish, we “resolve to be socially responsible and just citizens in a time of spectres“.

While ye are here, there’s 20% off our 100+ release digital discography on our Bandcamp page and a summer sale happening over at BigCartel. Simple though it may be, the best way to support independent art of any kind is to buy it, share it, talk about it, TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS; come to shows, buy records, buy merch, get involved. You have so much more power than you know.

Together, we can conquer anything.

CONROY’S BASEMENT, DUNDEE – TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

Conroy’s Basement is an independent live music space operated by Make That A Take Records (MTAT). The venue space is available for hire by independent promoters, bands and collectives to promote live music. The venue space is also available to hire for club nights and special events.

MTAT aims to foster a positive environment free from all forms of discrimination. Anti-social behaviour will be not be tolerated. Please see the MTAT “House Rules” attached at the end of this document. MTAT reserves the right to refuse or cancel bookings. These terms and conditions will be updated periodically, as required.

Contact email; conroysbasement@gmail.com

 

Hire prices

 

Standard Gig booking fee; £100

– This covers venue/PA hire + sound engineer.

– We encourage all bookers to bring their own backline.

– Gear shares between bands are also encouraged.

– If this is not possible, some gear belonging to the collective may be available for a small fee (£25)

 

Standard Club Night booking fee; £150

– This covers venue/PA/security hire

– Club night hours are strictly 11pm-2.30am

– Club night hires are only available on Friday/Saturday, at this time

 

All bookings include access to the basement bar.

Deposit; bookings will be confirmed upon receipt of a £50 non-refundable deposit, payable by bank transfer or cash. Deposits are also payable by Paypal but are £55, to cover fees (sorry!).

The remaining balance must be paid in full before doors on the night of your booking.

Paypal address; makethatatakerecords@gmail.com

Friday and Saturday nights are by far and away the most popular and get booked up quickly, so please be aware that your desired date may not always be available.

No bookings will be confirmed until deposits are paid and terms and conditions agreed to.

We will do our very best to work with you to make your event as successful as possible. In the spirit of collaboration, we believe that in working together we can host the best possible events in a positive and safe environment. MTAT is an anti-bigotry, anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic collective.

For more information pertaining MTAT policies and history, please read this FAQ.

 

 

The Venue

 

Conroy’s Basement is a venue conceived by artists for artists. It’s a basement space with a DIY-built PA system, constructed by two of the east coast’s finest sound engineers with decades of collective experience. We’ve been running this space for over three years, hosting over 300 shows in that time, and our system has evolved over time. It will continue to do so.

PA is a 2.5kw rig with 16-channel mixer.

It’s loud. Earplugs are recommended.

– Venue capacity is 100.

– No more than 100 tickets can be sold.

– There is no “green room”.

– There is no allocated seating.

– There is parking around the back of the building

– Load in the side entrance of the building

– Gear must be stored in the corner to stage-right

– Gear cannot be stored in the venue over night

– We have no Wi-Fi

– There is a bar serving drinks.

– Strictly no drinks outside.

– Do not bring your own drinks (refillable water bottles excepted)

– We will provide all mics stands, mics, PA cables, etc.

 

 

Gig itinerary

Load in – 5pm onwards.

Soundcheck – 5pm-7pm

Doors open – 7pm/7.30pm

Sunday-Thursday must be finished by 10.30pm.

ALL gear and humans loaded out by 11pm.

Friday/Saturday shows must finished by 11.30pm at the absolute latest.

ALL gear/humans out by midnight. There will be no exceptions.

Your show will be assigned a representative from the MTAT collective and a sound engineer.

Access to the venue is available from 5pm. In exceptional circumstances, please advise of any requirements outside these hours at least two weeks in advance.

Club Nights; 11pm-2.30am

– DJs must provide their own equipment (vinyl/CD decks, laptop, etc).

– A MTAT representative will be present for load-in/set-up

PLEASE NOTE: If you are organizing a gig with more than 3 acts please let us know in advance.

 

 

Your Responsibilities

 

Promotion; it is your responsibility to promote the show.

– A Facebook event page alone does not count as gig promotion.

– Please make Conroy’s Basement a co-host on any event page that you make.

– Please make sure we have POSTERS for your show at the venue at least FOUR WEEKS prior.

– Please email all online promotional materials to Conroy’s Basement.

– We will include your event in all of Conroy’s Basement’s gig listings

– It is your responsibility to sell tickets for your events. We recommend Groucho’s Music in Dundee.

 

In advance; knowledge is power!

– Please provide full-tech spec and running order, including set times.

– Please make sure that FULL BACKLINE arrangements have been made.

– It is your responsibility to fulfill any/all contractual obligations to artists booked

– You must let us know of any RIDERS that may need be brought in. These are your responsibility.

– Any ALCOHOL on riders must be stored in the fridge behind the bar. Drinks tickets will then be allocated which can then be exchanged for rider drinks from the bar. There can be no exceptions.

– It is the responsibility of the promoter to provide all riders and information pertaining them.

– We have no cooking/re-heating facilities at this time.

– Let us know if there are any problems we can help resolve.

 

On the night; it is your responsibility to run the show.

– Booking fees must be paid in full before doors open. If this is a problem, please advise.

– You must provide your own door person to take tickets/entry. We will provide a £50 float.

– It is your responsibility to make sure all artists are informed of venue rules/set times/etc.

– You must provide your sound engineer with set times.

– Headline bands will soundcheck first. Opening bands will then set up. Line-checks for others.

– It is your responsibility to pay acts.

– Anyone found bringing in their own alcohol will be asked to leave and banned.

– Drinks in the venue are cheap.

– Loading out must be completed by the agreed times. No gear can be stored in the venue.

 

 

The MTAT collective was established in 2006 and we’ve been involved in thousands of shows and events since then. Run by punks for punks, we’ve been involved in the musical community for over twenty years and aim to foster an atmosphere of positivity, inclusion and collaboration.

We aim to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and would hope for the same in return. We are more than happy to discuss any issues or concerns that anyone may have about the operation of the space. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any and all questions/enquiries.

Be radical, spread joy.

– MTAT

http://www.makethatatakerecords.com

PMX – EU Tour Report (May 2017)

YO.

Things have been pretty quiet on this here blog recently. This isn’t for lack of anything to say or thoughts to impart, quite the opposite in fact, but things have been somewhat the grind. This isn’t a complaint but in getting shit done there is little time leftover for personal reflection, let alone pissing in the ocean of spacejunk that is the internet. I fail, of course.

All that said, there’s been HUNNERS of shit going on, including the troops in PMX tearing it up across Europe for the second time already this year. As such, I asked Matt to throw together a little tour diary about their travels.

How do?

Derrick asked me to write a few things down about our recent tour of Europe so here goes!

Fifteen days on the road. Hitting up six countries for shows whilst passing through ten. A total of 4700 miles. It’s nice to be back in the land of three prong plugs, driving on the left hand side of the road and proper toilet seats but I’d jump in the van and head off again today in a heartbeat.

Anyone that has been on tour will know the excitement and trepidation that comes with setting foot in the van on day one. The knowledge that when you leave it again on the final day you will be broken, dirty and exhausted. If you make it to the final day and you are none of these things then you are not fucking doing it right!

We left on my 34th birthday which was a pretty cool way to both celebrate that milestone and kick off two weeks of gigging and debauchery! I was hungover from our show the night before in Edinburgh so the day seemed to pass reasonably quickly. 9 hours on the road later and we were boarding the Dover to Dunkirk ferry where several pints were welcomed with open arms.

Being on tour does seem like it’s a lot of fun and although it is, I don’t think it’s as romantic as it seems to anyone who has not done it before. The daily routine is as follows;

  • You wake up early (usually hungover) in a strange place trying to piece together the previous nights goings on.
  • You jump in the van and plan your route to the next town. Some days this can take as little as 3 hours, some days it can take 16.
  • You hunt out a service station or supermarket to stock up on supplies if need be. Now if, like me, you have special dietary requirements, this can be a challenge. Luckily enough I stocked up on noodles, soya milk and 9bars before we left so was able to suck it up when the closest thing to a vegan sandwich was a BLT!
  • You arrive at the venue, usually several hours before you have to play, in order to load in your gear and sound check.
  • You sit around in the venue drinking the free beer and eating the free food (which again due to my aforementioned dietary requirements can be hit or miss).
  • You play. Always the best bit of the day. If you don’t enjoy that part then what the fuck are you doing on tour!?!
  • You pack up all your gear into the van again with Tetris-like precision. Of course, by this point you are usually soaked through with sweat and somewhat inebriated.
  • You head off to your designated sleeping spot, whether it’s someone’s floor, a hostel, a practice room floor, a shipping container or just in the venue itself.
  • Repeat daily.
  • For 2 weeks.

There might be a chance to see some other cool shit whether it be touristy or not but in general that’s about it. So now you have a better understanding of ‘tour life’ or at least as how I see it, I am not gonna bore you with the finer details of every day, every drive and every venue. Instead I’m just gonna list a bunch of stuff that I thought was fucking cool.

  • Driving through the Alps is cool as fuck! Your not gonna see as beautiful scenery as that every day of the week. Just don’t stop for food or drink, you need a bank loan.
  • Slovenia is a rad country. Everyone there is super nice and it is real beautiful. We washed in a river one day and it was proper cold but unforgettably cool at the same time. When I say cold I mean painfully cold. I’m gonna fucking die cold. Colder than witches tit as they say.
  • Italy is a fuckover for tolls, kinda like France. Other than that, we played three shows that were all awesome. Every single person we met there was friendlier than the last and they couldn’t do enough for us. If I get the chance I will head back to both Livorno and Remini for a holiday again.
  • I’ve always liked Germany. I went there a few times in my youth and remember everyone being real nice and the place itself being pretty sweet. I can now report that nothing’s really changed. We went and saw a giant hole in the ground that was home to the world’s biggest moving machine. I have seen it before but it still managed to get my geekier side moist again!
  • The Netherlands and Belgium were once again great fun. Got compared to Belvedere who had played the venue we played in Naaldwijk, NL a good 15 years earlier. Nice to know we keep our music current and relevant haha!
  • Some cool bands to check out that we met along the way are Tear Them Down from Sweden, The Peterlees from The Netherlands, Bare Teeth from France, Start At Zero from Slovenia, Struggling For Reason from Belgium, United And Strong from Germany, Deadends from Austria and Danger Jerk from Germany.

There was probably a bunch of other stuff that I thought was cool but it’s either just stupid shit that no one else would ever find cool or I was too drunk/hungover to remember it. It could equally be a fine combination of both!

Anyways, I hope I didn’t bore the tits off you or you are sitting there thinking “what a wanker!”. Being on tour to me is just like a holiday. A free all-inclusive holiday with my best mates. And I hate hearing folk going on about their holiday when they get back!

We’ve got a few more shows lined up here and there in the coming months but we will be mainly concentrating on writing and recording a new record between now and my wedding in August. Aim is to have it out before the end of the year and get touring again as much as possible next year. I will endeavour to produce an equally shite blog post for you when that comes around if you so desire!

Peace and Fucking. Believe.

Matt xXx

PMX are back in Dundee on Friday 26th May with the troops in Get It Together plus MTAT first-timers Hopes Up High (new school pop-punk/hxc from Arbroath) and Us Versus Them (teeth-rattling old school hxc from Fife). Should be a suitably radge hardcore punk tear up of a Friday night.

If ye don’t have a copy of the “Dark Days” EP, remedy that in short order. It’s moich.

Be radical, spread joy.

 

2016; My Favourite Records of the Year

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2016 was an incredible year for music. Anyone who says otherwise is either ill-informed or just plain ignorant. The same could be said of those who constantly bemoan the “death of the album”. Yes, while the mainstream may be consuming music in an ever more disposable fashion, the case has always been thus and when have we cared about what’s happening there anyways?

Records and albums never died or went anywhere, for those who’ve always bought music and supported the artists they enjoy, there is no “vinyl revival”, just a lot of over-expensive major label re-releases and longer waiting times at pressing plants. I could bang on about this shit at length but shall refrain from doing so in an effort to maintain the positive nature of this piece, which is to talk about my favourite records of the year.

I should establish some ground rules here; I’m going to talk about my favourite records of the year that I own in its physical format, thus disqualifying digital exclusives/streams and the like. So yeah, we’re talking physical vinyl records of all kinds here, not exclusively albums. The list will be alphabetical as opposed to ranked by preference. I think it’d also be imprudent to include any of the MTAT releases this year, although it goes without saying that I love them all, as that is pretty much the entire condition of whether we put something out or not.

That said, “Held In Merciful Light” by Clearer The Sky is a stunning record and one I’ve spent a lot of time with. Also, “ScreamerSongwriter” by Stoj Snak is just next level incredible; a folk punk record that transcends the genre’s often limiting boundaries, creating a kind of “stadium folk punk” sound as I described it to someone at the indie label market in Aberdeen earlier this year. Ye can check out MTAT 2016; A Year in Review here.

AJJ – “The Bible 2” LP (Side One Dummy)

America’s greatest living rock band have produced what I believe to be their masterwork with “The Bible 2”. Everything about this record speaks to me of the contemporary frustrated American experience as we transition into times of heightened political violence and paranoia. I have long admired Sean Bonnette as a lyricist and songwriter and truly believe that, great as “Christmas Island” was, this is his greatest work yet. Everyone should listen to this record.

Anxiety – S/T LP (La Vida Es Un Mus)

I’d read about these Glasgow punks a fair bit before I finally got a chance to see them play at the last Clocked Out show at Nice N Sleazy earlier this year and I was blown away, their intensity matched only be the uncontrollable rage that is Crawford and the troops. This eight track mini-LP is absolutely incredible; a convulsing nightmare-ish soundscape like Joy Division/Dead Kennedys/Butthole Surfers self-abusing in an anarcho punk squat. A thrilling, unsettling and unnerving experience, tremendous.

Boak – II 7″ (SuperFi Records / GrindPromotion)

I fucking love Boak and their set in The Firefly at BYAF X just absolutely stripped the paint from my face. This second seven inch (I got a blue one) manages to take everything that was awesome about the first one; the precision, intensity, rage; and hone it to even sharper perfection with four nuclear blasts of intelligent and articulate grindcore/powerviolence. I must’ve played this record fifty times over before something knocked it off the turntable. Absolutely essential, truly one of Scotland’s greatest bands.

The Cut Ups – “The Nerves” LP (Banquet Records)

Jon Shoe is one of my favourite people in punk rock and I’ve been a huge fan of The Cut Ups for over a decade now, so it’s no great surprise that their fourth record makes my list. “The Nerves” is arguably their most politically focussed album yet, a rallying cry reflected in the loving gravelly embrace of their finest collection of songs to date. Driving and anthemic, featuring keys from Franz Nicolay, this is The Cut Ups at their determined best. “Stay Obscure” may be closing track of the year too, tugged away on the old heartstrings. This record is a beacon of hope in an ever-expanding shit-storm of misery, isolation and exasperation; a reassuring cuddle from an old friend.

Dead To Me – “I Wanna Die In Los Angeles” 7″ (Fat Wreck)

Besides simply being an awesome collection of three songs on a seven inch, I feel this is an important record in a few different ways. Purely musically, this is solid Dead To Me gold (there was a gold pressing, I have the black) and we’ve waited eight years for new songs featuring both Jack Dalrymple and Chicken, but more importantly, this is a record that may have just saved a life. Alcohol and drug addiction is something people in the punk scene seem reluctant to talk about at times, despite the fact that it’s killed so many of our friends, in both punk and wider society. This record is about hitting rock bottom and recovery, with “Comforting the Disturbed and Disturbing the Comfortable” being one of the most beautiful articulations of recovery I’ve ever identified with, in so many different ways. This 7″ also directly inspired me to start Sober Punks Supper Club. Thank you Dead To Me, stay strong troops.

Descendents – “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” (Epitaph)

Descendents are a band that I’ve loved for almost twenty years so there’s no way I wasn’t going to be stoked about their new record. Ever the pessimist, however, I didn’t have sky-high hopes but am thankful to be proven wrong as I think this is definitely up there amongst their strongest work, streets ahead of “Cool To Be You”, which itself contained some bangers. There ain’t a huge number of older punk bands who’ve released new records that rivals that of their back catalogue this year but this one is up there in my book. As for the controversy surrounding the title, I don’t think it’s a great title but listen to the fucking record and the picture will become a little clearer I’d hope.

Fall Of Messiah – “Empty Colors” 12″ EP (Holy Roar / I.Corrupt.Records)

Utterly stunning, expansive and harrowing yet serene post-rock/screamo from France. I was lucky enough that Shitgripper played with these troops in Edinburgh in April of this year and I was completely blown away by their dynamics, intensity and power. Largely instrumental but with infrequent intense outbursts of screaming, this EP is a deep weaved texture of math-rock meets brooding hardcore intensity. One of the records I found myself coming back to again and again over the year, finding more to love in it with every listen.

The Hotelier – “Goodness” LP (Tiny Engines)

This is probably overall my favourite record of the year and definitely the album I’ve listened to most in 2016, at least once a day since I put the download on my phone. I connect viscerally and emotionally with The Hotelier in a way that I don’t with the vast majority of modern emo/pop punk bands, in ways that I can’t fully explain, but this record is a testament to what I understand to be their experimental progressive worldview, like therapy expressed through poetry. The aforementioned who mourn the death of the album would do well to listen to the narrative of this record, each song a chapter. Their show in the church at Restless Natives Fest was as close I’ve come to religious observance this year, truly spellbinding stuff.

Hot Mass – “Nervous Tension” LP (Brassneck Records)

Glorious squally and noisy heads-down punk rock’n’roll goodness from these well-traveled punks from Swansea who blasted out their first full-length and reminded me of everything that is awesome about straight up UK DIY punk rock. These dudes have been in the game for a long time, in essential Welsh bands like Dividers and The Arteries, and this record exemplifies the lessons learned and lives shaped by those experiences. I grabbed this record from Jenks when they opened for The Menzingers earlier this year and I very much hope we’ll have them in the basement at some point in the new year. Great stuff, super smart coke-bottle clear vinyl too.

Medictation – “Warm Places” LP (Little Rocket)

With such pedigree, this record was always going to be something special but considering the fact that this is the final recorded work of the legendary Dickie Hammond, this album takes on an extra layer of emotional weight. Featuring members of Leatherface and The Sainte Catherines, “Warm Places” was always going to be a great punk album but knowing that Dickie is gone, his presence is felt with greater gravity, his loss with extra depth. When Dickie takes on the vocal for “Stalingrad”, it’s a difficult listen as he sings about having no hope left and drinking to oblivion, especially knowing the circumstances under which he died. It’s a testament to the greatness and fragility of the man himself and the friendship of his band mates and extended family that this record serves as fitting epitaph. The release was a labour of love from Little Rocket Records, a label formed specifically to release this LP. A beautiful, moving monument.

Muncie Girls – “From Caplan To Belsize” LP (Specialist Subject)

This Exeter three piece have absolutely knocked it out the park with their first full-length LP on Specialist Subject Records. With a title taken from Sylvia Plath, there are few ambiguities pertaining the feminist politics of this record, serving as an indictment of our current cultural situation. This is no mere soapbox politics, however; this record talks of basic human decency and action in times where many people lack these things. Indeed, it was in reference to this record, specifically the “Respect” video, that I had one of my more interesting interactions of the year with the “alt-right”. Without putting too fine a point on it, fuck that shit, this is an important and, sadly, required record, on top of being a mighty fine melodic rock/pop punk banger in and of itself.

The Murderburgers – “The 12 Habits of Highly Defective People” (Asian Man / Round Dog Records)

Once again raising the bar for Scottish punk rock, Fraser Murderburger has crafted his greatest piece of work to date and created what is undoubtedly one of the finest UK pop punk records ever released. Fraser and I have been friends for a long time now and I know exactly how much this record, and indeed the band, means to him. I couldn’t be more proud to see this record getting the love it so richly deserves. Progressing far beyond the bubblegum Ramonescore template of yore, this fourth LP sharpens the knives for a thrilling narrative ride of lacerating self-analysis with cinematic sound and minor chords tucked in amongst the hooks and sing-a-long choruses. While perhaps less immediate than previous work, the cuts are far deeper and this record fulfills the promises made on “These Are Only Problems”, is a more cohesive piece of work and their absolute best yet. Proud of you, pal.

Pears – “Green Star” (Fat Wreck)

This record is just a straight-up hardcore punk rock juggernaut from front to back, a relentless storm of energy and aggression laden with insidious hooks, a fuck-you-fight-me southern charm and a refreshing blast of punk rock noise that looks forward rather than wallowing I n nostalgia, as punk is often inclined to do. For me, Pears absolutely blew Bouncing Souls off the stage when they played at Stereo in Glasgow earlier this year, one of the most energetic and engaging shows I’ve seen on a bigger stage in some time. Super nice dudes too, although twenty quid for an LP is taking the piss a little I’d suggest (no slight on the band, I know how these things go). One of my favourite Fat Wreck releases in recent years.

Sheer Mag – III 7″ EP (Static Shock)

I confess I had never listened to Sheer Mag before this year but once I did so, I immediately ordered all three EPs from Static Shock Records. This band are fucking great, a classic soul-powered rock’n’roll band that transcends time and genre classification, political without being divisive and subversive without being alienating. Plus, most importantly, just plain fucking rocking, like The Bellrays/Thin Lizzy/Dirtbombs, these are some of the catchiest, most perfectly written rock songs you’re ever likely to hear. Few bands this year have got me as hyped up and hooked as Sheer Mag.

Wonk Unit – “Mr. Splashy” LP (TNS)

If the AJJ LP is the soundtrack of the death of the American Dream, then it logically follows to my mind that “Mr. Splashy” is the sound of dystopian London, and by extension the United Kingdom, in full collapse. Wonk Unit may be the premier clown princes of UK punk rock, but don’t let the black humour and abundant laughter fool you, there is deep intelligence and political anger contained within the poetry, art and channeled chaos that follows the Wonk family. “Mr. Splashy” is an engaging tale that follows a narrative story arc through the increasing bitterness of British life in which we are both increasingly lumped together (as “lefties”, as “punks”, as “radicals”, whatever the case may be) and further isolation from one another. When we look back in twenty years time, this will be one of the records we reflect upon when considering the state of UK punk in 2016. I was lucky enough to score one of the one hundred green copies too!

So there we go, there are my fifteen favourite records of the year. There have been loads of other great records released this year and I want to shout out Revenge of the Psychotronic Man, The Bennies, Kamikaze Girls, Womps, Departures, Pale Angels, G.L.O.S.S and Direct Hit! and Human Hands, all of whom released top quality records this year, plus the Asthenia/Akallabeth split 7″ that absolutely tore my face off (the Asthenia show was probably, at a push, my favourite MTAT show of the year too).

Can’t wait to see what’s coming in 2017, plus we’ll finally get the long-awaited Tragical History Tour LP. Bring it on!

 

 

 

AGAINST IMMISERATION; An Essay by Dom Kaddish

WYAZ presents the second post-EU referendum essay by Dom Kaddish. Please read, consider, respond and circulate as you deem necessary. Discussion and discourse is actively encouraged.

End, As In Aim.

So picture the gravest fear and dread.
Here hope is the lie that keeps its head.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

An end to fear.

Say you’ve got a hope.
Say you want an end to fear.

Photo by J. Cumiskey

AGAINST IMMISERATION

What’s the fucking point of playing in a band when your body is ageing and your hearing damaged? What’s the fucking point of going to gigs and chatting, on the level, to people of different ages, genders, colours, cultures, and backgrounds when the media constantly chastens us with images of violence, and enjoins us to hate others and be suspicious of them? What’s the fucking point of voting in a referendum where the crunch matter appears to have come down to an entitled Tory elite masturbating over how to convince one of their female members to reheat the tired ghost of Margaret fucking Thatcher?

Here’s a suggestion: couldn’t it be that the deluded little spaces in which we play, chat, act, think and commit ourselves are more political by a long shot than the black hole at Westminster that awaits the next bunch of careerists perverse enough to get sucked into it? The fucking point, then, would be that our whole conception of politics has to change. For example, what created the current constitutional crisis in the UK was misplaced faith in an out-of-date form of representative government centred on individuals as well-informed agents, capable of making rational choices in their own best interests, and of acting in the best interests of others when presented with a crude either/or choice on an issue of massive complexity. This model was co-opted by greed, self-interest, stupidity, lack of information, and a giant dose of the negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Given the fallout, perhaps it is now time to try to do something paradoxical, different, and more excitingly difficult: to try, at one and the same time, to think and act both above and below the out-of-date model of politics.

By ‘above’, I mean this: we have to aspire to have the courage and the temerity to look the complexity of our world straight in the face. That is, we have to aspire to a culture, not where no-one is an expert (à la Gove), but where everyone is. This would be a culture in which everyone aspires to learn something about such heady things as economics, statistics, as well as big data patterns in demographics and human geography, and where an understanding of the role of nonhuman actors in politics would be encouraged (e.g. the role of such actors in the current UK crisis as mobile computing, agricultural and fishing yields, the English Channel, globalisation, the ecological crisis, etc. etc.). This would not be a culture where knowledge of such things was used to baffle and belittle; rather, since no one single actor could feasibly claim a knowledge of the whole, it would be a culture where everyone takes some responsibility for educating themselves and others, and where each is empowered and encouraged to do.

By ‘below’, I mean this: the UK referendum of 23 June 2016 was a coup for a reactive form of politics that traded on affects and gut reactions, instead of on concepts tied to the out-of-date model of politics mentioned above (e.g. the concept of the transparently well-informed and rational voter; or that of a ‘minister’ who is ‘prime’ in the sense of being the first and most powerful person to look after the needs of all the people in his or her polity, when the then incumbent was exposed by events for an incompetent beholding to the interests of Tory bigots of depressing resilience and longevity). What was far more effective than concepts and reason in swaying the campaigning in this instance was the propagation of the aforesaid negative affects of shame, fear and hate. Faced with these affects, the fatal mistake of left/liberal sections of the media/social media/the Twitterati was a retreat into the echo chamber of fatalistic intellectualism (consider the typical Brexit crisis moves made by these sections of the media: black humour, condescension, introspection and soul searching, cod philosophy, historical musings, irony, droll memes, the attempt at agonised liberal ‘understanding’ of what could have driven the dispossessed and disenfranchised to it, etc., etc.). The result was two modes of political address that comprehensively talked past one another: one employing the ‘post-fact’ logic of icons, hates, and anxieties; the other employing a form of reason that had become too clever and self-reflexive by half.

One solution to this impasse, I am suggesting (the one that goes ‘above’), is to aspire to better education, in terms of better concepts that have a better purchase on the complexities of our interconnected and interdependent world. Here’s another solution for how we might simultaneously get ‘below’ the impasse: first, let’s give up old concepts tied to the values of liberal/humanistic education and grand parliamentary politics; second, let’s avoid propagating negative affects in their place; third, let’s focus instead on the creation and nurturing of positive affects, such as joy, love, and openness. If such an agenda seems liberal, Christian, ‘new agey’ or out of step with what I said above about the necessity of arriving at better concepts, then you have simply missed the point. This is because what is at stake here is not how ‘good’ or ‘wise’ you or I might be, nor how much right we might have to the moral high ground, nor how much we might like the recourse to safe, comfortable, and ultimately hopelessly out of touch old political categories. Rather, what is at stake is what should be termed the ‘ecology’ of our mental health, well-being and fellow feeling, and by ‘our’ here, I mean the mental health of everyone with a stake in the issues of which the current UK constitutional crisis is symptomatic, including everyone else in the world right now, and all future generations.

The ecology of mental health concerns how one’s mindset, mood, and general sense of affect relates to the world in which it finds itself. This ecology has not, we should admit, been in a good way, globally, for some time now, and its problems predate the 2008 financial crisis by some way (in fact, they feed into it as conditions of its possibility). Here’s a suggestion as to what has eroded it: spaces of immiseration. Under this concept, we could group any number of environments that go into shaping the character of the contemporary globalised world, including, but far from limited to: factories in China; Coltan mines in the Congo; sweatshops in Turkey and Bangladesh; battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria; Social Security offices and dole queues in any ‘developed’ country; all that urban sprawl that was so ripe for sub-priming in the US pre-2008; open-plan offices; bookies; grey and ill-equipped classrooms; call centres; slaughterhouses; Amazon depots; police cells; and the countless situations in which way too much solitude is frittered away in front of a TV or a computer. Here’s a suggestion as to what might act as the antidote: spaces of possibility. Such spaces, to start from the highly dubious base of idealising what I personally know and esteem, might include: live music spaces; classrooms where participants are encouraged and equipped to learn from all others present and not simply shut their mouths and act as consumers of information spoon fed by the guy mansplaining at the front; parks; wilderness; sports pitches where moments of team creativity emerge; seashores; long walks through places either familiar or unfamiliar, with or without guiding thread; art galleries, studios, and workshops where you might actually stand the chance of speaking and interacting with artists and craftspeople; book shops, record shops and libraries; day centres, drop-in centres, and clinics where you can bump into people all too burned out by the state of it all not to speak themselves honestly, with heart.

I said that it was dubious to start from what I personally know and esteem. You are therefore entirely free to take issue with the list I have just contrived, as too ‘male’, ‘romantic’, ‘liberal’, ‘hipster’ (God forbid), or whatever. This apart, however, let me extend two invitations to you that are centred on the concepts mentioned above, and not on what I have grouped under them. First, to reflect on the spaces of possibility that matter most to you. Second, and far more importantly, to reflect and act on how we might convert spaces of immiseration into spaces of possibility. The first of these tasks, undertaken collectively, would amount to an inventory of our weapons: a stocktake of the spaces that matter to us, and that renew our sense of health and possibility for the living of meaningful lives. The second task would involve using these weapons on the battlefields where the real politics of our lives get fought out (and not in exclusive, outmoded, rarefied political vacuums such as Westminster, where fractions of the battles of our lives get misrepresented and used as pawns in games played by self-serving political cadres).

Fear of the other. Fear of the self. Fear of death. Fear of the unknown. Fear of technology and the pace of change. Fear of not ‘being a man’, whatever that means. Fear of irrelevance and poverty in an age of celebrity and the ‘super rich’. Fear of being fat, stupid, old, or useless. Fear of gun and knife crimes, rape, and hate. ETC. FUCKING ETC. These are the negative affects that spaces of immiseration nurture like cancer. How do we take the love, hope, joy, respect, and sense of other possible worlds and horizons that spaces of possibility involve and use them to bring out the possibilities that spaces of immiseration keep repressed under the increasingly shabby and disingenuous veneer of consensus and polite society? And what makes this struggle both worthwhile and eminently doable, on an everyday basis, and from this very instant?

Consider whether something like the following might work for you (if not, invent your own tactic, as is your right and your want): the next time you realise you are in a space of immiseration (and the gut sinking feeling will be sufficient to establish it), think about how you typically act in a space of possibility, and insinuate one such way of acting into the space of immiseration. The next time after this, insinuate two acts. After that, insinuate three. After that, four. And so on, and so on, until new possibilities have reached such a pitch that they have somehow cracked open the space of immiseration in favour of something better and more liveable. The acts I have in mind here can be crude or sophisticated, and might include: making passionate music, for purposes other than consumption; being playful; thinking tangentially; daydreaming; humour; kindness; openness; interest in others and their stories and fates; acts that are revelatory of self and history without tipping into narcissism; expressions of wonder, weakness, and astonishment; recognitions of limitations and ignorance; the construction of a shared focus or creative goal between you and others that adds some measure of dignity to the space, however small; the vigilant attempt to keep the spectre of the profit motive to a minimum. And so on, and so on, etc., etc.

What’s especially funny about such acts is when they work subliminally – that is, when others within the space recognise that a new possibility has been introduced, but resist it, preferring instead the tendencies of immiseration as a kind of short-term comfy/long-term deadly safety net. Because the roboticisms of immiseration cannot recognise new possibilities, you can rest assured that there will be no immediate explicit reproach for the possibility you have introduced (that is, no shared recognition that the recognition has taken place individually within the separate actors in the space). What there might be, however, is a more or less collective implicit recognition – a seed planted that will grow with time. In this case, the words, actions and affects you use to make spaces of immiseration become spaces of possibility will take on the character of a sort of gentle and subtle guerrilla warfare: a thousand little harrying tactics intended to perplex and provoke others into giving up the dubious safety net of immiseration.

To sum up:
Stop thinking in terms of redundant concepts representative of a bygone age of politics.

Start aspiring to think in terms of the complex concepts that we all know are required to think the world in which we live.

Stop tolerating the poisonous effects of negative affects through inaction and resignation.

Start spreading positive affects in any practicable way you can, because they are sufficient to convert spaces of immiseration, however overwhelming, ubiquitous and monolithic these spaces may seem in the contemporary world, into spaces rich in open and positive possibilities for new forms of life.

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Kaddish play Conroy’s Basement in Dundee with Asthenia (Japan), Human Hands (eng) and Arkless (eng) on Wednesday 17th August.

Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

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Write Yer Ane Mini-Zine; Issue One

Click the link to devour. Please feel free to read and share.

I’ve uploaded the PDF in its original form, with no hyperlinks, etc. All the bands/records are easy to find so go have a swatch!

Ten Years of Cowpunk; My Top Ten – Jonny Domino

As has been well-documented, 2016 marks Ten Years of Cowpunk. As such, rather than just me banging on about all the stuff that I remember and the cool shit that has come to pass over the last decade, I thought it’d be fun (and more interesting) to ask the troops and close associates of the MTAT family to recall some of their favourite songs/moments in our shared history. It’s always very interesting for me to hear the perspectives of others, as I’m usually so (self?) absorbed with everything that’s going on that oftentimes I forget to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

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We start with the picks of Jonny Domino. It feels as though Jonny and I have known each other forever, certainly since we both started getting more deeply involved in the local music scene at the turn of the century. Jonny is also a total workhorse; he did all the driving on the Uniforms tours, has driven heaps of bands around the UK, does loads of the cooking for visiting bands, has regularly had bands and total strangers kipping on his floor and his wife Michelle even baked the Burst Cow Birthday Cake for the show last Saturday. He’s a good dude with an at-times questionable taste in music and dress, but he’s got a heart of gold and this list is full of some absolute zingers and fond memories.

Joey Terrifying – “Getaway Driver”

The first MTAT release that I personally appeared on, I was part of a bunch of MTAT all-stars that included Kev from Broken Stories that shouted “no school I don’t know!” in the bridge of this in the basement of Seagate Studios.

Billy Liar – “Piss Artist”

Billy Liar is basically my Kaddish when it comes to Book Yer Ane Fest, his streak is getting almost as good as theirs and for some reason every Sunday even though everyone is strung out from 2 days of Festing, there always seems to be a bit more energy getting dug out for Billy’s set.

The Riot Before – “Uncharted Lands”

The Riot Before show in The Balcony stands in my mind as one of the undiscovered gems in MTAT history, just a great night with some genuinely nice dudes and also the first night I met Christian Tollner, who played a much bigger part in the development of MTAT’s touring bands than he probably realises.

Question The Mark – “Bottoms Up!”

By far my favourite thing that I’ve got from 10 years of Make That A Take is some amazing friendships with great people. The chance to see all these people is what makes Book Yer Ane Fest my favourite weekend of the year and the fact that I can go all over the country or in fact the world and never be too far from some of my best friends is not an opportunity that a lot of people will get in a lifetime – QTM are the perfect example of that, I love all these dudes.

Loaded 45 – “Making Enemies Not Memories”

Loaded 45 are genuinely some of the weirdest, most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. We spent a combined 6 weeks living 8 of us in one van in places that I’d only ever dream of visiting otherwise (and also Rhyl) and we all have a bastardised MTAT HxC cross with the letters MENM after this song tattooed on our stupid bodies to commemorate it, couldn’t leave it off this list!

Franz Nicolay – “Home Is Where They Take You In”

To say I’m proud of what MTAT has achieved in the last 10 years would be a massive understatement and everything about this song is a testament to that. Franz has played in some of my absolute favourite bands of all time so to have this released on our label absolutely blows my mind. The subject matter also speaks to one of the things that I’m most proud of about the MTAT crew, which is the fact that over the past decade we’ve tried extremely hard to be as accommodating as possible to people who have come from all over the world to play for us, and I hope built a solid reputation for that in the process.

The Walking Targets – “Circling The Drain”

Including The Walking Targets on this list is something of a bittersweet experience for me – one of my most vivid BYAF memories was watching these guys play Saturday afternoon, the first time most if not all of us had ever heard of them, with Derrick, Bunky from Question The Mark and Fraser Murderburger and just being blown away. I remember Max winning a bottle of Jager which the QTM guys made him polish off through the course of the day before he vomited all over my house and I remember thinking they were something special. Later that night I still remember the chat being “holy shit did you see that band The Walking Targets?!” and there’s no doubt they got really great, really quick. They’re still my “what could’ve been” moment.

Bangers – “Church Street In Ruins”

Bangers are without doubt my favourite British band, they’re really lovely guys to spend time with – smart, funny and really patient (I know Andrew was one of Derrick’s go-tos for advice in the early days of MTAT as a functioning label and I don’t think I’ve ever said thanks) and they’re a great advert for DIY punk who I’m thankful for a few opportunities to work with. That being said, Uniforms did a few all ages shows with the DIY Rock Shop in Perth and the one time we invited Bangers I remember Roo saying “if I could give you one piece of advice it would be – always say yes to free drugs if someone offers you them, that’s what being a rockstar’s all about”.

Get It Together – “Hole In The Head”

If I was pushed (which I’m not being, but I’m gonna tell you anyway) I’d say this is the best song MTAT has ever released. Get It Together just nail the posi hardcore vibe and their energy and enthusiasm is pretty hard to match. Some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet they’ve been nothing but a pleasure to be around and this song is pretty much guaranteed to get any room going.

Dear Landlord – “I Live In Hell”

From my favourite song to my favourite show, it’ll be a long time before we pull off anything that compares to hosting Dear Landlord in the basement of Drouthies and it will probably always be my favourite MTAT moment. These guys put on one of the most full on live shows you’ll see and there was sweat (and Guinness) dripping from the ceiling of Drouthies before they finished. Occasionally to this day I still wonder how they ended up there and not in some much bigger venues but I’m also really, really glad they did.

Conroy’s Basement; Mini-Zine I

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2016; Ten Years of Cowpunk (Mailshot!)

This is a copy of the Tuesday 19th January email newsletter to the MTAT mailing list. Sign up here.

We at MTAT hope that everyone had a good time over the festive period and is looking forward to what the new year brings. 2016 marks ten years since MTAT put on our first show as a collective and we are very excited to be kicking off Ten Years of Cowpunk with another step in our evolution; we have a new HQ!

We have come to an agreement with the good people at Conroy’s in Dundee and will now be hosting shows in the basement of the pub. Conroy’s used to be The Beat Bar/Satchmo’s/The Saltire in years gone by and was one of the first venues we ever used back in Dundee, first hosting Frank Turner and Even In Blackouts there on November 15th 2006. An intimate basement space in the city centre, it’s pretty much perfect for small DIY shows and we’re very excited about the possibilities this arrangement may afford us.

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The inaugural show at Conroy’s Basement will happen on Friday 27th February and is a collaboration with Oh No! Not Another Wild Goat that brings together Bear Arms, Get It Together, Robot Doctors, Lachance and Polar Bears In Purgatory to kick things off with a bang. We shall then be celebrating the tenth anniversary of our first show on Saturday 12th March, ten years removed from hosting Glass and Ashes / I-Farm at Dexter’s with The Try Hards and 15 Minutes. Full details of the birthday show will emerge soon.

Some other show dates for the diary;

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Book Yer Ane Fest X will take place at Buskers, Dundee from Friday 2nd through Sunday 4th December. The original BYAF took place in 2008 and we did two in 2009, hence why the years don’t align, so it’s serendipitous that in coincides with our tenth anniversary. We’ve already got some plans in place and we look forward to seeing what develops over the course of the year!

Before then, we are very proud to be part of the forthcoming split single release from Billy Liar and Paper Rifles in support of Refugee Survival Trust. A collaborative project alongside Anti-Manifesto and Struck Dum Records, the split single will be released on CD and as a digital download accompanied by a series of short films by Steve Cardno documenting the project.

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The single will be launched at a benefit show at The Southside Social in Edinburgh on Saturday 30th January featuring a host of multi-discipline talent. The RST was set up in 1996 as a reaction to the problem of refugees and asylum claimants being made destitute in Scotland. Grants made by the RST either alleviate poverty and destitution, or help refugees and asylum claimants to overcome obstacles in accessing educational and employment opportunities. We are proud to show solidarity in this endeavour. Thanks also to For The Love Of Punk for covering the story.

To help in the combat against the winter blues (and to help us clear some space for new stuff), we are keeping our End Of Year Sale going until the end of January. We’ve got loads of cool stuff from as little as three quid, although we are down to our last one or two copies on a many records, so please do act fast if there’s something specific you’re looking for!

Season Ticket

2016 MTAT Season Tickets are also currently available for £100 and are limited in numbers. A Season Ticket gives for entry to ALL SHOWS (including BYAF X) and physical/digital copies of ALL RELEASES this year, plus a welcome pack with a MTAT HXC shirt and cool free shit. Knowing some of the plans we have in the works, it’s the bargain of the year for sure!

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Cheers to everyone who has picked up a copy of the excellent “Swells/Repels” EP by Stonethrower thus far. The EP was released on the Sunday of BYAF IX and we still have some copies left. We’d recommend checking out Minimal Media for a series of tremendous live videos from the weekend too. For our full recap of all things BYAF-related, check this story. Keep your eyes for new videos on Cowpunk TV too!

Right, that’s enough banging on for now. There is much to look forward to this year and loads of incredible new music coming your way. Thanks to everyone who has bought records/season tickets recently and everyone that continues to support what we do. The last ten years have been a continual evolution and we look forward to seeing how things develop further in 2016.

Thanks for the continued support, as always!
Make-That-A-Take Records