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Welcome warriors to LTW newsletter number 3

With weather wilder and colder than a Martian sandstorm - we seem to have slipped into some kind of strange hibernation and woken up into a confused micro climate. I went to bed in May and have woken upon in November! Wild winds, freezing rain and wild grey skies have greeted us in this autumnal dystopia in spring that made me reach for my diary and become shocked to find that its still fookin’ May!

What is this madness!

Just when we were allowed out again and gigs were creaking back into action for the weather beaten and the intrepid Scott of the Antarctic explorers.

It’s left me sort of glad to not be standing in a field at a festival event even though I am a huge fan of the outdoor music summer thing and normally spend the whole of summer on the green (well muddy brown) fields of England celebrating music and our culture and just seeing and speaking to thousands of people in an endless tumbling social.

At least there are live-streams…

We put one on earlier this year called the North Will Rise Again and it went really well - meticulous graft meant that we got great film crews in and a really strong line up right in the middle of the second wave. It wasn’t easy and the plague was ever lurking ready to throw its viral spanner into the works. We had to put back the recording of The Charlatans by 4 weeks because of the covid situation meaning that we could net spring one band member out of Ireland but on the final day of filming everything was smooth. The hundreds of pounds we paid for Covid tests was worth every penny and no-one got ill. It was a curious and oddly personal moment to watch a Charlatans gig on my own - it must have been the smallest crowd they had played to for years but they gave their all and the event which also included performances from The Lightening Seeds, Red REM Club, Ist Ist, Zuzu and LIINES was a rip roaring success as the review describes.

I mention this as we contacted Glastonbury at the time and said they should do the same and we could help. They were not so keen on getting into livestream world at first but elected to go ahead over the weekend with their own livestream that unfortunately had some major hitches. The tech glitched and the gremlins were lurking. Hopefully we will be back to Glastonbury proper next year in a real life…

The same night as the Glastonbury livecast saw venues openingup again. In Manchester Ist Ist played a stunning show to an audience sat ten feet apart from each other on tables whilst the bands intense and sparse sound filled the room. They are definitely the next Manchester band to break through and their sound of a 21st century Joy Division is so perfect for the now - they also come armed with great songs.

The same evening saw the annual Eurovision fandango…of course its played for laughs but we find that frustrating - surely we are wasting a great opportunity to reflect our great upcoming new and multi faceted and varied pop culture? Instead we get to see a nightmare vision of what pop culture looks like without its mavericks and game changers. This vision of pop culture is the bland anodyne play safe world of focus group middle management who run British music. These pallid oafs have created this dullard world of sub X factor, grey day, balladeering without heart, soul, melody or passion and made it the only British music that is ever on Eurovision.

I don't care if we ‘win’ it. Music is not a contest but I would love to platform some of the amazing pop culture the next generation is creating. We have one of the most vibrant and diverse pop cultures in the world and just because middle management want a music culture without the mavericks that make it so special it doesn't mean the rest of us do as well…it’s a music that looks like John Major’s grey faced puppet in Spitting Image!

This blog below points out just what the UK should do to get some self respect back and also platform and reflect our stunning home-grown music culture.

Speaking of the maverick’s mavericks! Long term Manc outsiders the Blue Orchids feature the founder of The Fall - Martin Bramah. They have had an intermittent release schedule over the years since Martin left The Fall but their new album could well be their best in an on and off 40 year career. Our reviewer certainly thinks so, below,  and on listening we agree with him.

In other death to trad rock news, Nightingales drummer, Fliss Kitson has made a film Band Of Holy Joy  for the video using her art / collages.

Two Pound are a great new band that one of our new young writers has found. The three piece deal in scratchy, melodic and tuneful indie like the Libertines but without the circus that comes with that band. Their songs are vignettes of contemporary British life and really get under your skin

We were enjoying the livecast of the great Dutch post punk festival, Grauzone and were blown away with something we would definitely recommend. The spectral goth and dramatic soundtrack of Jozef Van Wissem is a world to get lost in. The Dutch musician has reinvented the lute for the 21st century into a dark and enthralling dystopian instrument. He has worked with Jim Jarmusch on soundtracks for the genius director's films and makes the medieval instrument compelling and darkly resonant with these strange times.

The Wedding Present are a timeless band and four decades in have started to explore their own history. I interviewed David Gedge about the rerelease of the band’s classic Sea Monsters album - their third LP and the point at which they swerved from the frantic jangle of their early years that had seen them lodged as the number two indie band just behind the Smiths and into a darker and more dramatic world of music that tapped into their post punk roots and love of American underground underlined by bringing in Steve Albini to record the album.

Johnny still Rotten is still being, well, rotten! The former Sex Pistols singer is suing his former compadres over the use of Sex Pistols songs in the upcoming Danny Boyle produced TV series ‘Pistol’. We thought the series was based on Steve Jones life with the Pistols being a key part but not a direct doc on the band.  The lawyers are now mulling over old contracts in the dispute with Cook and Jones over song ownership and whether the band’s songs can be used in the film. True to form Rotten has been pretty damningof the project but our spy on the set, Jordan, assures us that everything looks great and Danny Boyle is doing a great job...

Time defeats every man and the foundations that were set in pop culture’s early days is now slowly being cleared as the giants who pioneered the form are leaving the stage. What once felt so temporary has become solidified into culture like classical music and the form that was once considered so fleeting has now entered its dotage. Bob Dylan, like Ringo Starr, is now 80 and shows no signs of slowing down. His recent album is a gnarly and creaking career high and for some fans what was once a teenage obsession has turned into a lifelong obsession as our writer reflects on here.

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