HITS Daily Double
By Karen Glauber Greetings from Day 437 of COVIDchella—it feels like forever. I tested positive on 4/13, four days after going to an indoor show, and now, after two weeks spent on my bed in a fetal position, I’m finally feeling much better. The one-year anniversary of my COVID/vaccination-related stroke is this Saturday, so I have a lot to celebrate, all things considered. Last weekend, in lieu of being there, I watched many of the Coachella performances on my laptop. I wish I could’ve been there, but it was thrilling to watch the performances by beabdoobee, Rina Sawayama, Idles, Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast, Arlo Parks, Bishop Briggs and, of course, Arcade Fire, whose brilliant set was yet ANOTHER reminder that they’re the MOST IMPORTANT and BEST band in Alternative music. I have to make special mention of KROQ’s social-media coverage of Coachella, because Miles Anzaldo, Nicole Alvarez, Megan Holiday and the rest of the team captured the joy of being there with their photos, stories and interviews, all of which felt like KROQ in its prime. Phoebe Bridgers showed up to do an interview in the KROQ trailer close to midnight, following her career-defining mainstage set. That’s huge. I felt like I was being shown the highlights of Coachella by three friends who had absolute access. Their enthusiasm was infectious (and not in a COVID kind of way), and Miles and Co. should be hailed for their coverage. A lot happened in the radio world while I was praying for the bed spins to stop: WKQX’s Jon Manley exited the station, which was a shock to many. Also, it feels like we’re moments away from finding out the who’s been selected as the new PD at KROQ. I hate to admit it, but I legit have no idea who it’s going to be. I remember vividly when Kevin Weatherly was hired for the job—we were AGHAST that someone who had never programmed an Alternative station was now PD at KROQ. Adorable, right? The biggest stunner of the week was reading that Jim McGuinn, your friend and mine, was no longer the PD at KCMP Minneapolis, on the heels of the station being #1 18-34 in Minneapolis and having a 5.0 share in their most recent month. I refuse to speculate on what happened, and when I know, I won’t tell you. I’ve loved Jim since his days in high-school radio in the mid-’80s. He is a person of integrity, and he’s a huge reason why The Current is as impactful globally today as it has been for the past decade-plus. If you can break away from Love Is Blind 2, Bridgerton 2 or The Ultimatum on Netflix (welcome to my watchlist), check out the latest Florence + the Machine video for “Free,” once again brilliantly directed by Autumn de Wilde, which features Bill Nighy as the embodiment of Florence’s anxiety. Every song I’ve heard from this record is spectacular. The embodiment of my anxiety is played by Ted Volk. beabadoobee’s “Talk,” her best song yet, is currently streaming like an Alternative smash, while she is poised for another crowd-overflow performance at Coachella this weekend. Wilderado’s “Head Right” is now entrenched in the Top 10, while The Lumineers’ “Where We Are” is days away from sharing that designation. Not to jinx it, but this will be The Lumineers ninth consecutive Top 10 single, on the heels of the 10th anniversary of the band’s first record. I love celebrating milestones, even the ones that remind me of, well, where we were (like my stroke, for example). Marisa DiFrisco, whom I want to be just like when I grow up, is slaying with The Maine’s “Loved You a Little” and is now charting with Surfaces’ “I Can’t Help but Feel,” which is my kid’s favorite song. We’re so used to seeing Rob Goldklang dominating the chart that we won’t be the least bit surprised when Red Hot Chili Peppers is replaced by The Black Keys in the top spot. Rob and Ravikoff currently have three songs in the Top 10, but pay close attention to The Head and the Heart’s “Virginia (Wind in the Night)” because that’s also going to be a Top 10 song for them.
By Karen Glauber After two major anniversaries (my 30th sober birthday and my 32nd year at HITS), the only notable occasion last week was Rex Manning Day on 4/8 (for those who celebrate). It’s always fun to hear from Audacy’s Christy Taylor on this day, which, for the gratefully uninformed, commemorates the date of the Rex Manning (Maxwell Caufield) in-store in the 1995 movie Empire Records. It was the first soundtrack I’d ever worked on, and I’m grateful for my tiny contribution to an ongoing pop-culture phenomenon. I’ll be celebrating by taking Julian to see Cavetown, accompanied by Rob Goldklang and KROQ’s Miles Anzaldo. I’ll be the one in a mask. Congrats to St. Vincent for winning the Grammy for Alternative Album of the Year, a category she shared with Fleet Foxes, Halsey, Japanese Breakfast and Arlo Parks. One might surmise that the dominance of female voices in the Alternative category reflects a similar shift in Alternative radio. Currently, seven of the 40 most-played songs at Alternative have female lead singers. That’s an improvement from the usual 10% or less on a typical chart, but hardly reflective of the streaming power of female artists vs. male artists. I’m beyond “grateful” to The Sands Report for enlisting a male PD this week to tell other male PDs that it’s OK to play female artists. I’m a fan of the male PD, and it should be noted that he has supported songs by Snail Mail, Mitski, etc., but it felt like the female artists we champion on the radio and label sides can only be validated if a man does the talking. The biggest song in the world right now is “As It Was” by Harry Styles, which was added this week by Lisa Worden in Los Angeles and Laura Lee in Columbus. I’m rarely awake by the time the headliner is onstage at Coachella, but even if I’m nowhere near the stage, I’ll be there for Harry. Massive congratulations to Dan Connelly at Capitol for nearing Top 5 at Alternative with Bob Moses’ “Love Brand New.” Considering how packed the chart is with core artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Imagine Dragons, Muse, The Black Keys, Weezer, etc., this accomplishment feels especially extraordinary. Bravo! Props are also due Team Wilderado and our friends at Bright Antenna, as “Head Right” ascends to the Top 10. We love this song, and we love this team. Happy Wet Leg Day! Everybody’s favorite new band’s debut album, Wet Leg, is finally out! Last June, “Chaise Longue” was our collective answer to the question, “What new music should I be listening to?” The album’s other standout, “Wet Dream,” will be the next radio single, impacting 4/18. A song I’m obsessed with, Winder’s “Memory,” is this week’s Audacy “Pick of the Week,” hence its Top 35 debut. Looking at the boosted streams and Shazams from this exposure, this song should stick around beyond the feature. Next week’s “Pick of the Week” will be “Talk” by beabadoobee, which has over 3 million streams since release, and I know you’ll be with me when she plays Coachella on Sunday. Bishop Briggs, newly signed to Arista, has returned with a new song, “High Water,” written after the passing of her beloved sister Kate, whom many of us knew and adored. I cried at first listen. And second listen. And every listen since. DC101’s morning powerhouse, Elliot in the Morning, will now be heard on multiple Audacy stations, including WNYL NYC, beginning 4/11. Elliot, in addition to being a ratings juggernaut, has exceptional taste in music. The format needs to survive, by whatever means necessary, and I think it’s very clever of Mike Kaplan to incorporate a proven talent into his mix. I was thrilled to read about this summer’s Interpol/Spoon co-headlining tour. On the heels of the announcement, Interpol has released a new song, “Toni,” which you will love, while Spoon’s genius single “Wild” was added this week at 101X and WLUM. It was a big weekend of shows: Cavetown on Friday, Rina Sawayama on Saturday and Beach House on Sunday. I’ve been doing my best to feel “normal,” at least while I can.
By Karen Glauber As Women’s History Month nears its conclusion, I’ve been thinking about the women whose success, talent, leadership and generosity have been a beacon of inspiration throughout my life. My childhood idols were Gloria Steinem, Golda Meir, Billie Jean King and Patti Smith, who has been my self-designated “Higher Power” during my sobriety (which will be 30 years, as of 4/1). Once music emerged as my overwhelming passion (thank you, Patti and Todd Rundgren), my dream was to be either my favorite DJ, Meg Griffin (whom I still idolize, and am grateful to call a friend), or the late-great A&R genius Karin Berg, who not only introduced me to Alex Chilton in 1984 but was always generous with her time and stories, even though we worked at competing labels. My former A&M Records coworker Nancy Jeffries is a huge influence/guiding light, as are/were Rosemary Carroll, Barbara Skydel, Marsha Vlasic, Gail Colson Judy McGrath, Kate Bush, Lia Vollack, Michele Anthony, Jody Gerson, Michelle Jubelirer, Gillian Bar, Carole Kinzel, Solange, PJ Harvey, Gaby Skolnek, Amy Morgan, Jacqueline Saturn and many others. I’ve wondered, “What would (insert above name) do?” countless times during my career. During my tenure at a label, I’d wonder what my boss would do, and then do the exact opposite. This week, there was a luncheon honoring iHeart’s Lisa Worden, whom I’ve known since her days at RCA Records and EMI (somewhere, there’s a 1992 photo of Lisa and me in baby-doll dresses, flanking Tasmin Archer). Lisa segued from radio promotion to radio programming, just as Amber Miller—who’s also spent time on both sides of the conversation—now rules the programming roost at WRFF Philly. Columbia’s Lisa Sonkin and Virgin’s Marisa DiFrisco had successful radio careers before making the leap to the label side, while some of us (namely, me) programmed their college-radio station for four years and are confident that they are qualified to be the PD at KROQ. Listening to the Senate confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson for SCOTUS is a glaring reminder of how far we HAVEN’T come. Julian was in the car with me as I was screaming at the insulting and invasive questions (seriously, how dare they?) we were hearing, not to mention the pervasive mansplaining. Fuck those fucking fucks. I wanted the kid to hear it, since this is the world they will inherit. Are we (women) better off in the workplace than we were when I was coming up? Despite the post-#MeToo promotion of women to positions of authority, my gut still tells me that this was primarily done by men for the optics. Forgive my cynicism, but we women all know that the true mentoring is being done among each other. The rest of it is just talk and bravado. Since I’ve chosen to devote my career to the questionable pursuit of airplay for alternative artists, I want to acknowledge some of the women I’m proud to share the Modern Rock trenches with, including (off the top of my head) the aforementioned Lisa Sonkin and Marisa DiFrisco, Darice Lee, Amanda Dobbins, Christine Chiappetta, Amy Kaplan, my beloved Bri Aab, Julie Muncy, Risa Matsuki, Carlyn Kessler, Jen Daunt, Karen Moran-Thomas, Michelle Feghali, Tami Morrissey and Tracy, Bee Bop and Patti from Amplify, who are in the throes of setting up this year’s The Gathering. I haven’t been back to Cleveland since I left Oberlin College at the end of 1983 (way to go, Ohio), but I think a return to the “Mistake on the Lake” is in order this summer. The attendance should be massive, since enough time has elapsed for us to actually miss each other. My two favorite new songs this week are Beabadoobee’s “Talk” (excited to see her at Coachella) and Daisy the Great’s “Cry in the Mirror,” which Jenna was first to add at WSUN and WXXJ… I want to reiterate that Arcade Fire is the most important band Alternative radio will ever have the privilege to play. The shows last week in NYC reconfirmed this fact. On Saturday night, I finally met Brad Steiner, who will be moving to NYC from New Orleans to work with Mike Kaplan at Audacy. I have a new best friend.
By Karen Glauber A few weeks ago, I was on my way to pick my kid up at school, and I heard Windser’s “Memory” on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. So what is this incredible song that reminds me of Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” but also is giving me the chills, like (and this is going way back) how I felt when I first heard Michael Penn’s “No Myth”? Turns out, Windser is a young band from Santa Cruz, and “Memory” is one of those extraordinary songs that Jeff Regan took a shot on that is now a hit for him. Because of this exposure, Windser’s agent was able to get them the first-of-three slot opening for alt-J and Portugal the Man. Nicole at KROQ played it during her show, and Jordan, the band’s singer and songwriter, was able to hear his song on the radio for the first time. Chills and thrills all the way around. I just heard Arcade Fire’s “The Lightning” on the radio for the first time! That band changed my life 18 years ago when I started working with them. After more than two years of self-deprivation isolation, I flew myself to NYC for the secret Arcade Fire show Friday night (3/18). Their new music will remind everybody why Arcade Fire is one of the most important bands in the history of Modern Rock. My last show before the pandemic was Patti Smith at the Disney Concert Hall on 3/6, 2020. Few performers are as quotable as Patti, and this was my favorite one from that night: “I read that it’s the month of the woman. That’s really nice and all, but being a girl myself, I thought, One fucking month?” So yes, Happy Women’s History Month! I will remind you, yet again, that it is the women in your audience who pick the hits. Also, the artists who shift culture, like Wet Leg and Phoebe Bridgers, were first championed by programmers like Lisa Worden, Jenna Kesneck, Amber Miller, Laura Lee, Michelle Rutkowski, Christine Malovetz, Shawn Lucero, Hilary Doneux, Christy Taylor, Tiffany Bentley, etc. (you know where I’m going with this). In honor of the strong, influential and charismatic women who drive this format, please give your undivided attention to new music from Florence + the Machine (“My Love” is an instant classic), Mitski, Snail Mail, Wallice, Metric and Beabadoobee, whose new single is out next week. Cannons had two Top 5 smashes this year, and girl in red has also had a career-defining year. It’s kind of terrifying to realize, but I’ve been promoting alternative music for almost 40 years. At no point, even when I was the only woman in the room (99% of the time), did it ever occur to me that I shouldn’t be there, ESPECIALLY when my presence unnerved the men (as it did during my tenure at a label). The advice I give to those half my age is “Be loud and take up space.” This is not a time for subtlety. Fuck that. The Lumineers’ “Where We Are” has become a serenity prayer for my kid and me, especially as the Covid numbers start to creep up again and the horror in the Ukraine continues. Uncertainty wreaks havoc on the central nervous system, as you’ve all experienced, and the repetition of the song’s chorus, “Where we are/I don’t know where we are/but it will be OK,” has had a soothing effect on my stressed-out household. Streaming numbers support my belief that this is the perfect song for the moment, as does early research from KKDO. By now, you’ve heard that Mike Kaplan is leaving his PD gig at KROQ to focus on WNYL and his role as Alternative Brand Manager at Audacy. Bravo to Mike for recognizing that his personal priorities carry weight. If anything, the pandemic has taught us that we are not defined by our jobs, no matter how hard we work or the gratification we feel from our successes. It’s the people in our lives who define who we are. Music is a vital outlet for our emotions, and this is an opportune time for programmers to focus on music that will make the audience feel something.
By Karen Glauber Armed with a negative PCR, two masks and a note from my doctor, I ventured out to The Echo on Wednesday night, in search of musical and emotional salvation in the form of a Spoon show, on the cusp of the release of their 10th album, Lucifer on the Sofa. “What a delight,” is the final line from the five-star review in The Guardian. “It’s the best thing they’ve ever done,” is included in the four-and-a-half star rave from Rolling Stone. How incredible to see friends in the flesh for the first time in nearly two years, including BeggarsBrien Terranova, SAM’s John Silva and Gaby Skolnek, Rob Goldklang from Warners and Greg Carr from Dirty Hit, plus KROQ’s Miles Anzaldo and Megan Holiday. “Wild,” the current single, sounded like an unmitigated hit, and another new song, “My Babe,” is one of the five best songs in Spoon’s extensive catalog. I went through the setlist this morning with 91X PD Garett Michaels, and he has had REAL radio hits with 13 of the band’s songs since I started working with them 17 years ago. Whenever I think about the artists who have defined me as a lifelong music fan and as someone who has done promotion since 1982, Spoon is always on that list. Do you ever think about the artists who define you personally and professionally? Shouldn’t you? Without them, what are we doing? Do I have to remind you that the format was founded on the concept of music discovery? Without discovery, or even the intention of building ongoing relationships with the artists you’ve chosen to champion, none of us will have jobs, because our format will be over. Obsolete. Label rosters are no longer robust with rock and alternative acts. Why make the investment when this genre doesn’t stream compared to others? The indie labels are releasing some of the most exciting music right now, but the costs of competition are prohibitive to most. Even when the proverbial playing field is relatively level, the opportunities for real airplay have been diminishing due to fewer slots for currents, the guaranteed failure of new music when subjected to a 10-second call-out hook and the abundance of new releases by “name artists.” I’m thrilled that the format’s biggest names have new music. Rob Goldklang couldn’t be busier right now—it’s like he’s running air traffic control at LAX during a holiday weekend, with Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Head and the Heart (I cried when he first played the new one for me), Liam Gallagher and the new Black Keys all poised to be chart-toppers. Meanwhile, new bands like Daisy the Great and Cannons are having a great run at the format, with Cannons positioned to have their second Top 5 single, driven by Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee’s unwavering belief in the band. Scott Burton should also be heralded for steering Jack White’s “Taking Me Back” close to the top of the chart. Ted and I know the agony of peaking at #2 when either Imagine Dragons or twenty one pilots is locked at #1, and we hope our friend is spared this pain. Nearing the Top 20 is the best record from last year, which is, of course, Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue.” The song is Top 20 Shazam in Los Angeles (of course it is). Spin leaders are 91X, WLUM, Music Choice, WEQX and KRXP, as one would expect. Big huzzahs to Lisa Worden for hiring Stryker for afternoons with Booker at ALT 98.7. Everybody loves Stryker. Everybody loves Booker. This is a glorious match. How cool is it that CD92.9 added IDLES’ “Crawl!” (on Partisan Records)? There are few bands as authentic and badass as these guys—it’s a much-needed mental palate cleanser. My favorite XMU song right now is “Walking at a Downtown Pace” by Parquet Courts. It’s a total groove. Parquet Courts has 1 million monthly listeners. Do you?
By Karen Glauber Happy Release Day for The Lumineers’ fourth album, BRIGHTSIDE! The plan was to be in NYC for partnered shows with SiriusXM and ALT 92.3, but opening act Omicron took a page out of the All About Eve script and upstaged our plans. Meanwhile, I’ve been reenacting scenes from Grey Gardens since 12/17—I’ve ventured out of the house for only a handful of hours since then. As I write this on Friday, KROQ’s Nicole Alvarez has just texted that she’ll play “Where We Are” at 12:30. I will celebrate from afar. For the past three Lumineers albums on Dualtone, they’ve had the #1 song at Alt and Triple A on release week—“BRIGHTSIDE” has been #1 at Alt for four weeks and #1 at Triple A for eight weeks. Prior to that, “Gloria” was #1 upon the band’s third album release, and “Ophelia” was #1 for the second album, for those keeping track (which would be me and me alone). Tomorrow night is iHeart queen Lisa Worden’s Super Bowl, a sold-out ALTer EGO show happening at the Forum featuring some of the biggest bands in the format: Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, Måneskin, Willow, Kings of Leon, Cannons, etc. Unfortunately, Lisa tested positive a few days ago and will be unable to attend her own event. This doesn’t diminish the once-in-a-lifetime lineup she’s assembled and the respect we have for her. Still, it sucks. Gary Gorman, your friend and mine, moved his desk from one side of the living room to an east-facing view as he segues over to RCA, just in time to capitalize (see what I did here?) on The Bleachers’ appearance on SNL as musical guests. Congrats to Gary on the new gig and to Jack Antonoff for being the second Jewish RCA artist to appear on SNL in the past year (Doja Cat was the first). Shabbat shalom, everybody. Over at Capitol, Dan Connelly—whom I used to affectionately refer to as “The Boyfriend to the World” because he was the perfect +1 for any occasion—has added Alt promotion to his CV, under the guidance of Greg Marella, on the cusp of the new (genius) Bob Moses single, “Love Brand New.” COIN’s “Chapstick” is turning into the research gem we knew it would be, with Alt Nation’s Jeff Regan leading the charge (as he always is). During the break, Cannons’ “Bad Dream” evolved into one of the best-testing songs at the format, now warranting Power airplay from both stations in L.A., among others. Columbia’s Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee have been tenacious in their quest to have another #1 Cannons single, and the proof is in the call-out! KNRK adding Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue” this week is a clear sign that this song has yet to reach its potential at radio. The upcoming tour sold out in minutes, and TV is clamoring to book this band. Radio often gets distracted by shiny new objects and misses the chance to let the market develop a record and then tee it up for a bigger swing. “Chaise Longue” was everybody’s favorite song last year. It’s not too late to play this hit! I’m “that person” who texts Chris Muckley every time I hear a song I like on XMU. Usually, it’s a song by Spoon (because I love them), and I’m absolutely obsessed with their upcoming album, Lucifer on the Sofa, including the new single, “Wild.” Most of my current favorite songs are XMU hits that SHOULD be Alternative smashes, like “The Only Heartbreaker” by Mitski (co-written by my friend Dan Wilson), “Once Twice Melody” by Beach House (couldn’t love this band more), “Oxygen” by Beach Bunny (who are on the precipice of superstardom) and “Valentine” by Snail Mail. The secret weapon to breaking these songs at Alt goes by the names Hilary, Michelle, Christy, Shawn, Lisa, Jenna and Christine, to name a few. The women pick the hits—always have and always will. It’s impossible not to notice that Phoebe Bridgers has reached icon status—top-line billing at Coachella and a passionate following. It’s time to revisit MUNA’s “Silk Chiffon” (featuring Phoebe), which is at 14m Spotify streams. Seems obvious, right? SONG TO HEAR: girlfriends’ “Tattoo,” as heard on KTCL and WSUN.
By Karen Glauber This is our quarterly New & Developing Artists issue, featuring some of the best and the brightest new artists in every genre. If you remember, way back when, the Alternative format prioritized “music discovery,” and became the arbiters of which new artists the audience needed to hear. At BEST, the format is now 20% current, and the constant complaint we hear from programmers is that the new music they’re playing isn’t testing. On what planet would a 10-second hook by an unidentified artist do well? Maybe it would, if the song was by an artist whose vocals are instantly recognizable, like Imagine Dragons or Weezer, or other bands with dozens of songs in rotation, but what about artists who are streaming over 300k/week (very healthy for an Alternative artist), but the song is still unfamiliar? Is the format bailing on potentially game-changing songs because there are fewer slots, and is the commitment to music discovery just a fantasy that those of us working new artists need to believe in for our own sanity? I’ve always been obsessed with influence, which is one of the reasons I was thrilled that Todd Rundgren was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this past weekend. Todd, as I’m sure you’ve read, wasn’t nearly as thrilled to have this honor bestowed upon him, but the number of artists he’s influenced is extraordinary, including Tame Impala, Trent Reznor and Weezer. Will the music that Alternative radio has chosen to play in hyper-rotation be remembered as influential? Yes, if that music is by Jack White. A new song from him is an event, and while “Taking Me Back” leans heavily on his influences, it does so in a way that feels completely modern. Scott Burton is already Top 15 with this “event” record, and it’s one of dozens of songs that will likely be acknowledged by the Rock Hall whenever Jack is eligible. Two big-time radio influencers have joined the Audacy team: John Allers has been named Regional VP of Alternative, overseeing KVIL, KNRK, KKDO (all with the brilliant Andy Hawk), KBZT (also with Andy) and KNDD. Christy Taylor, whom you also know and love, has been appointed Regional Brand Manager of KRBZ, KXTE, WQMP (all three with our friend Matt Malone) and KNDD (with John). I’m very excited to work with John and Christy again—both have a real passion for music and have been rightly credited with breaking many artists during their prior radio incarnations. My favorite new artist from 2020, beabadoobee, just arrived on our shores for her first tour in two years. As expected, her shows are selling out everywhere, including two upcoming L.A shows at the Fonda. Very excited for this tour! It takes every bit of restraint not to text Chris Muckley every time he plays something I like on XMU, including Spoon’s new single, “The Hardest Cut,” which I heard while taking my kid to school. This morning, I turned up the volume on Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue,” drowning out the TikTok videos coming from the phone of my passenger. Speaking of influence, I emphatically believe that “Chaise Longue” will be remembered as a CLASSIC, and Wet Leg will inspire countless girls (and boys) to start their own bands. Besides the worldwide phenomenon that is Måneskin, Daisy the Great is the highest-charting new artist at Alternative. “Record Player” (with AJR) is being moved up in rotation by some of the format’s most gifted programmers (Amber, for example) based on “gut,” which is the best research, isn’t it? “Icarus” by Fana Hues is a song I’ve been obsessed with since Braden Merrick first sent it to me. After a sync on last Sunday’s Insecure, “Icarus” is now #1 Shazam in Washington DC, #2 in Atlanta, #9 in L.A. and #24 in NYC, and #78 overall in the US. The song samples the theme from Midnight Cowboy, in case you were wondering. This song is magic.
By Karen Glauber The opening line from a song on the next Lumineers album has been my mantra since I first heard it months ago: “Where we are, I don’t know where we are, but it will be okay.” As of last Thursday, I have a 13-year-old child, which still seems unfathomable to me. I’ve now ventured out of the house to see three shows—Hall & Oates/Squeeze last week, Spoon/St. Vincent the week prior and Glass Animals the week before that. I can’t say it felt normal, because nothing feels normal these days, but it certainly amplified how important live music is to my well-being. With luck, Moses Sumney and Phoebe Bridgers will be the next concerts I attend. Speaking of the Lumineers (as I often do), “BRIGHTSIDE” has been #1 Greatest Gainer for the past two weeks, and the song will be trending Top 10 by the time you read this. I definitely feel at my professional best when The Lumineers and AJR are in cycle. It’s a bounty right now, with the Daisy the Great/AJR single solidly in the Top 25, while also entrenched on the Spotify Viral Chart. All I need is a new Spoon single to make my work life complete. Congrats to Nick Petropoulos at Arista for achieving two milestones with Måneskin’s “Beggin’”: They’re the first Italian band to have a #1 song at Alternative radio, and “Beggin’” is the fastest to #1 at Alternative radio by a debut artist/debut single! We should also acknowledge that this is the first time a Frankie Valli cover has gone to #1 at Alternative, for the three people in the format who know who Frankie Valli is. Ted and I are taking bets about how many weeks “Beggin’” will be at #1. Will Dennis Blair and Artie Gentile have a shot at #1 with Foo Fighters’ “Making a Fire”? Will “Beggin’” be #1 at both Alternative and Top 40, which will fuel an even longer run at Alt? This is a fun one to watch! Records that should be commanding your fiercest attention include MUNA’s “Silk Chiffon” (featuring Phoebe Bridgers); Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue”; which is thisclose to bursting wide open; Wolf Alice’s “Smile,” which is an absolute smash; and Wilderado’s “Head Right” on Bright Antenna, which everybody agrees is a wonderful song with massive potential. Lenny Diana, our old friend who insists on perpetuating the myth that “Rocktober” is a thing, has been anointed PD at WTTS in Indianapolis and WGBJ in Ft. Wayne, where he’ll be working closely with programming assistant/my new best friend Zack Skyler. Former PD Laura Duncan has moved to Chicago to be PD at WXRT, an extraordinary job that went to the most extraordinary candidate. On Monday, Lisa Worden will be announcing next year’s Alter Ego. From what we’ve heard, it’s an A-plus-plus-list lineup. Based on metrics, Cannons’ “Bad Dream” is showing all of the signs one would look for when determining if a song is an Alternative hit. Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee WILL get this record, and then you, my dear radio friend, will tell everyone that YOU broke the band. Andy Hawk gets the collar on that one, for sure. Pay attention to the new Papa Roach single “Kill the Noise,” which is already Top 10 at Active after a few weeks. If “Last Resort” were a Current, it would still be Top 50 on the Alternative chart! As you know, there’s an enormous affection for this sound and this band, and I urge you to join Tommy Mattern and Elliot Wood in giving the new single (which is trending Top 45 at Alternative) a serious shot. The ratings for Saturday Night Live should be massive, since Kim Kardashian hosted and Halsey was the musical guest. “You asked for this” feels like a sleeper smash for the format. SONG TO HEAR: Del Water Gap’s “Perfume.”
By Karen Glauber Late last week, Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” reached ONE BILLION STREAMS—that’s absolutely phenomenal for an Alt band! I was thinking about the other bands I’ve worked with over the years, and I’m not sure any of them have hit that milestone, except for maybe The Lumineers with “Ho Hey” and “Ophelia.” Glass Animals’ show at the Troubadour in March 2020 was one of the last shows in Los Angeles before everything shut down. Days after releasing their brilliant new single, “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)”—which, of course, was #1 Most Added this week—the band will be headlining two sold-out shows this weekend at a local cemetery/concert venue. My negative COVID test results just came back a few minutes ago, and this will be my first concert in 562 days! The last show I saw was Patti Smith (my hero) at Disney Concert Hall, and I’ve been too skittish to see a show since I had COVID and the myriad complications that followed after the first shot. (No, my balls weren’t swollen, but thanks for asking.) Glass Animals is one of the few bands that have been playing on repeat in my house for the past few years, though my son says he knows about them from Sims 4. Their social-media engagement since lockdown has been the most inviting and embracing of all the bands I follow—I hail singer Dave Bayley and manager Amy Morgan for creating this truly creative community for Glass Animals fans that provided a “peek behind the curtain” in an exceptionally ingenious way. Glass Animals have earned every bit of the success they now enjoy. I’ve been told that a rapid test at Hollywood Forever tomorrow will precede a chance to say hello to the band. Who doesn’t like having their brain tickled on a Saturday night? It’s unlikely I’ll be in the throng during the band’s set, so I’ll hang back with Chris Cornell and Johnny Ramone, buried next to each other about 50 yards from the stage. I miss going to shows. I miss a lot of things. I even miss seeing my coworkers on a daily basis. If I feel comfortable after Saturday’s show, I’ll venture to the Hollywood Bowl next Friday night to see my #1-most-favorite band, Spoon (opening for St. Vincent). I remember seeing them at the Bowl the weekend before I had Julian, almost 13 years ago. Yep, Julian is about to turn 13 (eek!), so the race is on to get him prepped for his bar mitzvah, which will be held during an AJR soundcheck next June. Yes, we are Reform. And yes, AJR has signed off on this. Great news from 91X after a few weeks’ airplay on Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue.” I can’t give you the micro details, but let’s just say early research warranted a rotation bump this week. The song Shazammed like crazy when it was Audacy’s Pick of the Week, and every day we hear from programmers who’ve adopted it as their new anthem. Speaking of anthems, MUNA’s new single, “Silk Chiffon,” which features Phoebe Bridgers, is nearing 2 million streams since its 9/7 release. I know you’re already a fan of MUNA, and this is the song that will break them at radio! Now that I’m attending shows, I look forward to seeing them open for Phoebe. A new single from The Lumineers arrived Sunday at midnight, timed with their appearance on Kimmel Monday. Called “Brightside,” this is an American love song, heavy on guitar and light on stomps. You will absolutely love it. My favorite exchange from the interview with Sir Lucian Grainge in this week’s HITS is this: “How do you wind down amid all this pressure?” “I go into my home office, put on some classic punk—The Sex Pistols, The Damned—and blast it!” In the spirit of Sir Lucian, I’m going to blast some Only Ones, Clash, Buzzcocks and Idles and feel inspired.
By Karen Glauber It was National Radio Day last week, so I posted a photo of me hosting Mike Mills and Peter Buck from R.E.M. at my college radio station in 1982, a few months after the release of the Chronic Town EP. I’d first met the band after they released their single, “Radio Free Europe,” on Hib-Tone, and their first trip to Oberlin coincided with their first gig in Cleveland, opening for Steve Forbert (!) at the Agora. A year later, I booked them to open for The English Beat at my college, after which I started an internship at their label, I.R.S., which was soon followed by a part-time job at A&M in Cleveland, and then a full-time job in January 1984 at A&M’s NYC office. You’ve heard this before. You’ve seen the photo. In relative isolation, the temptation toward nostalgia is something I fight, although (and if you were around, you know this) R.E.M. changed the course of College and Alternative radio, just as Nirvana did nearly 10 years later. If you look at streaming for Alternative acts compared to other genres, the current school of thought is that Alternative DOESN’T MATTER. Why, then, is Alternative radio so important to artists like Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Måneskin, Willow, Post Malone, etc.? From a touring perspective, Alternative artists still comprise the majority of slots at most of the major festivals. From a career perspective, Alternative radio leans heavily on its gold and recurrent songs, and airplay definitely translates to ticket sales. Streaming also breathes new life into gold Alternative hits. Did you know that The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather” is at over 1 BILLION Spotify streams? The Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy is a multi-generational success because the first-gen fans of those bands now have kids of their own, or at least younger brothers and sisters who now love the music. Cut the head off of Alternative music and it will always regenerate itself. As my non-starter “Hot Alt Summer” ends with a whimper, I’m happy to say that my “Song of the Summer,” Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue,” is new this week at KROX and WWCD. As with most groundbreaking records, it’s been the women Alt programmers who “get” these songs at first listen: Christine Malovetz, Shawn Locero, Hilary Doneux, Michelle Rutkowski, Amber Miller, Leslie Scott, Laura Lee and honorary influencer Lynn Barstow are among the song’s early fans. Wet Leg hails from the Isle of Wight, and “Chaise Longue” is (in my mind) the indie-rock version of “WAP.” Is the song a radio hit? Of course it is! Ted’s favorite song of the past few months is MOD SUN’s “Karma,” which is beginning to gain traction at radio in the weeks before his sold-out tour commences. Ted’s daughter Marley’s summer pick is single “Tattoo” from MOD’s opening act, girlfriends. Marley celebrated her new favorite band by getting a girlfriends tattoo on her arm. I do not have any R.E.M. tattoos. AJR’s “Way Less Sad,” released on 2/17, has settled in as the fifth-most-played song of 2021, and a new song will be out this Tuesday—a collaboration with NYC band Daisy the Great, whose “The Record Player Song” was a viral hit. Jack from AJR discovered the song on TikTok and brought it to the attention of his manager, S-Curve kingpin Steve Greenberg, who was already in the process of signing Daisy the Great. Both bands reimagined the song, with AJR producing, and the new song, now called “The Record Player,” will be released on 8/31 via S-Curve/Hollywood. Daisy the Great are two women who met at art school, and, as struggling college grads do, they’ll be opening the AJR tour, commencing 9/5. I can’t wait for you to hear this record! Congrats to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee as the new Cannons single, “Bad Dream,” nears the Top 20. The research is there. David Jacobs is now firmly Top 25 with Seb’s “seaside_demo,” which is Lenny Beer’s favorite song of the summer. What song helped you get through the past three months? E-mail me: [email protected]
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