As the year draws to an end, it is difficult to know where to begin analysing a year that has brought with it much tumultuous political, cultural and societal change. The way we use language has evolved, with previously odious sentiments being brought into the lexicon of mainstream politics. The language of civil war and simmering violence colours much of our cultural and political discourse. We have continued to try and engage in the wider “culture wars”, with many essays being published on Write Yer Ane Zine (I’d suggest that Dom Kaddish’s short series published immediately post-Brexit vote to be worth revisiting; “The New Situation” and “Against Immiseration“). We have endeavoured to remain engaged with and responsive to our local community.
However, it is important to be mindful of the fact that what has come to be in 2016 is symptomatic of greater discord, back to the 2008 financial collapse and beyond. Change, positive or negative, and violence, do not exist in a vacuum. More importantly, however, we feel it is of the utmost importance that we attempt to engage in positive discourse, to use communication and the tools of language to affect positive, quantifiable change, less we succumb to violence and the rhetoric of those who would seek to divide us. It is within our locality that we can begin to affect said positive change, to create spaces of new possibility to drive us progressively forward. These ideals are not always easy to maintain and the practice thereof even harder, but it is through our acts and engagement that we seek to progress and move forward.
We still aim to support our local communities by continuing our Tins For Tunes initiative in support of Dundee Foodbank; to continue our support of Dundee Refugee Support and the Refugee Survival Trust; to continue to support Maggie’s Centres through “Songs For Mum“; to continue to support Dundee Together and to help foster a positive environment to grow “new possibilities”.
What does this have to do with punk rock, ye may ask?
Everything, we’d argue.
With moving into our new base of operations at Conroy’s Basement and everything that comes with it (more on which later), we have been slightly less productive in terms of releasing new music in 2016 than we have been in previous years. That said, infrequency is in no way indicative of lesser quality and we are very proud of all the releases that we’ve had the privilege of playing part in bringing into the world throughout the year.
Our first release of the year was a collaborative effort to benefit the Refugee Survival Trust that saw two of the country’s finest acoustic punk singer/songwriters in Billy Liar and Paper Rifles get together to record a split single that was put out by our coalition of Anti-Manifesto, Struck Dum Records and ourselves.
The release show has hosted at the Southside Social in Edinburgh on January 30th and was an inspiringly sweaty occasion that raised more than £600 for the RST. 100% of profits from sales of the CD and all subsequent digital downloads will continue to do so.
We still have a few copies remaining so if you haven’t got one yet, do please grab one and be safe in the knowledge that your money is going towards helping provide destitution grants for those who are amongst the most needy and neglected in society. Stream/download/purchase here.
Our second release of the year came in the form of the incredible new “Battle Lines From Better Times” EP from Glasgow melodic punks Sink Alaska. Featuring four tracks of top-notch contemporary modern punk rock, the EP nods to the greats of the west coast US skate punk scene whilst keeping a foot firmly planted in the finest traditions of Britrock, creating a potent blend of Descendents meets The Wildhearts-inspired anthemic rock bangers.
One of the most quietly and consistently awesome bands in the country, we’re very proud to have put out this release and are absolutely blown away that two pressings of the CD are now almost completely sold out. We have no physical copies remaining but the EP is still available as a a digital download. Hit up the band if you’re looking for a copy. We should have some exciting news for 2017 coming at some point soon too. Check out this awesome review of the EP from Dyingscene.com.
Following Sink Alaska was another west coast release, this time the complete recorded works of Glasgow’s much missed ecossemo pioneers Mesa Verde. The discography collection contains their “Demo” from 2005, the jaw-dropping “Amor Fati” EP from 2006 (originally released on Art For Blind Records in 2006) and their incendiary “The Old Road” LP from 2008, as well as the stand-alone track “In ’64” that was only previously available on Make Yer Ane Comp II.
One of the most impactful and quietly influential bands to emerge from the mid 00s hardcore scene, Mesa Verde are one of our collective favourite bands and we couldn’t be more proud to be involved in putting out this collection for free download. Members of the Mesa Verde now ply their trade in Old Guard, who will be coming to Dundee to play our first show on 2017 with Bed Of Wasps, Drive By Killer and John Wheels are Conroy’s Basement on Friday 27th January.
Summer saw the release of a handful of cracking records kicking off with this five track peach from Dundee’s own homegrown basement emo punks Lachance in the form of their “Sunrise” EP. Self-recorded and produced, “Sunrise” brings together the sound of the US basement punk scene with the longing existential poetry of MTAT co-conspirator Barry “The” Kydd to create a refreshing blast of hooky multi-voiced emo-tinged pop punk, like Iron Chic meets The Movielife or some such.
The EP is available as a free/pay-what-you-want digital download and as a limited edition CDEP with full lyric sheet and artwork provided by Defy Art Lab. We still have a slack handful of copies left so grab one if ye are keen. Also check out this rad review from Colin’s Punk Rock World if you have any doubts!
“Sunrise” was quickly followed by a record that we’ve seen pop up on a few album of the year lists; the “ScreamerSongwriter” LP from Aalborg, Denmark resident Stoj Snak. This record is a remarkable endeavour; recorded over a period of around a year and entirely self-recorded and produced, “ScreamerSongwriter” is one of the most powerful records ever recorded under the auspices of “folk punk”, but that tag is so limiting that it serves only to scratch the surface of what is one of the most incredible LPs of the year.
Released in worldwide collaboration with a number of labels including TNS Records, 5FeetUnder Records, Angry Music Records, Dullest Records, WOOAAARGH, Entes Anomicos, YLLS Records and MTAT, we have very few copies of the record left in stock, which comes on beautiful marbled green vinyl with gatefold sleeve, so if you’ve been thinking about it then grab one now. Stoj Snak will be in the UK for Manchester Punk Festival in April and, with a bit of luck, we’ll manage to get him up to Dundee. However, we’d strongly advise everyone get involved in MPF too, to avoid any disappointments!
“ScreamerSongwriter” was followed in short order by another collaborative release, this time for the absolutely mesmeric “Held In Merciful Light” LP from Aberdeen post-hardcore punks Clearer The Sky. A brooding post-rock epic, this is one ambitious piece of work that was an absolute pleasure to work on and we couldn’t be more proud of the finished product. From front to back, this record is a labour of pure love, released in solidarity with Rage HC, Crust Baby Records, Rubaiyat Records and Wolf Town DIY.
The album comes with a beautifully embossed sleeve with a twelve-page booklet contained within and the initial pressing included limited numbers pressed on yellow vinyl, all of which are now sold out. However, we do still have some copies available on classic black vinyl and this is an album that certainly deserves your time, care and attention on your turntable. Their LP release show at Conroy’s was also one of our highlights of the year.
Our next release was a digital-only transatlantic collaborative split EP bringing together two kindred spirits in the form of our own romantic indie/shoegaze crew Terrafraid and their Massachusetts kin Modern Lives with the assistance of US indie label Geneva Records. A four-song split, this is a cracking little release featuring two bands at the peak of their creative powers and is one that we’re proud to have in our discography.
The Terrafraid tracks are taken from the forthcoming “Contentment” LP, details of which we hope to be able to share with you in the not too distant future. Terrafraid will return to action in Conroy’s Basement on Sunday 19th February when they support amazing French punks Heavy Heart from Nantes. More details on that soon too!
If you’re reading this blog, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that 2016 marked “Ten Years of Cowpunk“, celebrating a full decade since we got drunk in Big Mick’s house at a party gig and decided to scrawl allegiance to one another in romantic haze of “us against the world”. As such, we put together a 24 track compilation for free/pay-what-you-want download that serves as a potted history of Make That A Take.
Our label was founded because nobody gave a shit about our musical endeavours and that is reflected in the contents of the compilation that features tracks from 15 Minutes, The Try Hards, Joey Terrifying and Tragical History Tour, plus a whole bunch of songs lifted from physical products we’ve had the privilege of being part of unleashing unto the world over the last ten years. It is truly a beautiful thing, in its own way, to be sitting writing about this ten years later. It’s certainly not something that we ever envisaged, so thank you all for making it possible!
Our final release of 2016 is a monster from Dundee’s bleakest sons in Bed Of Wasps. The “Plagued”/”Heartless” CD collection brings together two previous EPs recorded by Ross Middlemiss together in one volume on a vinyl-style CD with complete lyric sheet and hand-folded artwork provided by Mark Grossi.
One of the most relentless and uncompromising hardcore bands around, Bed Of Wasps play blackened hardcore punk with nods to metal, d-beat and crust that will strip the skin from your bones at a distance. For fans of intense introspection, this rages like From Ashes Rise/Celeste/Trainwreck and is guaranteed to leave you emotionally exhausted. One of UKHC’s best kept secrets, we’d encourage you to grab this collection for free/pwyw download or on limited edition CD, released at Book Yer Ane Fest X.
At the start of the year, we didn’t have a home for shows. As such, we put our heads together, came up with a plan then put those plans into action. We hosted our first show at Conroy’s Basement on February 27th and since then have hosted 25+ shows plus a film viewing and a comedy performance courtesy of our good friend BMR. While things certainly haven’t been without their teething problems, I think things have panned out pretty well, all things considered. We are now hosting regular shows plus club nights and are also available for third-party hire (for more information on this, please check out this post).
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to those who have worked so hard in making our vision become a reality. In a way, this is absolutely a dream come true as all we’ve ever really wanted is to be a functioning label with a basement to host shows; a place where we can put on shows that will bring in 30 odd folk on Wednesday night to see an obscure touring hardcore band that may not find a home elsewhere. Such shows are the absolute lifeblood of the DIY community and we’re beyond grateful that we are in a position to facilitate such things. In a time when venues, especially those hosting punk shows, are constantly under threat, we are exceedingly grateful to have a space who’s owners treat patrons with respect and grant us the freedom to express ourselves as we see fit.
Putting the basement together has been no easy undertaking and we’d like to take a moment to thank those who’ve worked so hard to support what we’ve done over the course of the last year; Joe, Loraine, Lynn, John and all of the staff at Conroy’s Basement; Stef and all the crew at Rainbow Music for their endless support, patience and understanding; Russell Brown at Rusty’s Rekords for all his graft and use of the his PA in our times of need; Trun, Harris and all the crew at DM Studios for their support; Ross, Jason, Owen, Cheryl, Fiona and all the extended MTAT crew for their solidarity and patience; all of the incredible bands who’ve come to play us in the basement this year and all of the amazing people who have come down those stairs to enjoy the performances; we truly cannot thank you enough.
We have had the pleasure of hosting over 100 sets this year featuring artists from all across the world. We were over the moon to be able to welcome Asthenia, our first ever guests from Japan, to Dundee for the first time in August for what was one of the most inspirational shows we’ve ever hosted. We were also lucky enough to welcome friends old and new from the Netherlands, Slovenia, the USA, New Zealand, England, Wales, Canada and a veritable banquet of incredible Scottish talents over the course of the year.
We collectively feel that the UK DIY scene is in quite possibly the keenest health that we’ve ever seen across almost two decades of involvement in the community. A healthy and active underground community isn’t something that develops overnight or happens in isolation; it takes years of collaboration, trust and friendship to create something as beautiful, chaotic and unique as the UK punk rock scene, in which everyone can play a part. We are truly humbled to be a part of such a diverse community and we are proud to be able to welcome friends for all over the world to our own little corner of the world here in Dundee.
This is something we’d hope never to take for granted and we can’t express our collective gratitude in strong enough terms. Thank you to every single person who has contributed to make 2016 the most vibrant year in our collective history.
Now that the dust has settled somewhat, we can look back at Book Yer Ane Fest X with a degree of objectivity. To read our initial gut reaction, please check out the “Reflections; Time, Growth, Evolution and Redefinition” essay on WYAZ.
Firstly, we’d like to thank Lisa Stuart of Safe-Tay and both the Motion and Mitchell families for all of their support and hard work over the last decade. Safe-Tay was founded in 2006 following the death of Graham Motion in the River Tay and now, ten years later, Lisa is hanging up her Safe-Tay hat. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Lisa and all her collaborators for their hard work, dedication and blood, sweat and tears over the last ten years. It has been an honour and a privilege to support Safe-Tay in their vital water safety education and suicide prevention work over the years and to Insight Counselling, The Royal Life Saving Society and Tayside Mountain Rescue Service for all of the work that they have done. It has been an honour and your work will never be forgotten.
We are absolutely delighted to share that we have broken last year’s total (and previous all-time record) and collected £1620 to be donated to Safe-Tay and the causes that they support. This year, £300 will be donated to Tayside Fire and Rescue Service in order to erect new warning signage on the Queen’s Bridge in Perth, with the remainder of the money being divided equally between Insight Counselling, The Royal Life Saving Society and Tayside Mountain Rescue, as stated above. All proceeds from purchases of Joey Terrifying merch will also be added to the total raised, so if you want to get involved, please grab a Joey T CD or shirt before the end of the year.
Secondly, we’d like to thank all of the incredible bands who came to join us for five days of mayhem around BYAF, at the pre and post-BYAF shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively and all three days in Dundee. Massive thanks also to everyone who came to enjoy the bands and support the cause, whether you pulled the full shift or only popped in for an evening; your support is very much appreciated. It continually blows our collective minds that something that started as an all-dayer in the back room of a Perth pub has evolved into something which draws people to Dundee from all over the world. It truly is something else; humbling, gratifying, terrifying all rolled into one!
Thirdly, we’d like to thank everyone involved in making the weekend a success. Much love and thanks to Roseanne, Dave and all the staff at The Firefly Dundee, including Mark for his tireless work with sound and chefs Alex and Sean for going above and beyond the call of duty; Lee and Simon of the excellent sound crew at Buskers for their indefatigable graft over the weekend to support us and Buskers and for allowing us use of the space; Phil Morton and all at Bloc+, Conroy’s Basement, Groucho’s and The Banshee Labyrinth; Dundee Music Studios for providing us with backline for the weekend; Rainbow Music for their continued support and endless patience; Mitch and all the crew at Audiowave, all at Sanctuary Tattoo Dundee for Book Yer Ane Flash and all the punks who got BYAF tattoos (pics plz!); Catholic Guilt, No One Knows Records, Black Lake Records, Umlaut Records, TNSrecords, Round Dog Records, Anti-Manifesto and everyone who donated prizes to the tombola; Hold My Pint Photography; GGM Photography; Adam Morrow for all the help with the A Fat Wreck screening; Urban Print; IDIOTEQ.com, Punktastic, TheCourier.co.uk and everyone who covered BYAF in the press and to anyone we may have forgotten; thank you!
There are some truly awesome photographs and some incredible video footage going around, so we’d encourage everyone to check some of them out. Our friend G has put together a playlist containing almost all of the bands that played over the weekend and has hours of footage available for your viewing pleasure. You can check them all out at the link below.
As ye may have seen in the previous WYAZ post, the evolution will continue with Book Yer Ane Fest XI next year. Stay tuned for detais/plans/etc, as they emerge over the next few months.
So that’s largely in for 2016; a year of change, evolution, progress, growth and development. What lies ahead in 2017? For us it means more shows, further evolution and a shit-ton of great new music as we line up releases from Kaddish, Tragical History Tour, Please Believe, Terrafraid, Forever Unclean, Black Volvo, Shitgripper and much more. We’ll also finally get Make Yer Ane Comp VII out into the world; there have been various issues sorting that out but we hope to have it rectified ASAP.
Moving forward, 2017 MTAT Season Tickets are still available, although less than half the original allocation remain. For one hundred pounds (and for a limited time!), ye can score yourself physical and digital copies of every MTAT release in 2017 as well as entry to every show we host, including BYAF XI. This offer is time sensitive so make sure ye grab one while ye can. Likewise, we have a post-BYAF sale on the go with limited edition shirts that won’t be reprinted, so if you’ve been thinking about grabbing something, please do so soon.
The truth is that we truly don’t fully know what the future will hold but we aim to face the challenges together to help create a stronger community for everyone.
Thanks for everything, see ye at New Year’s Emo.
THANKING YOU FOR EVERYTHING.