HITS Daily Double

It’s been a weird, isolated summer—two work trips to NYC but otherwise sequestered at home, liking other people’s vacation posts. There have been moments of comfort—the returns of Kevin Weatherly, Mark Hamilton, John Allers and Christy Taylor to the Alternative fold—all smart people who care about the format. Those work trips afforded time with Mike Kaplan, Christine Malovetz and Brad Steiner at WNYL—I adore them all.

A trip to NYC isn’t complete without breakfast at Balthazar with Arista’s Nick Petropoulos, where we celebrated his second Måneskin #1 with “Supermodel,” and plotted the course for his next #1, Beach Weather’s viral smash “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” Sure, the song is a few years old, but who even knows what day it is?

KROQ’s ratings have gone up in the past months, which I would attribute to embracing Wet Leg’s “Chaise Longue,” which sounds as vibrant now as it did a year ago—AND to playing Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” a masterpiece that transcends decades. The correlation between the uptick in ratings in other Alternative markets and the increased exposure of new music is immediate and direct. While the temptation to shift the format toward “Classic Alternative” remains, exposing the best new music should continue to be a priority—and the ratings prove it.

Within moments, Phoenix’s “Alpha Zulu” will be Michael Starr’s first Alternative Top 10 since taking the promo helm at Glassnote. Phoenix’s sound paved the way for Glass Animals’ righteous perch at the top of the leaderboard, which, in turn, has helped “Alpha Zulu” become a call-out hit. Take note: Your audience loves this type of Alternative music.

I understand the appeal of Classic Alternative—Gary Gorman and I (that’s us in the photo) went to see Superchunk’s sold-out show last Thursday night! I worked “Hyper Enough” in 1995, and have had the greatest honor of working with Merge Records ever since. Gary loved the band when he was in college, just as I loved R.E.M., Husker Dü and The Replacements at that age.

As scary as it is to go to shows, it’s the thing that makes me feel almost normal. The kid and I are flying to Chicago next week to see Addison Grace. Like mom, like kid. Addison Grace, Cavetown and AJR are the artists we share. I also feel most normal when there’s a new AJR single to work. “I Won’t” is on the cusp of Top 20, and it feels like it could be one of the band’s biggest hits. Their June show/my kid’s b’nai mitzvah in Irvine was the greatest day of the summer.

Tickets went onsale on 8/12 for The 1975 tour, with some shows already sold out during the presale. “Part of the Band” is solidly Top 20 at Alternative, and the goal is Top 10! Due to illness, Rage Against the Machine have had to drop out of Reading and Leeds festivals, so The 1975 have stepped in as headliners. Venues on the U.S. tour include Madison Square Garden in NYC and the Kia Forum in L,A,, as well as The Rave in Milwaukee for WLUM’s “Big Snow Show” and Kansas City for “The Church of Lazlo’s 20th Anniversary.” Glass Animals and The 1975 show up for Lazlo. He’s that important.

Congrats to Team Island on the launch of the new Killers’ song “Boy,” which is definitely the band’s best song in years. It’s been stuck in my head since Ayelet played it for me and, if there is any certainty in life, you can bet on “Boy” being a #1 Alternative song.

The Best Album of the Summer is Spoon’s Lucifer on the Sofa, especially “Wild” and “My Babe.” The Must-Read Book of the Summer is My Life in the Sunshine by Nabil Ayers

SONG TO HEAR: Windser’s new one, “Friends I Barely Know.”… Where should I eat in Chicago? Email: [email protected].

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