HITS Daily Double

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.

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