Adventures in Radioland

Last year, when the BF and I bought our house, we purchased a new car to go along with it (the house isn’t exactly within walking distance of the nearest downtown-bound bus stop). Beings as we had just bought a house and had no money, we settled on a used truck. I was then overcome with the urge to start listening to country music.

Fortunately, the urge passed quickly. But the truck sits outside, where it’s quite easy to break in to, so leaving CDs in the truck is a Very Bad Idea. As my commute to the park and ride is about ten minutes, it also doesn’t make sense. So I listen to the radio.

My local station (The End) is one I’ve been listening to since middle school, and they’ve had their ups and downs. Firing DJ No Name was definitely a down. A very big down. And despite their new “less commercials, less often” directive, I still find myself changing the station any time they start playing Big Data or that horrible, fucking awful song by Lonely Island. Seriously, half the time I can’t tell if the song is new or if it’s from the 80’s. It’s like the 80’s threw up all over mainstream rock lately. It’s gross and my ears are not happy.

Totally makes it sound like I can’t find anything to listen to, doesn’t it?

Believe me, there’s plenty out there. Some singles in the last six months or so have already made it onto playlists (KONGOS “Come With Me Now”; Vance Joy’s “Riptide” – which I sing along to every single time it comes on). There’s Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”, an absolutely gorgeous anthem with a heartbreaking video to match. One of the lines from the chorus, I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife, is the epigraph for Game of Shadows. His debut was released earlier this month, and he’s playing a sold out show in Seattle tomorrow, and coming back in February to play an even bigger venue.

The End has two pretty awesome features – the Gimme 5 at 5, counting down the most requested songs of the day, and Discover and Download. I first heard Mikky Ekko’s “Smile” on the Gimme 5 and fell in love immediately. A beautiful, almost hopeful melody with some pretty damn depressing lyrics (Smile/The worst is yet to come/We’ll be lucky if we ever see the sun) it sticks in your head and you kinda don’t want to boot it out. Same with Meg Myers’s “Desire”. Slinky and dark in a way that reminds me of The Duke Spirit, there’s this guitar riff right in the middle that reminds me of something straight out of a rock ballad from the early 90’s.

Sometimes listening to the radio is the only way I know when one of my favorite bands has a new album coming out. I think my jaw just about dropped when I heard TV on the Radio’s “Happy Idiot” as the Discover and Download song a few weeks ago, because I don’t ever remember The End playing TOTTR before. Not even “Wolf Like Me”, one of their more accessible songs. “Happy Idiot” continues along the same lines they started out with on Nine Types of Light, the songs more radio-friendly, but I don’t fuckin’ care. It’s TV ON THE FUCKIN’ RADIO, people. One of the most original and creative bands playing today.

Speaking of which, alt-J falls into that same category. Their new single, “Left Hand Free” has this sweet, laid-back vibe to it, and it makes me happy every time it comes on. So does Royal Blood’s “Figure It Out”, which, while it isn’t very laid-back, is reminiscent of 70’s rock.

The other fab place to get new music? The Blacklist. I’ve heard some kickass songs on this show in the last year, and the premier of season two promised more awesomeness. This time it came in the form of “No Sugar In My Coffee” by Caught A Ghost. They call themselves indie soul, and it definitely fits. It’s like they pulled “Sugar” up by its Southern-fed roots and tossed it in a blender with techno, and presto, instant cool.

Want to hear all these songs, plus a few more, in the same place? I put them on a playlist over on Spotify. And send me songs! I’m always on the hunt for great new music.

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