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FREEDOM NOW AND OTHER JAMS, PT. 2
Marveling at Miles. (2/24a)
BILLIE'S GOT AN ALBUM READY FOR RELEASE
We now know how she spent her lockdown. (2/24a)
BLACK MUSIC COLLECTIVE SLATES GRAMMY WEEK EVENT
A first for the Academy's new group. (2/24a)
SPOTIFY GOES HIFI, BARACK & BRUCE BOW
The Bruce & Barack Show is available on demand. (2/23a)
FREEDOM NOW AND OTHER JAMS, PT. 1
Social justice through the lens of jazz (2/23a)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
A jazz chronicle of fighting the power.
GRAMMYS: WHERE TO FROM HERE?
After the snubs, the show.
ACQUITTED
In a phenomenal display of cowardice.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
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POST TOASTED
ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING

By Karen Glauber

Happy New Year! I have COVID! Since the pandemic began, I’ve been made fun of for never leaving the house—no grocery stores, no outdoor dining—or having repair people or anyone else over. All it took was my son’s father to infect my son, who infected me. (My ex continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.) My son is thankfully 100% better. As for me, I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I wake up. Still, I got lucky; I never had breathing problems, a fever, a cough or any of the symptoms that land people in the hospital. Lingering loss of taste and smell, a pervasive headache and brain fog aren’t much fun, but it will get better, eventually.

Since we last connected, Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee went to #1 with Cannons’ “Fire for You,” which is a wonderful achievement for a brand new band. To recap, the song was first added at KKDO Sacramento after PD Andy Hawk heard it on the Netflix series Never Have I Ever in May. Shazams and streams ensued. Alt Nation added it, still unsigned, on 7/21. Columbia Records jumped in soon after, and now the band’s debut single is #1 thanks to the tireless efforts of Lisa and Darice.

Andy, refusing to be content with just one hit on his CV, chose The Backseat Lovers’ “Kilby Girl” in August as his next pick. He follows the aforementioned Alt Nation (where “Kilby Girl” is currently #1) as the song’s spin leader with over 600 spins. KKDO’s fantastic research on “Kilby Girl” has been the catalyst for other Entercom stations to come on board; Mick Music’s Amy Kaplan has tenaciously grown the record to its near-Top 20 status. A new add from WRFF was a joy to behold this week—how can you not give a shot to a song from a Salt Lake City indie band that has 55 million cumulative spins?

Speaking of Andy Hawk, his third pick to click is Mod Sun’s “Flames” f/Avril Lavigne on Big Noise Records. Mod, as his BFF MGK calls him, co-wrote the latter’s #1 Alt single “bloody valentine.” He connected with Avril through his producer and label co-head John Feldmann, whose tenure as lead singer in the band Goldfinger conjures up fond memories for all. I checked in with my favorite “emo kid” still in the Alternative demo, Caroline’s Marisa DiFrisco, who assured me, “This is SOOOOOO emo. Hahaha; I’m not mad at it. You can pick out that it’s Avril immediately.” The “Flames” video, released last Friday, is already at 3.6 million views, and the song hit 4.7 million Spotify streams today. If your career is based on being right, this is your next hit.

What an absolute thrill to have Lisa Worden choose Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto” as the first iHeart “On the Verge” pick in ages! So what if the song was released in April? NOW is Phoebe’s moment. She has four Grammy nominations, an SNL appearance on 2/6 and a reputation as one of the funniest and most insightful observers of pop culture on social media: traitor joe @phoebe_bridgers 1/14: “I definitely had Tucker Carlson pretending to know who Ariel Pink is on my 2021 bingo card.” Longtime fan Bryce Segall at Entercom was instrumental in getting “Kyoto” added at WNYL, along with ongoing exposure via the radio group’s national programming. Bri Aab at Secretly Canadian is about to have a huge Alternative hit!

RE: Grammy noms, Black Pumas are everywhere! Alternative radio is following suit, with airplay on “Colors” at KROX, WWCD, WLUM, WKZQ and KRXP, among others. Like National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Black Pumas will be playing the Super BowlNick Petropoulos, now at Arista, has the format’s most reactive song with carolesdaughter’s “Violent,” currently blowing out all competition with 1 million streams PER DAY. This song is the REAL gift that keeps on giving!


 
 
G-L-O-R-I-A

By Karen Glauber

On Nov. 10, 1975, Patti Smith released her debut album Horses, which is still, 45 years later, one of the five albums that “define” me. Should there be any question of her ongoing relevance, one of the most-shared social-media posts from Election Day was a video of Patti and her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye performing “People Have the Power” on a street corner in NYC. My son overheard the song as I was watching the video, loved it and added it to his Spotify playlist. Thus, the legacy of one of the most important artists of my lifetime continues.

Will your audience be as passionate about Machine Gun Kelly as they are now in 20 years? How about in a year from now? Maybe not, but who cares? I hope that every artist I work with has a sustainable, influential career—whether it’s The Lumineers, AJR or beabadoobee, to name a few, I am confident that their art is impactful on the Alternative audience. Apple Music just made beabadoobee its “Up Next” artist, which will involve a late-night TV look next week.

Still, the balance of art and commerce is spectacularly off-kilter in the midst of the pandemic. Without commerce, there is no opportunity to expose art to the masses. The #1 goal of the Alternative format should be to stay on the air. The #1 goal of my radio and label friends (and myself) is to keep our jobs. We lost WFUZ in Wilkes-Barre this week, although we gained a new station, WNWV, located in my old stomping grounds of Elyria, Ohio. Alternative radio ratings are all over the place, and my ongoing belief that we should be developing artists for the “future” is a luxury at this stage of the game. You’ve heard me quote Lenny’s adage “There are still 10 records in the Top 10” a million times.

Alternative radio has become a reflection of culture, rather than the influencer of culture, and that’s how it needs to be right now. Still, for every streaming or TikTok record that bounds up the chart, there are hits emerging from the passion of programmers—Cannons’ “Fire for You” was signed by Columbia because Andy Hawk added it after hearing it used on the Netflix show Never Have I Ever and it showed up in Shazam after the first spin. Now, the song is nearing Top 5, and the metrics continue to demonstrate that it’s a smash.

Besides Cannons, the Top 10 has first-time Alt hits from Wallows, Peach Tree Rascals, Day Glow, Royal & the Serpent and Juice WRLD. This week, Lisa Worden added Island artist Remi Wolf’s “Hello Hello Hello” (Polo & Pan Remix), which is featured in Apple’s massive iPhone12 campaign and is already #2 on Shazam’s Discovery chart. How exciting! Also noteworthy is the new Bakar single, “1st Time,” pulling in 15 adds before impact week. Christine Chiappetta and Epic’s Rick Sackheim are leading the charge.

My son and I watched Foo Fighters on SNL this past weekend, and we loved it. Admittedly, I lost his attention while I was explaining how the new single “Shame Shame” was influenced by David Bowie’s “Fame,” since he is teetering on thinking that everything I have to offer is boring. And he’s the only other human I see these days—what fun! Anyway, a new Foo Fighters single deserves a shot at Alternative radio, and I expect “Shame Shame,” like every other Foo Fighters single, will go to #1, especially since the most-played artists at the format in 2020 include Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, blink-182, Linkin Park, and yes, Foo Fighters and Nirvana.

Nerf at KTCL added Saint Nomad’s “Nothing to Lose” on Curb this week. I have a strong sense that this song could be a hit.

My favorite new song of the week is “Change” by Pale Waves, whose sophomore record on Dirty Hit will be out in February.

While we ride the wave of insanity until our newly elected President is acknowledged as such, let’s support each other, keep ourselves healthy and hope that a night of interrupted sleep is in our near future.


 
 
I THINK IT’S GOING TO RAIN TODAY

By Karen Glauber

How are we going to get through these last few days before Nov. 3 without imploding? Oh yeah, and Mercury is deeply in retrograde, which is why my phone dies at least twice during every call and the shift key on this laptop stopped working this morning. It’s the musical distractions that power me through: Julian (my 12-year-old) and I danced in the kitchen during last week’s Glass Animals virtual concert—did you happen to notice when singer Dave Bayley dropped a ballot into a mailbox prior to “Tangerine?”

Tomorrow, I’m going to bend the rules on screen time for both of us so that we can watch Billie Eilish’s Where Do We Go: The Livestream. Thankfully, there are opportunities to feel connected to our passion for live music through these virtual experiences

I hope you will join me in giving Marisa DiFrisco from Caroline a virtual standing ovation for being #1 and #2 Most Added this week with Shaed’s fantastic new single “No Other Way” and Clairo’s monster smash “Sophia.” “The student has become the master,” read my text to Marisa on Tuesday, resisting the urge to call her Grasshopper.

 The most essential format-exclusive records right now are by female artists: Cannons’ “Fire for You” is #8 in Shazam in Los Angeles, single sales kicked in huge and cumulative streams are responding to airplay. Seriously, this record is yours and yours alone, so treat it with the reverence it deserves.

New York magazine proclaimed in a headline: “beabadoobee Is a Rock Star.” One by one, programmers are falling in love with her. “Care,” is now Top 20, and I expect callout to kick in soon. Of course, there’s no callout right now because there’s nothing else that sounds like it on the radio. The Mscores, however, are fantastic in airplay markets, which would seem to indicate that the Alternative audience is happy to hear “Care” on the radio. I can think of (at least) a dozen core format artists that radio didn’t want to play at the beginning.

My job, as I’ve chosen to define it, is to introduce new artists into the mainstream, with every ounce of passion and data in my arsenal. To be honest, some weeks are completely discouraging because the task seems insurmountable. Why wouldn’t radio embrace a new Alternative artist who has 825k Instagram followers with 30% engagement? Seems obvious, right?

Romy’s “Lifetime” is the Entercom “Pick of the Week” commencing 10/26. It’s profound exposure for a truly incredible song—I expect that programmers will love how it sounds on the air… Meg Myers’ newest single, “Any Way You Wanna Love,” is a one-listen add for her myriad programmer fans, especially on the heels of her #1 hit, “Running Up That Hill.” We all love Meg. You will all play this song.

Many of the songs that programmers are gravitating toward are TikTok hits and are fully launched in the marketplace before radio jumps on board. Two thoughts come to mind: Now that TikTok is being used to market classic artists—like Stevie Nicks’ recent appearance on the platform, which followed Mick Fleetwood’s “response” clip to the viral video that reignited Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”—is TikTok over? I know that its appeal is key among the 12-and-under crowd, but will the Boomers forsake Facebook for TikTok? Where will radio find its hits? How about a scenario where radio (all formats) develops its own hits from the ground up again? How much fun would that be!

The #1 best-selling song on the iTunes Alternative chart is “Bang!” by AJR, which is also #7 on the U.S. Shazam chart. An Alternative rock band broke this year—why wouldn’t you play the new format-exclusive single “Bummerland?”

Cheryl Broz at Curb has a wonderful record she’s working by a band called Saint Nomad. Give a listen to “Nothing to Lose.”

Please Vote. Please. Vote.


 
 
FAKE IT FLOWERS

By Karen Glauber

Every Monday, I read my fearless leader Lenny’s positive take on the new normal: Workouts! Haircut! Golf! Conversations! Confidence! Such leadership! I can do this, I think, and then the kid starts freaking out because the Wi-Fi isn’t working and Trump just tweeted yet another thing that triggers my anxiety, and then it’s off to the races. I’ve read every article on “doomscrolling” (of which I am guilty), and maybe I should just accept that there’s nothing more I can do right now to change the outcome on Nov. 3, except maybe pray to my higher power (aka Patti Smith). I take a deep breath: The kid and I are healthy, and I’ll always have your back, my label and radio friends, no matter what.

In Sunday’s New York Times, beabadoobee offers her solution for dealing with stress: “I do this thing every night that I feel everyone has to do: Dance in front of your mirror in your underpants,” she said. “It’s an amazing way to make yourself feel happy. I put on Veruca Salt and I rock out.” She nodded toward the mirror on the sliding doors of her own bedroom closet. “I wanted to make something like that so girls can do the exact same thing.” What makes me happy is seeing how well “Care” is doing at Alternative radio—almost Top 20, with weekly U.S. artist streams nearing 2 million a week! Her debut album, Fake It Flowers, is out on 10/16, and, without question, 20-year-old beabadoobee is one of the most visible new Alternative artists on a global scale. At some point in 2021 (please, Patti Smith, make it happen), Bea will be on tour with The 1975, and I can’t wait for you to meet her.

My other favorite song right now is “Fire for You” by Cannons, which is already Top 20, thanks to Lisa Sonkin and Darice Lee’s passion, as well as an extraordinary Shazam story. Massive props to KKDO’s Andy Hawk for being the first programmer to recognize this song’s potential—he’s become one of the true tastemakers for the format. “What does Andy think?” is a question I hear daily from promotion people. Lisa and Darice are also Top 10 in audience with 24kGldn, and they have another streaming phenom on their hands with Ritt Momney’s cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.”

The song I want to dance (clothed) in front of the mirror to is Romy’s “Lifetime,” which Risa Matsuki and BT have just launched. Romy, for the unaware, is the singer of The xx, and “Lifetime” is the best musical mood-changer I’ve heard since March.

Marisa DiFrisco at Caroline, whom I adore, is Top 10 with Judah & the Lion’s “Beautiful Anyway,” which is a fantastic achievement for both the band and the label. As Ted and I constantly assure our promo partners: Great songs will find an audience. “Just work the record,” Ted advises, while I adhere to Lenny’s wisdom: “There are 10 records in the Top 10.” Why shouldn’t your record be one of them? This week, Clairo’s new smash, “Sofia,” is going for adds at Alternative. The song is already over 8 million streams per week, so this is a veritable GIFT to programmers. You can thank your Caroline friends by adding it this week. Also on deck is new music from Shaed—“Trampoline” is still averaging 1,000 weekly spins at the format, so the new single will be an automatic.

I’ve been thinking about music that makes me happy, and, besides the Pippin soundtrack from 1972 (John Rubinstein singing “Corner of the Sky”—what is better than that?), I can’t stop listening to Phoenix’s “Identical.” On the rare occasion when I venture out of the house, I need this song, as well as Glass Animals’ “Tangerine” to guide me.

The promotion story of this endless year is Bakar’s “Hell N Back,” which finally went Top 10 after 439 weeks on the chart. Maybe it’s “only” been 39 weeks, but Epic’s Rick Sackheim and his team refused to give up, including taking the song to #1 at Triple A. Bravo!

SONG TO HEAR: AJR’s “Bummerland”… And please, friends, VOTE!


 
 
Post Toasted Index
posted 11/13/20
posted 10/12/20
posted 5/26/20
posted 5/9/20
posted 4/27/20