HITS Daily Double
SHUT UP AND DANCE: When I was 13, I wanted to be best friends with Bruce Springsteen and my career ambition was to be Prime Minister of Israel, like my hero Golda Meir. I had a bowl haircut (the ‘70s version of what I have now), aviator glasses (like Gloria Steinem) that were a half-inch thick and, of course, braces. I wasn’t cool, pretty, popular or athletic. At the time, I felt misunderstood, unappreciated and isolated. Now, when hindsight is 20/20, my career in radio promotion was preordained. Throw in typical child-of-an-alcoholic behavior such as people pleasing, perfectionism and low self-esteem, and voila, the die was cast! My refuge became WSAN, an AM station in Allentown, somewhat modeled after KSAN in San Francisco. Todd Rundgren, Springsteen and Patti Smith were my saviors, and I found my musical kinship with a group of stoners who loved Prog, like early Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, UK and Yes, as much as I did. Then we discovered The Ramones, Talking Heads, Devo, Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello during high school (in not-so­scenic Easton, PA), but Todd was always IT for me. Although (or maybe because) I’m still not cool by anyone’s standards thirty years later, I feel like I’m the music supervisor to my own life—there’s always a song or a lyric rattling around in my head to accompany every action and conversa­tion, or as an internal dialogue when I’m too stressed to sleep (like last night). Spoon’s latest, They Want My Soul, has been on an endless loop in my brain, especially “Inside Out,” which lands my vote as the best song of the past two years. Brett Greenberg at Epitaph played me a song last week that floored me: “Don’t You Find” by Jamie T. Yes, it’s subtle, but I think its impact will be massive. Another song that the 13 year-old in me finds endlessly compelling is Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ “Cecilia and the Satellite.” Garrett Capone and Ayappa at Vanguard have witnessed my geeking out over this artist, and yes, even I was embarrassed by my own behavior. Ask Mark Hamilton what record has turned out to be a surprise hit for KNRK, and he’s likely to say In the Valley Below’s “Peaches,” which is a sultry modern-sounding, format-exclusive smash-in-the-wings. Lazlo is also a fan, as is Nik Rivers. The band’s “team” is focused on working this until it becomes the hit it’s destined to become… Shakey Graves, brought to you by your friends at Dualtone, home of The Lumineers, is selling from non-comm radio support and fawning media attention. The single, “Dearly Departed,” debuted at #14 in Shazam in Columbus, after one week of WWCD airplay. Before you dismiss it as being “too this, or too that,” as is your tendency, open yourself up to the possibility (probability) that Lesley James knows best… Shazam has been a game-changer this year as a measurement of a song’s impact in the market. Kongos’ “Come With Me Now” and Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” immediately charted in the Shazam Top 20 in airplay markets—highly unusual for “rock” songs, and are the two biggest songs at Modern Rock for 2014. The iTunes Alternative Song chart is another invaluable tool for quantifying a song’s hit potential. Like Misterwives’ “Reflections,” which is selling 8,500 singles/week and X-Ambassadors & Jamie N. Commons’ “Jungle,” now selling close to 10,000 singles/week (two songs you should be playing)…. My final “pick hit” of the day is Robert DeLong’s “Long Way Down,” which was Most Added again this week. I know it seems like I’m just bandwagon-jumping at this point, but after seeing Robert perform at the KROQ Coachella house two years ago, while also managing to avoid hav­ing my face painted (no way), I’ve been a fan…. Tonight I’m going to see X-Ambassadors play a sold-out show at the Troubadour, and I’m thankful that I have the TV on the Radio CD to keep me company on the way there. Reasons to be thankful?: I[email protected].
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