Hearing New Sounds

Interior of a record shop. Man standing at counter.

Probe Records © Mark McNulty

'Pete Burns was working behind the counter and he was the only one in the shop at the time. I picked up the sleeve and took it to him and he wouldn't let me have the record. He said I could pick something else but he wasn't going to soil his hands with a Poco record. That's what it was like!'
Probe Records Customer

Choosing new music brings exciting discoveries and bitter disappointments. Merseyside's music fans have always trusted like-minded friends and influential local figureheads to guide them to something special.

This section of the exhibition looked at how Liverpool people got hold of new music. We started with merchant seamen bringing records and styles from the USA in the 40s and 50s. Then we moved on to influential back-room record labels, independent record shops like Probe and 3 Beat, and young radio stations like Crash FM.

We looked at DIY promotion, from the young Quarrymen paying to have a few vinyls pressed by an early studio, on to flypostering by the likes of The Las and The Farm, and finally onto their virtual equivalents in the shape of MySpace and Bebo. You could sample some of Liverpool's finest emerging bands on our jukebox, including those you voted your favourites through our online version.

Each brought with it new forms of social contact - new places to meet, new styles to dress in, new ways of interacting with the audience and of course, new music to listen to.

Black and white photo of man singing on a stage and playing a guitar

The La's © Mark McNulty