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LTW Newsletter 70

Welcome warriors!

I apologise for the slight delay, but I have been on manoeuvres…

Last weekend, I was in Guernsey doing a talk about my ‘The Art Of Darkness - the History of Goth’ book to a sold-out crowd in a fine venue called St James. Th (Opens in a new window)e following night, the same promoter was putting on the wonderful (Opens in a new window)out of space, out of your mind band Henge, which I was sorry to miss, but I had a fine old time on the island that I had been meaning to visit all my life! 

I finally got there!

Like all islands, it was a fascinating microcosm of culture with its own cool history from Victor Hugo spending 15 years there on the run from France and two legendary Beatles concerts in a now demolished (Opens in a new window) theatre in the park, which they did after a show in Jersey thirty miles away. They couldn't claim the Sex Pistols going on holiday there like Jersey could, but then Jersey threw the Pistols off their island after a few hours - creating a miraculous and strange footnote in pop culture history!

I also did two in-conversartion events with Colin Newman from Wire And Malka Spigel formally from Minimal Compact about their rereleased Bastard project. It’s a fine album that mixes post-punk guitar adventure with drum and bass and breakbeats and makes it work…years ahead of its time and the album still sounds fresh. 

We were in the fine record emporium Rough Trade East and then, the next day, in Brighton Resident - two great key record shops run by people in tune with the music and great places to do events!

This weekend I’m off to Den Hague in Holland for the Grauzone music festival - a veritable feast of post-punk, electronic, techno and goth to do some more in conversations - looking forward to my annual mix of classic and new - the festival always had a great line up and is relatively easy to get to so might be worth paying a visit in the future?

I’ve also some more dates to my upcoming spoken word tour - it will be great to see you there and hang out and talk about music! (Opens in a new window)

This week on Louder Than War has been very, very busy. Spring is in the air - especially in the music scene, and everyone is emerging, blinking into the, er, sunlight…ok, blinking into the snow storms…

IDLES’ new album, Tangk, sees the band - one of the leading lights in the current vogue for angry post-punk - reimagine themselves and show there is a subtlety in their muse and a range of musical and emotional textures in their armoury. It’s an album that sees them take a handbrake left turn and sets them open with many new roads to travel. They really needed an album like this. Despite mastering the singalong heart on the sleeve anthems, they had reached the stage where they had to display another side to their creativity. (Opens in a new window)

The Vaccines suddenly reemerged from out of the ether. They were never the hippest or coolest band in the post-Britpop rush; they got big just by writing great songs, Songs of guitars and heartache and sang their way into people’s hearts. Now, even more out of ‘fashion’, they stormed back to remind everyone that a great tune and a heartfelt collection of chords and lyrics is sometimes all you need! (Opens in a new window)

There is much talk of industry plants from people who don’t really understand how music biz works. 

Arguably, all bands are industry plants. 

Even the quirkiest and most underground micro titans have PRs pushing their 'product' and selling records to keep the label and the band solvent. The only difference is that some bands have bigger machines behind them than others. Every band wants to ‘make it’ despite pretending they are purely only art! The Last Dinner Party are the latest band to cop the industry plant rhetoric, replacing Wet Leg, who were getting nagged for it last year. Wet Leg of course backed up their rise to stardom with a good debut album and some great songs but are The Last Dinner Party actually any good…we investigated their live show in London… (Opens in a new window)

One of our favourite festivals, Beautiful Days, has announced the 2024 lineup for their August event, and, as ever, it is a perfect alchemy mix of old and new and all operating in that post-traveller English punk folk space of the Levellers without, often sounding anything like them. Everyone who goes will tell you what a warm and friendly experience the festival is. (Opens in a new window)

We were sorry to lose one of the great this week. Wayne Kramer was the driving force in the MC5 whose revolution rock rhetoric was a profound influence on much of punk ten years after their pomp. The band came out of Detroit with guitars as machine guns and inspirational manifesto lyrics - even if the revolution never really turned up they ended up being a really thrilling and exciting rock n roll band. (Opens in a new window)

We were also sorry to lose Shane Baldwin - the drummer from the British second wave punk band Vice Squad, whose book documenting his time in the group is one of the really good punk books that is written from the inside and captures the struggles and elation of being involved in that scene decades ago. (Opens in a new window)

It was great to welcome back Anja Huwe from Xmal Deutschland - the singer went on to have a highly successful art career in her native Germany after the band, but the musical itch was always there, and she has picked up where she left off with this intriguing and captivating piece of music. (Opens in a new window)

More brimstone and dark bile from the Black Country as BIG SPECIAL announce their highly-anticipated debut album POSTINDUSTRIAL HOMETOWN BLUES for release on 10th May via SO Recordings. (Opens in a new window)

This week was the fiftieth anniversary of Paul McCartney and Wings Band On The Run album. Released at a low ebb in Macca’s career where, despite still having the hits, he was looked on as being the soft option Beatle and riding on Lennon’s coattails in the band’s bitter fallout. 

Decades later and the truth has leaked out that puts this album under a very different light. At the time, it broke him back to the toppermost of the poppermost, and years later, this version, without the sheen of overdubs, sounds great and underlines just how inventive these songs were and how raw and exciting they sounded. (Opens in a new window)

Neu legend Michael Rother has never rested on his laurels and his recent London show was a celebration of his groundbreaking creativity which seems to grow in influence every damn year., Everyone who went came out with a glowing tribute to the legend and LTW reviewer on the spot, Tim Cooper managed to find the time to write it all up for us. (Opens in a new window)

As punk and industrial music see the world around them as a resource to strip clean of what it can inspire, so too does techno and so too does E Saggila’s interpretation of dance music that everything collapses back into, finding impetus in the surrounding resources as a wellspring for evolution. (Opens in a new window)


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