Trash Can Radio

It’s difficult to find much on the DAB radio dial that doesn’t make you want to chew the carpet with boredom. Apart from Amazing Radio and the occasional track on Radio 1, 6Music or XFM, I don’t hear much I haven’t heard before. Most of the output is bland and repetitive. Rather than trying to do anything different, stations seem to double up. How many classic rock or oldie pop stations do you need?

Then last September, along came Trash Can Radio, a station dedicated to what it calls trashy rock n roll. What that means in practice is the mining of a vast music archive from the last 60 years for obscure stuff you’ve never heard before. True, a lot of what they play is old but that’s not the same as playing oldies. Much of it is music that didn’t get played much at the time but which became more influential afterwards.

For example, by listening to Trash Can Radio I have discovered 60s Garage Rock, a genre I was vaguely aware of but didn’t know much about. (Yes, kids, the term Garage was in use half a century ago.) It’s the missing link between the rock n roll of the 1950s and the psychedelic and heavy rock of the late 60s and 70s. Listening to this stuff helps you understand how we went from C’mon Everybody to Paranoid in little more than a decade. Many of its bands were forgotten but they are important for the influence they had on later musicians and musical styles.

Until I listened to Trash Can Radio, I had always thought this was a Dead Boys song:

The station plays rock, ska, reggae, punk and rockabilly too. Some of it is new and they are always on the look out for new bands but a lot of it is unusual stuff from music’s long-forgotten corners. Much of it, unless you are a dedicated rock n roll historian, you’ll probably never have heard before. Sure, it’s entertainment but it also feels like a lesson in social history.

Trash Can Radio was founded by Mike Spenser of the Cannibals and the Count Bishops. This video tells the story and explains why he and his friends set the station up.

At the moment, you can only pick it up in London on DAB. You’ll find it under Radio Nirvana, a channel it used to share with another station but which it now occupies full-time. If you are anywhere else, you’ll have to make do with listening on the interweb.

The trouble is, DAB radio frequencies cost a bomb so the Trash Can crew are in need of advertisers and donations. For a mere £5, you can have your own one minute slot on the station. If you can then get another 15 people to donate £1, they’ll give you a t-shirt.

Just to be clear, though, I have no connection with Trash Can Radio. I don’t know any of the people involved and I’m not being paid to write this. I’m doing it because I like the station and I want it to stay on air. I think a lot of you might like it too.

So go on, give the station a listen and, if you like it, bung the boys a few quid. There are not enough independent stations around these days and this one deserves a chance.

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4 Responses to Trash Can Radio

  1. Patricia Leighton says:

    Can’t imagine anything much more boring than this. The problrm I have with DAB radio is the quality of sound. Lots of other things to listen to.

    • Mike Spenser says:

      Hi Patricia, if you have other things to listen to then why don’t you just listen to them instead of spewing your negative bullshit about something you have the right not to like. Why not try BBC4 or Radio For BOF’s, of Sir Cliff Richard or some other MOR dinosaur or just turn your hearing aid off so you don’t have to listen to some great rock and roll music. Mike Spenser said this.

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