I’m sat shivering outside in the freezing cold, under the cast iron clad late May Manchester skies. The birds look confused and only the occaisonal rat seems comfy with their scavenging duties. Now that we are finally allowed to sit outside cafes and pubs its not an idle pleasure but an arduous and shiveringly difficult task. This newsletter is being typed by freezing fingers with paragraphs appearing whilst my fingers are still warm enough to move and fleshy and not talons of frozen ice as I think back over the last week whilst avoiding the relentless pissing rain!
The UK likes to play mean tricks on your soul and often when someone steals the weather we are left with the grotty remnants. Typically, when the pandemic and lockdowns means that we can only go outside for these clandestine freezing moments we are punished by a fist waving and angry god!
Maybe this is the place to mention that louder Than War has launched its own clothing range. Caught out by the weather you may need a new T shirt or hoodie? Check out the designs here...http://louderthanwar.com/ltw-shop/
The big news is that Manic Street Preachers have announced their new album, The Ultra Vivid Lament. The band are woven tightly into the legend of Louder Than War. After all we took the site name from the words that Fidel Castro uttered when he visited the band backstage at their famous gig inn Havana and was asked about wearing ear plugs.
I still have my copy fo the band’s first demo and the long hand written letter from the late Richey Edwards listing all the bands they loved and hated. Many years have passed since they were the fiery young radicals and I would go and see their gigs in satellite towns around London. They would play to empty rooms with the band dressed to the nines going for the electric kill and they sounded fantastic. They would baffle the music press who didn't get this DIY homespun glam punk band from Wales - back in the days when Wales was looked on pompously as a musical backwater by the London media mafia.
The band would also baffle audiences in Manchester with their eye liner and their daygflo cut and paste aesthetic and their music was so fantastically out of place in the middle of Madchester. They always had the tunes though and the new album, from what I’ve hard so far, is basking deep in the arms of pop with lush melodies and an added orchestration that works very well. Looking forward to interviewing them in the next few weeks.https://louderthanwar.com/manic-street-preachers-announce-new-album-all-details-here/
The last contact I had with that camp was when I wrote the music for Nicky Wire’s brother Patrick Jones poetry album (you can hear that here)https://louderthanwarrecords.bandcamp.com/track/for-sale
The Manics were part offspring of The Clash the band who have seen their classics stats assured for years. That classic stays has also blurred what the band were about and battle for the soul of the band seems to be occurring with the likes of Boris Johnson cheer elating the band and hoping some of Joe’s righteous iris will shine on him. A Facebook page was set up to remind people of the band;’s mission and it’s been a controversial ride which they have taken the barricades and have announced a big event to support their endeavours.https://louderthanwar.com/defending-the-clash-welcome-to-the-resistance-catr-radio-live/
We are in a Golden Era of music - not only are there loads of great boundary stretching releases like Black Country, New Road and Mogwai coming out but they also hit the top 5 of the album charts. We want to embrace that here at LTW - it feels like the future of music is in very good hands. The latest band in the Golden Era are Squid, whose current album we have given a rave review to. The record celebrates the band’s sparse droog punk funk and the explosive brilliant new album soundtracks the nu-generation thinking that’s literally kicking over the statues of music and culture.https://louderthanwar.com/359074-2/
The Brit awards caused a meltdown for the over fifties and the usual gripes about ‘music nowadays’ but surely pop music was always the playground for teenagers and the parents have always said the same things about lack of talent/weird clothes/ wacky hair and that ‘no-one has any talent these days’, ‘it’s all hype and the youth are brain washed - back in my day every band was a noble artist’. Of course it’s the cycle of life and we all turn into grumpy old men and women but what age do you turn into your parents? Is there a point of time who you stray over to the other side? 27 was always given as the age that rock stars die but it also seems to be the age that fan’s music adventure dies.
And that’s a shame…whether I like the music or not I’m fascinated by pop culture. There is no moral cultural high ground. It’s just what pieces of sound affect you personally - other it’s Squid, the Fall, Josef Van Wissem or Charli XCX (who was given her first ever review on LTW herehttps://louderthanwar.com/young-fathers-and-charli-xcx-live-review/
At LTW we embrace writing that is open minded and tries to understand and unravel pop culture. We certainly have no interest in being grumpy old curmudgeons!
Of course it’s a mistake to think that all modern music and culture starts and ends with the Brits - it’s just one corner of the music empire - a loud, vulgar and brash corner but a corner none the less. Young bands like the aforementioned Squid prove that the underground remains in good and robust health and their angular punk funk with a dose of the wild dynamics of the Death To Trad Rock eighties UK underground will be a top 10 album and in effect a pop record. A mainstream, game changing moment that the 80’s UK underground was aiming for understanding that the culture revolution can only happen if you into the middle of the action (that scene of the Three Johns, Big Flame, the Membranes, the Ex, Age Of Chance, A Witness, Bogshed and the Nightingales is documented in this book...https://membranes.bandcamp.com/merch/death-to-trad-rock-john-robb-book-signed
Gary Numan has hit a fine streak of form in the past few years and his new album Intruder continues in this vein. Its been fascinating to watch him take back his influence from bands like Nine Inch Nails and reclaim it as his own and make harder edged industrial records twisted with his own idiosyncratic sound. His new album gets a great review here.https://louderthanwar.com/gary-numan-intruder-album-review-numan-continues-his-brilliant-late-career-flourish-with-another-dystopian-epic/
Other highlights this week have included Kevin Cummins brilliant photographs being apart of this 4CD box set of Britpop. One of the UK’s most important music photographers and a bona fide national treasure, Kevin Cummins spent the ’90s amassing a vast collection of iconic images in his 10 years as head photographer at NME. His recent book While We Were Getting High explored the legacy of the bands who were (unfortunately) coined “Britpop” whilst showcasing some of his best photographs from the time. To accompany the book, Kevin is releasing four albums of carefully curated songs, comprising mainly B-sides, rarities and covers from 71 artists, some well-known, others more obscure, which were released between 1993 and 1996.https://louderthanwar.com/various-artists-caught-beneath-the-landslide-interview-kevin-cummins/
Thanks a lot warriors! We will be launching the platform for the message board soon and we will also mail you the review copies we have been sent so you can choose what you want!
Until next week I bid you adieu !