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Monday, August 28, 2006

Altrok Music Update #127

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
  • The Futureheads
  • Soundpool
  • The Vals
  • Razorlight
  • The Rifles

Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Assembly Now - It's Magnetic (Luke Smith Remix)
  • Bromheads Jacket - Trip To The Golden Arches
  • Elsub - None to Go
  • Erase Errata - Another Genius Idea From Our Government
  • Peter Gammons - Death Or Glory
  • The Longcut - The Kiss Off
  • The New Violators - Burma
  • New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream
  • The Rakes - Just A Man With A Job
  • Sonic Youth - Pink Stream
  • Sunnyvale Noise Sub-Element - I Love You Everytime You Smile
  • Yossarian - Indie Disco

Our Featured Classics:
  • Aztec Camera - All I Need Is Everything
  • Bow Wow Wow - Chihuahua
  • The Chameleons - Tears
  • Bill Drummond - I Want That Girl
  • Echo & The Bunnymen - Rescue
  • Bill Nelson - Flaming Desire
  • The Replacements - The Ledge
  • The Smithereens - White Castle Blues
  • The Wonder Stuff - Don't Let Me Down, Gently

Remember, Altrok Radio now comes in two flavors:

CD Quality Stereo for fast connections


CD Quality Mono for slower connections.

Also, there's Altrok's Eighties Friday coming up all day Friday (when else?)...and of course, we still don't know what'll happen when Ferris O'Brien's showcase starts up this Thursday at 11:30am'll just have to tune in to find out, won'tcha?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Thursday: Altrok Welcomes SPY RADIO's Ferris O'Brien

Ferris O'Brien was a fixture at Oklahoma City's 105.3 The Spy before its days came to an end, and he can now be heard in OKC at Rock 100.5 The KATT carrying the torch for interesting new music on the radio.

But he was looking for a place where he could really open up his music collection to the world...

...and he found it at Altrok Radio. Tune in tomorrow (Thursday), 11:30am Eastern time, to hear his inaugural two-hour weekly show on our web station (the Stereo version only for this first outing, unless I can solve disk space issues I don't expect to solve.)

Many thanks to Ferris O'Brien for becoming a part of Altrok Radio - we hope you enjoy this first foray into Ferris' world of new music.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Altrok Radio Update #126

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Eskimohunter
  • Conner
  • The Wombats
  • TV On The Radio
  • Pigeon Detectives
  • The Church
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Asobi Seksu - Thursday
  • Audrye Sessions - Move On
  • Captain - Frontline
  • Damien Dempsey - Sing All Our Cares Away
  • Duels - The Slow Build
  • The Futureheads - Worry About It Later
  • GoodBooks - Turn It Back
  • Kings & Queens - Kings Theme
  • Razorlight - Pop Song 2006
  • The Rogers Sisters - The Clock
  • Peter Walker - What Do I Know
Our Newly-Added Classics:
  • All - Hot Rod Lincoln
  • The Comsat Angels - Not A Word
  • The dB's - Amplifier
  • Hunters & Collectors - Is There Anybody In There
  • Joe Jackson - Look Sharp!
  • Luscious Jackson - Ladyfingers
  • MC Lars - Signing Emo
  • Ned's Atomic Dustbin - I've Never Been to Me
  • The Pressure Boys - Pete
  • Underworld - Pearls Girl
Remember, those are just the new additions - there's actually about 4000 songs rattling around our library now (your average rock station has about 500) and every day brings a new selection.
And just to reinforce: Altrok Radio now comes in two flavors:

CD Quality Stereo for fast connections


CD Quality Mono for slower connections.

Give it a shot - betcha one of 'em will work for you...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

And Now: Altrok Radio In Both High-Quality Stereo And High-Quality Mono!

It turns out that it's conceptually pretty easy for me to set up another web station that plays in mono, so that folks who have trouble listening to the stereo station here can listen to the mono station here.

The mono station has the same quality, but only needs half the connection speed. Result: more reliable if you get a lot of breaks in the music for the stereo feed.

So, to recap:

Listen in near CD quality, in stereo, by clicking here...

...or listen in near CD quality, but in mono, by clicking here.

Got it? Good - now have-at it. (And check the posts below for a good indicator of the sorts of things we play...)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Stereo Or Mono? Decide!

Earlier this week, a very nice thing happened: Altrok Radio was a front-page recommeded web station at Live365. Lots of people tuned in, and lots came back over the next couple of days...but then I think I did something that seemed like the right thing to do, but was in fact not anywhere near correct.

First, some background. Normally, Altrok Radio sounds pretty superior, at least as far as sound quality goes. We use MP3Pro for playback at high quality using low bit rates; our normal 64k stereo format sounds really great without an MP3Pro decoder, and with it, it's roughly CD quality.

But I was on a vacation last week, and without ready Internet access, I realized I had to put as much music into my station as I could, so that it'd be less likely that anyone would notice that it was repeating all week. Since mono files take up less space than stereo files, I changed the station so that it played in mono, at 32K (which, believe it or not, sounds as good as 64K stereo, except that it's not in stereo.) You also don't need as fast a connection to listen to it.

When I came back, I decided to wait a bit before switching back to stereo (it's kind of a baroque process, and I was still unpacking.) So on Monday, when my station got the recommendation, I was in mono, and I saw a bigger listenership than I ever had before.

"Well," I thought, "If those new folks liked it in mono, they'll love it in stereo!" And I changed the station to stereo.

...and they all went away.

So the question is: was that dumb? How would you prefer to hear Altrok Radio? With high quality strereo that takes up more of your incoming connection, or in comparable quality mono that may be more convenient for you?

Let me know...use the Feedback button above to pass a comment along.

By the way, it's Eighties Friday today (as it is every week) so here's who you'll hear on today's extravaganza, all day and on into the night...

ABC, APB, Adam and the Ants

The B-52's, Bauhaus, Blondie, The Bluebells, David Bowie, Buzzcocks

The Call, Jim Carroll Band, Chamelions, China Crisis, The Church, The Clash, Combo Audio, The Comsat Angels, Julian Cope, Hugh Cornwell, Elvis Costello, Josie Cotton, Cult Hero, The Cult, The Cure

The Danse Society, Depeche Mode, Devo, Dexy's Midnight Runners, Thomas Dolby, Dramarama, Ian Dury And The Blockheads

Echo & The Bunnymen, The English Beat, The Europeans

The Fabulous Poodles, Figures On A Beach, Fine Young Cannibals, Fishbone, The Flying Lizards, John Foxx

Gang Of Four, General Public, Go-Gos, The Godfathers, Martin Gore, Robert Gorl

Hilary, Hoodoo Gurus, The Hoodoo Gurus, The House Of Love, The Human League

Icehouse, The Icicle Works, Intaferon, Intro, Inxs

The Jam, Japan, Joy Division

Kid Creole & The Coconuts

Leisure Process, Let's Active, Liquid Liquid, Lords Of The New Church, The Lords Of The New Church, Love And Rockets, Lene Lovich

Mad Daddys, Meat Beat Manifesto, Midnight Oil, Ministry, The Mission UK

Ned's Atomic Dustbin, New Order, Nine Inch Nails

The Ocean Blue, Oingo Boingo, Orbital, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Plastic Bertrand, Plimsouls, Polecats, Polyrock, The Pretenders, The Primitives, The Psychedelic Furs

R.E.M., The Ramones, Renegade Soundwave, Stan Ridgeway

The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Secession, Seona Dancing, Pete Shelley, Shriekback, Simple Minds, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Sisters Of Mercy, Patti Smith, The Smithereens, The Smiths, Spandau Ballet, Sparks, The Specials, Squeeze, The Stranglers, The Style Council, Sugarcubes

Talking Heads, The Teardrop Explodes, The The, They Might Be Giants, Tom Tom Club, Tones On Tail, Translator

U2, Ultravox

Violent Femmes, Visage

The Waitresses, Wire, The Wonder Stuff, The Woodentops



Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Message From 1973: Television Delivers People

Many thanks to DVD Savant for pointing me at the blog that featured this little masterpiece:

...that blog being If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats. If I were you, I'd head over and soak up as much of it as you can.

And, to keep things on topic, the same applies to radio, naturally.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Didja Miss Us?

Looks like you can have a 38-hour playlist running for about a week before anyone says "hey, didn't I hear this playlist before?"

For the curious, your intrepid Altrok Radio programmer was cruising through the Caribbean (having researched the trip by riding Disney's "Pirates Of The Caribbean" ride about twelve times.) Internet access on a ship is pretty pricey - fairly fast, but at $30 an hour, not for the faint of wallet - so you got a nice melody:Culture mix last week. If you tuned in, I hope you liked...

I'm back now, though, and new music has hit the playlist as of today. Unfortunately, with the disorientation involved in unpacking and re-entering normal life mode, I haven't got the list available yet, but that will come in time. In the meantime, here's who the folks with the bestest mix of classic and new modern rock (that's us) are playing today...

ABC, The Adored, Ambulance Ltd., Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut

Be Your Own PET, Beep Beep, Bell Hollow, The Black Neon, Blackbud, Blondie, Boat, The Bongos, The Boot Room Allstars

Cabaret Voltaire, Call & Response, Jim Carroll Band, Chin Up Chin Up, The Clash, The Clutters, Conner, Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, Graham Coxon

Dalek I Love You, Delays, Devo, Jonathan Donaldson And The Colorforms, The Drones

Eagles Of Death Metal, Eastern Lane, Eat, Elle Rae, Eskimohunter, The Essex Green

The Fall, The Features, The Flaming Lips, Ciaran Flynn, Foreign Islands, The Futureheads

Gene Loves Jezebel, Green Arrows, Guillemots

Harvey Danger, The Human League, The Human Value

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, The Icicle Works

Joy Division

Killing Joke, The King Of France, The Kooks

Larytta, The Long Blondes, The Longcut, Longwave

McLusky, The Meeting Places, Women Men & Children, Mew, Ministry, Morrissey, Moving Units

New Order, Willie Nile, Nine Inch Nails

One For The Team

People In Planes, Persephone's Bees, Peter & The Wolf, Pigeon Detectives, The Pigeon Detectives, The Plimsouls, Poi Dog Pondering, Polytechnic, The Psychic Ills

The Raconteurs, Razorlight, The Replacements, The Rifles, The Rogers Sisters, The Ropes

Santa Dog, Peter Schilling, Serena-Maneesh, Silversun Pickups, Simple Minds, Smoosh, The Sound, Soundpool, The Sounds, The Spinto Band, Bruce Springsteen, Squeeze, State Radio, Stereolab, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians, Strays Don't Sleep, Sugarcubes, The Sun And The Moon, Supercreep

Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, Tokyo Police Club, Translator

Tom Vek, The Vines, Voxtrot

Was (Not Was), Watershed, We Are Scientists, The Weakerthans, The Wedding Present

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sound appealing? Then hop aboard!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

And Another Thing...

We know the reason MTV isn't really showing much in the way of actual music these days has nothing to do with whether or not good new videos are available, right? It has a lot more to do with scheduling real-life soap operas that keep people (who could care less about music) tuning in, dragging advertising revenue with them.

But if there were any doubt that a great music video could be made on no budget at all, let's let OK Go lay that to rest.


Video: OK Go - Here It Goes Again

MTV Day 1 which your intrepid blogger, with mildly intrigued wife and uninterested kids, dives into yesterday's 24-hour rebroadcast of the entire day of videos shown twenty-five years ago on MTV on August 1, 1981, its first day of operation.

Frankly, it was sort of a cross between gratifyingly scratching an itch and staring into an open wound. Dickens had an opening line worthy of it.

The best of times: The Specials' "A Message To You Rudy", Blotto's "I Wanna Be A Lifeguard", Rupert Hine's "Surface Tension", Todd Rundgren's "Time Heals", The Tubes' "Prime Time", three (three!) videos from Shoes, and of course Bowie's "Fashion".

The worst of times: April Wine, .38 Special, and Bootcamp (the latter being ersatz power-poppers with a video, which meant they got played.)

And then the stuff that just makes you go "meh": REO Speedwagon had released a "video LP", so they had about six or seven songs in rotation. Same for Rod Stewart, who unlike REO was not at the pinnacle of his career, such as it was.

The Pretenders suffered a similar issue, but what's not to like about the original foursome? Then there's the video for Pat Benatar's "I'm Gonna Follow You"...while I'm not one to generally ogle girls in pop music, at least not vocally, Pat's evil-twin persona wears the most bestest pair of leather-ish pants ever in that video. Seriously.

Like Bootcamp, dismissed above, a Pittsburgh bar band that got the new-wave bug called "Silencers" (as opposed to the Scottish band of the same name that did "Painted Moon" years later) got play primarily because, well, they had a video. Unlike Bootcamp, they weren't half bad. Turns out they put out two albums through CBS and spawned at least six local rock radio singles - who knew? I agree with the assessment in Trouser Press: they could have been contenders.

My eldest daughter declared Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" the "worst song ever", even after I suggested it "kicked in" late in the song. ("That's 'kicking in'?" she asked incredulously when the song's drum signature finally, well, kicked in. At least she likes The Fall, which ain't bad for a ten-year old.) My wife commented that at least the videos showed the bands performing, mostly, without all the 'hoopla' you see today. She's got a great 'hoopla' detector.

So now you're saying "What? Where? There were videos on MTV yesterday?" Actually, there weren't - the whole shebang showed up on VH1 Classic - and if you missed it, don't fret. Just set your Tivo for "MTV Day 1" starting Saturday at 9AM, when they'll be doing it all over again.

MTV, for its part, will not mark the anniversary in any way on the original channel. Which is probably for the best.

(Update: On the other hand, this blog is at least cognizant enough of its history to point you to this appreciation of MTV's first day published five-ish years ago at this very URL. Booyah.)
Please Look At Our Advertisers (Or The Website Gets It)
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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.)