The first I heard of Linda Smith was when friend and music critic Jack Jordan brought a 7” single for us to play on my radio show. Although this was “singer songwriter” material it did not smack of EZ listening or simple folk confessionals.She sang and played guitar, yes, but also wove in weird talking and voices and spooky, almost subliminal keyboards. Her lyrics spoke of nature, personal insight, loneliness, imagination and much more. She did not have the classic “beautiful” soaring soprano instrument but a darker, more fragile tone. Some might be reminded of Nico, except Linda sang in tune. In addition to her solo work she also briefly joined The Silly Pillows for what I thought would be a match made in heaven. Unfortunately this just didn’t last.
When I bought a Fostex X-15 4 track cassette recorder in 1986, it was with the intention of making song demos for the band I was in at the time (The Woods). Very shortly, I found the process of recording all my own tracks much more interesting and satisfying than rehearsing or playing live. The 4 track cassette recorder (which had just been introduced to the market at that time) allowed me to to find another way of making music, a method more akin to painting a picture. Writing songs became a more immediate and personal experience. There was no need to try to explain to fellow band members what kind of sound I wanted; after several hours of recording, it was all there. I had no idea that other artists were discovering this same sense of possibility until I came across the cassette reviews in Op (Option) magazine and decided to send in my first cassette of songs, “The Space Between the Buildings”. After it was reviewed there, I gradually made contact with others who either made their own tapes or simply enjoyed collecting and listening to them. While the audience for homemade tapes was always relatively small, it eventually led to the emergence of the “indie pop” scene of the 90’s and the continuing trend toward self released music.