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COMPLAINER

By Karen Glauber

This was a banner week for announcements: First, iHeart announced the lineup for ALTer Ego ’20, to be held in L.A. on 1/18, and featuring Billie Eilish, The Black Keys, blink-182, The Lumineers, Rex Orange County, Shaed (“& more,” according to the poster). The first four acts listed could sell out the Forum in a heartbeat, so this show will be sold out before we wake up Saturday morning. Congrats to Lisa Worden and the iHeart team for another epic lineup.

Up the coast, where earthquakes have been rocking and rolling the region, ALT 105.3 announced the lineup for their annual Not So Silent Night, which will be in San Jose this year on 12/7, and includes Mumford & Sons, twenty one pilots, The Raconteurs, The 1975, Of Monsters and Men and White Reaper. Those are some major “gets,” and I love the proliferation of guitars in this lineup. Take that, “Dance Monkey.”

Thursday, 12/5, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, we’ll be celebrating ALT 92.3’s iteration of Not So Silent Night, where our beloved Mumford & Sons will be joined by Vampire Weekend (while “Harmony Hall” is definitely the best song of 2019, new single “Sunflower” is up there at the top), Cage the Elephant (soon to be #1 with their latest single, “Social Cues”), Jimmy Eat World, Of Monsters and Men, Judah & the Lion (whom I’m seeing tonight at the Wiltern, with openers Flora Cash) and Shaed.

That same week, I’ll be in Portland to see Spoon headline one of Mark Hamilton’s December to Remember evenings (while checking in on my former roomie Gene Sandbloom at Alpha Media). The following week, WKQX launches FIVE nights of The Nights We Stole Christmas with already-sold-out shows that include headliners Cage the Elephant, The 1975, twenty one pilots, Mumford & Sons and 311, and incredible bands like Angels & Airwaves, Bob Moses, I Don’t Know How but They Found Me, Local Natives and Highly Suspect as direct support. I have a hunch which bands might be playing KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas this year, but I would never spoil the surprise. So many guitars this year—very exciting!

More announcements from radioland: KCJK Kansas City flipped to Active Rock this week, which is great news for KRBZ, one of the most important Modern Rock stations in the country, which can focus on doing what they do best: supporting new music. Also, WWYY Allentown has flipped to Country. The station’s studios were less than a mile from my childhood home in Easton, Pa., but I also know that a week’s worth of airplay on a song had less of an audience than one spin in L.A. That is why I haven’t lived in Easton since 1980. Speaking of which, my 40th high school reunion is this Thanksgiving weekend. I bought a ticket to see David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway the same night.

Music was the only thing that got me through my high school years marginally unscathed. Todd Rundgren’s music was my greatest salvation, so, when the announcement of this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees was released, there was a great deal of kvelling on my part to see his name on the ballot. Also included this year are T. Rex, Pat Benatar, MC5, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, The Notorious B.I.G., Kraftwerk, Rufus f/Chaka Khan, Judas Priest, Dave Matthews Band, Whitney Houston and my beloved Soundgarden. Based on influence, every artist on this list deserves to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (especially Todd!).

Beck, another hall of fame-level artist, released TWO new songs yesterday, the first of which, “Uneventful Days” is absolutely what you want in a Beck single. I’ve listened to nothing else in the past 24 hours. Radio should be all over this immediately.

 


 
 
ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL

By Karen Glauber

There’s a larger-than-mine footprint on my bedroom wall—the aftermath of my almost 11-year-old son’s attempt to recreate Billie Eilish’s SNL performance of “bad guy.” Julian is her most recent devotee, and he’s almost willing to admit that it’s cool that I first saw her at SXSW in 2018. Almost. His favorite band is still AJR, and he’s suggested (more than once) that we get a dog so he can name him “Winter,” after his favorite song, “Dear Winter.” Once the song is a hit, we have a deal. This weekend, AJR is headlining a sold-out show at Red Rocks, grateful for Nerf, who was the first PD to support “Sober Up,” and scream that it was an Alt hit over two years ago.

In my self-ascribed position as the Dowager of the Modern Rock format, you know that I am forever advising both labels and radio that one of the keys to career longevity is being absolutely dead-right at least twice a year. For every new artist played on the radio, there’s a PD (or PDs) who hears something special, or understands which metrics matter these days, and decides to give the record a shot. And by “shot,” I don’t mean the sort of overnight airplay that has us wondering, “If a song is played in the overnights on a station without a frequency, is it possible that it reaches an audience of less than one?”

Not to digress, but it’s fascinating that some of the stations recently added to the Modern Rock panel don’t have PDs. If I spend my days playing songs on the jukebox at my local coffee shop, can I be a reporter? My “spins” would have a greater impact, that’s for sure. I’ll table the sarcasm for a heartbeat and get back to my point: Be a leader! Appreciate the platform—your mandate is to shift culture and redefine the mainstream. This is ALTERNATIVE radio, dammit!

One glance at the streaming profile of Clairo’s genius single “Bags” should convince you to play this record. Over 15 million streams on Spotify, plus she’s currently headlining a sold-out tour, including an upcoming show at the Wiltern in L.A. SiriusXM's Alt Nation is more than 400 spins deep on “Bags,” with other stations that usually lead the way doing just that: Music Choice, WLKK, KQGO, WLZX, KITS, WLUM, KNDD and WWCD. The phenomenal format success of Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey and Shaed (which is STILL Top 10) has shown (again and again) that female artists can have radio hits on a male-targeted format. The Caroline team behind Shaed is devoted to making this Clairo song the hit we all know it will be.

The Cold War Kids single “Complainer” is shaping up to be the smash we all think it should be. Yay.

“SCIENCE SAYS REGULARLY ATTENDING CONCERTS MAKES YOU HAPPIER” is the headline of an article from Vice.com making the social-media rounds this week. It’s been a blissed-out week of shows, with AJR at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Vampire Weekend at the Hollywood Bowl (“Harmony Hall” is still the best song of 2019), a sold-out Cigarettes After Sex show at the Wiltern (just wait ’til you hear the new album) and Dominic Fike’s triumphant appearance at the El Rey. How lucky are we to have these incredible weekly opportunities to see live music?

“Life in the City,” The Lumineers’ seventh career single at Modern Rock, launched this week with 22 adds! The first six singles were all Top 3 (with five #1s), so I expect this song to follow a similar trajectory. Has any other indie label band had six consecutive Top 3 songs? The part of my brain that deeply cares about chart positions would love to know.

The era of “Spank It or Crank It” at KRAB Bakersfield has reached its conclusion with the departure of PD Danny Spanks. WLZX PD Lenny Diana continues to insist that ROCKTOBER is a thing.

SONG TO HEAR: Cherry Glazerr (f/Portugal. The Man), “Call Me.” This is a one-listen smash.


 
 
A HONEY OF A #1

It's unprecedented for an unsigned band to hit #1 on a radio chart with a debut single, so when Dirty Honey took the top spot at the Rock format with debut single "When I'm Gone," the buzz got loud. The band, managed by Mark DiDia at Red Light and repped by UTA, has racked up north of 5m streams for its self-titled EP and left a trail of wreckage after performances at Heavy MTL, Sonic Temple and other rock fests. Now the quartet's new single, "Rolling 7s," has dropped with an accompanying video, which you can check out below. The band is currently on the road and will hit Louisville's Louder Than Life with Guns N' Roses, Ice Cube and more on 9/28.


 
 
THE LION LENDS A HAND


Following the cancellation of their Terminal 5 show—due to a storage-room fire that caused some damage (no human harm, though)—Cletus The Van/Caroline alt act Judah & The Lion decided to use their spare time to give back.

The band teamed up with NY Common Party, the charity that "reduces hunger and promotes dignity, health and self-sufficiency."

"Very bummed that the show was canceled tonight, but we want to make the most of our time in the city," the band shared on socials. "We are partnering with NY Common Pantry for a food drive! If you were planning on coming to the show— think about coming and hanging with us here and help if you're able to. Please bring some food items to the pantry or make a monetary donation if you can! ...We will be there from 4-6p and would love some help loving on this amazing city. Address is 8 East 109th Street. See you there!"

As volunteers, their duties included manning stations at the soup kitchen and serving locals in need.

What mensches. 

The rest of their tour dates can be found here.


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 10/18/19
posted 9/23/19
posted 9/23/19
posted 9/10/19
posted 5/31/19
posted 5/17/19