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iGEN by Ted Volk
The Place Where Radio and Records come Together Without Talking


When I started doing National Alt promotion a long time ago, the concept of getting songs going was somewhat simple. The West Coast played the lead actor role. It usually got going by KROQ-Los Angeles first and then spread from Seattle to San Diego. There were a few East Coast stations that you could go to, but the West Coast was paramount. This is how Music Discovery got rolling back then.

The West Coast had the cool record stores, the indie magazines and the venues. Even growing up in Rochester, NY I was able to find a couple of places where I could buy all my 12-inch imports of my favorite bands—New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode and The Cult. My kids didn’t get that experience. What’s better I ask? Having Spotify and or Apple Music at your fingertips or going to your local store hoping they’ve heard of a new band called the Bronski Beat? I don’t know that answer. I was always on the music discovery search. I was fascinated seeing how bands like Tears for Fears—who were so huge in the U.K. but still unknown to America audience—would break in the States. I was ahead of the curve as most of these artists were already happening elsewhere but being a DJ at a local club was amazing. I was playing all of these incredible songs months before the local radio stations. It was a major rush.

Nowadays, the roles have all been reversed. Everyone is on a level playing field. It doesn’t matter if you are in Fort Wayne, IN or L.A. The internet is the great equalizer. Everyone has the same access right away and there are no delays with information. The thing is… music discovery is very much still alive and well.

It’s wonderful to see a new generation of artists break out. If a new artist is selling thousands of tickets somewhere or streaming a million in a week, let’s make friends with it. I highly doubt we are going to see many artists break when they are 40 years old. The vast majority of the classic rock we hear today were all started by a bunch of 24-year-olds. I can’t wait to see what this generation of 24-year-olds are going to do! Here are a few on the Alt chart or about to be a part of the conversation.

Lovejoy’s “Call Me What You Like” (AWAL)
Formed in 2021, the British indie outfit Lovejoy—made up of Wilbur, Ash, Mark & Joe—already count more than 700m global streams and a colossal 30m fans across their social media. They are the renaissance of your favorite noughties band, harnessing a love affair with cheeky, satirical social commentary and overdriven, treble-topped guitars. Their storytelling and colloquial lyrics speak truthfully to their young, internet-crazed fans and helps navigate them through their complicated adolescence: from first loves to social agitation.

beabadoobee’s “the perfect pair” (Dirty Hit)
Born in the Philippines and raised in London, Beatrice Laus began recording music as beabadoobee in 2017. At just 23 years old, she has two acclaimed albums and five sonically diverse EPs under her belt, while also receiving BRIT Award and BBC Sound of nominations as well as won NME’s 2020 Radar award. She has accumulated 4.6b streams worldwide and has a 3m+ social reach. Beabadoobee has toured globally, supporting the likes of The 1975, Halsey and Clairo, and in 2022 played at festivals around the world, including Coachella, Glastonbury, Summer Sonic, Reading and Leeds and many more.

The Moss’ “Insomnia” (S-Curve/Hollywood)
This Utah-via-Hawaii group was born on the shores of Oahu in 2015, as teenage buddies Tyke James(vocals/guitar) and Addison Sharp (guitar) picked up gigs serenading diners at local taco trucks in between surf sessions. Naturally, their songs took shape in the spirit of the island, imbued with the joyfulness and breeziness of reggae culture yet cut with the introspection and communal spirit of mainland indie acts like Pinegrove and Cage the Elephant. No matter how listeners choose to interact with The Moss’s music, the band just hopes they feel something. It’s that kinetic relationship between band and audience that makes their live performances so compelling.

Letdown.’s “Crying in the Shower” (Big Loud)
Letdown. may have started as a pandemic project for Blake Coddington, but the Chicago/Nashville-based rocker is in a very different place in 2023. Having spent the last three years cultivating a fervent fanbase through a number of single releases and emerging as a striking live act—finally bringing his music into the physical lives of his online fans across several sold-out, headlining shows this past year— Coddington is rapidly growing his presence away from the Internet for the first time in Letdown.

New West’s “Those Eyes” (Republic)
Four individuals. One vision. Endless possibilities meet New West. Toronto-based “collective” is comprised of Kala Wita, Vella, Ben Key and Noel West. Their very first release, “Those Eyes,” with its lush lo-fi acoustic guitar, dreamy piano and lullaby melody, popped off on TikTok. It then translated to the streaming platforms where it has clocked in nearly 150m streams on Spotify.