Independents’ Week is the perfect time to pay tribute to all of the places that we take inspiration from; all of the places we scour for new music. We get hundreds of tracks uploaded to amazingtunes.com every day (and we listen to them all) but we regularly go looking for new music too. We thought it only fair to highlight those places where we consistently find mind-blowingly great stuff.
So often on music sites, we see the same artists and tracks posted at the same time in some sort of daft race to post it first… We got the same press release. But then we go to Jon Hillcock’s New Noise Podcast every Thursday and we genuinely find something new and exciting outside of the hype-race.
And that’s when a music source becomes special… When it isn’t just posting the newest Lana Del Rey remix, it’s featuring artists they’ve discovered and become impassioned with. That’s why we still listen to New Noise. Every week.
Jon Hillcock has taken his renowned show across XFM, NME Radio and is now a downloadable Soundcloud podcast produced every Thursday.
Jon shared where his obsession with music came from:
I’d always bought lots of music, but I didn’t really start collecting things in an obsessive way until I got a job working in a record shop. Only it wasn’t the chain-store in which I was working that got me hooked. My new place of worship was a much smaller independent place, best described as an underground cupboard, tucked away around the corner in the basement of a skate shop.
Ok, so I still made the most of my staff discount in the giant flagship Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, (in which I worked as an instore radio DJ) – I was the equivalent of the barman whose pay-packet turned to liquid after each and every shift – but most lunch breaks were spent perusing the racks, counter and new release wall of Rough Trade Records in Neil’s Yard, Covent Garden, looking for the things I’d heard John Kennedy playing late at night on Xfm.
It was there where would finally be able to lay my hands on LCD Soundsystem‘s Losing My Edge. Sufjan Stevens‘ ‘Seven Swans‘. TV on the Radio‘s ‘Desperate Youth Bloodthirsty Babes’. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy‘s ‘Master & Everyone’, Colder‘s ‘Crazy Love’, Desaparecidos‘ ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish’. Subtle‘s ‘A New White’. The Trencher/Cutting Pink With Knives 5″ vinyl. The first Skull Disco 12′s. The Shins‘ ‘Chutes Too Narrow’. Liars‘ ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench’…, The Knife‘s ‘Deep Cuts’, !!!‘s ‘Me & Guiliani EP’, even the grey plastic/white label 10″ of Gnarls Barkley‘s ‘Crazy’. It’s the start of a long list that contains so many of my favourite records of that time.
The shop also recommended obscure classics, books, periodicals, magazines, compilations, t-shirts, badges, stickers, demos. Unbelievably the place even found space for in store performances. I was in there so much that once, and this is the God’s honest truth, a member of staff offered what can only be be described as ‘a friendly smile’. A rarity in meccas such as this.
The Covent Garden Rough Trade closed in 2007, making way for the brilliant independent Rough Trade behemoth that now stands in East London, apparently thriving while major high street music retailers seem to be reducing in number by the month. While shopping at Rough Trade East is always a thrill, I’ll never forget the grin and glow of anticipation I used to get as I descended the spiral staircase of Neil’s Yard, absorbing whatever underground sounds happened to be growing louder at the time.