Living in London has spoiled me rotten. I remember days when the Internet was the only way I could ever hear any music that wasn’t in the top 40. Perfect 10, the Singapore radio station which played the most current music, was ruled by Michael Learns To Rock and Timmy Thomas (pop quiz for non-SE Asian readers: ever heard of either of them? No? I have a feeling they only ever became famous in South East Asia, which is unsurprising because they were monumentally crap).
[Michael Learns To Rock is, frighteningly, still extremely popular. If you’ve got a fast Internet connection or are a complete moron, go download something by them. I recommend Paint My Love or The Actor for maximum flaccidity but any song will do, really, since they all sound the same.]
The first Pavement songs I ever heard were very poorly recorded wavs I found in a newsgroup. Each one took an eternity to download over a 14.4K modem and sounded, well, even more staticky and noisy than Slanted And Enchanted already was.
My first experience of Loveless was 30-second song clips over streamed RealAudio which stopped and rebuffered every 20 seconds, back when one of RealAudio’s favourite boasts was that it could deliver FM-quality sound over a 28.8K connection. The cost of a CD was a big dip in available pocket money, so I’d agonize for ages over anything I bought. I must have listened to those bloody (no pun or subtle-indie-reference-for-those-who-know intended) crackling, breaking song clips at least 20 times per song before I finally ventured to a local CD shop, where of course I was told they didn’t stock it and had never heard of it.
I suppose waking up at 7 am to listen to radio shows over the Internet isn’t that much of a stretch from those days as it feels.