SONY PARTS WAYS WITH DR. LUKE
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Kendrick continues. (4/26a)
CHART BATTLE BREWING?
Stapleton vs. Logic: it's on. (4/26a)
Beyonce the benefactor. (4/26a)
411 ON THE 6-1-5
Shania's got a new album. (4/26a)
By Karen Glauber
April 1 was the anniversary of two milestones: My 27th anniversary at HITS (aka “the career cul-de-sac”) and my 25th sober birthday. From what I can remember, my first two years were spent either at my desk or hiding underneath it. Klonopin is what finally did me in—I was a trendsetter with a full-blown benzo addiction years before most rehabs had a clue how treat the detox and recovery. Rehab was certainly memorable, and an experience I choose to never repeat. Chris Whitley visited, clearly under the influence, and serenaded me with his guitar. R.E.M. sent flowers, as did many other work associates, until my room (which I shared with one of the American Gladiators, whose nose was blown out from coke) resembled a morgue. After 30 sleepless days and nights, I emerged, looking like a praying mantis and completely “shut down” from detoxing too quickly (I could put a cigarette out on my arm and not feel it).
In the early months of recovery, I was resolutely unwilling to accept that there was a power greater than myself. Not that I thought that I was all that great, mind you, but I’m a wee bit Type A (which sobriety has yet to quell). Someone suggested using gravity as my higher power, which seemed too obtuse for my very literal mind to wrap my head around. Instead, I chose Patti Smith as the embodiment of true grace, strength, talent and female power. Horses was my 12x12 and, later, Just Kids became my bible. Since Patti’s “comeback” after the death of her husband, I haven’t missed an L.A. show. This is my version of church, and her 4/5 show at the Teragram Ballroom was no exception. I’m grateful for my job, my sobriety, my kid, and for the opportunity to break new artists, regardless of how difficult you radio programmers make it for us…
FACTS DON’T LIE (unless you’re the President): Spoon’s latest single, “Hot Thoughts,” hit 5 million streams on Spotify April 6. This far exceeds the streaming numbers for most every other songs you’re playing, like Dreamers and Andrew McMahon, for example. I know that your playlist is almost wholly made up of bands playing your radio show, but there has to be an exception made for artists like Spoon! Taking the macro view: Why should bands that can command a significant payday at festivals be penalized because their summer touring plans don’t coincide with your radio show? Why not make the commitment now and reap the benefit of the band’s ability to sell tickets for your Xmas show? I’ve been told multiple times in the past few weeks that my priorities and your priorities are not the same, to which I answer that our priorities are, in fact, identical, if keeping our jobs remains high on both of our lists. Or, as 27 years at HITS might suggest, it’s in my best interest to do right by your radio station and the artists on whose behalf I toil…
I invited 98.7 PD Mike Kaplan to a show, but I wouldn’t tell him where we were going or whom we were going to see. On the rare nights when I’m not wrestling my son to do his homework, I would much rather watch Vanderpump Rules and order Postmates than go out and see bands. At SXSW or Coachella, I’ll willingly stay out until the last note, but not so much on a school night. Knowing this, Mike agreed to this “blind date,” although his best efforts at advance detective work revealed nothing.
After dinner, we arrived at the Echoplex and I introduced him to an artist named Dario and his manager Jesse. The venue was packed with an attractive crowd of music savvy early adopters, dance kids and twenty-something males. Yeah, I was old enough to be their mom, but I was the one hugging Dario (oh, is he gorgeous!) and not them. Way past my bedtime, he introduced himself as Youngr and proceeded to play a succession of instruments: Keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, plus triggered samples, with his brother and another bandmember on stage filling out the parts. The soon-to-be hit “Out of My System” was the crowd-pleaser (it’s at 24mil Spotify streams, fwiw), and 98.7 and KKDO both added the record this week. Dario’s father, btw, is Kid Creole and the Coconuts founder August Darnell. “Cherchez la Femme,” darlings…
Caroline and Arts & Crafts—the Toronto-based independent artist services company—just announced a U.S. distribution partnership for Arts & Crafts Records, which will continue to be distributed in Canada by Universal Music Canada.
“We are extremely proud of our renewed partnership with Arts & Crafts," Caroline/Harvest Records General Manager Piero Giramonti said at lightning speed in between his daily fifth and sixth espresso shots. "They have consistently been the preeminent independent Canadian label, exhibiting impeccable taste throughout their history, with an unwavering commitment to artistry of the highest order. We are also psyched to begin our renewed relationship with the release of the new Broken Social Scene album, a set from the label's cornerstone artist (pictured)."
FYI, since its launch in 2002, A&C has gone on to release north of 130 albums from more than 70 artists, earning 24 Juno Awards and 10 Polaris Music Prize shortlist nominations.
…Or, as I call it, just another day in the music business. In honor of yesterday’s “protest,” I asked my female coworkers to wear red (it hadn’t occurred to any of us to take the day off) and join me for lunch (paid for by the bosses) in the HITS conference room. Some of the women gathered hadn’t been born when I started at HITS nearly 27 years ago. THIS is what the “career cul-de-sac” looks like, ladies. I’m big on five-year plans, even if I’ve never had one for myself. I asked my colleagues to set short-term and long-range goals for themselves. I’m my own harshest critic, but even I would follow the advice I offered, which included:
(1) BE THE MENTOR YOU WISH YOU HAD: I “came up” in the business without female (or male) guidance—I flailed until I figured it out. Women in the music business (and elsewhere) are frequently made to feel disrespected, demeaned and excluded by their colleagues, and it’s important for them to know that we have their back(s).
(2) IF YOU WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN, DO IT: Many women’s careers are penalized once they become mothers. While there’s never a perfect balance between career and parenthood, do not let anyone talk you out of it. I had my son at 47 (I certainly don’t recommend waiting that long), and where there’s the proverbial way, you can figure it out. Or, as Lenny advised me during one of our many conversations about whether or not I could do both, “There are stupider people than you who have both a career and a child.”
(3) MANAGE UP: This advice was courtesy of my coworker Michelle Santosuosso, along with the equally sage counsel of “Don’t shit where you eat” (self-explanatory)…
On Monday, I’ll be heading to Austin for my 31st SXSW. I was among the few hundred who attended the first one, and, at this rate, they’ll have to pry my cold, dead body away from the last one. My favorite band Spoon will be headlining SXSW’s first-ever residency, with three consecutive nights at the old Emo’s. I’ll be there for each of those nights; 1am set time be damned. Their new album Hot Thoughts will be out on March 17, hence the added fanfare of the band being in their city of origin for release date…
Every year, a band emerges from SXSW as the clear “buzz band,” such as Wolf Alice, The Lumineers, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Veruca Salt, The Strumbellas, Aurora, Jack Garratt, Broken Bells and Hozier, to name a few. This year, without question, Sundara Karma will be the band cited as everybody’s new favorite. Where they go, there I’ll be… My other SXSW must-sees include Lo Moon (oh, swoon), Youngr, Zipper Club, In the Valley Below, Bishop Briggs and, of course, the Big Star “3” performance…
I rarely travel in the Alternative Radio wolf pack in Austin. It isn’t personal—I just prefer to follow my own itinerary. OK, yes, it’s personal. Although, after granting Columbia’s Brady Bedard “plus one” status at last year’s Iggy Pop/QOTSA show, he’s now welcome to tag along. He’ll be celebrating Rag’N’Bone Man’s ascension to #1 at Alternative with “Human,” and I’ll be there to remind him that he’s #1 because Ted and I “let” The Lumineers drop to #2. His Dreamcar single, “Kill for Candy” was Most Added this week. Maybe they’ll be the most successful band to lose a lead singer since Joy Division morphed into New Order (I refuse to acknowledge that Genesis existed once Peter Gabriel departed)…
I absolutely love “Green Light,” the new Lorde single. I hope radio stops overthinking whether or not it’s “Alternative” and let the song reach its rightful place at #1. I’m the (self-appointed) arbiter of whether or not a song is right for the format, and I declare it so….
Please find me in Austin. I’ll definitely show up for the panel I’m moderating on Thursday at 2pm. This will be my umpteenth annual songwriters panel/performance, with a stellar lineup that includes Britt Daniel from Spoon, Mac McCaughan from Superchunk/Merge Records, Matthew Caws from Nada Surf, Chris Stamey from The dB’s/Big Star 3, Mike Mills from R.E.M. and an array of surprise guests. Despite the moderator, it’s always a SXSW highlight for those who attend. Say hi: Karen.Glauber@hitsmagazine.com
By Karen Glauber
Thirty years ago today, on the occasion of my twin sister’s wedding (to a current editor of Billboard, I might add), my father had a heart attack and dropped dead. The wedding ceremony/luncheon was held at a stately penthouse ballroom on the Columbia University campus, complete with a wraparound view of upper NYC and the Hudson River. This mostly family gathering was to be followed by a “friends” reception at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, where Yo La Tengo, Antietam, Great Plains and Salem 66 were scheduled to play. My father was 55 (my current age) and I was 25.
I had just moved to L.A., lured by the promise of being able to sign Robyn Hitchcock, to replace my departing boss Mark Williams (currently President of A&R at Columbia Records) at A&M Records. My father and I didn’t know each other very well, but he loved that I worked for Herb Alpert and that I was in “showbiz” (which meant he had to occasionally supplement my $400/week salary).
The opening lyric to The Lumineers’ “Cleopatra” sums up how one unexpected incident can change the course of your life: “I was Cleopatra, I was young and an actress/When you knelt by my mattress, and asked for my hand/But I was sad you asked it, as I laid in a black dress/With my father in a casket, I had no plans.” In my father’s honor, there’s a yarhzeit candle flickering in my peripheral vision, and I’ve been listening to Whipped Cream & Other Delights on Spotify…
I’m too Type-A to wax poetic about what “might have been.” Besides, that would mean I’d have to take my steely-eyed focus away from RealTime Mediabase, which will be my constant companion (or nemesis) until Saturday night. Will “Cleopatra” unseat Green Day’s “Still Breathing” at #1, making them one of very few artists (and certainly the only indie-label artist, at least in the Mediabase era) to have the first two singles from each of their debut and sophomore albums reach #1? [Ed note: "Cleopatra" has indeed hit #1 since this column was written.] Ted and I are still incredulous that there are six stations that WON’T play this record. It’s what keeps me awake at night (plus well-placed fear of the impending apocalypse)—when empirical evidence AND my best efforts still prove futile.
In the throes of insomnia, my favorite lyric from “Cleopatra” plays on repeat in my head: “But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life/And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die I’ll be on time.” I’ve always expressed myself through the lyrics of others—somewhere in the attic is an AP English paper that used the lyrics to Billy Joel’s “Vienna” to make my thesis…
While Mike DePippa and I were going through Republic and Island’s most recent and upcoming releases, he remarked that with the label group’s roster, which includes Lorde, Bishop Briggs, Phantogram, Marian Hill, Grace Mitchell, Florence + the Machine and Misterwives, “The Future Is Female” should be emblazoned on every piece of label merch. I’m sure at least a few of our radio friends (thankfully) would be proud to wear a T-shirt with that sentiment. Mike and Amanda had a spectacular first week with Incubus’ “Nimble Bastard” and continue to find believers for Mondo Cozmo’s “Shine” (which I’ll finally get to hear live during next week’s L.A. show)…
These are the songs I believe, with every fiber of my being, will be massive hits: Sundara Karma, “She Said”; The xx, “On Hold”; Spoon, “Hot Thoughts”; Lo Moon, “Loveless”; The Strumbellas, “Young & Wild”; and Cold War Kids, “Love Is Mystical.” The hit potential of these songs won’t necessarily be realized after 150 spins (75% in the overnights), so stay the course…
I’ve been obsessed for months with Youngr’s “Out of My System,” which will soon be released on Island. For the uninitiated, Youngr is U.K. artist Dario Darnell, whose father, August Darnell, fronted Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Youngr reminds me of Robert DeLong and Jack Garratt with his one-man-band approach (although his SXSW performances will include his brother). The music and performance both feel very modern to me—I’m excited for you to hear/see it. Let’s hang out at SXSW: firstname.lastname@example.org