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Monday, March 27, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #110

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Shooting At Unarmed Men
  • The Freak Accident
  • The Capes
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Graham Coxon
  • The Pipettes
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • The Clutters - Rock And Roll
  • DC Snipers - You Disappear Me
  • Matthew Dear - Tide
  • Todd Deatherage - Undone
  • dEUS - If You Don't Get What You Want
  • Editors - All Sparks
  • The Grates - Sukkafish
  • Guillemots - Who Left the Lights Off, Baby
  • The High Violets - Sun Baby
  • The Hot Springs - Cacodisco
  • Morrissey - I Just Want To See The Boy Happy
  • Noisettes - Don't Give Up
  • Protokoll - Moving Forward
  • Stereolab - 'Get A Shot Of The Refrigerator'
  • The Young Knives - Weekends and Bleak Days
Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust
  • Cabaret Voltaire - Sensoria
  • The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail
  • The Creatures - Right Now
  • Depeche Mode - New Life
  • Don Dixon - Praying Mantis
  • Godfathers - Cause I Said So
  • Peter Godwin - Baby's In The Mountains
  • Heaven 17 - Are Everything
  • Sexbeat - Sexbeat

Monday, March 20, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #109

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:

- Wonder Stuff, The
- Mike K
- Belle And Sebastian
- Baby Dayliner
- Neils Children
- Pearl Jam

Plus we've got newly-added music:

- About - Band Dynamics
- Antennas - Adapt!
- Battle - Tendency
- Graham Coxon - Gimme Some Love
- The Frauds - The Church Of Seduction & The Republic Of Business
- The Freak Accident - Chinese Phrasebook
- Kudu - Suite Life
- Letters & Colours - Confrontation
- Levy - Rotten Love
- The Rogers Sisters - Freight Elevator
- The Vals - When You Walk Into The Room
- Rocky Votolato - The Night's Disguise
- X Takes The Square - From Sex To Serious
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion
- Yes Bo$$ - Indie Kids

Our Newly-Added Classics:

- 999 - Action
- The Bongos - Zebra Club
- The Comsat Angels - Independence Day
- The Lucy Show - Ephemeral (This Is No Heaven)
- The Plimsouls - How Long Will It Take
- Prefab Sprout - Faron Young
- Red Rockers - China
- Patti Smith - Frederick
- Soft Cell - Tainted Love
- Sparks - Tips For Teens
- The Style Council - Speak Like A Child
- Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sabbath & The Pistols

Despite all of my reservations, this year's inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame were a pretty strong lot, all things considered. The problems with the process (for those who get inducted) is that there's a hefty amount of politics along with taste lobbyists and the dilemma of popularity.

So we ain't gonna see Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, MC5, Roxy Music, Mott The Hoople, Raspberries, Turtles, Hollies, or Patti Smith get inducted this year. Let's hope they get in before Duran Duran, but don't hold your breath. Especially for those pop bands. Their fate seems sealed by the Hall's debt to "serious" artists and their indifference to the margins.

But for a year where we finally get Sabbath and the Pistols, how much can one argue? Well, of course we can argue forever. But it was nice to get Sir Johnny Rotten back into the mix whilst classic footage of The Sex Pistols playing "Bodies" was being aired on CNN last night. I like that. Johnny's predictably tart remarks also made for fun sound bites.

So I'm a bit dewey eyed about the year I discovered the Sex Pistols and Blondie via Mike Lively and Charlie Valentine's record collection circa 1979. Of course I knew of the bands, but before I moved out of New Jersey I hadn't really heard much of Blondie and the Pistols weren't played on the radio. And nobody I knew was buying any of those punk rock records. Sure, I was slowly catching onto The Cars, but everything else was from another planet.

It's crazy to believe that I needed to move out of the metro area's suburban sprawl and into the nether regions of no-man's land upstate New York to hear what had been buzzing since 1977. Indirectly it all tied back into the new wave/punk scene that really got going in 1977 and reached up into Syracuse, NY where bands like The Flashcubes and The Ohms brought life into what was a region of pick-up trucks and corporate rock mania. Flashcubes drummer, Tommy Allen spent summers up on Lake Ontario and had a big influence on the 3 Mile Point shoreline where Mike Lively and uncle Jack Miller lived.

By 1979 Mike, Jack and Charlie were regularly hitting Syracuse for records and shows and by that summer I finally got to hear a good chunk of what I was missing. Cryptic and after the fact as it was, I heard stuff like The Vibrators, Nick Lowe, Adverts, The Records, and The Sex Pistols. I also caught on to '60s garage rock and psychedelia via Mike's copy of "Nuggets." Bands like The Knack, The Police and Cheap Trick broke on the radio, too.

Looking back, it is amazing how fast it was and how much cool stuff came out between 1977 and 1980. The enormous amount of brilliant new wave, punk and power pop singles is still staggering and the flood of energy is a memory to behold. And I never got to see it in the clubs. (A recent viewing of The Jam doing "In The City" and "Slow Down" live in 1977, from "The Complete Jam" DVD, was enough to make me drool with envy. This footage makes The Police sound like Pablo Cruise and actually out-blisters The Clash.)

Following the Ramones' lead, The Pistols' atom bomb was indeed just that. Blowing the U.K. wide open and giving kids a better idea of what they were capable of, albeit with too much nihilism that led to way too much stoopidity (L.A. got the worst of it), but with end results that justified the mean means. The post-punk years, despite the selling out of many, gave us a huge amount of goodies and hasn't really left us with loads of new bands rehashing and some reinvigorating the old tried and true M.O. It is amazing to know that such an odd sea change had many shifts in its current and despite a major sidetrip underground, has inevitably found its way into mainstream culture. Who woulda thunk that a CBGB t-shirt would be hout couture? Probably the same people who envisioned Ozzy Osbourne hanging with the President of the United States.

No future indeed.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #108

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • The Pigeon Detectives
  • Little Man Tate
  • The Black Neon
  • The Rakes
  • The Adored
  • Kubichek
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • About - Think Niles Drink
  • Baby Dayliner - Go On Baby
  • Brakes - What's In It For Me
  • The Essex Green - Dont Know Why (You Stay)
  • The Fiery Furnaces - Teach Me Sweetheart
  • GoodBooks - Walk With Me
  • Human Television - I Laughed
  • The Maccabees - Latchmere
  • Milosh - Couldn't Sleep
  • Mogwai - Folk Death 95
  • Pearl Jam - World Wide Suicide
  • The Pipettes - Your Kisses (Are Wasted On Me)
  • The Presets - Girl And The Sea (Cut Copy Remix)
  • Shooting At Unarmed Men - The Pink Ink
  • Sparks - Perfume
  • Steve Wynn - Bruises
  • The Wonder Stuff - Blah Blah Lah Di Dah
Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • The B-52's - Whammy Kiss
  • The Housemartins - Happy Hour
  • Tommy Keene - Places That Are Gone
  • Lemonheads - Mrs. Robinson
  • Madness - Night Boat To Cairo
  • Oingo Boingo - Only A Lad
  • The Police - Canary In A Coalmine
  • Propellerheads - Velvet Pants
  • Rancid - Ruby Soho
  • Way Of The West - City For Lovers

Monday, March 06, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #107

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • The Knife
  • The Kooks
  • Richard Ashcroft
  • The Orion Experience
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • The Pigeon Detectives
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • About - Strike You As The Enemy
  • The Adored - Chemistry
  • Ambulance, Ltd. - New English
  • Be Your Own PET - We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol
  • The Black Neon - TX81Z
  • The Capes - Tightly Wound
  • Graham Coxon - Standing On My Own Again
  • Foreign Islands - Fine Dining With The Future
  • Forward Russia! - Two
  • Islands - Where There's A Will, There's A Whalebone
  • Mike K - We Are The Ones (Infinity, No Give-Backs)
  • Neils Children - Another Day
  • Willie Nile - Welcome To My Head
  • The Rakes - All Too Human
  • Santa Dog - Rosa

Our Newly-Added Classics:

  • A Flock Of Seagulls - (It's Not Me) Talking
  • The Comsat Angels - (Do The) Empty House
  • The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl
  • Guadalcanal Diary - Always Saturday
  • Liquid Liquid - Cavern
  • Gary Numan - We Are Glass
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Messages
  • Graham Parker - Local Girls
  • Prodigy - Out Of Space
  • What Made Milwaukee Famous - Mercy Me

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Puree, Anyone?

A couple of weeks ago I journeyed to the UK for business. As with all my long plane trips, I made sure I had plenty to read. While waiting in the terminal, I decided to check out the newsstand to see if there were any interesting magazines. Normally Stiffy Biceptz doesn't read too many magazines, so it's a treat to buy myself a few for a trip. Looking over the music magazines, my gaze settled on a semi-provocative cover shot of Kelly Clarkson. Now I like Kelly Clarkson. She has a great voice, and I think she's fun. So I decided to pick up the magazine with Kelly on the cover. It was Blender...

As I flipped through the pages, a smile began to creep onto my face. As I read the captions to photos and the titles to articles, I found myself laughing out loud. It had been a long time since I had read such a sharp-witted music magazine that found ways to simultaneously celebrate and deflate the pop music scene with such enthusiasm. The snarky editors, the wise-ass captions to photos, where had I seen this all before??

Twenty six years ago as a high school kid I hung out in my local 7-11 with my friends on weekend nights, after or before going to a party, or just to get out of the house. There were always a few cool pinball machines to play, some interesting characters hanging around in the parking lot, and lots of magazines to look through. It was there I discovered Creem magazine, which at the time was the coolest, smartest music magazine around. It was Creem that helped lead me towards punk, new wave and alternative, and away from the classic rock of my youth. Creem had the best writers, covered a wide variety of music, and most importantly, didn,t take itself or the music scene too seriously. Creem was indeed the cream of the crop, and I rarely missed an issue from that point onward. Later that same year, I spent several nights at the Collingswood flea market picking up a lot of back issues going back as far as 1975. They are carefully stored in my basement.

Not long after the death of Lester Bangs in 1982, Creem faded from glory. It was retooled in the late 80's, but its time had come and gone. I never did look at rock magazines much after that. What was the point? They were all so serious, and so self-important.

Creem was famous for it's no-compromise style of critiquing bands, trends and the music scene in general. The letters to the editor section was largely an arena for the editors to make fun of and belittle the letter writers as being mostly a bunch of idiots, which was of course true. Few printed letters escaped without some smart-ass (but appropriate) response. The sarcastic captions to the numerous photos of countless bands were very funny, making the majority of artists pictured look like a bunch of self-indulgent idiots; most were. In every issue, famed music critic Robert Christgau would review a dozen or so recently released records which such literary flair that it is unlikely most readers of Creem could have understood what he was talking about. Fortunately at the end of each review he gave a simple letter grade. Everyone understood that -"A" meant it was great and that "F" meant it sucked. He rarely missed the mark.

Creem was all about skewering (while celebrating) the self-important pop music scene, and reminding us that it's all just entertainment and not to be taken too seriously. As I spent the next few hours reading my issue of Blender from cover to cover, I was happily reminded of the glory days of Creem and my discovery of so much great music.

It seems that the writers and editors of Blender have been possessed by the long departed spirit of Creem. They understand that its all about having fun. Boy Howdy!

Stiffy Biceptz is now a Blender subscriber. I recommend all of you follow suit.
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Welcome to, also available at and Here's where the remaining listeners of several fine radio stations have retreated, regrouped, and built a replacement strong enough to stand on its own. It builds on the independent legacy of New Jersey's FM106.3, New York's WPIX and WLIR, Oklahoma's 105.3 The Spy, the pre-buyout mindset of KROQ, WBCN and WHFS and of every other alternative station that was destroyed at a moment's notice - not because they weren't making money, but because there was bigger money to be found elsewhere.
We've stood by as truly independent alternative rock radio died. Sure, something called "alternative" took its place, but we know for sure that anything that "tests well" with soccer moms just ain't alternative. (Even if some of us happen to be soccer moms.) So we've taken matters into our own hands.
This really is independent alternative rock radio, visible here at and audible at our web radio station. It has the classic music that fired our passions back in the day - or that we maybe only heard about from our elders - but it's mostly made of the new music that does precisely the same for us now. We're paying attention to scenes all over the world, watching the energy build, and waiting to see what it creates. Wherever it happens, we'll make sure you can hear about it here. We've been slowly building all this since 2001, and now that you've noticed us, we're glad you're here.
Of course, it's only here because you want it to be here, and it can only stay if you help it along - especially by checking out our advertisers (they support us) and by listening (the more that listen, the more visible we are.) Please use the "feedback" link above to let us know whether it works for you, and what you want it to be as the future unfolds. (And if you need help hearing it, let us know that, too.)