HITS Daily Double

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.

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