Once upon a time...at Yasgur's farm (8/16a)
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Ted Volk (my better half at HITS) and I are obsessed with the Florence + the Machine’s first single from How Big How Blue How Beautiful. We are rarely in love with the same songs—Ted’s taste is on point with most Modern Rock PDs, which is why he’s the best at what he does, while I scoot on the margins, grateful if I never hear another Red Hot Chili Peppers song or “Geronimo” again in my lifetime. Ted calls me an “Outlier”—he must’ve read a few Malcolm Gladwell books—although I immediately think of a song of that title from the latest Spoon record. Speaking of Spoon (who, me?), Lazlo is playing “Inside Out” in Power, and says the call-out warrants it. Lynn Barstow just moved it up in rotation, as well. What do they know that you don’t?...

I know that I have a kid at home with pneumonia, and I haven’t been vomited on this much since that night at the Iroquois Hotel in 1983. Once I had my son Julian (named after Julian Cope) at the tender age of 47, I felt like my heart had permanently attached itself outside of my chest. Weirdly enough, I hear music differently (sleep deprivation?), and although my job would be infinitely easier if every band I work with delivered a radio-friendly four-on-the-floor “stomper” with every record, it’s songs like “Peaches” by In the Valley Below and “Black Mambo” by Glass Animals that get to me. I want to listen to slinky songs in a minor key (“D-minor is the saddest of all keys”—Spinal Tap) and, well, feel something.

Here’s the thing: Modern Rock radio is good for maybe 5,000 singles a week without the benefit of a sync (X Ambassadors), airplay on other formats or other mitigating factors (iTunes front-page placement is a massive sales boost). Anything over 1,500 singles/week signifies that the song is a “something” in today’s climate. When programmers tell promo reps that the song can’t be a hit on their radio station without a visible sync (a daily conversation), are they acknowledging that they’ve given up as “New Music Leaders”? With the majority of stations refusing to even consider a song until it’s Top 20, how are we supposed to break new bands? Let’s just assume that only a handful of records every year will be true “smashes,” so now tell me which records you want to add and I’ll tell you which ones “matter.”

Ron Cerrito and Amanda Walk will break James Bay. That is a given. Cold War Kids’ “First” deserves to be a hit. Anything alt-J releases should get a shot because they’re the band that can sell out Madison Square Garden without your help. Whether or not I like them is beside the point. Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” sounds like Wanda Jackson, and I encourage radio to embrace female artists that are badass, like Elle and Courtney Barnett and Matt & Kim and Best Coast and Sleater-Kinney and Wolf Alice and fuck yeah, Fifth Harmony (“Worth It” is an ANTHEM), because I want this generation of women to feel empowered and not just entitled. Listen to the women on your staff—they’re the ones who determine the hits…

As you know, Garett Michaels has left the building at KNDD Seattle, just as the station hit its five-year ratings peak. His future, although unknown, remains bright. In the meantime, our longtime friend Leslie Scott is in the “Acting PD” role, with support from Programming Ace Dave Richards and musical savants Manley and Pepper. Charese Fruge has left Las Vegas for the VP Programming/OM gig at CBS Houston, overseeing six stations. Former Live105 jack-of-all-trades Miles Anzaldo has moved to Minneapolis to do nights at Go 96.3, joining his former San Francisco roommate Derek Madden in the Twin Cities, where they can attend concerts as each other’s plus-ones, without working for the same company…

On May 19, you will add the follow-up to Modest Mouse’s first #1 in 11 years. The song is called “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box,” and Ted thinks it’s an even better single than “Lampshades on Fire.” Here’s to another #1!...

Ask Rob Goldklang about Phases. I’m obsessed. I’m also deeply, passionately in love with Coasts’ “Oceans,” which Bill Carroll and Howard P. will break this year… Unless Fifth Harmony has any interest in adding a 50-something dork to their lineup and changing their name to Sixth Harmony, you can find me here: Karen.Glauber@hitsmagazine.com

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