LTW newsletter 62
Now that we have navigated the Halloween and Bonfire night conundrum, we enter the winter zone. Technically autumn but it feels like the barren cloak of dystopian darkness is everywhere.
It always feels like the festering festive season built around the increasingly popular Disneyification of Halloween and the gradually dwindling Bonfire Night is the harbinger to winter’s full-on assault of wild weather and dark evenings.
As a believer in the, ahem, Art Of Darkness, I embrace this season of wild weather and nature’s distemper. I also wonder at how much Halloween has changed since my mother used to put apples in water in a plastic bowl and we would be expected to bite one and pull it out in a never explained ceremony known as dunking apples - it seemed to be the only fun in town in the sixties or perhaps my parents had a mischievous sense of humour.
A week later we would stand in the pissing rain in the garden whilst my father let off a soggy rocket and we held sparklers in our hands, often burning our fingers in the days before ‘elf and safety’ came in. These days, councils have started cancelling their Bonfire Nights due to lack of interest or perhaps because the population may take the often misunderstood theme of blowing up Parliament a little too seriously. I imagine a whole generation now look confused when Bonfire Night is explained to them and prefer wandering up and down the local street saying ‘trick or treat’ to passers bye in phoney American accents…they certainly do not do the penny for the guy routine any more that was such a common site even up to the nineties.
This week I’ve been recovering from our annual Louder Than Words festival which was sold out this year with a plethora of great guests like Ian Broudie, Pauline Murray, Derek Forbes, Will Sergeant, Glen Matlock and many others talking music and books in Manchester. We had a devilishly good time and it would be great if you could join us next year - early bird cheaper tickets will be available soon!https://louderthanwar.com/louder-than-words-2023-tickets-and-bill/ (Opens in a new window)
This week saw the release of Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark’s new album ‘Bauhaus Staircase’. The album has surprised many people with its late career pop perfection crashing into the album charts at number 2. They have come a long way, like rest of us, since we saw them support Joy Division in Blackpool in 1979! And yet their music still sounds timeless, with the electronics perfectly sculpted into moody, melancholic, effortless pop - they really are a timelessly great band.https://louderthanwar.com/omd-bauhaus-staircase-album-review/# (Opens in a new window)
We were truly saddened to hear of the death of Pete Garner the original Stone Roses bassist who left us at the age of 59. Pete was a friend of LTW and I had known him since 1980. A modest man who was very much a vital part of the Manchester scene due to his important role in the Roses with his bass playing and holding the band together and also his friendship with Johnny Marr - Johnny has a great story that he told me last week that when they both worked in town in the early eighties and got the bus home to Wythenshawe and south Manchester, Pete told him about his new band called the Stone Roses and Johnny told him to change the name as it would never work!https://louderthanwar.com/pete-garner-the-stone-roses-dies-at-61/ (Opens in a new window)
DYI Records have announced the reissue of X-Ray Spex’s 1995 lost classic ‘Conscious Consumer’. Pop culture is full of classic albums that slip between the cracks. In recent years the late Poly Styrene and X Ray Spex have achieved iconic status with their 1978 debut ‘Germfree Adolescents album but the group’s follow up album Conscious Consumer released 17 years later has been lost to the sands of time.https://louderthanwar.com/x-ray-spex-reissue-1995s-lost-classic-second-album-conscious-consumer/ (Opens in a new window)
A wolf in sheep’s clothing, this book celebrates fifty concerts by the Grateful Dead and shows them to be tougher and more complex than you might think.https://louderthanwar.com/all-the-years-combine-the-grateful-dead-in-fifty-shows-book-review/ (Opens in a new window)
LISTEN! New band! Dutty Coat ‘I Can’t Find Her Clitoris’. This is a brilliant debunking of male fumbling over minimalistic electronics…sounding like The Normal’s ‘TVOD’ for the 21st century it derails the male ego with the soggy reality of bedsit sex. Not only lyrically funny and truth telling but a well crafted slice of lo fi pop.https://louderthanwar.com/listen-dutty-coat-i-cant-find-her-clitoris-brilliant-debunking-of-male-fumbling-over-minimalistic-electronics/ (Opens in a new window)
I caught up with Ian Astbury just before the Death Cult tour Ian tells John Robb about the upcoming Death Cult tour, what it means to go back to the early days, how he is still on the quest and how rock n roll can still change the world and Bowie/The Doors/Punk/post punk/Joy Division and the future…https://louderthanwar.com/ian-astbury-the-john-robb-interview/ (Opens in a new window)
Greg Dulli, known for his work with The Afghan Whigs and The Twilight Singers in particular, discusses his working methods, songwriting and the various albums of the soon to be released Twilight Singers boxset – Black Out The Windows/Ladies and Gentlemen, The Twilight Singers (Opens in a new window) – a thirteen piece deluxe limited edition collection of The Twilight Singers music so far, plus a bonus disc of assorted previously unreleased rarities. MK Bennett draws a line in the sand.https://louderthanwar.com/gret-dulli-interview-twilight-singers-box-set/ (Opens in a new window)
Beverley Knight and live band return to Manchester with a new album and a very sharp new look. A sold-out show, dizzy with expectation, does she still have the songs, and the crowd on her side asks MK Bennetthttps://louderthanwar.com/beverley-knight-the-bridgewater-hall-manchester-live-review/ (Opens in a new window)
Kermit and Ryder are back up to their usual Black Grape mischief six years after the genre spliced punk funk mash up of Pop Voodoo. They’ve still got that mixed up magic.https://louderthanwar.com/black-grape-orange-head-album-review/ (Opens in a new window)
John Robb announces spoken word tour – ‘Do you believe in the power of rock n roll’ I will talk about a life in music, my best selling ‘The Art Of Darkness’ book, being the first person to interview Nirvana, inventing the word ‘britpop’ and my adventures on the post punk frontline…https://louderthanwar.com/john-robb-announces-do-you-believe-in-the-power-of-rock-n-roll-spoken-word-uk-tour-for-spring-2024/ (Opens in a new window)
Little Simz (supported by the excellent Hak Baker) delivers a masterclass in modern cross-cultural UK music to connect with the crowd to make the whole occasion a communal exploration of joy and emotion.https://louderthanwar.com/little-simz-o2-victoria-warehouse-manchester-live-review/ (Opens in a new window)