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Welcome warriors to a brave new world of happy new year…even at the end of January!

Despite Jack Frost decorating the landscape with his paintbox of delicate shades of cold and January traditionally being the not so merry month of ‘meh’ we are in a good mood here at LTW.

For us January is the first month of spring…think about it warriors! Every day gets noticeably lighter and you can feel nature coming back to life. The magpies outside my eighth floor window are happily squabbling over building the nest duties with the annual tug of war over the too large twig taking place. The trees have the faintest dusting of green as the tiniest tips of buds and the green shoots of recovery are all breaking free from the cold cruel iron grip of nature. The nights are getting lighter as the cloak of omni-darkness is tugged back furtively.

All around the middle of Manchester the students are back and noisily celebrating their youth in the streets with genuine real parties and not those ‘work events’ that Boris Johnson keeps getting ambushed by! Oh the joy of youth etc etc!

In the middle of all this the green shoots and buds of music have also been exploding everywhere and its been another productive nest building week on Louder Than War for our magpie eyed writers.

The key event has been Yard Act storming the album charts and hitting the number two spot in a remarkable moment of post post punk glory! We love the way these bands seem to burst out of nowhere and take the mainstream - these are good times for off kilter guitar bands and post punk is now the new mainstream pop as our live review from what must be the last small gig we see them play states here.

Talking of spiky underground bands who made deeply intelligent snarky pop music on their own terms with brilliant sarcy vocals, the early Buzzcocks were ground breaking geniuses of the form back in 76/77. Somehow our writer managed to track down all the players in this in depth piece and even spoke to Howard Devoto and we can’t remember him doing an interview for ages…

Arnold De Boer has been the vocalist for the legendary Dutch experimentalists The Ex for more than ten years and that still makes him a new boy in that consistently great band. Arnold, though, is far busier than that and he has a whole plethora of other projects to play around with as this interview explains.

Laibach have announced a new album and its typically and brilliantly off the wall as well. Of course it’s neo classical, stark and built around the concept of Germany and is as thought provoking and musically beautiful and unique as ever and follows on from their cover of the Sound Of Music album and their Europop album…of course!

It was sad to hear of the death of Meat Loaf but our writer is still not convinced by the late singer’s ouvre or his lyrical subject matter - some of the comments to this piece are interesting in disagreeing with the column and we like the one about Mr. Loaf being just another version of Nick Cave in a lively debate.

Black Flower’s fifth album, Magma, is a vibrant and hypnotic mix of jazz, Afrobeat, psych and prog. Thankfully, in these times of vanilla-flavoured, algorithm-satisfying releases, it is quite unique. Gordon Rutherford reviews for Louder Than War.

We were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Andy Ross this week. We knew Andy well and had enjoyed his larger than life company many times. The last was chairing a brilliant debate between Andy who was talking about his days as manager of Blur and Alan Mcgee as they recounted the classic chart battle that defined Britpop all those years ago. There has been a rightful outpouring of love for Andy whose glow and enthusiasm was transferred on to everyone that he met.

It was sad to see Morrissey start a row with Johnny Marr accusing him of bringing his name up in every interview which is not even true. Anyone who knows Johnny will know that he squirms at the mention of his former singer and apart form a couple of quips and asides over the decades he prefers to talk about everything else under the sun. Come back then old Morrissey…

The big story in the business this week has been Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulling their music off Spotify in protest at the Joe Rogan podcast that has anti vaccine stuff thrown in to his high decibel spiels and high octane interviews that are more pro wrestling banter than mind blowing info. It’s a time of media blur - Rogan likes to make a noise and his opinions make him a lot of dollars. We truly are living in medieval times but with lots of fancy tech and the media is full of these false prophets but was Neil Young right? The media has collapsed in on itself and opinion is now stated as truth and Spotify is full of problems but where does this all end? The statement by Neil Young was powerful but who now decides what truth is ? Are there any gate keepers to the news any more?

Someone who very defiantly had their own truth was Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat, Fugazi and Dischord Records and his absolute certainty in what he was doing inspired and drove a whole music scene in Washington DC which is documented brilliantly in this new book here…

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