Write Yer Ane Zine

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

Tag: rock

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!

 

 

 

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A Love Letter To Bangers (2008-2016)

 

Ahead of their final show at the Specialist Subject Records all-dayer in London tomorrow, I felt it prudent to write a few words about how wonderful I believe the three humans that comprise Bangers to be, how great I thought their band was and how bummed I am that they are calling it a day. I just wanted to write a little something to express how bummed I am but also to express my gratitude for their existence and for all the inspiration they’ve unwittingly gifted to me across the years.

I’m fairly certain that the first time I saw Bangers live was when they supported Iron Chic alongside Shields Up and Citizens at a This Is Our Battlefield show at the 13th Note in Glasgow in June 2011. That was the same night that we decided that we were going to form Uniforms, so pumped were we after the show driving back to Dundee in big G’s motor. They always exuded a weirdness unlike many of their UK punk contemporaries and I know that Jonny was always a big fan of Hit The Beach from back in the day. That show was the first time I felt that they had a profound impact on me; there was something about the live show that transmitted their oddness more directly than their recordings allowed. From that moment on, they had me!

 

In the five years since then I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Bangers play countless times. They’ve released three quality LPs (all of which come highly recommended) and a slew of 7″s and interesting releases, including the massively inspiring “Mysterious Ways” album that was conceived, written and recorded in 48 hours, with tremendous results. That creative spirit, that playfulness and willingness to actively engage in silliness, was a massive part of their appeal, yet they rarely strayed too far from the underlying existential questioning and cynicism that pervaded their narrative; a juxtaposition of light and shade. By allowing themselves that creative freedom to experiment, to conform to no standards but their own, excited and engaged me. By bowing out on their own terms, they continue this tradition. I think over the years I’ve managed to track down all of the vinyl releases they’ve done, although I suspect I may still be missing something.

They always had their own way of doing things, marched to the beat of their own drum, and that was hugely inspiring, especially to us in Uniforms. I think we felt a kinship; here was another bunch of weirdos from outwith the metropolitan centre weaving their own eccentricities and, crucially, humour, into the fabric of punk rock. I’ve always thought there was something of an idealistic, somewhat whimsical yet cosmically contemplative folk influence within Bangers, a unique storytelling narrative that could only be forged in isolation. Most importantly, however, they rocked and certainly *ahem* knew their way around a banger.

Their work ethic was also an inspiration; in the eight years they were together, they toured all over the UK, Europe and the USA (I think I saw them play at Fest 10 in Gainesville, although I cannot be absolutely sure) and played over 450+ shows. These dudes know and there’s no enlightenment can be attained like that from meditative time spent in stinking transit. Uniforms had the pleasure of playing loads of shows with them, including a DIY Rock Shop matinee show in Perth where Roo imparted the sagacious words of “take all the free drugs you can” to an audience of entranced teenagers. We were lucky enough to have them come and play Book Yer Ane Fest on two occasions, first at BYAF V with Leatherface in 2011 and again two years later at BYAF VII, which remains in my mind one of the craziest and most memorable sets in BYAF history.

Photo by GGM Photography.

Photo by GGM Photography.

Specialist Subject Records is the best punk label in the UK and have been an inspiration to us at MTAT. It can’t be overstated how much of a help Andrew was to me when MTAT transitioned from being an informal collective to a “business” and I’m not sure that I’ve ever adequately thanked him for his assistance and patience. So Andrew, thank you so much for all your help; you guys are an paragon of virtue and self-determination. To me, Specialist Subject is the prime of example of how to run a record label; it’s a family that nurtures a community and unifies people whilst prodigiously releasing records from some of the UK’s finest bands. Just check out their catalogue and you’ll see what I’m talking about; Great Cynics, The Arteries, Muncie Girls, The Fairweather Band, Sam Russo, Above Them; gem after gem. I’ve spent a lot of money on the Specialist Subject webstore and I’d recommend that you do the same.

I got my copy of the “Last Songs” 7″ in the mail this week, threw it on the turntable and felt a sadness unlike any other I’ve felt in some time when it comes to listening to a band’s final recordings. One of the best British punk bands ever, they will be a loss to our community. Three of the nicest, most intelligent and engaging punks I know (and impeccable house guests) I’m very grateful that I have had the chance to get to know them through punk rock and for the memories that they’ve created for me over the years; whether it’s Abbie and Hamish sharing the last of the pop tarts, screaming along in the front row while trying to ensure crowd surfers don’t hurt themselves and/or kick the mic into Roo’s teeth or just listening to their records at home, I’m thankful for everything they’ve created and the times we’ve had together.

I unreservedly feel that Bangers have been one of the most important bands in UK punk over the last eight years, certainly for me personally, and I’m real sad that I won’t be able to see them one last time. Everyone who can make it to The Lexington in London tomorrow should certainly do so.

RIP Bangers, it’s been rare.

 

Thank you Andrew, Hamish and Roo. See you in hell.

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!

Distro Record of the Week; Freddy Fudd Pucker – “Hourglass Wine”

In an effort to make good on my promise of writing more (and to shift some product, obvz), I’ve decided to start a “Distro Record of the Week” column. One of the coolest things about running a label is the amount of amazing music that I get to listen to and the gems I get to wrap my grateful ears around that may have otherwise remained undiscovered by me.

freddy fudd pucker

I don’t remember exactly how Freddy Fudd Pucker and I became acquainted, I think he hit me up looking for a show sometime in early 2014. What I do know is that he is a wonderfully talented and kind gentleman and that “Hourglass Wine” has been on regular rotation on my turntable since I got my copy at BYAF IX.

“Hourglass Wine” is Freddy’s first full-length record to be given the vinyl treatment and this release comes of classic black wax courtesy of New Zealand’s Monkey Records and the Ramones Museum in Berlin. The record also comes with a twelve page comic containing all lyrics and illustrations that accompany the songs. Vaguely a concept record concerning the evolution of our hero Momo and the stealing of time, the album contains ten tracks of thoughtful, intelligent and impeccably well-written melodic folk/punk crackers that range from the full-on raging to the sombre and introspective.

Freddy Fudd Pucker is a one-man-band so there’s a range of interesting instrumentation and arrangements on display, with equal doses of full-stomping bass drum, electric guitars and blaring moothies as quietly-picked guitar loops, soaring melodies and abstract poetic lyricism. In terms of sonics and influence, we’re pitching in somewhere between the dark-hearted romance of Alkaline Trio and The Cure and marrying it to the classic road-worn folk warmth and wisdom of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. The whole thing is crafted with a punk rock heart and both the emotional honesty and sincerity of intent bleed out all over this record.

As a piece taken together, “Hourglass Wine” is one of the most complete pieces of acoustic-based work I’ve heard in a while, taking us on an engaging journey whilst painting pictures with a smart narrative and intriguing characters throughout. The tone matches the aesthetic perfectly and the whole album flows together beautifully, featuring several stand out moments (“Don’t Fail Me Now”, “Bad Actors”, closing piece “A Gathering Mass”) whilst never detracting from the narrative whole.

In a time of saturation, it’s refreshing and reassuring to find an acoustic artist (singer/songwriter, whatever ye prefer) with a firm sense of their own identity whilst continuing to explore it through their art, music and lyrics. Bottom line, this is a great record from front to back and comes strongly recommended.

You can grab a copy and check out the other records/merch in the distro on the MTAT BigCartel page.

“The Frankie Stubbs School of Economics”

Disclaimer; the views expressed herein are purely my own and are not necessarily representative of the collective beliefs/feelings of MTAT Records.

My intention is not to throw anyone under a bus; that would be an exercise in counter-productivity; and it is not my place to make judgments pertaining the booking practices of others. This piece is purely from my own perspective and any beef should be directed towards me (email please) and not my comrades.

byaf first

There seems to have been a lot of talk and controversy on the internet recently about charity gigs and benefit festivals. It’s not just been one or two people talking about it, it seems to be a polarising topic and many people across the punk and wider music scenes have been engaged in debate about the rights and wrongs, do’s and don’t’s, yes’s and no’s surrounding charity events and benefit gigs. I’m not here to tell anyone that they’re right or wrong, people are free to do as they wish, but I aim to address how we do things with Book Yer Ane Fest.

Hosting Leatherface at Book Yer Ane Fest V was one of the highlights of my life. When we started BYAF back in 2008, there was never any goal in mind; we just put a show together for Joey Terrifying that ended up as an all-dayer. We wanted to contribute positively to a local charity that meant something to us, that cause being Safe-Tay, following on from the great work done by our friends the PCC that they had started with the two Motionfests in 2006/7. The fact that things have evolved and developed as they have is equal parts good fortune, serendipity, perseverance and hard graft; “be good to your punk scene and your punk scene will be good to you” and such capers. Sometimes when you gamble, things turn up trumps. Other times, you’re in the shitter. As I seem to be fond of saying; ye cannae enjoy Premier League glory every week, there will always be the shitty 0-0 away games in the rain in deepest, darkest February; not every show can be a 300 troops through the door sell-out.

We always strive to support charities that mean something to us personally and, specifically, we aim to work to benefit charities that work in our locality. Yes, we have done (and will continue to do) benefit shows for wider international organisations such as Doctors Without Borders, the Haiti Earthquake Appeal, Skateistan and many more, but I feel it is equally, if not more, important to engage with charities that do essential work on our doorstep; Safe-Tay, Tayside Mountain Rescue and Dundee Foodbank specifically (check out TINS FOR TUNES for more information). We also aim to do benefit shows year-round, rather than just on isolated occasions. This is something that was always been woven into the fabric of what we do and something that we will unapologetically continue to do. It’s not about scoring points or being seen to be doing something, it’s about engaging with and supporting local and national communities and the people who undertake the often thankless tasks associated with charity work. I have volunteered for charities for most of my life, donate personally to charities that I support and do everything I can to support those that need supporting. This has nothing explicitly to do with punk rock or music but with who I am as a person. This doesn’t make me any better than anyone else, it’s just my view of the world and something that I personally feel needs done. It’s also not something I feel compelled to crow on about at length, so I’ll leave that part of it at that.

However, when it comes to charity shows, specifically BYAF, it’s a slightly different kettle of fish. As things have grown and evolved, our expenses have grown. It’s a fairly tricky operation to book, accommodate, feed and water 40 odd bands from across the globe, many of whom may be on tour, and keep everybody happy and fulfilled when you’re trying to make money for charity. Sometimes we’ve had success, sometimes we’ve been met with failure. Some BYAFs have made a couple of grand, some have barely made a couple hundred. In total, we’ve raised over eight grand for Safe-Tay and the causes they support. We also continue to do shows and work with them throughout the year; from including literature from the Samaritans with our merch orders to hosting awareness-raising shows. This is something we will continue to do without an end in sight and for nothing more than the desire to do so.

To address the point at hand; to me, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to booking bands for charity benefits. Obviously the aim is to make as much money and create as much awareness for the cause as possible, but it’s also imperative to remember that there is no benefit for anyone involved if there aren’t the bands playing that people want to see. From my (our) end, the aim is always to provide an interesting, diverse yet complimentary line-up that is reflective not only of eclecticism but also cohesion of message and intent. There are bands that we’ll never book (insert countless thousands of names) and we’ll never book bands aren’t in some way knowledgeable about what BYAF is all about, or at least interested in developing an understanding, as it’s hardly quantum theory, it’s a fucking DIY punk benefit. Essentially, any careerist bands that are looking to make fat cash can get fucked as it’s never going to happen. On another point, local bands generally know what they’re getting involved in and we strive to be unambiguous with all bands when it comes to booking BYAF; it started as a local charity all-dayer and in my heart of hearts, that is exactly what BYAF remains.

When it comes down to it, we will never pay any band more than we paid Leatherface for BYAF, hence the “Frankie Stubbs School of Economics”. I’m not going to discuss specific sums of money but Leatherface came out for a fraction of their usual cost and were absolute gentlemen about the whole thing. Leatherface are also one of my favourite bands of all time and if ever there was a band that I’d have made allowances for, it would have been them, but they responded positively and were more than happy with what we offered. If it’s good enough for Frankie Stubbs, it’s more than good enough for whatever flash-in-the-pan indie rockers that are this month’s flavour or some broken down rehabilitated punk dinosaurs that were barely relevant in the first place.

Bands for benefit shows have to be taken on a case-by-case basis; there’s a world of difference between the need to have expenses covered (a basic necessity of the touring band) and bands being money-grabbing arseholes. I know for a fact that a well-known band took a four-figure sum for a recent festival that actually lost money. To me, that’s bullshit, especially when said band took to social media and crowed on about how great of a cause they were supporting. So great of a cause that they saw fit to deprive the charity of any profits for the festival. To me personally, as a “musician” and “promoter”, such actions are unconscionable. I understand all the “but they’re professionals and need the money” blahblahblah; I call horseshit on that as no band NEEDS a grand to play a show, whether it’s a one-off, part of a tour or otherwise. That said, we’ve had instances (rare, to be fair) at BYAF when bands have “held us up” for more money than was originally guaranteed; those bands will never be asked back and are on the shitlist. Most bands, however, are more than keen to support the cause and get involved, and most are more than happy to be involved.

I often get asked about how best to get bands on BYAF; for locals it’s simple – come and get involved in your local music community, contribute something positive other than bitching and moaning, and actually do some research before getting in touch (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve posted the FAQ). For touring/national/international bands, it’s case-by-case. If we can make it work, we will, but no one band is bigger than the festival itself. BYAF is generally a “cowpunk family” affair; it takes more than just one person to make this shit work. We also don’t book bands for BYAF that we wouldn’t book a regular show for. For me/us and everyone else involved, ye have to be sensible and realistic about things, but that works two ways. For example, we collectively need to realise that it’d be foolhardy to book Flavour of the Week and The Tasteless Scoots for a grand and hope for the best while only paying Respected Punks and The Internet Darlings fifty quid to drive from London or wherever.

Anyways, long story short; it’s called Book Yer Ane Fest so I’m in no position to tell people what to do and what not to do when it comes to booking their own shows/festivals/benefits/whatever. What I can say is that we strive to be open and honest with the bands that comes to play for us, let them know in plenty of advance what it is we are doing and what we are trying to achieve and that they’ll have a rad time with an attentive (and appreciative audience), will be well taken care of and their presence greatly appreciated. Finances (or the lack thereof) are always negotiated well in advance so there are no surprises for either party. If any band, regardless of “status” has issue with it, we just won’t book them. It’s that simple really.

We aim to provide a quality weekend of diverse DIY punk/hxc/emo goodness for a reasonable price whilst supporting charities that work within our local communities. I hope that is something that we achieve every year. If we fail in this objective, I feel that we have ultimately failed in our mission. This year the price for BYAF is going to be slightly higher than in previous years. This is unavoidable as we no longer have the run of our own space (that’s an entirely separate issue, which we’ll get to soon), but we still operate on the same premise and the objective remains the same. If bands/punters have any issue with how we operate, then they can feel free to let the boots do the talking and stay away or go elsewhere or, indeed, book their ane fest.

It’s important to be realistic but it’s also important to keep things in perspective. Ye can’t expect Recently Reformed 90s Nostalgia Band to play for a door deal any more than ye can expect Super Hyped Local Rock Stars to be grateful for their slot, but there is a middle ground where everyone can be happy (or at least contented) and everyone, specifically the charity, can benefit. That, after all, is exactly the fucking point of a benefit show; not ego, not earning fat cash, not taking the piss.

With all that said, a limited number of Earlybird Tickets for BOOK YER ANE FEST IX will go on sale on Monday 15th June alongside the announcement of the first batch of bands. Ye can ensure your entry to BYAF IX and all other shows this year by grabbing a MTAT HALF SEASON TICKET for £50. Now that’s a fucking bargain.

As Biohazard so eloquently put it; THERE IS NO BLACK AND WHITE, ONLY SHADES OF GREY.

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!

My Depression and Me

***TRIGGER WARNING; I talk about depression, mental health, death and suicide in this post. Please don’t read it if you think it’ll upset you inordinately. Advanced apologies for the over-share***

For all the issues that exist between sleep and myself, there are some days when I just don’t want to get out of bed; days when the world seems bleaker than it was when I went to bed. Abbie awoke this morning and told me the sad news of Robin Williams’ passing, my little black heart sank a little further and I was saddened, as I’m sure millions of people are. However, I also realised how lucky I am.

I’m a 31 year old human being; male, white, heterosexual, privileged, lying in bed reading news on my iphone, healthy, warm, looking forward to some freshly ground Ethiopian fair trade coffee and spending my morning sequencing the digital download of the new Kaddish LP; I seemingly want for nothing and am grateful. I think about Robin Williams, I think about my own mental health. I think about how I preferred Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting to the comedies. I think about my friends who have passed, I think about my family members who’ve passed. I think about my friends who have killed themselves. I think about the history of depression, addiction and mental illness in my family and worry that it’s in my genes. I think about suicide. I think about how it surrounds so many of us, how it’s inescapable and how its effects are ever-lasting. I think about death. I think about all the times that I’ve thought about these things and that I’ll probably never stop thinking about them. I think about how punk has always been my place to go. I think about the stupid songs I write to make myself feel better. I think about the songs that other people have written that make me feel better. I think about the International Space Station and the ever-expanding nothingness. I think about how I’m yet to master sleep.

I know that I can talk to Abbie about my worries (this morning I did) and ask for a cuddle. I know I can call my mum and tell her I feel unwell. I have a band and friends and family that have been through everything with me and supported my every choice. I’m sure many people will have stories and lord knows that I’ve put my band mates through hell. I feel like I always (at least tried to) address my problems in the songs that I write, even when it’s been an uncomfortable exercise. I must have been a nightmare at various points. Through all of it, I know how lucky I am to still be here and to have the people in my life that I do. I’ve pushed the boat so far I almost sailed over the edge more than once. I had to shed the bullshit and admit how badly I was struggling. I asked for forgiveness and support. I received it in spades. Many people are not so lucky.

I suffer from depression. I suspect that I’ve lived with it for most of my life (as perhaps an extension of my perpetual feeling of “otherness”) but was only formally diagnosed as such around two years ago. It took the death of my father and the subsequent six months of catastrophic emotional turmoil and behaviours for me to even entertain the idea of speaking to a doctor. I’ve been seeing various different therapists and counsellors off and on for over a decade now, so this diagnosis came as no surprise to me. Depression is real. My depression is sheer inexpressible emotional desolation. It’s not a case of “chin up Chuck”. I can speak only of my own experience but my tale is in no way unique; I’ll never be “cured”, all I can do is learn to live with it and try to keep it at bay. The best way to do that, I’ve found, is to talk about it. To EYC, if you will. It took me a long time to realise that, though.

There is no definitive answer, no cure, no magic wand, no pill (well, there are thousands of them but none are the answer), only “coping mechanisms”, “distraction techniques” and “de-escalation”. All the cognitive behavioural therapy in the world won’t mean shit if you’re not willing to open yourself up to it and admit the truth to yourself. For me, it was about putting honesty and the “greater good” (I’m hesitant to use language such as “higher power”) ahead of my own bullshit and ego. Booze played a massive role too. Stopping drinking was a huge step for me, especially after partying my way through the entirety of my 20s, and has improved my emotional well-being beyond imagination previously; undoubtedly one of the best decisions of my life. Again, I am grateful and realise how lucky I am; I have the most dependable and compassionate “support network” you could wish for. That shit doesn’t come easy though, it takes (for me) brutal emotional honesty (“lacerating self-analysis”) and a willingness to admit my failings and shortcomings, of which there are many. I could write you a fucking list.  I used to think of that as weakness. Now I realise that it is actually strength.

Whenever I talk about this, I always think about the Bill Hicks “ex-smoker” sketch; for me to preach would be hypocritical in the extreme. I used to think of myself as a “fuck up”, now I realise that we all “fuck up”. I’m not going to tell anybody what to do and I’d hope I’m not conceited enough to dispense “advice”; only you can truly know. However, that doesn’t mean that others can’t help you find yourself, especially if you’re lost. I’ve begun to realise that I’m not as “other” as I thought I was, that we are all human; that we all bruise, break and bleed.

Ultimately, the point I am getting at is YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

The stigma attached to mental ill health and depression needs to be removed. The statistics speak for themselves, there are millions, probably billions, of humans suffering. Don’t suffer in silence. We make enough noise about the bullshit, we need to start making some noise about the important shit. Without resorting to YOLO/OLOC cliché/sloganeering horseshit, please talk to your friends and loved ones. Please listen to your friends and loved ones. People care more than you’d think and more than they let on.

Please reach out for support and support those that are reaching out.

Breathing Space Scotland

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Samaritans 

Action On Depression

Support In Mind Scotland 

Tayside Council on Alcohol

The Shit-Talk with Jimmy Wrizzle; Tony Teixeira (Nothington/Cobra Skulls)

“The Shit-Talk with Jimmy Wrizzle” is a new interview feature that I’m very pleased to host. Jimmy Wrizzle is one of my best friends, my co-conspirator and my boy. He can explain it best himself. Please enjoy!

All questions by Jimmy Wrizzle.

computer

 Every now and then you meet people in life that go on to have quite an influence on you, even if at the time that meeting was brief and you may not appreciate it fully. They might spark an interest in things in life you hadn’t considered, might inspire you with the music they are part of making or even just be someone that makes you laugh. Punk music has thrown up a few people like that in the past 15 years for me. So I’ve decided to try and ask one of them some questions.

 A few years ago the band I play in were lucky enough to tour with Cobra Skulls where I met one Tony Teixeira.

Tony Teixeira is the bass player for Western Addiction on Fat Wreck Chords. He previously played in Cobra Skulls and Nothington.

He lives in San Francisco, California.

 tony t

What was your first experience of punk rock?

 My older sister was always listening to Jawbreaker, Rancid, Bad Brains and other punk bands. In 1996 I lied to my parents about where I was going and went to a Skankin’ Pickle concert. I got kinda fucked up and had an amazing time. I was hooked.

What made you want to play guitar? Do your family play music or was there someone you grew up with exposed you to it? Did you take lessons or just wing it?

I remember being at summer camp. There was an older kid who brought an acoustic guitar and would play for all of us. He knew how to play some Alice and Chains, Soul Asylum, and Stone Temple Pilots tunes. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. when I got home I picked up my dad’s acoustic guitar that was collecting dust in the corner of the living room. I played all the time. I took a few lessons but mostly learned playing with my friends and along with Nirvana records.

 What was the first guitar you ever owned?

My first guitar was a Rockwood. I think it cost like $100, real piece of garbage. My first REAL guitar I got a couple years later. It was an American Stratocaster, cream colo[u]red. I fucking loved that guitar. years later it got stolen out of our trailer on a tour. I couldn’t believe it, but I cried my eyes out when i found out it was gone. I truly loved that guitar and haven’t found anything that compares since.

 What’s the best show you’ve ever been to? Both playing and paying?

The best show I ever played? hmm.. maybe with Nothington at Fest 7. It was the first show I ever played where the crowd was going completely insane and singing every word. it was the best feeling. I remember looking over and some kids had Chris up on their shoulders while he was playing. Jay was surrounded by about 100 fists and screaming faces. I couldn’t believe it. I just smiled and played. It was quite a night.

The best show i’ve ever been to was probably Green Day at the Fillmore in 1998. It was the first/best time i ever saw them. They played for three hours and it felt like 30 minutes. I was able to experience pretty much everything off of their first 5 records. Very special.

 What’s your favourite green day song?

FUCK…that’s a tricky one. Definitely something off Nimrod. Maybe Scattered, Prosthetic Head, The Grouch, Redundant? They’re all gold.

 Would you tour as the lead character in American Idiot the musical? You have to wear eyeliner and cant make any disparaging twitter remarks.

I would! Gladly! At this point I would rather do ANYTHING than work at the shitty fucking grocery store I work at now. The problem is I can’t really sing, dance, or act…but I think I’d look pretty good in eyeliner. Don’t you?

  Was there a moment or incident that sparked your interest in being vegan or was it a combination of things?

When I was a kid my family went to Hawaii for vacation. I went for a walk one night and found some kids torturing frogs. They were laughing and enjoying themselves very much. I ran back to our room and cried to my mom. I knew I never wanted to have anything to do with cruelty towards animals and that I would try to live my life fighting for them. later on I learned, through punk rock, that there were actions that I could take in my everyday life to stand up for animals. Going vegan and abstaining from the use of any an animal products is a great first step.

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 Being vegan, does it bum you out how out of touch people seem with that or is it getting better?

I’ve been vegan for nearly 14 years. I used to get really angry and bitter at my friends and family for not giving a fuck. I still do, but its easier now. I can’t make people care, I can only be responsible for myself. If I’m ever NOT angry about it I’ll know there’s a problem.

 You can name a fantasy band, max 4 members. dead or alive. who’s in?

My fantasy band would just be Dead to Me where I take Ken’s place. Sorry Ken. Me, Chick, Ian and Sam. Yeah, perfect.

 You told us on tour (I was so drunk so its hazy) that you used to live in Matt Freeman’s house? Or he was your landlord? How disappointed were you hearing him “sing” that boomshackalacka bit on the last Rancid album? What’s your favourite rancid song?

Haha…hmmm…I think I must’ve been pretty fucked up when I said that haha…I don’t think I ever lived in Matt’s house. Rancid has always been one of my favourite bands. The last two records didn’t really do anything for me but the preceding ones are nearly perfect. My favourite Rancid record is Life Wont Wait. My favourite Rancid song is Radio.

 How fucking awesome is Napalm Dream by Tenement?! 

Napalm Dream is flawless. Tenement is like a new Descendents! It’s been pretty much all I’ve listened to for the past couple years. That and the rest of their releases. Shotdown got to play a couple shows with them. One of the best live acts I’ve ever seen.

 What’s your impression of Europe from touring? 

Touring in Europe is amazing. People there actually give a fuck about music/bands and not just the fashion/status that goes along with it. My touring days are pretty much done in the US. Good riddance. But any chance I get to go back to Europe I will gladly take. I’m already unofficially planning on going back early next year shhh…aside from the band part of it Europe is beautiful. I saw a castle one time.

  What’s your worst ever tour story?

The first tour I ever went on was with a hardcore band called Envain. I think I was 18 years old. We did six weeks across the US. A lot of terrible things happened, but at the same time it was also really fun. I learned a lot. Most of my terrible tour stories are a little too “adult” to be recorded on the internet haha…I’ll gladly tell you next time we’re hanging out.

  Is there anything you wish you could go do musically you haven’t already?

I really want to learn how to play drums. I always wanted to record a full record by myself. Tour wise I always wanted to go to Japan and Alaska. Someday for all of these things.

 tweet

Your twitter (@Tony_Teixeira_) is fairly fucking awesome and knuckle-to-the-bone. Have you ever thought about doing a podcast? 

Thank you! I’m glad that someone even reads my twitter hahaha…for the record everything I say is 100% correct. It seems like everyone’s doing a podcast these days. I was a Radio/Television major in college. Me and Chris from Nothington were room mates in the dorms and had a radio show. It was a lot of fun. T-Bone and the Weez. It was kind of a podcast I guess. So, to answer your question, yes, I think that would be cool.

 If you could have anyone on twitter follow you, who would it be?

@ValEKilmer

You talk on Twitter about your co worker Jan…I also have a co worker called Jan, he’s a cunt. In an ideal world if you could force your Jan to have one piece of advice he had to follow for 30 days what would it be?

My only advice for that piece of garbage would be to stay the fuck away from me. I will murder Jan and his entire family with the hell-fire of 1000 suns.

  Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Al Pacino? 

My best friend James used to say that. I’ve heard it from a couple people. I am quite down with the comparison.

Describe your ideal day.

My ideal day is spent in bed with good television, good food, and someone I love next to me.

 You are the only person I’ve ever seen play a telecaster that I didn’t hate. (guess that’s not a question)

Tele’s are great! Real fun to play with a nice bright sound. I just bought a ’77 Gibson SG that I’ve been paying a lot of attention to. I’m looking forward to recording again so I can hear how the two sound together.

  Whats the worst British band you’ve ever heard?

Hmm…the only British bands I can think of are really good ones. Oh wait! Is Pink Floyd from England? They suck ass.

 Mexican food; I’m buying. Where are we going and what would you like to eat?

My friend, I hope I have the chance to show you the many delicious burrito spots in San Francisco California. Best in the world. We definitely need to hit up El Farolito, Taqueria Cancun, and Papalote.

 Tattoos – you have a few, any special ones, ones you regret?

I kinda wish I never got any tattoos. I used to think they were cool but not so much anymore. My favourite one is the script I have across my chest that says “today’s empires, tomorrow’s ashes”. If you don’t know then you weren’t meant to.

You don’t need to answer the next part, and if you do I wont publish it unless its cool, I’m just curious.  I have recently decided to stop drinking/getting fucked up for good, I’ve had to but I also have friends close to me that have quit drinking/partying/etc. Was there a specific situation that forced that in your life or was it a build up of stuff?

First of all, I’m proud of you dude. I am happy to answer this question and have it published. Sobriety has been the hardest thing that I’ve ever encountered. I always kind of knew I liked to drink/party too much but it started to take over my life. I was starting to lose everything that I loved. Some people can handle that shit. Me, I don’t know when to stop. It sucks, but I know that I would probably be dead if I didn’t change my life. It’s a lonely way to live. I always think about that line in the Fifteen song Lucky “the only way around your problems is straight through them”. It’s true.

 Replace Me by Shotdown (http://shotdown1.bandcamp.com/) has anyone released that? I’d love to!

You have no idea how happy it makes me that people listen to and enjoy Shotdown. Those songs mean a lot to me. No one has released it. I’m open minded to getting it put on wax. Let’s discuss.

Book Yer Ane Fest VIII; The Craic Thus Far

Thank you to everyone who has ordered Super Earlybird Weekend Tickets recently and thank you to everyone who has been emailing with questions about the weekend.

Book Yer Ane Fest is an annual three-day DIY punk/hxc/emo/whatever festival hosted by Make-That-A-Take Records to raise money and awareness for Safe-Tay and the causes that they support.

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The last batch of Super Earlybird Weekend Tickets are available now for £20 and will ensure that you can get in to all shows including the pre and post-BYAF shows across the wekeend (early shows at Cerberus excluded). That’s 5 whole nights of moichness for twenty bucks!

Get your SUPER EARLYBIRD WEEKEND TICKET FOR £20 HERE!!!

As things seen to be growing arms and legs (as ever!), here’s the craic as it stands just now;

Thursday 27th November
Pre-BYAF at Official 13th Note, Glasgow
Line-up TBA

Friday 28th – Sunday 30th November
BOOK YER ANE FEST VIII
Cerberus Bar / Kage Nightclub, Dundee

Acts announced;

Lipstick Homicide (USA)
Pop-punk/riot grrl from Iowa

http://lipstickhomicide.bandcamp.com/

The Murderburgers
Scotland premier pop-punk princes

http://themurderburgers.bandcamp.com/

PAWS
Scottish punks gone worldwide wild

http://www.wehavepaws.com/

Bear Trade (ENG)
Punk rock hearts, northern souls

http://beartrade.bandcamp.com/

Departures
Scottish hardcore’s flagbearers worldwide

http://nosleepsampler.com/album/teenage-haze

Luca Brasi (AUS)
Tasmanian punks visit for the first time

http://lucabrasipunkrock.bandcamp.com/

Chris T-T and The Hoodrats (ENG)
English poetic folk plugged in and amped up

http://christt.com/

In Tongues
Glasgow hardcore’s most militant punks

http://intonguesghc.bandcamp.com/

Guerrilla Monsoon (ENG)
Gruff Midlands pop-punk on Paper + Plastick

http://guerrillamonsoon.bandcamp.com/

Eric Ayotte (USA)
Acoustic singer/songrwriter/film-maker on Plan-It-X Records (the official one)

http://iamericayotte.com/

War Charge
Edinburgh hardcore’s most posi-punk/youth crew

http://warcharge.bandcamp.com/

Plus loads more to be announced!

Day splits will be announced before too long also!

There will be early shows (1200-1430) on the Saturday and Sunday at Cerberus Bar, Dundee. As Cerberus is pretty small, we’d advise getting down early and it’ll be first come, first served.

The Acoustic Stage will run downstairs in Kage on the Saturday and Sunday.

There will also be a screening of Adam Morrow’s FILM YER ANE; The BOOK YER ANE FEST Documentary.

Monday 1st December
Post-BYAF at The Banshee Labyrinth (TBC), Edinburgh
Line-up TBA

Unfortunately, we aren’t in a position to offer any accommodation packages but would recommend Dundee Backpackers Hostel;

http://www.hoppo.com/dundee

Dundee also has loads of hotels so keep your eyes peeled for cheap deals from all of the usual suspects (Travelodge, etc).

 We shall do our level best to keep everyone up to date!

THANK YOU!!!

Perspectives

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This past weekend was a very important one for me. It was my first weekend of shows since Book Yer Ane Fest VII and the first weekend of shows I’ve been involved in since attaining sobriety. It’s interesting to me that the new Get It Together EP, with whom I shared two of the three nights of shows, is called “Perspectives” (it’s a banger by the way, coming across like Kid Dynamite covering Descendents), as I faced this weekend with more clarity of mind and thought than previously; a fresh perspective, perhaps.

Friday night at Kage saw the first MTAT show of the year and it got off to an inauspicious start when I got word that Filthpact were running late due to horrendous traffic on the way out of Aberdeen, then they began to experience van problems. We kept in touch and hoped for the best but it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to make it when the van broke down completely and the band were forced to stand on the roadside at Stracathro to wait for a tow truck to take them back to Aberdeen. An absolute gutter across the board and it’s a total bummer that we wouldn’t be able to host them one last time. However, these things happen and the show must go on. Usually we keep the vast majority of the Uniforms gear in Kage, but there was a big clear out after BYAF so we had to scramble to find backline, as Filthpact were due to bring it in the van. We managed to pull it together at the last minute and we were ready to go by around 8.45pm.

Photo by Graham Meldrum

Photo by Graham Meldrum

Rope Spasm kicked things off with their first ever show and they charmed the very understanding audience with their refreshing yet familiar brand of hardcore punk rock mayhem, like the amalgamation of all the sleaziest and most disturbing elements of their previous bands, which include Torturo Nervosa and Drug Couple. The sound was raw as there were no sound checks but it suited these troops perfectly. It’s reassuring that Sam maintains his livewire chaotic presence as he barks out indecipherable mantras like a wounded beast. As far as first shows go, this was an assured and confident first 18/20 minutes, no great surprise given the calibre of their previous projects. Keep your eyes on these animals for sure.

Get It Together were up next. This was the second show of their “Perspectives” EP weekender, having played in Dunfermline the night before, and it was the first time that I’ve seen them as a four piece. It was clear from the very start when Mark started running the ropes across Kage to the Ultimate Warrior’s ring music that this is how the band was meant to be; fun, fast, uplifting and, ultimately, pretty fucking positive. I’ve known Craig and Mark for many years and they’re some of the best dudes in the game and to see them having such a good time playing refreshing yet familiar skate-punk/melodic hardcore in front of 30 odd folk just brought a massive smile to my face. It also helps that the new EP is fucking rocking.

Rounding out the evening were the simply jaw-dropping Sufferinfuck. I’d never seen these dudes before but know that they have a fearsome live reputation and that they’re one of the most intense bands that you’re ever likely to witness. Having listened to their album “In Boredom” (which you can download from the awesomely-named Grindcore Karaoke), I knew that we were going to be in for lead heavy slabs of brutality but I didn’t realise just how intense the experience was going to be. I don’t really have a great many points of reference; it was a bile-spitting display of contempt for everything and it was fucking brilliant. At one point, the guitarist was attacking his instrument with a screwdriver and I couldn’t tell whether he was attempting repairs or accentuating the “ambient” noise passages. Either way, it sounded like the piercing squeals of a million dying souls. Bleak shit, in the best possible way.

Photo by Graham Meldrum

Photo by Graham Meldrum

I must give a shout out to everyone who came to the show on Friday night for their understanding concerning the circumstances with Filthpact, as I know some folk were disappointed. I think it says a lot about the spirit of the community that many people laughed at the idea of issuing refunds, which we offered to do, and nobody took us up on it. I think I gave everyone at the show a MTAT sampler, so I hope that makes up for it. Massive thanks also to everyone who brought donations for Tins For Tunes. The bags will be delivered to Dundee Foodbank tonight. As for Filthpact, godspeed gentlemen and all the best!

We had an early start on Saturday and I was picked up by Jonny and Luke in a motor filled with gear to head to Stirling for a practice before I went to play acoustic at Europa Music. We jammed on the songs that are going to be recorded for our new 7″ (coming soon!) and had some photos taken by Craig as it has been a while since we’ve undertaken such an act of douchebaggery. It was fairly amusing. We also drank tea and I told a story about how a band I spent a whole three hour practice setting up and tearing down their gear so they’d be efficient and timely at shows, all while taking the thick end of half an hour to restring my guitar.  The acoustic show was quiet but great fun. I stood in the shop and played for about half an hour, people flicked through records, applauded politely, heckled gently and took refuge from the absolutely pishing rain. Once we wrapped we dropped the gear and set some shit up in the basement of Barnton Street Music for the evening’s show before setting out in pursuit of a soya chai latte.

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The vinyl store at Europa Music

When we headed back along the shifty little alley beside Molly Malone’s to get to the back door of the venue, there was already a small gathering of miscreants who seemed ready to get involved and have a good time. By the time we were due to play, the place was pretty much rammed. The basement of Barnton Street Music is exactly that; a small basement room fit for about 40/50 people and I was absolutely roasting by the time we played our second song. For our first show in two months, it was fucking tight and we played at around 10,000mph. We played a bunch of new songs, kept the banter to a minimum and ripped through twelve songs in half an hour. It felt pretty fucking good to me.

Get It Together then took to the floor and absolutely killed it in front of their hometown troops. Again, it was a case of my cold black heart being warmed by the sight of my friends having a good time. Craig and I used to play in 13 Broken Fingers together and we figured out that it’s ten years ago this year that we broke up. To think that we can still come together ten years later, despite everything that has happened since and how our lives have changed, to have a good time together at a punk rock show like no time has passed at all. Maybe I’m overthinking the matter, but it was a fairly powerful experience for me. All too quickly, the show was over and we loaded out with haste to avoid any unwanted attention from the constabulary or any complaints from neighbours. The Irish boozer round the corner was heaving anyways, so I doubt that anyone outside the basement even knew it was happening. Kudos to Neil and the crew at Barnton Street Music for having a cool thing going; support that shit!

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Get It Together killing it.

My weekend wrapped up with a trip to Glasgow on a super-busy train where I was stared at with a look of bewilderment by a lady in her mid-to-late 50s who was sitting directly across from me. I can’t help but think she wanted a houp of my iced tea and a swatch of my Razorcake. I paid my first visit to Plan B Books round by the 13th Note and played my second basement show of the year alongside Marc Ruvolo of Chicago rock’n’rollers The Fur Coats, Phil Taylor from Paws and our pals Greig and Ade from The Kimberly Steaks playing acoustic. It was a cosy little environment and the crowd was very attentive and well behaved throughout. The Steaks played some acoustic versions of songs from their forthcoming “To Live and Die In West Central Scotland” album that will be released at Stuck In Springtime Fest in Glasgow on Saturday 15th March. Phil was excellent and played an amazing version of “Religious Songs” by the wonderful Withered Hand. Marc rounded out an cosy evening of acoustic goodness with a short and sweet set of Americana-tinged acoustic rock’n’roll interspersed with stories about travelling and the Chicago punk rock scene. Thanks to everyone for listening when I played and for everyone that I talked to at the show. See you again sometime!

A great way to end a great weekend that covered a great deal of ground; it’s not every weekend you get to do sound for Sufferinfuck and play fully unplugged in the basement of a book shop. Hearty stuff all round.

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