New Acquisition | When Quiet Was The New Loud by Tom Clayton


Route is delighted to announced the acquisition of Tom Clayton’s book When Quiet Was The New Loud: Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003. The book is a playful yet affectionate look at a brief period of British music that the NME called ‘the New Acoustic Movement’ and Alan McGee called ‘music to wet your bed to’. Despite the enormous success of some of its leading lights – Coldplay, Travis, David Gray (his album White Ladder sold 3 million copies in the UK alone, and 7 million worldwide. It is Ireland’s biggest selling album of all-time) – the negative reaction to it was so fierce it not only died a sudden death, it was quickly erased from history. Tom’s book looks at the broader movement beyond the key players; it is a deeply-researched and measured view of an era that although happened relatively recently, is already being purposefully forgotten.

Here are some words from Tom on the book:

“When Quiet Was The New Loud: Celebrating the Acoustic Airwaves 1998-2003 is an affectionate look at a time that’s often skimmed over when we tell the story of British music. The late nineties and early noughties are too often dismissed as the era of ‘bedwetting indie’ – the epilogue to Britpop, or the prologue to ‘new rock’. With this book I’m hoping to prove it was more than just a stopgap. It takes the form of twelve chapters, each focusing on a key album from the time – both the big bestsellers, and the hidden gems. For a lot of people my age, these records played a huge part in our musical upbringings… whether we like to admit it or not! In any case, I hope it prompts some fond memories and some generous relistens. It’s been such fun to revisit the time, and to interview many of the musicians involved. And I’m delighted to be working with Route, a publisher I admire enormously.”

Route editor Ian Daley says, ‘I’m thrilled to be working with Tom. He possesses the perfect combination of a talent for writing and a passion for his subject. With When Quiet Was The New Loud he has found a quirky gateway into the British psyche at the turn of the 21st century.’

Tom Clayton is a music critic whose writing has appeared in The Sunday Times, Drowned in Sound, Louder Than War and The 405, among others. He was the lead researcher and writer for Messing Up the Paintwork: The Wit and Wisdom of Mark E. Smith (Ebury, 2018); When Quiet Was the New Loud is his first original book. He lives and works in east London.

When Quiet Was The New Loud will be published by Route in 2020.

Video above is Kings of Convenience with ‘Toxic Girl’, a song from their album Quiet Is The New Loud.

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