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LTW Newsletter 17

Welcome warriors to another week at the coal face of culture, the front line of freak noise and the shop window of shimmering sound!

As ever its been a diverse and engrossing week full of great new music but also tinged with the a sadness as a few of our fellow travellers passed on including a few that we were close to. Since we last communicated we have also been at festivals reviewing or even playing! I was with my band the Membranes at Hawkwind’s Hawkfest festival in Devon - it was a great affair full of the last freaks and the kind of people who you wonder where they go the rest of the year! and was led by a turbocharged and revived Hawkwind who are on a roll at the moment.

It made us think of former Hawkwind fan Mr John Lydon who seems a long way away from that world now firing off his lawyers and then missives to the press about his lost course case with his former band colleagues in the Sex Pistols as the fall out and recriminations continue over the upcoming Danny Boyle TV series. John Lydon sent a statement claiming full credits for writing the Sex Pistols songs - of course as outsiders we have no ideas of the creative process that goes on in bands but one thing we do know is that few bands have ever made it with one Ione person totally creating and doing everything and the iconic bands are usually made up of a dream team of about 10 people that goes even beyond the band. A team of people creating ideas around the group from producer to manager to cool mates and then there is the band themselves and the Pistols beyond Lydon were certainly not slackers. They were a key part of this most crucial of groups that only lawyers seem to profit from these days.

A long way from lawyers and the squabbles of big superstars punk had such a profound musical and cultural affect on many of us and this is perhaps its real story. Many people had their lives changed by it. Growing up in Blackpool there was a whole feverish and wild scene around it and one of the most charismatic figures was Mick Crudge - the lead singer of The Fits who tragically died last week. I had kept in touch with Mick over the decades and his positive energy and willingness to heal and help people has stood him in good stead for a remarkable life that went beyond his punk roots and into his spiritual wanderings, fascination with native American culture and shamanism and the power of nature. He was a remarkable character and it was heartbreaking to lose him.

This was in a week that we had already also lost other cultural forces like the genius Lee Scratch Perry who was one of the key architects of modern music.

And also Olli Wisdom who was in the Specimen and also set ups the Batcave club in London…

Ginger Wildheart has been on a long and noisy winding road since his punk adventures started and his Wildhearts band are still scouring the top ten albums with infectious highly melodic rock n roll but with an added twist as the restlessly creative singer talks about in this interview conducted this week by John Robb.

The story of rock n roll is far to often male dominated so we were intrigued and fascinated by this new book on the Beatles that finds another angle to - the greatest story ever told in pop but through the eyes of there women around the band whose contribution was key.

Little Simz has been releasing great records for some time and her quirky take on hip hop guarantees lots of killer tunes spread across her album, We love her music and style and her sheer imagination that her new album continues with. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is a lush, expansive, sprawling masterpiece. Awash with sweeping strings and eternal conflict, Little Simz raps with potency and power. It’s quite probably the album of the year, according to Louder Than War’s Gordon Rutherford.

The nature of modern media is so fractured that no-one dominates the agenda. Long gone are the days of a few music papers and John Peel dictating the cultural terms! Louder Than War itself is part of this patchwork so is 6music , the Queitus and on and on - there are many outlets for music to spread through and none of them hold the keys - and we celebrate that especially with this great article by Nick Clift that looks at the power of the many new online radio stations who have become fed up with 6music’s sometimes narrow definition of alternative music that can’t possibly embrace everything - so much great music never gets played by the BBC but worry not there is safety net of other fanatics picking up on the music and culture now!

In many ways typical of this media fracturing is Tim Burgess and his listening parties. They started as an early lockdown distraction and grew into a huge behemoth of their own! It’s a simple and powerful idea that is now in book form with a celebration of them.

This week saw the release of a great new albums from the Manic Street Preachers who reached out to their pop side to convey their ever present themes of alienation, empathy and humanity - the remarkable band have a real longevity about them that few would have guessed at when they first bust onto the scene decades ago. The new album is an accomplished work that doesn't lose any of their classic hallmarks…The Ultra Vivid Lament is an astounding collection of powerfully compelling tunes, positioning it shoulder to shoulder with the band’s very best. Gordon Rutherford dons the feather boa and reviews for Louder Than War

The Bug album takes another step into the dark electronic world of its creator…. Whoo we also interviewed a coupled of weeks ago (……) its a compelling and ground breaking work and proves that music is still very much moving forward into new areas.

Andy Brown puts his speakers to the test with Fire, a brand-new album of dub, dancehall and noisy dissent released via Ninja Tune. He shares his thoughts for Louder Than War.

Now the vaccines have given us a bit of breathing space from the virus there has been an eruption of festivals and our sturdy hand cleansed word warriors were out in force reporting back from the fields and tents of the merrie fields of England and beyond. We were at the mental shindig Bloodstock 2 where Lucy Shevchuk delved deeper into the Metal To The Masses competition and chatted with organiser Simon Hall who gave us a brilliant insight into the part of Bloodstock that really makes the festival shine.

Beautiful days festival was so good a couple of weeks ago that we decided to review it twice…

And the weird and wonderful Haldern pop festival that is a celebration of cutting edge indie and underground in Germany - an amazing bill of future forward acts played and Richard Foster delivered a brilliant deluge of words about the event.

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