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LTW Newsletter 35

Welcome warriors,

We may as well party whilst we are dodging world war three! The world seems to brinking on brinkmanship and the grown ups have left the building whilst the lunatics have taken over the asylum and the headlines make dismal reading BUT we still have the music to get us through these times. That's if Elon Musk doesn't buy out all the shares in Louder Than War and the website suddenly becomes a portal for his multi billionaire waffling...

This week, though, we have been up to all kinds of adventures...

Nigel Carr got this great interview with John Lydon where were got a bit more of the human behind the johnny Rotten caricature. It made for a great interview and sets El Rotto up nicely for the upcoming PiL tour in May. These days Lydon is far more interesting than Rotten - the punk Rotten was a crucial force in the late seventies but has seemed lost for a few years now. When Lydon is allowed out to play he is far more fascinating.

The recent sad death of punk icon Jordan shocked many in our community and there will be a special gig put on in Brighton to celebrate her life with some of the bands that she really liked and compered by LTW boss John Robb. Jordan was a massive music fan all the way up to her death and a regular face at many gigs in London and the south coast. She even got an stage to read from her book at Membranes gigs whilst the band played a post punk dub in the background. The gig will be a celebration of her life with a great line up ina venue that she loved.

Crass driving force Penny Rimbaud has returned as part of a new book with the intriguing title of 'I’m not Penny Rimbaud! Who the hell is Penny Rimbaud?' The band were like no other and their combination of brilliant artwork and music that mixed the rudimentary with the avante garde sounds even better over the years. Nowadays you can listen to it as a an art piece and thrill to their idealistic manifesto. They were such a powerful force that changed lives. The book is described as a limited-edition catalogue of Crass related artwork exhibited at Living Room Gallery in the Rojc Social Centre in Pula, Croatia in May 2019. However, it is much more, including an interview with Penny Rimbaud, a Rimbaud essay, notes on the exhibit and reflections on the impact of Crass.

Bob Vylan is our album of the week. The grime/punk/hip hip collision is urgent and powerful and very of the moment. There is a righteous anger here but also an exuberant spirt that gives the album an addictive edge and also an inventive spirt that takes out further from mere shouty blokes country. The long awaited follow up to the acclaimed We Live Here finally arrives on the streets. You want some slick angry cuts and a bit of loud as fuck hip hop punk grime? Well listen up...

Memorial Device – the greatest band you’ve never heard of. They were the brightest lights of the Airdrie DIY scene of the 1980s. This scene, uncelebrated and underappreciated was bursting with punk spirit, avant-garde art experiments, heads and chancers, sex and violence, art, music, fanzines and most importantly, possibility. It may have mirrored scenes across the United Kingdom in certain respects but in another sense it was utterly unique. The main players on the scene either dispersed across the globe or lived in Airdrie for the rest of their lives, all of them influenced, moulded and somewhat scarred by their experiences of those unrivalled days of artistic frenzy and unshackled youth.

We were sorry to hear of the death of Cynthia Plastercaster - the legendary Chicago figure is kinda pop culture personified and made her name creating plaster casts of rock stars cocks in the sixties and female rock star breasts more recently in a later day balancing of the genders. She was a real character who sort of got to the core of what pop culture was all about in a primal way. Her first cast was of Jimi Hendrix and she continued her ad hoc cock collection for many years collecting this bizarre trunk like collection. She was also a much loved faced on the Chicago music scene.

On Un sound system were game changers. The release of the new compilation also coincides with a very special concert taking place at the Forum in London, originally scheduled for 2020 but delayed because of the pandemic. Celebrating 40 years of the On-U Sound label, it brings together musicians and artists from at least four different continents for a unique evening with Horace Andy, Tackhead, African Head Charge, Creation Rebel and most of the other musicians featured on the album.

Fontaines DC are very much the band of the moment and their new album - their third - has taken another giant leap forward creatively and the band seem impatient and in a hurry to move their art and music forward - this we can totally recommend.

LTW had a good trip down to Cambridge for Sound And Vision festival - a mixture of panels, in conversations and live gigs from the likes of Tim Burgess, A Certain Ratio and many others which we reviewed here.

We have been big fans of Working Mens Club for some time so were thrilled to see they had a new album out soon and as a prelude a new track from it. As much as the previous single Widow, the new song hints at the icy hot sound of the 80s new wave. Depeche Mode and Human League come to mind. The lyrics convey the protagonist’s craving for intense experience: “I’m feeling alright now the time is passing by/the further we fall makes me feel fine”.

Finally maybe the only thing that will end this damn war is the rumbling bass heavy sound of Jah Wobble's 4 string. The post punk legend has brought his 4 string out to play with The Ukrainians in a special single.

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