‘Will we ever get out of here’ as Paul McCartney once sang on Band On The Run. The words have never rung so true as we cast our eye around the dystopian headlines and ponder the elusive freedom day as it slips and slides into the distance of mid July. It’s been an another tumultuous and agonising week for music…the venues are on the frontline and were tantalisingly close to opening and then have had their doors shut for another month. It’s hard to call on the science - I guess being in packed indoor rooms makes it tricky but then there other packed indoor spaces that remain open - all very shifting goal posts. All we can do is support the venues and try and buy tickets for future events or they will go the way of pubs that were once so much part of the urban landscape but are now crumbling ruins full of Buddleia, ferns, dust and memories.
We ran a great news piece on the Music Venue’s Trust battle to keep the venues open in the these mot tough of times.https://louderthanwar.com/dont-fail-now-a-statement-from-the-music-venue-trust/
That damn virus variant is wreaking havoc over everything with its impatient trajectory aided by the fumbling and bumbling from the powers that be. I guess we will have to be thankful for what we have at the moment - a small amount of breathing space and things that are half open. It’s not like the dog days of last January when we were trapped in a never ending bubble of gloom and I was running Louder Than War sat on a park bench wrapped up in three winter coats.
Despite everything we can maybe have a pretend vintage summer, the football is on which whether you like it or not creates this weird communal atmosphere that hopefully won’t go sour, the sun is out, the parks are full and the mood despite everything feels oddly good. Maybe we can escape in July? The baffle named freedom day is the next beacon of hope of some sort. In the meantime there’s still been lots of music to get drowned ion.
The Jesus And Mary Chain howled into existence in 1984. In fact I did the first ever interview with the band when Alan McGee brought them up to my flat in Manchester where the surly band answered my questions before we went to see Lee Scratch Perry play the Hacienda. These days the band are still delivering their pop/noise classic and still wont take any shit as this court case they have just announced against their former label Warners details…
We have been cherry picking some great releases this week. John Grant chronicles the flip side of the American Dream. Boy From Michigan is his most personal work to date, one in which he lays bare his soul, using exquisite songwriting as the vehicle to do so. And, as always, it’s packed with contradictions. Gordon Rutherford reviews for Louder Than War.
There is arguably not other band that so perfectly defines the no holds barred future thinking of Public Image Limited. At that point of time Wobble and Levene were running wild in John Lydon’s playground and Lydon was the coolest person on the scene. The years have seen much change but watching this live clip live from Paris in 1980, just posted by Don Letts, shows a band truly at the top of their game.
There have been some great books coming our way this week. One example is this remarkable book, based on Janis Joplin’s scrapbook from 1966-68, gives us a very personal insight into the process of her transformation from high school folk singer to world renowned blues singer.
Genesis Publications have produced an extraordinary book, honouring the memory of Janis Joplin in a way that reminds us of the joys and successes of her brief career. Much has been written about her and some writers have focussed on the difficulties she faced and only partially overcame. There has been an emphasis on the sex and her sexuality as well as the drugs and rock’n’roll. She was only 27 years old when she died of an accidental heroin overdose on October 4th 1970. Hendrix had died at the same age just weeks before her. Together they are part of the legend of the ‘27 Club’. It is now more than fifty years since her death.
Speaking of books we have got a new batch of John Robb’s ‘Death To Trad Rock’ book in stock - it’s an account of UK 80’s underground scene of bands like the Wedding Present, the Membranes, the Nightingales, 3 Johns, Bogshed, Big Flame etc. If you are interested you can order from here.
Another book project I’m involved in is an art book created by artist Iman Kakai Lazell - who has created this amazing book of full colour collages of photos of me plus lyrics and quotes and ideas - it’s a great tripped out 200 page art piece and there are 7 copies left from…https://membranes.bandcamp.com/merch/john-robb-confessions-lyrics-and-nostalgia-book-signed
Asian Dub Foundation were technically this year’s xmas number one and the band have never felt so vital. For last weekend’s Record Store Day they presented a special deluxe reissue of their cognisant Access Denied.
Celebrating cultural diversity, Asian Dub Foundation adventurously mix various genres and create heterogenous music that can be compared to the melting pot of London. With the new tracks added, their updated ninth album sums up issues that have been affecting the world on the global and personal level – from addressing the climate change message to an ironic stance in response to Brexit. Although being provocative, Access Denied is much more than a rebellious rant. Embroidered with various elements, its inclusive texture is a patchwork of sounds alluding to different episodes in the history of music.
Making their name on the punk underground circuit in the past couple of years with their concise and inventive bass-driven dislocated post-punk shrapnel Girl In Synthesis have spent Covid time honing this to perfection.
As a sharp and angular reminder of their inventive style so well documented on their 202o debut album, the band have emerged on record store day with a gnarly and thrilling release. Built around a striking sound that features one of the best take on the classic JJ Burnel Black and White bass sound that we have heard for decades and a collection of song that deconstructs post-punk into new terrain and textures it also sounds as urgent and of the moment as well.
Garbage’s seventh album, sees Shirley Manson on fire (but really, hasn’t she always been?). She sings, whispers, chants, and bellows all the things we’ve wanted to scream as we’ve watched the world devolve into petty megalomaniacal power plays by the dunces at the top. No Gods No Masters works as a concept album that brilliantly develops a multifaceted retort to the godheads and monsters we’ve never wanted to worship. Before you recoil at the notion of a concept album, I say it here with high praise and reverence. Garbage shows us a way to assail the social and cultural structures that ultimately seek to marginalise and destroy.https://louderthanwar.com/garbage-no-gods-no-masters-album-review/