I thought I’d be too jaded, having read more than one history of independent music before now, but Richard King’s How Soon Is Now is an entertaining read that rattles along well and is full of nice behind the scenes stories – be it Morrissey raising a placard during a version of ‘The Queen Is Dead’ bearing the request ‘Two Light Ales, Please’, or an account of Rob Gretton and Mike Pickering, pillars of Factory records, taking Quincy Jones out for lunch at Knutsford Services on the M6 (‘he loved it’). Hence this month’s show features a chunk of fine independent music (or ‘indie’) from back when the term meant something. Actually, after a decade of major labels appropriating all that had a spark and was good, small independent labels now feel as vital as they did between 1979 and 1986. I could have filled the show with tracks from the likes of Mississippi records, Kranky, Thrill Jockey, Erased Tapes and Temporary Residence, and many more of the plentiful heirs to the greats like Rough Trade, Creation and 4AD. People tend to look at me slightly quizzically when I say I often follow labels rather than bands . . . (OK, as well as bands), but it’s a mystery to me why more people don’t just latch on the good taste of the custodians mentioned above . . .
Ah, well. Other sleevenotes: the record I forgot to namecheck is Sam Amidon’s ‘I Wish, I Wish’, from his very listenable, lovely, folky album (on Nonesuch) Bright Sunny South, which appears midway through; and apologies for any buzzing, background noise and general distortion. This whole show was put together in a
less-than-soundproofed loft on a sunny Sunday afternoon – the wind in the trees, and kids yelling in their back gardens, having a good time, I can cope with; several helicopters flying over, the endless drone of circular saws, hammering, and the muted thud of next door’s ‘landfill techo’, you can live without . . . It puts me in mind of the great Steven Jesse Bernstein’s ‘More Noise Please’