Once again, the last year has been another full of challenges, triumphs, tragedies, and evolution. The internet is full of “think pieces” pertaining the collective challenges that we face heading into another year on the brink of nuclear war, systemic collapse and the deepening dystopian nightmare of everyday existence. We’ll endeavour to steer clear of proselyting in this year-end recap.
However, we will emphatically state that we feel it is more important now than every before that we come together as a community and prepare ourselves collectively and individually for the challenges that we face. Our “vision” is probably best viewed in this short film by our collective comrade Owen McLaughlin and is as close to a full manifesto as we’ve ever managed to articulate. We feel it is more important now than ever that we try to engage and be a positive force.
Fight for light, friends.
We weren’t as prolific with releases last year as we may have liked to have been, mostly due to spending prolonged periods of time out on tour with Tragical History Tour throughout the year. I played seventy-five sets across nine countries from April through December and moved house during that period also, so releases haven’t been as frequent as we’d have liked. However, we feel that everything that we did release to be top quality. We also already have a healthy release schedule lined up for 2018, more of which later!
In the spirit of “if you’re gonna guinea pig something, guinea pig it on yourself”, this Uniforms collection brings together all the tracks from the “Randy Reddell” demo (2011), the self-titled EP (colloquially known as the “Spectacular Terry Butcher” EP, 2012), the tracks from the split 7″ with Colorado cowpunks Loaded .45 (2013), tracks from the now sold-out “Roaster” 4-Way Split 10″ with Sink Alaska, Question The Mark and The Walking Targets (2013), and the never physically released “Pink Couch” EP (2015). This collection was also the first MTAT release to go out on iTunes, Spotify, etc, hence the guinea pigging. All proceeds from digital downloads to LGBT Youth Scotland.
Our first release of the year was Make Yer Ane Comp VII, a forty-track free/pay-what-you-want download compilation featuring forty artists from across the extended cowpunk family including exclusive tracks from Kaddish, Dikembe, Paper Rifles, Mug, The Take Home, Slowlight, Fat Goth, Tragical History Tour and Gone Wishing, plus a bunch of DIY punk zingers from favourites like The Murderburgers, Bird Law, PMX, Cavalcades, Chrissy Barnacle, Bratakus, Joe McMahon and loads more. Dive in to find a new favourite band!
(CDEP (sold out), digital download)
I’ve listened to these three songs more than any others this year, from demos through the mixing stage by John Harcus through sending the masters off in January, I’ve been listening all year and play it almost every day. I love this EP for many reasons, I feel Graham a kindred spirit, but it’s a straight-up banger from start to finish; nine minutes of fizzing frustration bursting at the seems with punk rock fury and lacerating self-analysis with hearts and lungs on fire. The record deals with mental health issues; bi-polarity, self-harm, suicide; and all proceeds from physical sales were donated to Samaritans UK.
This rip-snortin’ punk rock’n’roll rager from these sadly now-defunt Dutch rockers was the first of two collaborative Europunk releases we were involved in this year. “Bad Driving” was released in tandem with our Manchester punk comrades TNS Records and features seventeen furious full-throttle balls-to-the-wall rock’n’roll bangers, like Zeke ripping it up with Motorhead at a Dwarves party, total obscene riot squad stuff. We’ve been part of the “Punk Rock Family” for a while now so it was our pleasure to be able to lend a small hand in getting this record out. Bummer they broke up almost immediately after the release!
In the parlance of bleak Scottish football, this 7” is an absolute pearler. Four tracks of gut-busting anthemic punk rock from three of the raddest Danish humans we’ve had the pleasure to get to know over the years. Not only do these troops know their way around a banger, they are a sick live band and a bunch of total sweethearts. This EP rules and is the second collaborative Europunk release we participated in this year, with this sick 7” coming out in union with Disconnect Disconnect Records and 5FeetUnder. The band has toured a lot this year and there aren’t many copies of this record left, but I found a box I didn’t know I had when I moved, so grab one!
Released the day that Article 50 was triggered and in time for the first UK tour of the year in April, “Come On Home, Hero” is a potent slice of “post-Brexit agit-pop” and was the first Tragical History Tour release of the year. Taken from the forthcoming “Aphorisms” LP on MTAT / Aaahh!!! Real Records coming this Spring, the single features the full THT band on the A-side and exclusive B-sides including the new song “Even Cowpunks Get The Blues” and a cover of “Change” by Billy Liar (only available on the physical version and through our Bandcamp). There are still a handful of flexis left so grab one if you’re keen.
In a just world where “success” is measured in melodic tones rather than how much money one can spend on PR, Terrafraid would be occupying radio playlists and headlining festivals across the globe. Having known them for well over a decade and had the pleasure of touring with them (they’re relentless when on task, touring three months at a time), they destroy it every night. “Contentment” is a their the latest chapter of their endless journey; an existential super-melodic danceable shoegaze/emo/pop punk meditation that is easily the peer of Free Throw/Cardboard Swords/Dikembe and such ilk. New LP is currently at mastering and coming real soon!
Like all the gnarliest hardcore punk bands, Drive By Killer are one and done. In our self-appointed role as “archivists”, I feel it is important to capture these snapshots as they happen, even though capturing lightening in a bottle is impossible. Drive By Killer played less than a dozen shows, released only these four raging hardcore punk/metalcore/hiphop zingers and recorded only a couple more demos before disappearing off the face of the earth. While it may lack finesse or refinery, it is gnarly, pissed off and calling bullshit. The east coast of Scotland can be like that. Here’s a postcard.
This was the second Tragical History Tour release of the year and features the title track taken from the forthcoming “Aphorisms” LP and three tracks recorded live at Kesbri Studios in Bolton by Ant Booth, including two brand new songs and an acoustic version of “Father’s Day” by Uniforms. Our collective friend Adam Morrow was kind enough to put together the music video (viewable here) and Kelley O’Death of New Noise Magazine extended an offer to do a “track by track” for the publication, which can be viewed here. On a personal note, massive thanks to everyone who’s reached out and had positive things to say about the EP, your kindness is deeply appreciated.
Our final release of 2017 is our first foray into hip-hop courtesy of our Cambridge-based lyrical laptop comrade MC iPod. In the words of the rapper himself; “Having spent literally eight years (metaphorically) tearing my hair out over this release, I scrapped everything and wrote 4 songs in 24 hours”. Features guest vocal appearances from False Adults cohort Dronic, #heftyrealtalk, Aaahh’s own Asher Baker, and the pioneer of “post punk laptop rap” MC Lars. One of the nerdiest, most fun releases we’ve ever done!
2017 was our busiest ever year for shows.
We hosted 31 MTAT shows, including the full five days of Book Yer Ane Fest XI, featuring one hundred different artists from acrosss the world. In total, we collective hosted 74 shows in Conroy’s Basement, something that is absolutely mindblowing to us. When we started doing shows in the basement less than two years ago, we had nothing but pure intentions and the need to put a plan into action. The fact that we’ve hosted so many shows and had such an incredible diverse selection of bands descend the stairs into the basement is something that we’re very grateful for. We hope never to take it for granted and couldn’t be more appreciative of everybody who continues to come to the shows and support independent music, not just in Dundee but across the world.
While having the basement is not without its challenges, we are conscious that it is a very privileged position to be in. While there have been some that have been critical of our house rules and our “progressive” stance, our “utopian vision” of inclusion, representation and mutual support is something to which we are proud to aspire, even if we do regularly fall short of our ideals. Having the basement has allowed us the opportunity to host several TINS FOR TUNES shows throughout the year in support of Dundee Foodbank and we have also hosted benefits in support of Dundee Refugee Support / Dundee The Caring City. This is something that we aim to continue to do throughout 2018 and we thank everyone who has supported these endeavours since their inception from the bottom of our hearts for doing so. Like love, punk can be a verb.
Musically, we’re very grateful to have the chance to host a wide range of artists from across the DIY spectrum and we’ve been lucky to host everything from the jaw-breaking devastation of Welsh punks Grand Collapse and the acerbic black metal of Absolutist to the acid melodies of Finnish indie rockers Merries to the fractured romantic neo-folk of Nicola Madill and the straight up punk rock of Medictation and The Kimberly Steaks. The DIY community extends far beyond imagined sonic limitations and we’re very proud to be able to extend a platform to artists who may otherwise not be able to visit us in Dundee. As we grow into our twelfth year of existence, we aim to further explore the sonic palette of DIY punk.
To everyone who came to join us and enjoy the shows, we salute you. Huge thanks also to everyone who was kind enough to open up their homes for house shows this year and everyone who participated in the #askapunk pop up shows that have been happening. They’ve been a whole lot of fun and something we aim to continue doing as we go forward. As ever, if you’d be interested in participating, please get in touch. As stated on the Book Yer Ane Fest special episode of The Curator Podcast, “all you need to be part of the collective is a willingness to be involved”.
As is tradition, Book Yer Ane Fest evolved once more.
We moved to a new location at Abertay Student Centre, continued to run Hardcore Brunch and days shows at Deacon Brodie’s and hosted the late shows on home turf at Conroy’s Basement. We are exceedingly grateful to the management and staff of all the establishments for their hard work and patience both in the run up to BYAF and over the weekend itself. While this was logistically the most challenging and expansive festival to date, most things seemed to go smoothly over the course of the weekend thanks to the hard work and dedication of the staff and crew of MTAT volunteers. To all of those who took time out of their weekends to support and assist us, we can’t possibly thank you enough.
After ten years of graft, Safe-Tay ceased operations at the end of 2016. With gratitude for their work and with their blessing, Book Yer Ane Fest XI aimed to raise money and awareness for four causes; Addaction Scotland, Young Minds, The Royal Life Saving Society and Insight Counselling. We also hosted our first ever “Punk Rock Flea Market” with tables and stalls from a whole range of independent record labels, artists, community groups, and charitable organisations. To all of the bands who came to play, people who came to enjoy the music and everyone who took part, thank you so much.
As with all stages of evolution, there are lessons to be learned and we thank everyone who took the time to give us feedback. From a logistical perspective, as mentioned, this was a challenging fest with 50+ artists performing over the course of the weekend, a task made all the much easier by the support of the local music community. Huge thanks to all the troops at Dundee Music Studios, Good Times Music Studios and Rainbow Music for their support and wisdom not only over BYAF weekend but throughout the year and for all they do for our community. Much appreciation also to our allies Dammit Presents and Massive Nights for all their efforts with the Pre and Post-BYAF shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively. Book Yer Ane Fest is truly a collective effort, we try to do our part!
After all was said and done, we’re very pleased to have raised one thousand pounds for our chosen charities. At the risk of sounding repetitive, thank you so much to everyone who gave up their time and money to come participate in something that has grown from a punk show in the back room of a boozer into something continues to blow our collective minds. That we can help foster a positive environment is something that is very important to us and to be able to raise a thousand pounds for charity in doing so is something we’re very grateful for. Thank you.
Book Yer Ane Fest XII happens at Abertay Student Centre and Conroy’s Basement in Dundee, Scotland from Friday 30th November through Sunday 2nd December 2018.
As it stands, we’re currently putting together our programme of events for 2018 and we’re in the strange position of only having one MTAT show announced. Fear not, however, as we’re currently beavering away behind the scenes and have some absolute zingers coming your way over the next few months. We’ll be celebrating the second birthday of Conroy’s Basement with the second installment of PINK COUCH NIGHTS which will be doubling up as a sweet album release show on Saturday 24th February. Pencil that into your diaries and keep your eyes peeled on the MTAT facebook page for further developments as they happen.
We’re pleased to be able to offer three different 2018 MTAT Season Ticket options;
There are only TEN OF EACH available so act fast to maximise your bucks:bangers ratio.
We are also very excited for a slew of new releases already in the pipeline for the new year. The long-awaited third album from eccosemo hardcore warriors Kaddish will see the light of day this year and will be our first ever double LP release. They fifteen years-in-the-waiting debut full-length from Tragical History Tour will finally emerge in the form of “Aphorisms” this spring with pre-orders going live later this month. Please, Believe! have just posted a new song from their imminent debut “…In Potential” album and it’s a total rager. There will also be new records from Uniforms, Terrafraid, Goodbye Blue Monday, Holy Snakes, Get It Together and a whole lot more including Make Yer Ane Comp VII.
Going forward, we’d love to hear from more bands in the local area and from across the country who’d be keen to come and play shows in Dundee. We are appealing to bands and artists from across the spectrum of DIY punk to get in touch. We aim to continue to work towards being more representative of the plurality of voices and diversity of scenes active in our community, and we call upon your help to do so. As stated before, we feel it is more important now than ever that we stand united.
We aim to try to continue to be a positive force. We hope you’ll join us.
The full current 99 release MTAT back catalogue is available for download in full from our Bandcamp page.
There are loads of sick cheap vinyl, CDs, cassettes, shirts, swag and heaps of other cool stuff on our Bigcartel page. Cool free shit with all orders.
Check out the MTAT 2017 Year in Review Spotify playlist.
BE RADICAL, SPREAD JOY.