HITS Daily Double

I remember when SXSW Interactive meant getting drunk and making out with rock critics… But seriously, folks, within days I’ll be in Austin for my 29th go-round at SXSW, as well as my 20th consecutive year (at least) moderating a panel. This year’s panel, my third annual gathering of songwriters, will include conversations with and command performances by Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Mac MacCaughan (Superchunk/Merge Records) and Marshall Crenshaw (whose “Cynical Girl” was my opening song for a year’s worth of college radio shows on WOBC, circa 1983).

This musical extravaganza will take place on Friday, March 19, at 12:30pm (immediately following Snoop’s keynote speech). Maybe if I offer edibles, I can route the crowd from the main ballroom into my panel room. None for me, though, since the most jaw-dropping stat about my perfect attendance at SXSW, beginning in 1987, is that I’ve been sober for 23 of those years. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing Lynn, Steve Blatter, Norm, Lazlo, Lesley, Mike Tierney, Nik, Haley, Josh, and the other handful of radio people I consider among my nearest and dearest.

I’m not much of a “people person,” as most of you already know, but the opportunity to see dozens of bands makes this my favorite week of the year. Undoubtedly, Spoon is always first-and-foremost on my must-see list, and with five or six scheduled shows, plus headlining Auditorium Shores on Friday night, I expect I’ll see them at LEAST five or six times. Also psyched to see Will Butler, Alvvays, James Bay, Passion Pit, Tobias Jesso Jr. , Best Coast, Courtney Barnett, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, AWOLNation, Brett Harris, X Ambassadors (!), Twerps, Wolf Alice, TV on the Radio and, most of all, The Zombies! My full list of recommendations will be up on www.hitsdailydouble.com by this weekend...

Never in my many decades of doing this job have there been as many weekly “superstar” releases, thusly narrowing opportunities and slots for new bands. This week’s big explosion arrived yesterday, in the form of the new Mumford & Sons single, “Believe,” which sold 37,000 singles in the first hours of release on iTunes (currently the #3 song on the sales chart), and was #1 Most Added at Modern Rock and Triple A, nearly closing out both panels in ONE DAY. Ted and I think the song is an absolute SMASH, and we’re thrilled that our prodigal son Nick Petropoulos has as close to an “automatic” as we’ve ever seen…

Brett Greenberg at Epitaph has a perfect storm brewing with Sleeping With Sirens’ new single “The Strays.” After one “4:20” spin at KROQ, the band became the #1 trend on Twitter U.S. This is INSANE. I kept asking Brett if this was for Los Angeles, and he said no, this is national. The band already has a huge fanbase (as most Epitaph bands do), and now they have “the song.” I can’t wait to see what happens next!..

Congrats to Modest Mouse and Epic Records for hitting #1 with “Lampshades on Fire” at Modern Rock and Triple A. It’s the band’s first radio #1 in 11 years! The record squeaked past Walk the Moon by the narrowest of margins, temporarily thwarted by a problem with Music Choice’s detections. WHY ARE THEY EVEN ON THE PANEL? Music Choice is NOT a radio station. It supplies music that people discover NOT by choice, like when entering a hotel room, or hitting the wrong channel number on their DirecTV. I’d rather support the on-air efforts of dozens of small market radio stations than have Music Choice’s “programming” matter as much as it does towards the chart. It’s counterintuitive, at best!..

So, what else should I see at SXSW? Email: [email protected].

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