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LTW Newsletter 71

Welcome warriors!

Running around the city centre of Manchester these days is a great experience. In my four decades of living in Manc I can’t remember a time so vibrant and so full of venues.

Every time you go to a different corner of the city, it changes as new towers sprout up everywhere - of course, being a measly music writer means that there is no way I could afford to live in one and have to settle for a more knackered older tower on the edge of the city centre to enjoy my 8th-floor view. The new towers make an interesting backdrop as the city that’s never finished continues its headlong rush into its own future.

Some people say these towers and the new city centre is crushing live music and the music scene in the city but the opposite seems to be true. There are now more venues than ever in Manchester - up to 40 in the city centre alone from the new arena that is about to open - the biggest in Europe that has been arguing with the older arena on the other side of the city in their own corporate tussle leaving the other gigs to their own noisy thing from the small spaces like the Castle or Gullivers to even recently reopened upstairs in pub spaces like the Britons Protection to the classic medium sized venues like the Ritz or Albert Hall.

It’s a great place to live and to have a music website - a whole endless rush of gigs within walking distance frome each other and every band, from major names to the cutting edge, playing somewhere in the city.

It’s an anomaly, I know, but it seems that the gig circuit is healthier than ever before - other cities may have a have a different story to tell, but whilst it is booming, we are happy to take advantage of the music explosion and rush home to type up our most recent adventures!

It’s also been a week of big releases like IDLES ‘Tangk’ - the band’s fifth album hit number one and the in depth review on the site applauds the band’s subtle change in direction that saw them prove there is much more to their oeuvre than the shouty riot songs they have made their name with. ‘What is clear is that Tangk is IDLES’ Kid A, their Vitalogy, their Tranquility Base, the band flexing their collective creative muscle to break the box left behind them.’ (Opens in a new window)

The Liam Gallagher and John Squire team-up is the Marmite album of the moment. I guess when you are as high profile as Liam, then everyone has an opinion on your work. The internet is full of polarised shouting, especially from music writers who rarely like anything from the former Oasis frontman. It’s almost become part of the music-writing expectation to slate the younger Gallagher. It's hard to cut through the noise and the entrenched opinion and cliches to actually have any idea of what the album actually sounds like, so we were really pleased to print this review that actually takes a step back to listen to the damn thing. (Opens in a new window)

It’s 44 years since I saw Depeche Mode play in Manchester and met a pre-Smiths Morrissey who slated the band in his review for Record Mirror. The gig then was great - the pop electronics of Depeche Mode were deceptively naive, and there was a hint of darker band lurking beyond their pop sheen - a darkness they fully explored over the years, becoming the portal for the youth from Top Of The Pops to a dark energy underground that has served them well. Their recent gig in the sold-out arena in Manchester saw the band now a core duo fleshed out with other musicians still at the top of their game - it’s been a remarkable story. (Opens in a new window)

Slowdive have also seen a remarkable turnaround. They are bigger now than when they were around in the first place, and with an added muscular power, they have also never sounded better.

Their UK tour saw our writer rave... ‘They have turned in an early contender for gig of the year. Time has proven them right, and it is an affirming experience to see them take their rightful place at the top table. One of the many barbs thrown at the likes of Slowdive back in the day was to describe them as ‘bedwetters’. It was an intentionally cruel remark, designed to paint them as childish and too effete to be credible. The only things they pissed on tonight was the credibility of both their detractors the vast majority of their peers.’ (Opens in a new window)

One of our favourite festivals, Beautiful Days, announced their 2024 line and almost melted down our site with interest in the story. Famously one of the friendliest festivals, the lineup is as eclectic as ever, and we recommend trying to snap up one of the last few tickets! (Opens in a new window)

We were sorry to lose the legendary Damo Suzuki. The Can frontman was one of the architects of underground music in the early seventies, and his free form, music, vocals, and lifestyle were like the last of hippies seemingly endlessly wandering the world as he poured the world jamming with pick-up bands and ad hoc musician collectives trying to find the pure heart of instant karma creativity.

God bless you Damo. (Opens in a new window)

We also lost Dexter Romweber a key name on the Austin Texas underground. ‘Over the years I’d seen Romweber play solo, and with his band The New Romans.

I’m so happy I got to experience The Flat Duo Jets, and the sets he did with his sister Sara on drums, returning to the White Stripes-inspiring two-piece configuration.’ (Opens in a new window)

Manchester-based band Chemtrials has been building a reputation with their dark energy - yet another brilliant twist on the darker post-punk that has our reviewer thrilled. ‘Are Chemtrails the new Joy Division? That’s a pressure no one wants, but they are an evolution rooted in tradition, they have a little way to go yet, but this is as close as seen and heard, the swagger, the anger, the attitude and the songs conspire to make the indefinite future walk in line.’ (Opens in a new window)

Primitive, proto, and primed for action, the new album by The Sleazoids sees them further cement the ideas from their debut. There’s no pretence, just pure love of trash-garage. (Opens in a new window)

Dream rock trio KEELEY announced a UK tour... (Opens in a new window)

Big gig to look forward to James and Slow Readers Club and any others have announced a special fund raising gig at Manchester Apollo to raise money to fight food poverty.

Cast returned to the top 5 for the first time in twenty-plus years with their new album that proves that music now can exist beyond the media narrative In a world of its own. It's a fine album of majestic melodies and plaintive heart emotion. (Opens in a new window)

Manchester-based music and mental health social enterprise Headstock have announced a new Kurt Cobain mural is due to appear in Manchester in support of Shout 85258. Just off Oxford Road it will be the latest great mural by Manchester based pop culture artist Akse. (Opens in a new window)


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