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LTW : Newsletter : 8

Hello Warriors!

Welcome to another week of madness where music has somehow maintained its 2021 role of being the rock surrounded by an ocean of chaos - a far cry from my own dissolute youth when music was the portal of the chaotic energy and the rest of the world was straight laced and sensible - at least in the UK…!

Those far flung times of ‘ye punk rock wars’ that seem to like a gurning medieval Bruegel painting, times when people spent jubilee year shinning up flag pole and stealing union jacks and being baffled by the royal fuss was the 25th anniversary. Those times were already celebrated by the Sex Pistols 1996 anniversary gig at Finsbury Park - itself a twentieth anniversary of the aforementioned Jubilee year antics.

Even that far flung and long term reformation is now ancient history but boy what a day! The Sex Pistols stripped of all their fascinating baggage, situationism and Malcolm and Vivienne pop culture brilliance actually delivered. They proved that actually they were a shit hot rock n roll band confounding the critics and underlining the brilliance of Cook, Jones and Matlock who had spent decades being told they ‘couldn't play’ - it seems ironic now that the band, no matter how brilliantly placed into the middle of media melee were actually one of the best rock n roll bands the UK has ever produced - and how that is the one trick that Malcolm totally missed and the one he couldn't see right in front of his face!

These days music occupies a very different place in culture - then it was right at the centre whereas now it’s part of a plethora of creative energy - sometimes a soundtrack to the activities and sometimes at the centre. That doesn’t alter its creative power and we are far from the usual grumbling older folk who like to claim ‘it was better in my day when you could hear all the words etc’. Proof of just how creative it is out there is in the conundrum of constructing those albums of the year lists - it’s the ones you miss out that cause the pain! And whilst in no way scientifically accurate, they provide a neat snapshot into all the activity out there as our 2021 mid term report shows.

And there are more great new bands changing the landscape even as we type…

Argubally, the best new band and best new song of the year comes from Wet Leg - 'Chaise Longue'  is a genius slice of indie post punk minimalism driven buy an incessant drum machine and an impatient bass and has witty salacious lyrics and it's as catchy as hell…

One of the joys of running a website is that people send you all kinds of amazing music. The diversity and originality and brilliance that is out there is mind blowing and the latest thrill is Maya Yen whose captivating spooky beat is like the twilight shivers of Massive Attack. With a minimalist groove and haunting vocals and a self-made video that compounds the mystique, this is a stunning piece of music and promises so much for the future.

And there are always more new bands as Susan Sloan detailed in her monthly column…

Sparks were one of the key bands for me when I was growing up - their genius and mystery was so mesmerising. I have also always loved the way that they seemed to slip the net. When people think of the seventies they never get mentioned and that is their core strength - they were not freeze framed into that decade - they are as relevant now as they were then and the new film about them attempts to capture the essence of the Mael brothers genius.

Everyone had a go at being youth club band in the punk rock wars. There are yellowing snapshots of early fumbles in many lofts up and down the UK. The only difference is that some people become legends. It was great to see the photos of the pre Stone Roses turn up recently in their teenage band The Patrol playing a gig in 1980. The group played about 5 gigs at the time and were already far more adept than yet average youth club combo - but these photos are astonishingly fresh faced - surely we didnt all look as baby faced as this!

I suppose there were some people who wondered what all the fuss was about with Bob Dylan’s recent 80th birthday – if so, I’d suggest they dip into this excellent book and find out just how much of a game changer he was. Way beyond the usual confines of the songwriter, he re-wrote the rules of pop music – inventing folk rock along the way – and nothing was ever the same afterwards.

Will Seargent is a guitar genius - his brilliant shivering inflexions in the Echo And Bunnymen song have been things of wonder for decades. He is also a beautifully droll counterpoint to the magnetic Ian McCulloch and part of one of the most wonderful bands that came out of post punk. He has also written a book about his life - it’s as eccentric and genius as we had hoped for and our reviewer went to town on his review - it was almost a book in itself!

Interesting how time changes everything. There is a great YouTube clip from some bygone eighties ‘yoof’ programme where a young George Michael and Morrissey get to review Joy Division. At that point in time Moz would have been considered the high water mark of cool and his lofty disdain for Joy Division would have been looked upon as Wildean quips of genial genius whilst George Michael would have been treated as dumb pretty boy pop upstart. Just watch it now, though, George Michael loves Joy Division and really knows why and whatever you think about his own music you would have to understand that it was brilliantly put together and that he was also a positive force donating his money to causes without any press and being far more political than the Smiths were thought to be at the time…an interesting twist! On his recent birthday we wrote an appreciation of the much missed pop star.

Killing Joke are of the LTW house faves - their grinding and dark intensity has often been on our office turntable and Jaz’s dark rumblings about the apocalypse, that were once traded as stark raving madness have, of course, all come true. So we were thrilled to see them return to the road….

One of the curious things about post punk was the way it was treated as underground music. Delta 5 are just one of the many examples of how it was really just modern pop music. Whilst daytime radio was full of Noel Edmunds and the Smurfs the post punk groups were condemned to struggle in the underground. Decades later Delta 5 are on the new Apple ad - of course some people think this is a sell out whilst they type away furiously on there, er, Apple Macs but being hip don't pay the bills and it’s great that the remaining members of the band actually got a pay day - I wish it could have been with sold out stadium tours or people buying their records but that wasn't to be as their late drummer Kevin Lycett wrote in this brilliant piece for Louder Than War just before he died.

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