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Louder Than War warriors newsletter : 5

But the Carnotaurus: one of the weirdest dinosaurs to have walked the Earth. The Carnotaurus was one of the Late Cretaceous period's most feared predators. It once stalked across the land with its bright, beady eyes, box-shaped head and distinctive bull-like horns and it curiously tiny arms - the smallest of any dinosaur...making typing reviews tricky.

As spring flowers into the summer and the city is full of blooms and scruffy little foxes and loud chirping birds full of the season songs we are usually in full festival mode. Normally at this time of year we can be found traipsing the brown and muddy fields of the UK looking for high decibel sonic salvation.

It doesn't feel like two years since I was last at Glastonbury - sometimes that feels like a century ago, sometimes I feel like I’m still there! Trapped in a culture vortex that seems to stretch on for ever and sometimes it feels like it never happened - more like some sort of weird dream from another life.

Saying that, I’m sorting of getting used to the current half life we are wandering around in like plague droogs - at least the bars and cafes are open and you can sit in rooms with random strangers and half remembered faces from the pre war world! Stuff is sort of open and stuff is sort of happening.,.it’s not enough but at least it’s breathing space.

We now have the chat space on facebook where we can all discuss music - a couple of the members don't use facebook so we may have to set up another chat room or find a way around this problem...

Also - I will be sending out the list of free records and books that we can post to members later...

This week I even managed to make it to another gig - I saw the wonderful Squid play at the Stoller Hall in Manchester. It was a great night despite the socially distanced seating plan in the lecture theatre environment of the venue. Everyone was two seats apart and dotted around the space which constitutes a sell out show at the moment. The band transcended this though with a thrilling set of new wave, no wave, kraut rock, free jazz skronk which I reviewed here.

Buzzcocks are of course one of the key core bands of original punk rock. They released the first modern independent single, brought punk rock out of London and gave it to the world with the legendary Sex Pistols gigs at the Free Trade hall in 1976 which created the myth propagated mainly by the people who there that everyone else was pretending to have been at the shows. In fact in all my years of living in Manchester I’ve never met anyone who pretended to be there! Anyhow, the band are acknowledged these days and etc Shelly is rightfully embraced as one of the great British songwriters but the story is not so simple. Steve Diggle wrote many of the classic songs for the band and is a key member of the unit and we published this great in depth interview with him.

Band of Holy Joy have been working the story filled sewers of twilight Blighty for decades. Their songs are filled with heartbreak and romance in the twinkling rain filled nights and they have returned with a passionate and grandly melodic new album.

It’s 2021 and Johny Brown has never sounded more alive. The eternally youthful leader of Band of Holy Joy has somehow managed to reverse the traditional artistic arc of most songwriters and performers by producing his most vital work almost four decades after the formation of the group in South London.

Henry Normal has had a fascinating career – he started in the UK eighties underground promoting DIY gigs like one by my band The Membranes in Chesterfield in 1986 and went on to part of the team that propelled Steve Coogan into the mainstream and form Baby Cow – the TV media company responsible for so much of the best comedy in the past decades.

He was inspired by post punk and especially the ranting poets like Swells who we also talk about in-depth in this interview as well as his upcoming poetry tour and book and how to cope with autism…

James are a fascinating enigma. So much part of the mid eighties Manchester boom - they have skilfully navigated a path away from the hype to create their own trajectory which has served them very well. Their new album, All The Colours Of You sounds bigger than anything that’s come before and that’s not taking anything away from previous producers. Prior to Booth being forced out of his Californian home of more than a decade, and relocating, temporarily to Costa Rica, the label suggested they use Grammy aware-winning Jacknife Lee to produce. Lee’s previous work includes U2, REM, Taylor Swift and The Killers to name a few. His influence is felt throughout. The album is polished, but not superficial, cinematic and turned up to 11.§

Has the Album Chart now lost its relevance due to the plethora of alternative versions of an album being released?

“Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package! Re-evaluate the songs Double-pack with a photograph. Extra track (and a tacky badge)“ sang Morrissey on The Smiths’ farewell album Strangeways Here We Come at the shenanigans of the music business to sell the same product to the same people multiple times. Roll forward thirty-four years and the music business seems to have given up of finding innovative ways of attracting new customers to their product and focused on selling more of the same to a diminishing group of hardcore fans.

All the old dudes! Its hard to believe that Ian Hunter was 82 this week. The indestructable never changing Former Mott The Hoople frontman has become one of rock’s great songwriters and each passing year is a chance to celebrate his genius. Last time hew toured was in 2019 and I was at Manchester University to review the show.

The late Jim Steinman had an idiosyncratic and brilliant sense of grandeur and sound. His overblown genius created meatloaf and also gave the Sisters Of mercy a second breath. Our writer loved his daring genius and writes, ‘he was the first and only musician I ever thought might be God. At the very least, he seemed like he might be a god; someone who’d created a whole world out of nowhere. That world is histrionic, melodic, overblown, and not a little absurd, but also deeply heroic and noble hearted, at least in intent.’

A new exhibition was announced this week in Manchester that celebrates the city’s place at the heart of Britain’s music and creative industries with our new exhibition dedicated to one of the city’s most influential record labels.

This special exhibition tells the story of Factory Records’ formative years from 1978 to 1982, and how their innovative work in music, technology and design gave Manchester an authentic voice and distinctive identity. Founded by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, the label played an influential part in the city’s transformation from an industrial powerhouse to a beacon of art and culture.

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