HITS Daily Double
On the remote possibility that Griffith Park is ablaze, the cat carriers are by the door, along with a box of photos, papers, jewelry, the Tom Verlaine guitar and my stuffed dog Cuddles (circa 1968). The rest is replaceable (even my signed Portsmouth Sinfonia record).


Travis, The Darkness, Billy Talent, Story of the Year, Jet Take the Great White Way

LOVE GOES TO BUILDING ON FIRE: I’ve been watching the sky turn an ominous shade of grayish brown as the smoke from the Simi Valley fire envelops the area. The news coverage of the devastation through much of Southern California is sobering and anxiety-inducing. My thoughts are with those whose homes have been evacuated, especially in San Diego, where residents are driving with their headlights on during daylight so they can see the road through the smoke. On the remote possibility that Griffith Park is ablaze, the cat carriers are by the door, along with a box of photos, papers, jewelry, the Tom Verlaine guitar and my stuffed dog Cuddles (circa 1968). The rest is replaceable (even my signed Portsmouth Sinfonia record).

My week in NYC was productive, exhausting and thrilling on a pure musical level (so many great shows!), but since I had absolutely NO time to shop, was I really even there? I managed to see K-Rock’s Mike, Rob and Maria nearly every night (even witnessing my geek-out at the Travis show). I figured that after four consecutive nights, my presence had become a "given," at least enough to allow me to slip into the studio and do an air shift (although playing Interpol’s "NYC" 10 times in a row might arouse suspicion).

Epic goddess Jacqueline Saturn gathered some of PoMo’s finest for a pre-Travis meal, including my beloved Jay Harren from 99X, WFNX’s Paul Driscoll, Live105 muso Aaron Axelsen and the aforementioned K-Rock gang. When great minds like these gather, what would you think would be the primary topic of conversation? The Darkness, of course, which inspired heated debate, with the "Pro" Darkness opinion outweighing the "Con," I’m pleased to report. Weeks of early airplay on "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" from K-Rock, KNDD, WBCN, WFNX, KWOD, KMYZ, etc., is the perfect set-up for this week’s official add date. Although I couldn’t quite convince Ron Poore to wear an outfit similar to the lead singer’s for Halloween, Mike Peer has already planned a costume that revolved around a similar iconic zebra-striped jumpsuit.

Once I had made my voice heard regarding The Darkness’ success as being of crucial importance in the fight against faceless, post-ironic Post Modern radio, my focus shifted to the pre-show meet-and-greet with Travis. Since there was limited dressing-room space at the Beacon, I "let" Jacqueline escort the out-of-towners up first, while the K-Rock folks and I waited for our appointed moment. I know it isn’t the best protocol to push the PD of the only PoMo station in the #1 radio market out of the way as I bounded past him, but it had been nearly two years since I’d seen Fran and the others in Travis! I ask you, what flu-ridden international pop star wouldn’t be thrilled at the sight of a middle-aged woman in her mother’s vintage Bill Blass coat (it wasn’t a Halloween costume!) leaping into his arms? Especially when said woman weighs more than he. The show was a revelation: uplifting, important, empowering, politically serious, yet ultimately joyful and optimistic. I thought about canceling everything to follow Jacqueline to D.C. for another Travis show. "Re-Offender" sounded like a SMASH that night, with nearly everyone in the audience already singing along. I bought Erika a T-shirt (I guess I did shop!) and called her cell phone during her favorite songs (she returned the favor by calling me from the Phantom Planet show she attended that evening).

The following night’s Billy Talent/Story of the Year/Jet K-Rock-sponsored show was PACKED, with equal numbers of fans for each band. The Atlantic team was psyched at the crowd response for "Try Honesty" (while tolerating my endless dissertation of why The Darkness RULED). I stopped my ranting long enough to call Maverick’s Gaby Skolnek after the Story of the Year set to tell her they could be as big as Linkin Park. Jet was spectacular, and you know "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" is a HIT when the crowd starts freaking out within the first four notes of the song.

After the K-Rock show, I raced to the Bowery for the Rough Trade Records 25th Anniversary party. Luckily, I got there in time to see Adam Green, a phenomenally talented songwriter who is also quite fetching and Jewish. His new single is "Jessica," an homage to pop icon Jessica Simpson, although it was written prior to her runaway MTV success. Have I mentioned he’s also a visionary? Ask your friends at Sanctuary for a copy of the record (which may be sent with a can of Chicken of the Sea tuna, if you’re lucky).

I also loved the Buff Seeds, a UK band I first heard on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and the few songs I was able to see of the Innocence Mission (whom I completely adore). Unfortunately, I had to miss the Rapture/Mars Volta show, which I heard was out of control! Roseland was packed to the proverbial rafters with kids. The Rapture’s Strummer/Universal debut sold over 10k this week (with just a smattering of airplay for "House of Jealous Lovers," although that will undoubtedly increase as the buzz builds),

Back home in the vortex, this week’s #1 Most Added was the aptly titled "Red Hot Moon" by Rancid. Greg Dorfman and his Lava crew were #2 Most Added, with Smile Empty Soul’s "Nowhere Kids," including WBCN, KPNT, WMFS, WZNE, WDYL, WRAX, KFMA, WXNR and more! Very impressive!

We were happy to see WEDG come in this week on The Strokes’ "12:51," but not as happy as Lenny Diana, since he can finally have a respite from our constant teasing.

The new Hoobastank single, "Out of Control," continues its ascent to the top of the PoMo charts, especially with new airplay this week from WPLA and WEND. They will be on tour forever. Lost Highway’s brilliant Ryan Adams was feeling "So Alive" at WZNE and WBUZ this week. He is an amazing artist, worthy of your attention.

The OutKast’s "Hey Ya" is, in my not-so-humble-because-I’m-right opinion, the best song of the year. Laura, Dave and Shannah are winning the battle to make PoMo pay attention, especially with new adds this week from KROX, WROX, KTZO and KLEC! Every time I hear the song on KROQ, it reminds me of Disco Tex & the Sex-O-Lettes’ "Get Dancin’," which makes me smile. At least I amuse myself.

SONG TO HEAR (AND VIDEO TO WATCH): The Polyphonic Spree’s "Light & Day"…

PEOPLE TO WATCH: Alan Smith, Lorraine Caruso, Bill Carroll, Ross Zapin, Ron Poore, Violet, Mary Shuminas, Marco Collins, Garett Michaels, Holly Schomann, Chris Woltman, Nancy Stevens, Jonathan Lev and Sue Busch.