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LTW newsletter 72

Louder than what?

Louder than wharf?

Louder than warts!

Louder Than War…

It has been loud in the last week or so.

I was back in Holland for yet another music festival. A great event in Leiden which mixes cutting edge bands with new bands from all over the place and was capped off by an appearance by the mighty The Ex playing their first gig for five years. Increasingly these festival events are key to getting your band heard which is maybe a shift away from the endless touring circuit and into the bright spotlight of a busy festival.

A spotlight moment.

There has been lots of intense talk in music circles in the past few weeks about how we sustain the current music model. Venues have been struggling and yet there are more venues than ever, bands have been struggling and yet there are more bands than ever. At LTW we champion the right for all creativity and yet we wonder if we have hit some crazy saturation point where there is jsut too much stuff.

Yet, most of the stuff we hear has a real value to to it so how do we create a space for it to survive in? Are the days of long endless tours in a splitter van and all the attendant costs over? Is it a case of making gigs special events? Pooling the gear to save lugging expensive equipment around the country? Do we need a new model or can we expect the music fans to keep paying their hard earned (and its getting harder to earn) on the bands and the gigs and the music and the merch to sustain everything?

It’s a tricky conundrum and one that needs to be thought about.

In the mean time the Peel Slowly And See event in Holland was great - really good venues that were all busy and a well put together and curated line up which I reviewed here. (Opens in a new window)

Whilst I was away in Europe, gallivanting, Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark came to town and played a triumphant gig celebrating their recent number one album.

The band are becoming a phenomenon.

Who would have expected the Wirral based duo to be way beyond the vintage circuit and still doing some of their best work decades in?

I remember seeing them play in Blackpool in 1979, supporting Joy Division and playing Electricity a couple of times - there was no notion of them even making it then, let alone becoming a big band and then surviving to still create something urgent and compelling in 2024 and then selling out a big tour with a captivating live show. (Opens in a new window)

Swedish left-field pop act Fever Ray has been doing great stuff for a few years now. Her music is playing with pop and treading that tightrope between pop perfection and the avante garde. There are all sorts of neat, almost industrial twists to the sound that make it compelling and fascinating and a harbinger for a future pop - in many ways like a shape-sifting 21st-century Bowie.

Fever Ray is someone you can never pin down and someone who keeps escaping the straight jacket of expectation. Her recent live show was a celebration of this. (Opens in a new window)

Perhaps the ultimate shapeshifting 21 century Bowie chameleon type figure is St Vincent who is the supremely talented and charismatic creation of Annie Clark. Each album is a conceptual shift, and on her new album, announced this week, she seems to have swerved in a harder, more industrial direction.

The lead off track slapped a Nine Inch Nails stile industrial monolithic drum sound and dynamics to the song that added a digital dynamic to its intense and yet pop stylings. It's in these areas of pop that music often moves forward these days into brave new worlds. (Opens in a new window)

Brave new worlds are not something you buy into John Squire and Liam Gallagher for, of course. There is no ground being broken here, but their album proves that sometimes, just doing something you are good at can work as well.

The album has legions of detractors, of course - that’s the price you pay for being famous - everyone has an opinion on your work, but currently at number one in the charts, it also has its champions.

Unsurprisingly it sounds like the Stone Roses with Oasis vocals, but it’s the first album Roses of crystalline melodies and perfect chords that is the template, and there are some killer tracks on the record that also has an innate darkness twisted into its sweetness - classic John Squire. (Opens in a new window)

The Jesus and Mary Chain were a huge influence on the Stone Roses during the leather kecks and paisley shirt period of the band, which they were mislabeled goth for. The Scottish band was the coolest band in the world in the mid-eighties and their career has sustained though the decades through bust ups, drug adventures and all kinds of madness. It would make for a perfect book and, somehow, the brothers have done one - should be a bit of a mad read and comes out this year. (Opens in a new window)

The world’s biggest punk festival Rebellion has announced its full bill for the August event held in the mighty seaside town Blackpool. Over the years, the festival has grown and, whilst keeping its punk rock core, has added all kinds of styles of music and ideas to its chassis. (Opens in a new window)

The Paloma Faith new album is raw, naked and unashamed, from the standard normalcy of the cover to the instrumentation, and the voice a thousand per cent. And somehow, despite the open nerve endings on display, it still finds its way to hope and to joy, even if it cannot always see why. (Opens in a new window)

Android Gary Numan has announced further dates to his 45th anniversary tour due to massive ticket demand… (Opens in a new window)


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