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Tag: vinyl

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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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.

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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.

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.

refugee single launch

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

Review; Bangers – “Bird” LP (Specialist Subject)

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“Bird” is the third “proper” LP from Cornwall punks Bangers and is quite possibly their finest piece of work to date. Bangers have long been one of the most interesting bands in the country, eschewing trends and “coolness” in favour of being true to themselves and their inherent oddities as a punk rock band from one of the rural outbacks of the UK. In coming from the north-east of Scotland, I feel kinship there and it’s this refusal to engage with current trends and notions of “cool” that makes Bangers one of the most irresistible and joyous bands in UK punk.

The first thing that is clear as soon as opener “No!” blasts through the headphones is that the band’s first time in a “proper” recording studio has done nothing to temper their boisterousness and sense of fun. Instead, where some bands feel panicked in a “professional” environment, Bangers have turned this new-found luxury to their advantage and have created a record that is equal parts “pro” and unequivocally “punk”. While not recorded in a shed, the studio environment serves to enhance everything that we already love about the band; the hooks, the stories, the sing-a-longs; amplifying the size and further developing their sonic subtleties, of which there are many on this record.  Thankfully, the studio doesn’t wash Bangers clean of their grime.

“I Don’t Feel Like I’ll Ever Be Clean Again” is the first “single” taken from the record and it’s an impeccable slice of pop-punk that’s easy to picture on heavy rotation on MTV2 back in the day, like Sum 41 playing a Weezer cover. There’s a knowing sense of fun in the stomp and the chorus is glorious, made even better by the fact the song is literally about getting covered in shit. It’s classic songwriting married to irresistible hooks that will stick for days. I dare you not to sing along. The ever-present mischievousness remains, especially in the playfulness and lyricism of Roo’s surrealist storytelling, as evidenced in the likes of “Mannequin” and  “The Trousers of Time”. Even when exploring themes of worthlessness and emotional detachment, the sound is one of joyfully defiant.

“Oh, I feel like someone else’s satellite”.

There’s always been a part of Bangers that reminds me of the genius of Thin Lizzy; the subtle intricacies of Roo’s guitar lines, the knack for knocking out poetic sing-a-long classics with seeming ease, that driving bass sound, the sense of serious play; that classic rock influence shines through even more throughout this record. Hamish and Andrew are one of the tightest rhythm sections in UK punk, you don’t get to be eight years in and not be, but they bringing an elasticity that allows space for Roo’s creative guitar work to add depth and texture throughout the record. There’s a lot going on in the songs beyond simple melodic three-chord punk jams.

That’s not to say that the boys can’t get down and dirty (literally), they’ll never escape their grubby skate punk and hardcore roots, but there’s a sense of assured confidence in the band’s abilities. Bangers have never been a band afraid to take risks, as evidenced by the brilliant yet audacious “Mysterious Ways” project that was written, recorded and available to buy for only 48 hours. That’s not to say that this record is a radical sonic shift but takes all the best parts of Bangers, amplifies and refines then blends them together to create a delicious wholly satisfying whole; there is cohesion in sound and narrative; “everything will fall into place”.

Thematically, Bangers seem to be dealing with some shit, both literally and figuratively, with the the refrain of “I’m so tired of being someone else” from “Stressful Festival” speaking volumes; showing a band that are comfortable with their own identity as a unit but still wrestling individually and collectively with a sense of “self” and “place”. There is desperation, acceptance and hope amongst the metaphysical grappling and self-loathing.  There aren’t many bands that could write a song about a Russian American biochemist/author and turn it into a demented almost Devo-esque robotic punk stomper, as evidenced on “Asimov”. There is also a healthy slice of piss-taking, as “Vibrate” indicates with it’s cry of “I’mma break like a atom”. Science rarely possesses such swag.

Overall, this is Bangers’ most complete and assured body of work to date. “Bird” marries classic Bangers punk (scuzzy, gobby, brilliant) with the ever-present classic rock influence; the sound of a band unburdened by expectations allowing themselves to be themselves. Ironically, amidst identity struggles and trying to find their place in the world, Bangers seem to have found what it is they’ve been looking for and used it to create a record that is everything a fan could want from the band; thoughtful, driving, powerful, thought-provoking intelligent punk rock across the board. It’s also undoubtedly one of the best punk rock records of the year.

“It’s getting better, so much better than it was”.

Stream the record at Punknews.org here.

Buy the record from Specialist Subject Records here.

Bangers kick off their UK tour on Friday 8th August and play Glasgow on Wednesday 12th August with The Kimberly Steaks and Lost Limbs at Nice’n’Sleazy.

 

Exclusive Interview / 7″ Stream; Franz Nicolay

We roasters at Make That A Take have long been fans of Franz Nicolay and we’re very proud be putting out his Double A-Side 7″ single on the eve of this UK Tour. I first met Franz when he came to play Book Yer Ane Fest V whilst on tour with Chris T-T and we had the pleasure of introducing him to Frankie Stubbs. We’ve also had the pleasure of putting Franz on a couple more times over the years, developing friendship along the way, and we are very pleased to be welcoming him back to Scotland for four shows starting in Perth next Friday (13th March). Cheap e-tickets are available for the “official” record launch show at Buskers, Dundee with Broken Stories, Billy Liar and Jon Shoe (The Cut Ups) on Saturday 14th March here.

franztour

It is with great excitement that we present the stream and pre-order of the new Franz Nicolay 7″, produced by J. Robbins and featuring Andrew Seward (Against Me), Yoni Gordon and Ara Babajian (The Slackers/Leftover Crack). The record is limited to 300 copies and is “officially” released on Monday 9th March 2015. Thanks to Punktastic for premiering the stream on Monday.

On the eve of the record release and tour, I asked Barry “The” Kydd if he’d like to conduct an interview with Franz for WYAZ. He duly agreed so I put them in touch. This interview took place over email. Thank you to both Barry and Franz for taking the time for do this exclusive interview.

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B : I’d like to start fairly early if possible. What was your local music scene like when you were growing up, and how did you come about to find yourself a wielder of such an array of instruments?

F: There wasn’t any. I grew up in a town of nine hundred in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, in the pre-internet era. I got my music information from the mainstream music press. I was into Pearl Jam and U2. The nearest thing to a local music scene was a handful of jam bands in Portsmouth, about an hour and a half away on the seacoast. There was one called Thanks To Gravity I liked. I was really a rube, musically and otherwise, when I went to New York for college. I consciously scrubbed some of the real New England locutions from my vocabulary after people noticed.

Curiousity, really. I started playing violin at four or five after seeing Yitzhak Perlman on Sesame Street, then piano a year or so later. I wanted to play trombone in elementary school band–as a not particularly manly kid, I was obsessed with low instruments–but my arms were too short to reach seventh position, so they gave me a French horn. I played that from fourth through ninth grade, when, of course, I got a guitar. I got really into The Basement Tapes in high school, hence mandolin and accordion. The mandolin was my graduation present to myself. Etcetera, etcetera. I find the process of learning a new instrument conducive to writing – the process of figuring out the new dialect of a familiar language leads you down some interesting roads.

B :Yeah, I can certainly see the logic in that. In terms or writing, do you find its the music first, or words? Have you followed a process throughout your career or do you take each one as it comes?

F: I used to do music first, when I was a teenager up until I stopped writing my own songs for a while. I would sing a dummy melody and hang words on the vowels. Now I’m more interested in the words, and more likely to have chunks of music and chunks of words and move them around against each other to see what fits. The words usually get precedence, which is why my songs have such odd forms these days.

B: I kinda love the subject matter of most of your songs, and how you tend to approach it. I remember probably the 2nd last time I saw you, which I’m guessing was almost 2 years ago now, the song from To Us, The Beautiful – “Marfa Lights”, was already in your set, so much so we asked you about it afterwards. Have you been writing this new record that whole time? Are you pleased with how it’s turned out?

F : Yeah, “Marfa Lights” had been percolating since 2012, when my wife and I played in Marfa. I had the chorus right away. Then some of the elements of the verses are from my UK tour the previous year with Chris T-T. So yeah, that was the first song I wrote of this batch and had been around for a while. The others were mostly all written in the first half of 2013, either in my wintry apartment in Toronto or in Virginia waiting for my daughter to arrive.

I usually stockpile lyric ideas while I’m on the road, and it’s just a matter of waiting until I have a sustained period of time at my desk to assemble the pieces. And sometimes I’ll go over discarded leftovers from past projects to see if there’s anything I missed. “Shallow Water” was a banjo riff from when I was writing the songs on “Do The Struggle,” that’s why it’s the only non-guitar song on this record, it’s an older part. I scavenged the bridge lyrics for “Open With The Wrestlers” for some lyrics I wrote for a one-off performance of a song by my friends the avant-jazz band Gutbucket from almost twenty years ago. The music for “Pilot Inside” was actually a demo I did for a TV advert for a large internet company which shall go unnamed. They rejected it, so, whatever dudes, I think it’s catchy, I’m keeping it. But mostly everything was written in one burst in the first half of 2013. Then it was a matter of convincing myself it was worth all the stupid effort to make another stupid record. Sigh.

B : Haha, I think the new record is absolutely great, your efforts are fully justified in my eyes. I reckon the sound you achieved this time is far more, accessible, shall we say, and I think the whole record benefits from that shift. On the arrival of your daughter, (congratulations) do you now feel as though the reasons you have to write and indeed sell your music have changed? Has your whole outlook altered?

F: It’s hard for me to pick apart what’s changed about my outlook towards music and my outlook in general. The major effect in terms of how I think of myself as a musician was I had to come off the road, because while I could support myself touring, I’d never reached the level that some people do where they can fund their year on just a couple months of tour. So then I was just an unemployed dad in his late thirties with no way of supporting a family. And that dredged up all kinds of resentments, some justified, some not, about the idea that you could have a decent career and some success and still never be able to make a humane living and just have to start from scratch. I’m no rock and roll martyr.

B : I can imagine it being very difficult. Did you see that documentary – “The Other F Word?” All about punk rock dads trying to find that balance between staying relevant yet needing to feed and keep a household. Really interesting and not something a lot of folk would consider. How long is this current stretch of touring? Do you have any coping mechanisms for being away from your family?

F : No, I haven’t seen it. This tour will be two weeks. That’s about the maximum my wife can conceive of looking after our daughter on her own, for the time being. She’s still young enough that she doesn’t really notice if one of us is away. And as any dad reading this knows, the thing you want more than anything else is just a little quiet alone time, so from that standpoint, a little bit of driving around by myself is a wonderful thing.

B: As a band member, session musician and now into the solo career you have embarked on, has been incredibly impressive in terms of the quality you consistently produce. Do you have a favourite song or project from anywhere your whole career that you are especially proud of?

F: How about if I pick one from each period? I’m a sucker for the expansive, wide-screen songs, so I love World/Inferno’s “We Will Never Run Into One Another On Trains,” The Hold Steady’s “First Night,” my own “Joy.” “Agada” and “Sugar Park Tavern Death Song” from Guignol. I think “Do The Struggle” is my best set of lyrics. “This Is Not A Pipe” has the best balance between how much people like it and how I never get sick of playing it, which is rare, really.

If I had to pick a starter box set for someone who had never heard anything I’ve done, I would do W/IFS “Red-Eyed Soul,” THS “Boys And Girls In America,” Guignol & Mischief Brew “Fight Dirty” (which has the highest ration between how good I think it is and how few people own it) and my “Do The Struggle.”

B: Excellent, expansive answer. You are good at this interview game!

F: Most people have strong opinions about themselves.

B: Haha, I reckon the appeal to both you, and the audience with “This is Not a Pipe” for example, is the way you can alter and vary the methods of delivering each line so well, to keep people’s attention, and to keep it fresh for you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another artist who can make a whole room just shut the fuck up and listen better than yourself. It’s quite a talent. Who would you say, if anyone, helped you to define your onstage persona?

F: Maybe, but I do that with lots of the songs, that’s just the one that the most people connect with so they notice it more. Anyway, I don’t know, I just study showmanship and pick up ideas where I can. The vaudevillian aspect of the way I present gives me cover to have a wider emotional range, and a show is all about managing the dynamic–offset a sad song with a one-liner, suddenly slow down a fast song–and the wider the range the more I can do. People have short attention spans. One of the reasons I’m ambivalent about guitar songs and playing with a band is it severely limits what I can do with the show. Can’t spend a lot of time chatting at the crowd, or stop the song in the middle and make a joke, if you have other people onstage.

B: Yeah I would certainly agree with that. Watching you is very much a show experience, not just watching a band or singer songwriter.

B: Ok, speaking of short attention spans, I should maybe start wrapping this up with a few quick fire fun ones. What’s the weirdest place you ever played? (Apart from Dundee)

F: Ulan Bataar, Mongolia. I was travelling through and posted on a bunch of expat blogs, ended up at a faux-Irish pub frequented by Australian and New Zealander mining executives and managed by a gay Belgian who’d fallen in love with a member of the Mongolian national ballet and emigrated.

B: Sounds like absolutely your perfect scenario to play in. What will be on the stereo as you drive around the UK next month?

F: I got this amazing trove of Prince demos going back to the mid-seventies, when he was a teenager with a four-track rocking the George Benson sing-along-to-your-fusion-jazz solos style. Still got 600 tracks to get through.

B: Ha. That does sound amazing. Have you performed any marriage ceremonies lately? 🙂

F: Not a one. 😦

B: I suppose those requests are few and far between. Quality, not quantity.
If you could only play 3 more shows in the remainder of your career, who would you want on the bill with you? and where would you want to play?

F: Jeez, I don’t know. On the one hand, it’s a free shot to dish out some compliments; on the other to answer it would involve some touchy alpha ranking assumptions about who would support whom. I’ll take a pass. I love everybody. I would want to play a proscenium stage with those bare lightbulbs around the edge, and thick red curtains.

B: I cannot argue with that. Is there a song that exists that you wish you had written?

F: Many, but the first one that jumps to mind is “Johnny Mathis’ Feet” by American Music Club. Recent songs, Dave Dondero’s “This Guitar” and Bill Callahan’s “Small Plane.”

B: What’s next for you after this UK tour? I noticed you have a book coming out, that’s pretty interesting.

F: I’ll be doing two weeks of festivals and club shows with the band in Europe in August. Maria and Lesia and I will be travelling most of the summer, in St. Petersburg, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. And yeah, the book – “The Humorless Ladies of Border Patrol,” on The New Press sometime early next year. It’s about DIY touring in the former Communist world, from Belgrade to Beijing, with portraits of some of the characters who constitute the local scenes and some deep dives into the history of punk and politics in Russia and China. It’s been a long time in the making and I’m more than a little amazed I’ve been able to find a good home for it.

B: The New Press will certainly be a great home for it. Look forward to picking that up, sounds fascinating. On the east coast of Scotland, there is a certain trend for yelling bizarre heckles that are intended to humour rather than offend anyone, it’s ran for as long as I can remember. What’s the strangest/best heckle anyone’s ever yelled at you?

F: I can’t remember anything specific – but when I’m in the audience, I’m a big fan of “That was a really good song!” It confuses people. Oh, I just remembered one – in Donetsk, Ukraine (which is now the hub of the war) a guy said, “I don’t like USA, but I like you!” So that was…nice.

B: Haha, Constructive heckles are great, we will try to entertain you as much as you entertain us when we see you. Franz, it’s been a pleasure bouncing questions back and forth, thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Very excited about MTAT’s involvement in the 7″ release and the numerous Scottish dates coming up, travel safe and I will see you soon.

F: Yessir! See you in a couple weeks.

Thank you so much to Barry and Franz for taking the time to do this interview, much appreciated gentlemen.

Franz will play an intimate in-store show at Groucho’s, Dundee from 2pm on Saturday 14th March before the record launch show in the evening. It’s a free show so come down and enjoy a unique performance, have some banter and maybe get your 7″ signed!

grouchos

Thanks to everyone for reading. Do please grab a copy of what is a little gem of a record!

See ye at the shows!

End of Year List; Favourite Records of 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Terrafraid – “Despondent” (self-released)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Algernon Doll – “Omphalic” (Struggletown)

 

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

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

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

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

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

Ahamkara – “From The Embers Of The Stars”

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

Sad and French – S/T (Black Numbers)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bongripper – “Miserable” (self-released)

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

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

Cheers!

October Means I’m Getting Older

I’ve just realised that it has been over a month since I last posted a blog. That’s a long time for me to keep my gob shut but, believe me, it’s not for the lack of subject matter about which to run my mouth, more a lack of time in which to do so. Regardless, it has been a very busy time and there have been some rad shows over the last month or so. Arliss Nancy at Kage was a particular belter and Boab’s show with The Holy Mess, The Smith Street Band and The Menzingers at the Classic Grand was something very special indeed. I remember the first time that The Menzingers played at the Note to about 40 folk and it’s heartwarming to see a band that comes from the DIY punk rock scene crossing over and pretty much selling out an entire UK tour of big venues while still delivering banger after banger. The Smith Street Band were amazing also. Wil is such an engaging character and the band have a bucketful of future classics. It was the first time that I have seen The Holy Mess and I picked up their latest LP. It’s called “Comfort In The Discord” and is a cracker that reminds me of Dead To Me in parts; grubby no-frills punk rock like yer granny used to make. Between work, shows, the label, playing with my owns bands, etc, there just haven’t been enough hours in the day for me to get shit done. On that note, and by way of a public apology, I’m sorry if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t got back to you yet, I’m pretty much an asshole.

The Menzingers in Glasgow

The Menzingers in Glasgow

I spent last weekend out on the road with The Fur Coats (Scotland) for four days at what were four very different yet equally compelling shows across Scotland. It was great to finally get up to Inverness for a show and the dudes at Mad Hatters and Hootenany’s run a super-tight ship and come highly recommended. Marc Ruvolo is a special individual who writes incredible quirky pop songs and is a unique talent. I enjoyed getting to know Marc over the course of the weekend. That’s one of things that I find most special about punk; for strangers from different sides of the planet to meet and connect like family. or some such overly romanticised ideal. Big Ade and Gav Ross nailed it and have got to be one of the tightest rhythm sections in the country, so natural. The ragtag band of misfits is expected to coalesce once more next summer and will be getting together for a bunch of shows, details of which will emerge over time. There is talk of getting involved in a pretty exciting little project too, so keep your eyes peeled for that one. On the subject of rad projects, we’ve got one being announced tomorrow that I’m sworn to secrecy about but it’s pretty fucking cool.

more dangerous finished

Our next Dundee show is one that I’m very excited about; it’s been a long time since we threw a good old fashioned basement punk rock party at Drouthy’s and that’s exactly what will be happening one week from today as we welcome the crushing touring French hardcore package of More Dangerous Than A Thousand Rioters from Strasbourg and Laval’s epic post-hardcore/noise merchants As We Draw to Dundee. They’ll be joined by Perth hardcore’s most maniacal Rope Spasm and Dundee’s modern melodic hardcore crew Condolences. The last full-blast show we threw at Drouthy’s was Dear Landlord way back in 2010 so it’ll be real good fun to get back our roots. We used to put on shows there all the time but haven’t done so much in recent years, so we are all stoked to be going back to the basement. It’ll be four bucks on the door and we’re hoping that you’ll join us for a classic sweaty little hardcore show of a Monday evening.

On the subject of Europe, our pals Bonehouse are currently out on tour on the mainland with Cornwall’s Crows An Wra. It was hoped that the Bonehouse “Tomorrow’s Worn Out Blues” LP would be ready in time for the tour but alas, we have been disappointed. The release of the record is a collaborative effort between a bunch of cool labels; Wolf Town DIY, Boslevan Records, Black Lake Records, Steady Anchor Records, Tief In Marcellos Shuld and Pint-Sized Collective. The first pressing of the record, limited to 500 copies, comes on “pick’n’mix” randomly coloured vinyl, so all records will be unique. The album was recorded by Ross Middlemiss and mastered by Robin Sutherland. Full order details will be forthcoming shortly.

Looking forward, Uniforms play our first show in 6 months and our first with Chic on drums at The Nerd Hutch in Newcastle on Halloween before coming to home to record over the weekend with Ross in Dundee. We’ll be recording four new songs for a 7″ that we plan to launch sometime around March next year. We’re then planning a little trip to Europe alongside our pals Get It Together in April, so keep your eyes and ears peeled as you’ll no doubt be getting balmed up about that shit before too long. Talking of GiT, their “Rebuild, Recover” 7″ EP is currently at press and is an absolute banger that I am very proud to be a part of bringing into life. Not only are those dudes one of the best new Scottish hardcore bands in some time, but they’re also some righteously solid dudes who know a thing or two about being in the punk rock trenches. The record is due to be released at Book Yer Ane Fest VIII when they play on Saturday 29th November at Kage, Dundee. The 7″ will come on classic black vinyl with full colour artwork from the wonderful WOLF MASK, as well as a digital download code and all the usual capers.

front previewGiven that there are a multitude of shows happening in Glasgow on Saturday 15th November, including shows from Against Me, The Ruts, Bob Mould and countless more, we thought it prudent to do the “honourable thing” (shameless cash-in? Shrewd Vince McMahon-like move?) and throw a late show on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. This will be the first show that we’ve put on ourselves in Glasgow and it’s a little bit of an experiment but, like with the vast majority of things we do and decisions we make, we thought “fuck it, why not?”. As such, we’ve pooled resources with our friends and both Uniforms and Get It Together will be joined by Glasgow’s The Jackhammers for a late show at The Cellars on Sauchiehall Street with doors opening at 10.30pm after the Against Me show has wrapped at The Garage. I hit Laura Jane Grace up on twitter and said we’d be stoked if the band wanted to come down after the show, so who knows what could happen? I should stress at this point that this late show is the 100% completely unofficial Against Me after-show party. You’ll get a quid off entry if you bring a ticket stub from any of the other shows happening in Glasgow that night. MTAT DJs, specifically Jimmy Wrizzle, will be manning the wheels of steel for what should be an interesting evening before we head off to Leeds to play the Sunday of Pie Race Festival.

late show

Right, that’s enough havering for the moment. I feel I’ve aged just writing this piece. There’s lots of shit going on with Book Yer Ane Fest VIII. Best keeping your eyes on the event page to keep up to date with everything that is going on there! Three Day Weekend Tickets are available in person and online from Groucho’s and e-tickets are available from the MTAT Bandcamp merch page.

I turn 32 later this month too. Fuck that noise.

Distro Update; August 2014

Big thanks to everyone who continues to buy records and supports the DIY punk rock scene worldwide. There are loads of good people doing great things in our community and I think we’d like to collectively think that the world is a slightly better place for all the hard graft and endeavour. If nothing else, there is some incredible punk rock’n’roll goodness to be found!

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All merch/distro can be found here; http://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/merch

As such, we’ve just updated our distro list and currently have limited supplies of the following titles in stock;

LPs (£8/10)

Algernon Doll – “Omphalic” (green)

Boilerman – “Loss Leaders” (clear)

The Doublecross – “The Timeless Destruction of…” (blue/white splatter)

Down and Outs – “Lifeline”

Jimmy Islip and The Ghosts – “The Wild West Riding”

The Kimberly Steaks – “To Live and Die in West Central Scotland”

Leagues Apart – “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” (blue)

Polina / Bonehouse / Todos Caeran / Kaddish – Split 12″

Wringer – “Bullfighter” (w/ screenprinted sleeve)

10″ EP (£6.66)

ROASTER 4-Way Split w/ UNIFORMS / Sink Alaska / Question The Mark / The Walking Targets (Reign in Blood)

7″s (£4)

Amistad / New Bruises – Split (red)

Canadian Rifle / Zapiain – Split (grey)

Cheap Girls / Above Them – Split (red)

Dan Padilla / Down and Outs – Split (purple)

Gameday Regulars / Guerrilla Monsoon – Split

Great Apes / Daikon – Split

Paperjets – “Before The Fall”

Science Police / Zatopeks – Split (orange)

Steve Adamyk Band / Dauntless Elite – Split (orange)

Uniforms / Loaded 45 – Split

CDs (£3/4/5)

15 Minutes – “Together, Forever”

A Thousand Arrows – “Defallliance”

Algernon Doll – “A.D.”

Bad Karma Kings – “Nuthin’ To Lose”

Billy Liar – “All I’ve Got”

Break Ups – “It’s Complicated”

Brothel Corpse Trio – “Death Shop Pit Stop”

Count Us Out – Borders

Don Blake – “P.O.P Music (The EP Collection)”

Elmo and The Styx – “Sexy Clowns”

Get It Together – “Perspectives”

Hated Until Proven – “Songs for the Short of Attention”

Loaded 45 – “No Coast Punk’n’Roll”

Maxwell’s Dead – “On The Floor”

Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies – “The New Underground”

Robot

Shatterhand – “Bone Palace Ballet”

Shatterhand – “Chaos and the Art of Dissent”

Shatterhand – “Random Acts of Defiance”

Stand Fast – “Know Yourself In Things You Hate”

Smiler – “Condemned”

Tragical History Tour – “TWO ZERO ONE FOUR”

Triple Threat (Kickback UK/The Best of The Worst/Joey Terrifying) – Split

The Walking Targets – “Chasing Days”

Various – “Sweden The Deal” compilation

October MTAT Round-up; Shows, Releases, BYAF, More!

This last month or so has been possibly the busiest period in the history of Make-That-A-Take Records. We’ve hosted four absolutely banging shows over the last six weeks and have been working tirelessly in the background getting things ready for Book Yer Ane Fest VII and the releases that we’ve got coming out before the end of the year. The shows with Arliss Nancy, Mini-Fest with The Smith Street Band, Great Cynics, The Murderburgers and more as well as the last two shows with Elway and Direct Hit have been some of the most fun shows that I’ve ever been part of, so thank you so much to everyone involved, especially those who have come out and supported the shows and all the bands for being awesome. It’s nice to be reminded that punk rock can still reinvigorate and refresh! The Priceduifkes may also be the nicest dudes in punk rock.

I’ve gotten a little behind with regards to catching up with sorting all the videos I’ve taken at shows recently, but there are over 300 videos from across the years available for your viewing pleasure on Cowpunk TV.

Next up show-wise, we are very excited about the return of Franz Nicolay and the Bearing Torches tour with The Cut Ups on Tuesday 19th November at Kage Nightclub, Dundee. This tour is unique insofar as both Franz and The Cut Ups shall be performing two sets each night; one with The Cut Ups as Franz’s electric backing band and one with Franz performing keys with The Cut Ups, as he did on last year’s “Building Bridges. Starting Here” LP. This will be Franz’s first show in Dundee since absolutely tearing Cerberus apart last August and will also be the first time that Exeter’s finest have visited Dundee since way back at Book Yer Ane Fest IV.

franz cut ups

The really rather wonderful Broken Stories shall be opening the show with half an hour of their super-melodic uplifting fiddle-driven acoustic folk-punk that has grown from strength to strength over the course of the last six months. They are truly one of the most interesting and exciting acoustic acts that I’ve seen recently. Kev has always been a great songwriter but he seems to be coming into his own and gaining in confidence with each performance. This promises to be a unique and rewarding night all round. Advanced “Will Call” tickets are available here and come with a free instant download of the Broken Stories EP.

After that, we’re moving onto pre-BYAF at The Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh on Thursday 28th November with The Murderburgers, Billy Liar, UNIFORMS, The Walking Targets and Maxwell’s Dead and then BOOK YER ANE FEST VII itself, running from Friday 29th November through Sunday 1st December. I posted the BYAF Day and Venue splits in the blog a couple of weeks ago and you can find the full details of them right here.

poster safe tay

You can also get yourself an Earlybird Weekend Ticket for the princely sum of £20 right here. You’ll bag yourself an immediate download of BYAF VII; The Comp (Part One) when you do so too.

On the subject of Billy Liar and The Murderburgers, both are currently on tour around the USA promoting their new releases and making their way towards Florida to play Fest 12 in Gainesville. Da Boigas have just dropped the “These Are Only Problems” LP on Asian Man Records and will be playing at Loosey’s on Sunday night at 10.10pm. Billy Liar is also supporting his new “All I’ve Got” digital single that he’s released through MTAT, with the physical version to follow in time for BYAF. Billy is play The Lunchbox in Gainesville on Saturday at 7.20pm, just after our buddy Jeff Rowe. The wonderful Mark McCabe is also playing Fest, as are our pals in Bangers, Great Cynics, Leagues Apart and countless more. Hope everyone who is at Fest has an awesome time!

Our next vinyl release is the “ROASTER” 4-Way Split 10″ on REIGN IN BLOOD coloured wax featuring UNIFORMS, Sink Alaska, Question The Mark and The Walking Targets. Now, I should probably provide some context for this release; the songs from both Uniforms and QTM come from the split 7″ that was supposed to come out earlier this year. However, for reasons beyond our control, that record didn’t happen. As such, we thought it prudent to do what we could to get these songs out there and they are finally seeing the light of day as part of this split with two of Scotland’s most exciting new punk bands in the shape of Sink Alaska and The Walking Targets, both of whom are contributing brand new recordings. The record itself will be released and available at Book Yer Ane Fest VII with a stream and pre-order going live in the next couple of weeks. All four bands will be performing across the BYAF weekend too.

cover

The tracklisting is as such;

A1; UNIFORMS – “Keep On Keeping On”

A2; Sink Alaska – “Hitless Wonder”

A3; Question The Mark – “Whatgoesaroundcomesaround”

A4; The Walking Targets – “Count Me Out”

B1; The Walking Targets – “Self-Deprecating Evenings”

B2; Question The Mark – “Ignorance Is Piss”

B3; Sink Alaska – “Footnotes”

B4; UNIFORMS – “Father’s Day”

The record was mastered by Ross Middlemiss of Engineered Audio Recordings who has recorded such luminaries as Kaddish, Bonehouse, The Shithawks and heaps more. The release is a split project between the bands, MTAT and Team Beard Records and will come with download codes. Pre-orders will come with immediate downloads of the tracks in your preferred format and the physical records will follow at the end of November/start of December. These songs mean a lot to me personally so I’m very pleased that they’ll finally be available on record. We’ve also started doing some demos for our LP so keep your eyes peeled for any songs that may pop up from that.

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We are also very pleased to be involved in an international collaborative project between a bunch of European punk rock labels and seven of Sweden’s finest skate/punk/hardcore bands to release SWEDEN THE DEAL, a compilation featuring some of the best bands from the thriving scene. Officially set for a December 10th release, we will have some advanced physical copies at BYAF VII. The release features two brand new songs from Rebuke and From The Tracks, both of whom play BYAF alongside Sweet Empire and Antillectual from The Netherlands, meaning that the busy Euro-punk scene is well represented.

The bands; Kept, Trevolt, Rebuke, From The Tracks, Lapdog, Same Old Story, Broken Aris

The labels; Lockjaw Records, Riot Ska Records, TNS Records, Dead Lamb Records, Socks Off Collective, Less Talk More Rock Records, Make-That-A-Take Records.

Big thanks to all the bands and all the labels involved for having us be part of such an exciting international project. The CD will be available from distros across the continent, so make sure and keep your eyes peeled.

On the subject of distros, if anyone is interested in stocking any of the upcoming MTAT releases, please get in touch. Thanks also to Ryan and the dudes at Get Better Records from Greenville, South Carolina for their trades recently. We’ve got a bunch of new stuff in the distro from the likes of The Anchor, Rubrics, Warm Needles and a bunch more.  We have also just taken delivery of some copies of the Cleavers / The Kimberly Steaks split 7″ that is out through Fuzzkill Records. It’s an absolute banger and I’d strongly suggest picking one up. You can get your paws on it here and can check out the rest of the distro and merch stuff here. We’ve just got re-stocks of both black and white BURST COW shirts as well as some banging new MTAT HXC koozies printed by our pals At His And Her Prints.

Right, I think that’s about as much as my brain can handle at the moment. Thanks to everyone for their kind words yesterday for my birthday and to everyone involved in helping me celebrate at the weekend. It’s not so bad getting older, it just hurts a little more when you trip out of a van.

Make-That-A-Take Summer Sale!

Make-That-A-Take Records are having a summer sale on our Bandcamp merch page. All CDs/records/shit is reduced and all orders come with COOL FREE SHIT. Season Tickets are still available for £50 and give you entry to all upcoming MTAT shows in 2013, including a full weekend pass for Book Yer Ane Fest VII. Talking of which, a limited amount of Earlybird Weekend Tickets for BYAF will be going on sale from Sunday 1st September for £20. There will also be news of some pre-BYAF shit soon.

There are also 39 releases available on our Bandcamp page, most of which are up for free/pay-what-you-want download. All of our releases are cheap in both physical and digital form. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating that every single purchase goes straight back into the collective/label and allows us to keep going. We couldn’t do it without the support of you guys, so thank you very much for your continued support. Have a look and pick yourself up a summertime bargain.

12″ Records (£7);

Algernon Doll – “Citalo-pop” LP (comes with instant digital download)

7″ Records (£3);

UNIFORMS / Loaded 45 – Split 7″ (w/ digital download)

Shatterhand / Nosecone Prophets – Split 7″ (Unsane Asylum)

Shatterhand / Cigarette Crossfire – Split 7″ (Unsane Asylum)

CLEAVERS – “Life Is Shit” (Dada Tunes)

Struck A Nerve – S/T (Seven Inch Records)

Clowns / Michael Crafter – Split 7″

Try Hards/Upstarts/Mutley/Eastfield/Planeteers – Split 7″ (GFN? Records)

CD Albums (£4);

15 Minutes – “Together, Forever” (w/ digital download)

A Thousand Arrows – “Defalliance”

A Victory At Sea – S/T (w/ download of “Hopeful” EP)

Murderburgers – “How To Ruin Your Life” (Monster Zero)

Pete Bentham and The Dinner Ladies – “Hip Potater” (Free Rock’n’Roll)

Pete Bentham and The Dinner Ladies – “The New Underground” (Free Rock’n’Roll)

Shatterhand – “Chaos and the Art of Dissent” (Mystical Records)

Shatterhand – “Random Acts of Defiance” (Mystical Records)

The Brothel Corpse Trio – “Hanging In The Whore House

The Brothel Corpse Trio – “Death Shop Pit Stop

CDEPs (£3);

Algernon Doll – “A.D.

Maxwell’s Dead / The Walking Targets – “Shape of Cowpunk To Come” Split CD (w/ digital download)

Broken Stories – S/T EP (w/ digital download)

Elmo and The Styx – Sexy Clowns” (Antipop Records)

Loaded 45 – “No Coast Punk’n’Roll” (w/ digital download)

Shatterhand – “Bone Palace Ballet” (Mystical Records)

Sink Alaska – S/T Demo (£2 w/ digital download)

CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERS GED.