HITS Daily Double
By Karen Glauber Ted and I have enjoyed playing the new Bleachers’ record to radio these past few weeks. The response to the single “Modern Girl” has been fantastic, with the initial response of “FUN!” coming from the lips of most programmers. It’s all gone swimmingly, except for the reaction of a couple of nameless PDs, who tend to be averse to most things “fun.” I get it, guys. Fun hasn’t been high on the agenda for the past four years. Still, I’ve been bouncing around to “Modern Girl” in my office, looking forward to working this project and hanging with Jack Antonoff. I grew up across the border from New Jersey (I collected tolls on the bridge crossing the Delaware River heading into Pennsylvania), and I’m pretty sure our musical DNA is similar. The single came out on 9/20, but we held it back because of the newest from juggernaut blink-182, “One More Time,” a musical journey through the bandmembers’ most impactful moments. It’s emotionally heavy and a quick trip to #1 at the format, once Foo Fighters enjoy their stay at the top with “Under You.” This is good for the format: Huge artists with new music—can’t beat it. You know what else helps the format? Hit songs. Måneskin’s latest, “HONEY (ARE U COMING?),” is another in a series of hit songs that have elevated the band to “core” level in a few years’ time. They played the Palladium the last time they were in L.A. In a few weeks, they’ll play a sold-out show at the Forum! Madison Square Garden in NYC last Thursday night! It took Ted and me four attempts to give The 1975 a big hit in the U.S. We came close with “I’m in Love With You.” The band is returning for another arena tour, and one song has stood out since day one. “About You” is the closest song in terms of crowd reaction and consumption that the band has had since “Somebody Else”—let’s go! Congrats to Buddy Deal on Hollywood’s first #1 of this millennium with Little Image’s “Out of My Mind.” Buddy promised us a parade… Soon, once all the BIG RECORDS have been added, there will be time for you to look back on records you missed or just didn’t have room for. For example, Royel Otis’ “Sofa King” on AWAL—I love this song so much! Another record to dig into is the latest from Arlo Parks, “Devotion,” which will likely get a Grammy nod or two (or three). Also, I can’t imagine the Grammys ignoring The National, who have the biggest Triple A record of the year. Have you looked at the consumption on Zach Bryan? Have you heard “Spotless,” his collaboration with The Lumineers? It sounds, well, just like The Lumineers. As deep as everybody has gone this year into the pop-punk-emo realm, there’s a massive part of your audience that loves The Lumineers, Noah Kahan, Zach Bryan, etc. Congrats to Mike Kaplan on his new gig as PD at WRFF, where he and Amber Miller will be working together. Cue “Phillies Fever” as he enters the building! Many have written condolences about Jonathan L. this week. I met Jonathan in Phoenix in the late ’80s at QFest, which I remember vividly because Tim Finn tried to tell me that his girlfriend didn’t look too great in the morning, not realizing that I knew that Greta Scacchi, one of the most gorgeous women on the planet, was the one he was throwing under the bus for my attention. Jonathan rescued me and we had the first of many conversations about bands we loved. Even when Jonathan and I worked for competing trade magazines, I always rooted for him. He and his wife Gaby dropped by HITS pre-pandemic—he saw the sign outside and decided to say hello. He found someone and lived the life he wanted to have. Only happy thoughts. SONG TO HEAR: AJR’s “Yes I’m a Mess.” (out on 9/29).
By Karen Glauber From left, Concord’s Angelo Scrobe, iHeart’s Lisa Worden, Warner Records’ Rob Goldklang and Karen, with iHeart’s Tom Poleman and Ted Volk in the background After a long week of being an unexpected kitten rescuer—Gary Gorman adopted Shiv, one of the five kittens and their teen mom who sought shelter on my patio—it was time to venture beyond the confines of my cat condo and interact with humans. iHeart was hosting roundtable label meetings in Burbank, so Rob Goldklang chose a spot near his house for us to gather. It was deeply moving to see colleagues I hadn’t seen in ages, especially Lisa Worden (the belle of the ball), iHeart EVP Alissa Pollack, iHeart VP of Artist Relations Marissa Morris, Jacqueline Saturn, Marisa DiFrisco, Marlee Ehrlich, Gaby Skolnek, Island’s Ayelet Schiffman and a cadre of other women who are slaying at every level. Congratulations to Concord’s Angelo Scrobe were in order that evening, as we celebrated his birthday and the achievement of having two songs—from Pierce the Veil and Thirty Seconds to Mars—in the Top 5 at Alt. We bestowed upon him a nickname and a complimentary beverage. I was home by 9pm. With iHeart’s Alissa Pollack; with Island’s Ayelet Schiffman, Sam Hollander and Sam’s manager Bret Disend Still schvitzing after a few more sleepless nights with no AC, I met up with Ayelet, her high-school friend/songwriter extraordinaire Sam Hollander and his manager Bret Disend. This reminded me of the iHeart Rock Summit from 2019, when Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes,” a song co-written by Sam, was played between every presentation. Sam knows more about the Alt format than you do, so it was a blast to chat about the “state of the union,” such as it is. Ayelet has a lot of programmers excited about The Last Dinner Party’s “Nothing Matters,” plus new Island artist Olivia Dean, just nominated for the 2023 Mercury Prize, is out with a single called “The Hardest Part,” which features Leon Bridges. Soon, Ayelet will have new music from Brittany Howard, plus, soon-ish, new music from The Killers. With Warner Records’ Mike Chester, Laura Swanson and Tom Corson; with Cavetown manager Zack Zarrillo I bought tickets to the Cavetown show at the Greek the moment they went on sale. The lineup for his Bittersweet Daze tour is exceptional: grentperez, Ricky Montgomery, mxmtoon and headliner Cavetown. I hadn’t heard of any of the openers, but based on the thunderous crowd reaction, I was alone in my ignorance. While waiting in line to get inside the venue, I ran into Warner Records bigwigs Tom Corson and Laura Swanson (co-workers from my halcyon days at A&M in the ’80s) and EVP Mike Chester. Both Ricky Montgomery and Cavetown are signed to Warners. My kid took it upon themself to school Mike on the importance of both Cavetown and their favorite band Lovejoy, later repeating their emphatic point of view to Amazon’s Andy Harms. This was our third time seeing Cavetown, whose song “Frog” kills me. What radio doesn’t realize (and should) is how important tours like this are to your potential audience. Sure, you’re just trying to hang onto the listeners that you have, but, if a lineup like this can sell out the Greek (as have beabadoobee and Cigarettes After Sex for shows in August), you have to pay attention! When asked about the “value” of the Alternative format, managers never mention streaming. Sometimes, if the stars are aligned, an Alternative hit can cross over to Pop, and what a glorious thing that is. Mostly, the value to managers is the format’s ability to sell tickets. You guys are best at that. On the flipside, there are bands that sell tons of tickets—and you, dear PD, could enjoy the halo effect by playing their music. It wasn’t just a crowd at the Cavetown show, it was a community of fans who could see themselves in other attendees. The mood was joyous, and I had tears in my eyes through most of it. Cavetown, aka Robin Skinner, transitioned when he was 14, but that isn’t the story—his music is brilliant, and his fans are the type who would be loyal to a radio station that played post-emo intelligent pop music that hundreds of artists are making. Phoebe Bridgers is at the apex of this genre—Taylor Swift, far smarter than you or I, knew to take Phoebe, beabadoobee, HAIM and Muna on tour with her. My male friends love the Barbie movie. Pay attention.
By Karen Glauber The solution is obvious: The Mediabase charts we use as our weekly report cards should be based on audience, weighted so that a spin in a Top 50 market is worth more than a spin in a market without a bus station. In their current state, a spin that has the impact of the sound of one hand clapping counts the same as a spin in L.A. There are stations on the Alternative panel that have no audience, while stations like WRIS and KJEE have a loyal and active listenership but fail to be added as reporters year after year. Why does the chart matter? Because it’s a snapshot of what our chosen format has chosen to support. Does anybody care besides Ted and me that beabadoobee’s “The Perfect Pair” will peak at #11? Unlikely, but it makes me feel like a failure, especially since her profile couldn’t be bigger right now and she sold out L.A.’s Greek Theatre in five minutes. That’s also part of the problem—there’s never a consensus where the format collectively decides to support an artist who didn’t have their first hit in 2003 or doesn’t have a monstrous streaming story or can’t avail themselves of the endless rounds of promo most international artists are unavailable to participate in. STILL, and I believe this wholeheartedly, the best bands WILL win, but ONLY if programmers are willing to free themselves from the tyranny (habit) of call-out. NEW ARTISTS DON’T CALL OUT (unless there’s a massive sync or the song is a giant for other reasons). I will continue to bring up Lovejoy’s “Call Me What You Like” as a prime example. The band’s singer, using the name Wilbur Soot, is a popular gamer, with over 9 million YouTube subscribers and 5 million Twitch subscribers. My kid started following his Minecraft livestreams and discovered Lovejoy soon after. The band is currently on a sold-out U.S. tour. Given Wilbur’s massive following, a smart programmer should be setting up a tour promotion to tap into that base—for the Alternative demo, gaming is a huge deal. Want to attract new listeners? They already know about Wilbur, even if you don’t. Dave Lombardi and his AWAL team WILL get this record. Although many (most) of you program in opposition to the possibility that women could (should) be loyal listeners of your radio station, there are songs women have decided they love that are too big for you to ignore. Rosa Linn’s “SNAP” was a great example of a song that became an Alt hit because of the tenacity of Lisa Sonkin and Lisa Worden. Now, Marisa DiFrisco has a GLOBAL SMASH with David Kushner’s “Daylight,” and you’re absolutely missing out on a massive hit if you can’t figure out a way to play this song. You want call-out? Here you go. A few weeks ago, Christy Taylor hit me up about Yves Tumor. Her timing was perfect—I just got a new mix of “Echolalia,” which will be serviced next week, and I was able to offer her a spot on the artist’s guest list for the sold-out show this weekend. I’m not sure there’s a more exciting artist in the world right now than Yves Tumor. You know what it’s like to hear a song and just KNOW it’s going to be a big hit? I was listening to the upcoming Arlo Parks album, landed on the song “Devotion” and had to play it five times in a row. This is the song. The lyrics mention both Deftones and Kim Deal, adding format-friendly relevance to the best song of the summer. Very excited for you to hear it. Happiness is a weekend of music, including the Cruel World Festival in Pasadena on Saturday. I’ll be bouncing among Gang of Four, ABC, Adam Ant and Echo and the Bunnymen—but most excited for Iggy Pop, of course. This is Coachella for those of us who did college radio in the ’80s.
By Karen Glauber We are the sum of our influences, even the bad ones (thanks, Mom). Radio programmers have airplay as the ultimate expression of their fandom and gratitude for the artists who inspired them—obviously, not as their “own personal jukeboxes” but as true influencers. My allegiance to artists runs deep—last night in Philadelphia, I was able to guestlist Garett Michaels, Jim McGuinn and Amber Hoback for a show by Hoodoo Gurus, a band I first worked with in 1984. My first #1 record during my A&M years was the Gurus’ “I Want You Back”—a girl never forgets her first. While in college, I was deeply in the Violent Femmes’ orbit. The band is playing sold-out shows in the area this week in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their game-changing debut. I’ve got my kid this weekend, so I’ll unfortunately have to miss it, but I’ll be at the Crowded House show on Monday, decades after working with Split Enz and being on most of the first Crowded House tour with opener/A&M artist Paul Kelly. In a few weeks, I’ll be in Montclair, N.J., to see Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall in concert—it’s like chasing a fix. What makes us feel like our truest selves, especially after ongoing health issues for those of us with long COVID, and what makes us happy? How do we show gratitude for the artists who defined our lives? If you’re reading this, you have the wherewithal to help an artist’s career, even if it’s as basic as buying merch after a show. We know that nothing new you play is going to call out unless it’s a novelty record (like Weezer’s cover of “Africa”) or a new single from a band you supported in 2003 (long live Foo Fighters). Collectively, we can break artists and create cultural moments—or at least respond to pop culture and acknowledge the “hot topics” with your audience. Like, for example, whomever Taylor Swift “might” be dating, or Rage Against the Machine being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking of the Hall of Fame (as I often do), I was on the phone with Kate Bush’s manager yesterday, sharing with him the countless times that Kate’s music made me feel like I wasn’t the weirdest kid in the world, starting when I first heard “Wuthering Heights” in 1979. I’m hardly alone—so many of my friends, male and female, consider Kate to be an important influence. To hear that Kate is “overjoyed” to be voted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame made me tear up. By my estimation, Kate, Dusty Springfield, Christine McVie and Annie Lennox will be the only British women in the R&RHOF. God bless the Queens. Congrats to our old friend Marco Collins on his new gig doing afternoon drive at Seattle Triple-A WPNW. We hope he thrives there for many years! Also, massive huzzahs to our new friend Christen Limon on being named music coordinator for ALT 98.7! Shawn Lucero, our heroine during her years at KRXP and KILO, has joined Willobee at NonComm powerhouse Indie 102.3 in Denver, where former WHFS programmer/air talent Dana Meyers has been slaying as the morning-show talent extraordinaire. Sisterhood is POWERFUL! Thundercat’s “No More Lies” (featuring Tame Impala, as all songs should) is streaming more than almost anything on your playlist. PLUS, he was featured on Gorillaz’s recent #1 Modern Rock smash, “Cracker Island.” If there was such a thing as an indie rock layup for the format, this is it.My kid first played Peter McPoland for me. He’s signed to Columbia and is originally from Vermont. I’ve been fangirl-ing over his music all week, especially “Digital Silence,” which reminds me of Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (which I worked). Michelle Rutkowski’s niece told her about Peter, and she added “Digital Silence” this week at WLUM! It’s the summer. Add records because they make you feel something! So excited to see the plethora of adds that came in for Lovejoy this week. This one is undeniable, even for cynics like you. Lovejoy will be playing sold-out shows in the States all summer, including Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. Wherever they go, you’ll see me and my kid.
By Karen Glauber Do you wake up hours before dawn on Record Store Day? I’m in the process of upgrading my turntable, so my plan is to hit the first store on my itinerary at 6am. My wish list includes the 50th Anniversary box set of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era (1964-1968) and the 50th anniversary reissue of Todd Rundgren’s masterpiece, A Wizard/A True Star (replicating the original die-cut cover), plus special RSD releases from The 1975, Beach House, Husker Du and Ivy. Records are your friends. Starting today (4/21), Mercury is in retrograde, which means that communication is a bit wonky and could be the reason why my Internet isn’t working. Like Elon Musk’s $3 billion SpaceX launch, my brain is experiencing “rapid unscheduled disassembly,” which I hope to mitigate by listening to new music and feeling the rush of identifying the next crop of hits. Amanda and Drew at Republic launched a new AJR song this morning. “The Dumb Song” is classic AJR, and repeated listens amplify my unwavering love for this band. With the announcement of additional tour dates, anticipation was building for a new Foo Fighters single. “Rescued” arrived yesterday and became the most-played song of the day at the format. How quickly will Gary Gorman take this to #1? Will Rob Goldklang have a window to get Gorillaz (the darlings of Coachella) to #1 first? Our beloved Cannons are back with a new single called “Loving You,” released on the eve of their debut Coachella performance. Response to the song has been exceptional, of course. Lisa Sonkin has both Depeche Mode and Rosa Linn in the Top 10—huge! Columbia band blink-182, on the heels of their surprise Coachella performance last week, will now be holding court on the main stage this Sunday, replacing the ailing Frank Ocean. 10 years ago today, I stood next to Frank on the Outdoor Stage, while Tame Impala played in front of 40,000 during the worst sandstorm I’ve ever experienced. Working “Elephant” before Tame Impala signed to Interscope, is a career highlight that I share with Ted Volk. Back to 2023, will blink-182 have new music this summer? Will you be at The Gathering in Las Vegas next week? I agreed to moderate a panel, because I’m very fond of Patty, Tracy, Chuck and Drew. Unlike SXSW, where I can command my panelists to play songs of my choosing, this time around there will be a chair at my side; a “hot seat” for my radio and record friends. Due to the pandemic, there will be people in attendance I’ve never met, so it will be an opportunity to share our achievements, goals and frustrations. There has to be a tipping point where Alternative radio is all-in on a song that is performing as a hit for the majority of the panel. Unwarranted ego and armchair A&R opinions from programmers make our jobs infinitely harder than necessary. Pay attention to what’s going on in the music business—now is not the time for entitled behavior. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who Shazamed Bakar’s “Hell N Back” when I saw the trailer for the upcoming Pixar film Elemental. Remember when the trailer for Slumdog Millionaire featured MIA’s “Paper Planes,” and the song exploded? “Hell N Back” was a Top 10 Alt hit a few years ago—will it go Top 5 this time around? Marisa DiFrisco, my emo princess, just serviced David Kushner’s “Daylight,” which debuted on the Spotify Global Chart at #6, with over 28 million streams in the FIRST WEEK. Based on recent social-media posts, it appears that David is currently collaborating with Wesley Schultz from The Lumineers. Radio needs to be all over this record. Not since Windser, whose “Memory” will get its due, have I fallen for new artists like I have for Blondshell on Partisan (check out “Salad” now) and Billy Tibbals, whose Stay Teenage EP came out today. Billy reminds me of my favorite Paisley Underground bands, like Three O’Clock and Rain Parade. The Byrds’ influence in music is eternal. SONG TO HEAR: beabadoobee “Glue Song” (f/Clairo). Happy Record Store Day!
By Karen Glauber So many milestones since we last spoke: My 33rd anniversary in the “career cul-de-sac” known as HITS; my 31st sober birthday; the 40th anniversary of the English Beat/R.E.M. show I booked at Oberlin College in 1983, followed a few days later by the 40th anniversary of R.E.M.’s epic debut album, Murmur, which is as important to the indie kids from the ’80s as Nevermind is to those who came of age in the ’90s. My social media has been filled with my peers recounting how Murmur changed their lives. April 13 was the 40th anniversary of The Violent Femmes’ self-titled debut—another record that changed the landscape of Alternative music. My history with the Femmes dates back to seeing them open for Richard Hell at the Bottom Line on my 21st birthday. Played their demo on my college-radio station; booked their first Cleveland show; sat in the front row for their Carnegie Hall show the week I moved to NYC, and 40 years later, we’re still friends. Now, in 2023, what does Alternative music look like? I think I found the answer a few weeks ago at the Arlo Parks show. Nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2022 for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album, Arlo had one of the coolest and most diverse audiences I’ve seen in ages at her sold-out show. Here’s the thing about Arlo’s music: Every song sounds like an immediate classic, especially her new single, “Weightless.” Of course it won’t test—I’m seriously tired of “bad call-out” as an excuse. Of course you’re familiar with country superstar Luke Combs, right? He recorded a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” that is about to be everywhere. What does that have to do with Arlo, you might ask? Like “Fast Car,” which is truly a song for the ages, Arlo’s songs have the same timeless, deeply emotional appeal. “Fast Car” is having a renaissance right now—even my kid knows it. Unless there is artist identification with your call-out, nothing new will ever work. It’s impossible to form an opinion about an unfamiliar 10-second hook without artist identification, especially when it now can take a year for a song to become familiar. Glass Animals’ “Heat Wave” would have never been a hit based on initial call-out. beabadoobee’s “The Perfect Pair” sounds like a hit. The song is streaming 1.5 mil/week, and she’s on tour with Taylor Swift. Whatever your call-out is telling you is wrong. Ted brought up an interesting point today: Since new music only comprises 10% of your playlist, wouldn’t this be the part of your programming where you actually take risks? “The Perfect Pair” was added into iHeart “Custom” this week. If all goes well, beabadoobee will be the first female indie artist to have a Top 10 hit at Alternative since girl in red’s “Serotonin”. I’m not going to Coachella this year because I’m trying to avoid getting COVID for the fourth time in a calendar year, but I would love to be there to see artists who embody Alternative music including blink-182, Gorillaz, Yves Tumor, Wet Leg, boygenius, Lava La Rue, Christine and the Queens, Bakar, Horsegirl, The Breeders, Blondie, Snail Mail, Bjork, Alex G, Sleaford Mods, Weyes Blood and, of course, Cannons. Thank you, Amanda, for playing me the new Post Malone single, “Chemical.” If there was ever an in-the-pocket/out-of-the-box Alt hit, this is it. Did you catch the “Seven Nation Army” reference in the lyrics to the chorus? Also on deck for Amanda and Drew is a new AJR single. Love, love, love. My kid and I are going “on tour” this summer to see their favorite bands. First on the list is Lovejoy, whose “Call Me What You Like” should be a priority for programmers everywhere. We also bought tickets to see Noahfinnce’s upcoming sold-out show, as well as tickets to see Cave Town in July. Weezer/Spoon is high on their list, as is Lollapalooza (Lovejoy for them and The 1975 and beabadoobee for me), Guster, Addison Grace, Tears for Fears and AJR. I can’t wait. SONG TO HEAR: Wallice’s “Best Friend.”
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By Karen Glauber I went to SXSW after four years away and all I got was this lousy COVID. Again. Three weeks after my third bout. At this point, I’m either overachieving or just showing off. Still, it felt great to be surrounded by music and in the same space as some of my favorite people, including Lynn Barstow, Julie Muncy, Dana Murray, Matthew Caws, Mac McCaughan, Britt Daniel, Tom Connick, Archie Wheeler, Alex Bruford, The Lemon Twigs (now on tour with The Killers), Colin Blunstone and his team and Annie Horvath. I wasn’t performing at peak SXSW efficiency, so I missed a lot of artists I wanted to see, but I did fall in love with Been Stellar, who reminded me of early Interpol-meets-Big Star, and Partisan band Blondshell, recipients of the 2023 Grulke Prize for Developing U.S. Act. Making their first SXSW appearance in 10 years, The Zombies received the 2023 Grulke Prize for Career Act. Having Colin Blunstone perform “Care of Cell 44” and “She’s Not There” during my panel, backed by The Lemon Twigs, is something I’ll never forget. Also, Britt performed an acoustic version of “Satellite” for the first time, which is my second-favorite song from Spoon’s Lucifer on the Sofa. Already thinking about next year. Today marks the first day of my kid’s spring break and the first of 19 Taylor Swift shows beabadoobee is opening! What a huge look! “The Perfect Pair” is currently Top 20 at Alternative and, for what it’s worth, was #1 this week with males aged 18-34 in Rate the Music. Throw in a million-plus weekly streams and you’ve got the makings of one of the biggest hits of the summer! The best new songs right now are Phoenix’s “After Midnight” (featuring Clairo) and Grouplove’s “Hello,” both on Glassnote. Songs released this time of year should have a certain lilt or cadence to them, signifying movement and feeling. I’m not sure I’m old enough to say it’s a “vibe,” but I am sure you understand. Songs like The 1975’s “Oh Caroline” and Windser’s “Memory” also embody how you want to feel during this time of year. For warmer nights, Cigarettes After Sex’s “Pistol” evokes a similar sense of respite. I always want to hear Phoenix during the summer (or as the soundtrack to chartering a helicopter using my father’s credit card). Call Michael Starr and tell him you’re adding his records. You’ll be glad you did. How amazing would it have been to see Wet Leg at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this week? “Angelica” was #5 this week with males 18-34 in Rate the Music. Domino’s Wet Leg also leads the nominations for this year’s Libera Awards, presented by A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) with six noms. Partisan’s Fontaines D.C. scored three nominations. Spoon was nominated for Best Rock Album. Cigarettes After Sex received a nomination, as did Dirty Hit’s Rina Sawayama (now starring in the new John Wick movie). Our friend Aaron Axelsen received a well-deserved nomination for Independent Champion. The awards will be held in NYC on 6/15. We should go. If Alternative radio can’t figure out how to incorporate new music into the mix of 30-plus-year-old songs that have been beaten to a pulp, it will perish. When labels cut back on staff, it’s a reaction to the increasing perception that radio doesn’t matter. When radio plays new music in dayparts when people are awake, it matters A LOT. A radio station should have a sense of HOW it wants to sound, both musically and with its talent. Let’s go back to the idea of vibe—how do I want to feel when I’m listening to the radio? Mostly, I want to hear new songs that I might fall in love with, plus DJs that make me feel like they’re happy I’m listening to them. I get giddy when I hear Jenny Eliscu on SiriusXM. Also, Meg Griffin always makes me smile—she’s been my radio hero for decades. L.A. has extraordinary air talent—the best in the country. I want to know what new music they care about! SXSW was a perfect reminder that the scene is more vibrant than ever. Don’t fuck it up.
Seen before heading to the nearest Four Seasons for a spa day are (l-r) Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, the Lemon TwigsBrian D’Addario, The ZombiesColin Blunstone, the Lemon Twigs’ Michael D’Addario, Karen Glauber and Spoon’s Britt Daniel. Ten years ago, I started moderating a songwriters panel at SXSW. Rather than have songwriters talk about the craft of songwriting, I ask them to perform songs that fit the designated “theme.” I have a tendency to tune out when other people speak, or so says Lenny, and this has been a way to keep myself interested. This year, spurred by the overwhelming sense of deprivation and isolation that the pandemic has triggered, I called the panel “More Songs About Longing.” The core panelists have been the same for the past decade: Matthew Caws from Nada Surf, Mac McCaughan from Superchunk and Britt Daniel from Spoon, plus a revolving roster of my favorite artists. This year, Colin Blunstone, one of the greatest singers in the history of sound, known by all as the singer of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies, agreed to join the fun. The Lemon Twigs were also new recruits. Matthew flew in from the U.K. specifically for this panel and even wrote a new song called “More Songs About Longing” for the occasion, which he performed for the first time. Colin then played The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44,” with the Lemon Twigs as his backing band, while the audience smiled and I freaked out onstage. Seriously. I thought I was going to pass out. Mac sang my favorite song from the latest Superchunk record called “On the Floor,” with Matthew contributing harmonies. The Lemon Twigs performed one of their classic songs, “Corner of My Eye,” followed by Britt’s first-ever acoustic performance of “Satellite,” from the genius Grammy-nominated Spoon album, Lucifer on the Sofa. By request, he also played “Black Like Me” from Gimme Fiction, which marked 18 years since we first met at SXSW. In lieu of having the audience ask questions at the end, we closed the panel with an audience singalong of The Zombies classic, “She’s Not There,” with Colin on lead and the rest of us joining in. This was Colin’s first-ever appearance on a panel of any type, and he agreed to return next year, even if my chosen theme is cats. Or songs from Cats, The Musical. This is my 34th SXSW (out of 35—I missed last year) and this was my favorite panel of them all. Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Glauber Glauber and The Zombies' Colin Blunstone
By Karen Glauber A few months ago, Patti Smith graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, a noted women’s fashion magazine. When my subscription copy arrived, I stared at the cover and cried. Here was my idol, 76 years old, with minimal makeup and wearing clothes designed by her friend Ann Demeulemeester, chosen to “sell” the publication’s Art issue. A writer, a poet, an activist and the most electric performer in the history of music, Patti continues to tour extensively, inspiring generations of fans. Three years ago, during her show at Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A., Patti acknowledged Women’s History Month: “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 yeah, one fucking month? Was #metoo a success or a failure? Yes, Harvey Weinstein is behind bars. Yes, the concept of consent is being taught to the next generation. For my peers, ignoring consent comes with consequences (to them), and I’ve heard more than a few men joke about whether or not it’s “worth it” to engage with women on a professional or personal level. Regardless, men have been tasked with hiring more women. I can’t speak to their collective intentions, but if actual support and mentoring haven’t accompanied these changes, then it feels like this change is based on optics. You know who paid attention to #metoo? Women. Many of us experienced harassment and exclusion in the beginning of our careers. During my tenure at A&M Records, I reported to eight different men, was one of two women in every meeting and experienced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a few executives whose job it was to support my department―beyond taking credit for our success. Now, decades later, women at every career level are looking out for each other. The addition of women to “the rooms where it happens” has enforced our commitment to lift up the next generation of female executives. The jousting among women for the sole designated spot at the table has decreased thanks to a sense of shared purpose, even when men are threatened by our strength in numbers. Social media presents a false sense of achievement; having more followers or more social visibility than your coworkers creates a false impression of perceived “value.” It’s hard to resist, of course, as we work in a relatively glamorous, social business. Does the effort you put into your social media make you a better employee, or is it solely for the advancement of your personal brand? There’s nothing inherently wrong with the latter, unless it’s being used as a tactic to outshine your coworkers. I was able to attend ALT 98.7’s music meeting, hosted by Lisa Worden, on Tuesday. In the room were four women and two men (including Ted Volk), and the meeting (yet again) confirmed my belief that women pick the hits. It was his female fans that pushed Harry Styles toward global superstardom. The same could be said for his labelmates Adele and Beyoncé, as well as the other artists dominating this year’s Grammy Awards. When I want to start a song at Alternative radio, especially with female artists, my first calls are to Lisa, Hilary Doneux, Christine Malovetz, Michelle Rutkowski, Shawn Lucero, Laura Lee, Christy Taylor, Amber Miller, Jenna Kesneck, Miranda Daniels and the other hall-of-fame women programming Alternative radio. Want to program a successful radio station? Involve women in your programming decisions. It’s imperative that we continue to support and provide opportunities to the next generation of women. And, when faced with a challenge, I’ll continue to ask myself, “What would Patti do?” Song to Hear: Arlo Parks’ “Weightless.”
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By Karen Glauber My kid has COVID and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on my single-vaxxed head. They’ve taken over the house and I’m in my room—masked, isolated and grateful for the distraction of work. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully, I can be in NYC on 3/11 for The 1975 on Saturday Night Live, with host Jenna Ortega. I hope that someone in charge enlists Matty Healy to dance with Jenna to “Goo Goo Muck.” How epic would that be? It’s fascinating that SiriusXM’s Hits 1 channel is giving “I’m in Love with You” 90+ spins a week, but Alternative radio still barely recognizes (with notable exceptions) that Matty is the biggest current Alternative SUPERSTAR that they have. Do you know what’s going on in your market? Are you aware that beabadoobee put up a tour that sold out in minutes? The Greek Theatre in L.A. (cap. 6k) is one of the venues that went clean within moments. “The Perfect Pair” is at over 66 million global streams, and the song will be solidly in the Top 30 before my kid tests negative. Bea’s latest release, “Glue Song,” spent last week in the global Top 10 on Spotify, just in case I’m not making myself clear about how her career has blown up since you played “Care” two years ago. Since my extracurricular activities are on pause for a while, I decided to entertain myself this morning by joining the queue for Cigarettes After Sex tickets for the aforementioned Greek Theatre. The moment tickets went on sale, they were gone, with the two Greek shows selling out in a heartbeat. Do you know how massive this band is? The 300th most-streamed artist at Spotify, in fact. “Apocalypse,” a song you might vaguely remember, reached ONE BILLION streams last week. Sitting in the KROQ offices when Kevin and Miles decided to add “Apocalypse” was definitely a career highlight. They should still be playing it, since it appears that Cigarettes After Sex have been designated as THE BAND that kids want to listen to when they first discover pot and each other—Pink Floyd for Gen Z, as it were. I’m looking forward to sending the new single, “Pistol,” to Mark Hamilton—I know he’ll get it. Thank you, Mark, for adding beabadoobee at KNRK this week. Lovejoy had a strong #2 Most Added first week at radio for “Call Me What You Like,” thanks to Dave Lombardi and his team. Please trust us when we tell you how big this band already is to millions of fans. Even without that insight, the song is extraordinary… Just got an email that Depeche Mode has added a THIRD Kia Forum show. Bravo to them and to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee on their incredible launch of the new Depeche single, “Ghosts Again.” I used to call Scott Burton when he was a college-radio music director (WIDB). We bonded then, and many decades later, I’m still his cheerleader. Lots of cheers this week when KROQ added Caroline Polachek’s “Welcome to My Island.” Miles has been championing her for ages—a sold-out show at the Shrine is coming soon, and the heat surrounding Caroline has never been stronger. For fun, check out George Daniel and Charli XCX’s remix of “Welcome to My Island.” George is in The 1975, because all roads lead back to them. Everybody loves CHVRCHES. Everybody loves their new single, “Over,” the band’s first for Island. Jean Dawson, on Handwritten/Varick, is an artist who will redefine the mainstream. He’s doing your job for you. If I ever leave the house again, he’s the first artist I want to see perform. Jean has more swagger, charisma and talent than 90% of the artists on your playlist. “SICK OF IT” is a fantastic introduction to this career artist. If you worked at a record company in the ’80s, then you’ve already seen Cocaine Bear. Thank you, and good night.
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