HITS Daily Double
When the #1 Most Added record this week (Incubus) barely scrapes into the double digits (less than 10% of the "panel"), it leads me to wonder if the pervasive fog outside my office window (visibility is near nil) has, in fact, permeated the brains of programmers nationwide?


She's Down With Morrissey, Polyphonic Spree, The Hives, Franz Ferdinand, TV on the Radio and Big Star

Is everyone still too fried from SXSW to add music this week, or is the PoMo format taking a mental "Spring Break?" When the #1 Most Added record this week (Incubus) barely scrapes into the double digits (less than 10% of the "panel"), it leads me to wonder if the pervasive fog outside my office window (visibility is near nil) has, in fact, permeated the brains of programmers nationwide?

The week has already yielded a few surprises, like the exit of Chris Woltman from the RCA Music Group. He sounds fine—already looking forward to future opportunities. Much credit is due Chris for the way he helped shepherd Maroon 5 through the first 18 months of their development, and also his set-up of the upcoming Velvet Revolver single, which is poised to explode on impact date. Our dear friend and favorite comedian, Bill Burrs, has been handed the proverbial reins, while Dennis Blair remains our West Coast source for all things Strokes-related, and beyond (but we’re especially aware of the two upcoming sold-out Strokes shows next week).

I returned from Austin to hear the new Morrissey single, "Irish Blood, English Heart," on KROQ and KCRW, with Kevin and Bean announcing FIVE upcoming Wiltern shows in April. I never told you about my being "summoned" to the studio a few months ago to hear Morrissey’s just-finished record, as I didn’t want to incite jealousy (and because I’m still having trouble believing it really happened!). The whole record is incredible—"Irish Blood" is just one in an array of PoMo smashes—and will reaffirm Morrissey’s place as one of the format’s most significant and relevant artists.

Once I landed in Austin (without any planes crashing and with my sanity relatively intact), I decided that waiting in any kind of line would be an enormous deterrent to my overall SXSW experience. Although I risked the wrath of others (sorry Nic), my adopted sense of entitlement made it possible to see every band on my must-see list. The trick, as it were, is to ignore the line of fellow badge-holders (which was wrapped around the block, in the case of Franz Ferdinand), and purposefully walk to the front of the line. Even if they only allow one badge-holder into the already-packed club, you’re the one that gets in. To be fair, I did arrive an hour early for Franz Ferdinand (who were absolutely GENIUS), and nearly two hours early for The Hives, but both clubs were already beyond capacity by then. Getting my "posse" (Dan Wilson, Bleu, Keaton Simons and assorted friends) into the TV on the Radio show was a bit trickier, as half the guys only had wristbands. With the help of Chad from Touch & Go, I managed to convince the club that my entourage was TV on the Radio, and if they weren’t allowed immediate entrance, would miss their set. The deception was absolutely worth it, by the way, because TV on the Radio was one of the best surprises of SXSW. Think early Eno/early Roxy Music played with irrepressible soul. After that show, it was off to the Austin Music Hall to "introduce" Keaton to the brilliance of Big Star. We pushed our way to the front of the stage, close enough so Ken Stringfellow recognized my laugh, and he and Jody Stephens gave me a "shout-out" (something I’ll remember forever) between songs. What a perfect way to spend a Friday night!

My SXSW adventure began Wednesday at the HITS showcase, which featured The Southland, Maverick artist Keaton Simons and college radio faves Cordalene, who have improved radically since I last saw them. Gaby Skolnek also had The Shore playing earlier at the same club, and they were fantastic, too! My varying worlds collided at that show, as ex-boyfriends, KCRW staffers and Johnny Knoxville filed in.

Thursday’s highlights included The Thrills’ lunchtime live performance at KGSR (always a treat to see Jody Denberg!), two separate Aqualung performances (I’m a bit obsessed), the aforementioned Franz Ferdinand show, and a set by the reunited Posies at 1a.m. Between the two Aqualung gigs, I had the incredible privilege of seeing my beloved Polyphonic Spree at an invite-only performance at the Driskill Hotel, courtesy of Hollywood Records. As I was their guest, when the head of publicity asked me if I would wear a robe during the show, I couldn’t say no. Neither could KCRW’s Nic Harcourt, and we found our spot in front of the stage, robes on, inhibitions ignored. There is plenty of photographic evidence from the event, in case it hasn’t always been incredibly obvious that I am a complete dork. I’m convinced that those experiencing the Spree for the first time had their lives altered for the better. Just ask 99X’s Jay Harren. When was the last time you said that about a band?

No time to shop in Austin (was I really even there?), but I did manage to moderate a panel, escort Johnny Knoxville and his cousin Roger Alan Wade to the club where KROX was broadcasting a two hour on-air "takeover," drink my weight in Diet Pepsi, throw a small dinner for Johnny, Roger and 20 radio programmers (which Johnny paid for!), have my photo taken with seven ex-boyfriends—spanning late-’70s to early-’90s, realize that Sara Newkirk and I share a brain and leave Austin feeling incredibly grateful that this is what I get to call "my job"… I gotta finish this up—I’m going to see my all-time favorite songwriter Jimmy Webb tonight, and I want to make sure my seat is near the stage!…

SONG TO HEAR: Franz Ferdinand’s "Take Me Out"

PEOPLE TO WATCH: Ross Zapin, Bill Carroll, Scott Burton, Kris Metzdorf, Lynn McDonnell, Mike Stern, Jenni Sperandeo, Melody Lee, Shannah Miller, Kris Gillespie, Matt Smith, Halloran, Jaime Cooley and Lorraine Caruso.