You might think that in our interconnected age of endless online music fanzines, communities, sharing sites and blogs, the famed free music magazine sitting on the shelf of your local boozer was a thing of the past. Yet they are still going strong, especially if you live in East or North London where most bars and every vintage-y store has a little ledge devoted to such reading material.
Foremost among these and slowly establishing itself as the Daddy Mac is Loud and Quiet, which has gone through a number of style and appearance changes before alighting on its current newspaper format and tagline of The Alternative Music Tabloid.
What sets it apart from the legions of other like-minded publications is the (not very) simple merging of style and substance. Because, first of all, it looks fucking brilliant; all fashion mag sharp edges, large fonts and original photographs. The latter is perhaps not surprising as L+Q Editor Stuart Stubbs started his journalistic life as Picture Editor at NME, and his devotion to exceptional , stylised photography is clear. Over the course of its 7 year existence the magazine has snapped such musical luminaries as the Mystery Jets, Bat For Lashes, The Horrors, Pavement, Ryan Adams and far more besides who you may or may not have heard of.
If you want to know who the NME are going to be picking up on in June, read Loud and Quiet in February
But of course, it’s all very having the looks, but without the content you will be picked up and put down in the time it takes to look at a pretty picture. At its heart L+Q promotes new music. And when we say new, it’s the newest of the new; if you want to know who the NME are going to be picking up on in June, read Loud and Quiet in February. There is a relentless desire in the magazine, stemming, I guess, from Stubbs himself- to dig down into the depths of the music scene and pluck out the mucky stragglers at the bottom who might spend their lives in fourth-hand Mickey Mouse vests and those silly little biker caps, but make up for it by creating wondrous (or not, as sometimes the case may be) sounds in their studio/lounge/bedroom/parents garage. As such, L+Q can make righteous claim to being there at the very beginning, and perhaps having a tangible influence on, the careers of names such as The xx (who played at the magazine’s very first club night to 30 people) and The Big Pink.
What sets it so apart though, is that despite this restless urge for the new and the leftfield, this is not due to some cockeyed attempt to appear ‘cool’, to appeal to a certain type of reader whose idea of heaven is hanging out inEfes at 4 on a Friday morning. I mean, it does appeal to them, but that is just its good fortune. If it had an insleeve it would wear its appreciation of the wider musical world on it; last year PJ Harvey won its album of the year award, followed by Bon Iver. A couple of years back it was the afore-mentioned Bat For Lashes. Basically, as all music magazines should, Loud and Quiet lives for and loves music in all its forms.
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